Earthbound Beginnings (AKA Earthbound Zero AKA Mother) coming to Wii U eShop today

Stop the presses! The 2015 E3 Expo hasn’t even begun yet and Nintendo has already planted their flag in the ground and declared victory! At 9:00 PM tonight (Eastern Time), Nintendo will add Earthbound Beginnings to the Virtual Console section of the Wii U eShop.

If the NES game is unfamiliar to you, you might have seen it referenced over the years as Earthbound Zero or possibly as Mother, the title it was given in Japan. The important takeaway is that the game, which was released in 1989, is the predecessor to Earthbound, a beloved RPG that was released for the Super NES in 1995.

Nintendo never wanted to wait 25 years to release Earthbound Beginnings in North America, but the slow pace of game localization threw a wrench into their plans. The consolemaker began developing a version of the game for an English-speaking audience and planned to release it in 1991. But the launch was scrapped after the translation work hit a snag, which would have pushed the release of Earthbound Beginnings (then known as “Earth Bound“) past the launch date of the Super NES. Determined fans eventually discovered a prototype version of “Earth Bound” and made it available on the Internet for NES emulators a few years ago.

This is probably also a good time to mention that Mother 3 (AKA Earthbound 2) was released for the Game Boy Advance in 2006… only in Japan. Perhaps Earthbound Beginnings is Nintendo’s way of priming the pump for another major Earthbound announcement this Tuesday. Lucas, Earthbound 2’s main character, was even added to Super Smash Bros. For 3DS/Wii U today.

So… that was fun… bring on the rest of E3!

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John Scalzo is Warp Zoned’s Editor-In-Chief and resident retro gaming expert. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at john AT warpzoned DOT com.

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