The Video Game History Foundation (VGHF) has restored a 26-year-old floppy disk that held original game files Earthbound, from Nintendo. On the device, there were game programming codes that were never used, cut scenes and even comments from developer Shigesato Itoi. This Friday (4), the foundation gave details about the file recovery process and revealed lost facts about the game.
VGHF could barely restore the floppy
The disk, found in 2018, belonged to the original translator of Earthbound, Marcus Lindblom. At the time, Lindblom tried to recover the files from an old computer, but found that he himself had deleted all the content to save another work many years ago.
Hoping to find some lost information, Lindblom sent the floppy disk to the Video Game History Foundation. The foundation works to restore, preserve and teach the history of digital games. In the case of the Earthbound, the organization used forensic analysis software to find the lost data on the old drive.
One of the members of the organization, Frank Cifaldi, said that he was only able to find the lost data because, after deleting all the contents of Earthbound from the floppy disk, Lindblom had only written a plain text file.
After recovering the device, Cifaldi discovered several script files in the original programming language used in creating the Earthbound. These scripts, however, had some secrets that never made it to the final version of the game, such as unknown character names, dialogues and cut scenes and even developer notes.
the disk of Earthbound had cut scenes from the final game
To better understand the importance of the discovery, VGHF partnered with Clyde “Tomato” Mandelin, considered a franchise expert. Earthbound — released under the name of mother, in Japan. Mandelin is also known for co-translating the game Mother 3 and offer the patch free to players.
For Mandelin, the information stored on the floppy disk is, for the most part, confusing, even to the most devoted fans of the series. Plus, there are no big secrets or shocking revelations in the lost files of Earthbound, but yes, some trivia.
For example, one of the clipped lines mentioned an enemy who described himself as “The Weakest Man Ever Twoson” and then sang his own victory, saying something like “You’re just a kid, so it must be easy.” In the end, the player would win the battle anyway.
Another scene found on the floppy was actually put into the game, but with a difference. In the final version, the player started seeing hallucinations after eating a “Magic Cake”. In the original script, the protagonist would have these same visions when he received an oil massage on the beach.
“At Carillion Beach there is a girl named Jill who gives very interesting massages. Apparently, they even make you dream sweet. REALLY good dreams, you know? Doesn’t that sound great?” said one of the non-playable characters in the original script. Remember that the game’s protagonists are children, so you can imagine why the scene was cut.
Earthbound would have developer comments
Another curiosity found in the original scripts of Earthbound were the comments of the game’s developer, Shigesato Itoi. In the messages, Itoi explained some of the dialogues that were presented to players. The idea was to break the fourth wall and talk to the person sitting on the other side of the screen.
Also, Itoi made a lot of references to the game mother, released only in Japan. The problem is that Earthbound is the western version of Mother 2. Probably, the decision to remove this part of the game was to not confuse people who never played the first title.
With information: Ars Techinica, Video Game History Foundation.