Indie Documentary “Mother To Earth” Preserves History of Nintendo’s Never-Released NES Game “Earth Bound”

Recently, I had a chance to meet writer and director Evan Butler while attending PAX East in Boston. Butler, who has had a creative hand in many successful projects, including the Legends Cookbook, hosted a PAX East panel where his indie film Mother To Earth: The Untold Story of Earth Bound was shown.

Butler co-directed the documentary with Joshua Bone-Christian in 2020. The film documents the mysterious case of Earth Bound, the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) game that was never released for the console. The game was completely finished and was set to include “Great-Grandfather’s Diary,” a full map, and game instructions; yet after the localization was complete, Nintendo unceremoniously pulled the plug. While EarthBound (essentially Mother 2) was released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), decades went by before players got to experience the original, or even to understand what had happened with its development.

Official promotional image for the documentary.

“They didn’t understand the emotional connection to the audience,” Phil Sandhop, the localizing producer for Earth Bound, explains. “To [the Nintendo executives], it’s just ‘kid’s games.’ It’s a commodity.”

In many ways, the documentary is a love letter to the Mother series, exploring the impact of the SNES EarthBound, and the organic energy the close-knit community poured into rediscovering the original NES prototype. The film miraculously tracks down the whereabouts of the lost prototypes, including the infamous TK-69 cartridge, all the while entertaining with creative, hilarious and spontaneous wit that anyone who’s met Butler will recognize.

If you’re a fan of EarthBound and the Mother series, this documentary is a must-watch. Mother To Earth: The Untold Story of Earth Bound is available to rent ($2.99 USD) or purchase ($9.99 USD) on vimeo.

Tell us what you think! Will you be viewing the Mother To Earth documentary? Share your reactions in the comments below or join the conversation on Boss Rush Network’s Discord and Facebook.

Source: Mother To Earth: The Untold Story of Earth Bound

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