I took one last look at Mt. Itoi before heading into the cave.
An entrance off the main path housed a bunch of nightmarish tubes, in which all the missing adults from Youngtown were held hostage. I spoke with the man (woman?) closest to me, through the glass.
“Oh, the darkness is so thick,” s/he said. “Can’t see you very well… But could it be?... Is it the little girl from Snowman? Ana I believe it was. Brace yourself, your mom is locked in a room in back. Do not try to rescue us now. First, the Mother Ship must be destroyed.”
I liked how creepy this out-of-place area was – a high-tech utopia nestled within the rocks.
With nothing left to do there, I stepped back into the main hallway. As I navigated the twists and turns, I thought how nice it would have been to have a waterfall in here someplace. Oh well, it all still looked good.
I took a deep breath and walked through that final door. Giegue’s spaceship descended to the earth.
Giegue drew near!
“Ninten! I am grateful to your family,” he said.
The form of Giegue’s attack was inexplicable. Nearly half of my life was drained!
“Your great-grandparents, George and Maria, raised me. But George stole vital information from our planet that can be used to betray my people… And now, one of his descendants is obstructing our plans, and must be stopped! Ninten! I am talking about you!”
I put up a shield, and the damage became a bit more manageable. “Next round I’ll start in on healing,” I thought, “because we really need it!”
“Go home now! Perish with the rest of the ugly Earth People. Foolish one, you cannot do a thing with your meager powers… Powers worthy of a lowly insect.”
Another attack. I had just enough in my inventory to cover the damage. From here on out, it was PSI or nothing.
“Ninten! You alone, I may save you. Just you alone. Board our Mother Ship with me. …then, fall into a long sleep with your friends and the other ugly Earth People.”
It was time to mount an offensive! Ninten sang the song!
“STOP singing! STOP IT!”
Loid sang the song!
“STOP THAT SONG!”
Ana sang the song!
“You puny earth bugs! Stop it! Stop that singing!”
In my excitement, I nearly forgot about healing. Ana cast LifeUp Omega.
Ninten sang the song! The lights flashed blue, red, and pink for the final time.
“How could I be defeated by a song like that? I will… sometime… Ninten! We SHALL meet again!”
Defeated, Giegue escaped back to the Mother Ship, and the children watched him fly away, presumably back to his home planet. The parents of Youngtown were finally reunited with their children.
And Ninten, he was reunited with his mother and sisters.
The credits scrolled. Wow! I thought someone would have deleted this by now. I can’t believe this is my old save file!
Outside my office window, the sun had nearly set. Pretty much everyone else had gone home already. I guess I had made a long Monday longer, but when they asked me to dig up this old Earth Bound prototype to be sent out to our Canadian offices for evaluation, I couldn’t help but take a peek at the old project of mine.
Well, they can have this one. I still have at least two copies in my desk.
I pulled the cartridge out of the ol’ NES, and made sure that the label was correct. I’d drop it off to be mailed tomorrow.
As I shut my computer down for the night and began shuffling through the papers I’d need for tomorrow, I thought about what could have been.
I had worked on writing the game’s script for about four months; could have been longer. I don’t recall exactly. But it’s a job, and sometimes my work doesn’t get used. I don’t take it personally – I can’t, really – and I try not to get emotionally involved. But Earth Bound, man, that was a great game. What we were going to do about instructions was really cool. And it would come with two posters, with the usual ads on one side, but the opposite sides would have been a map and an enemy chart.
Yeah, that’s more like it! Just like Final Fantasy.
I ripped today's date, Feb. 21, 1994, off my joke-a-day calender, crumpled it into a ball, and tossed it in the trash. Switching off my desk lamp, my office went dark. I fumbled for my car keys, and a few minutes later, I was driving home.
Since they already have that Lindblom guy scheduled to work on translating the Super Nintendo sequel this year, I don’t know how good a chance Earth Bound has of finally getting released to English speaking players. I’m pretty sure Nintendo of Canada will pass on it.
That’s just the way it is in this business.
But I also have this nagging feeling that somehow, players are going to get their hands on Earth Bound. I had worked pretty hard on it. I allowed myself a little smile.
As I always say, no software is ever final.
All photography by Matt.