Earthbound - Definitely Not A Cult!
How does such a small franchise maintain a strong fanbase almost thirty* years later? And just what is it about fuzzy pickles and odometers that reel people into the games in the first place?
## Episode Outline
### Fandom Facts
**History and Origins:**
> The Mother series ... consists of three role-playing video games: the 1989 Mother for the Famicom, the 1994 Mother 2, known as EarthBound outside of Japan, for the Super NES, and the 2006 Mother 3 for the Game Boy Advance. Written by Shigesato Itoi and published by Nintendo, and featuring game mechanics modeled on the Dragon Quest series, the Mother series is known for its sense of humor, originality, and parody. The player uses weapons and psychic powers to fight hostile, everyday objects, aliens and brainwashed people. Signature elements of the series include the lighthearted plots, the battle sequences with psychedelic backgrounds, and the "rolling HP meter": as player health ticks down like an odometer (damage doesn't instantly subtract HP), players can outrun the meter to heal before dying. While the franchise is popular in Japan, in the United States, it is best associated with the cult following behind EarthBound.
> — [Wikipedia - EarthBound](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mother_(video_game_series))
Sometimes fandoms have a definitive name (e.g. "Whovians") other fandoms... struggle. Here are some of the names that [the community has come up with](https://earthboundcentral.com/2012/03/what-are-earthbound-fans/):
- Momma's Boys
- Mother Lovers
In a surprise twist, unlike most of the fandoms that we have covered on the show, [EarthBound fandom has been almost constant](https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=all&q=%2Fm%2F01282w,%2Fm%2F01s7_9) (it's only decreased a little bit since 2004). The most notable spike in interest occured in October 2008, which likely coincides with the release of the unofficial English fan translation by the StarMen.net community.
The top ten countries for _EarthBound_, by search volume, are as follows: Japan, United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Chile, Jordan, Australia, Mexico, Philippines, and Sweden.
The top ten countries for the _Mother_ series, by search volume, are as follows: Indonesia, United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, Philippines, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Singapore, Pakistan, and Australia.
### [Last Episode's](https://fanthropological.com/thesimpsons) Famous Last Words
What did we have to say before doing the preparation for this week's episode?
**T:** I want to know more about starmen.net
**G:** Is anyone drawn to EarthBound because of it's contemporary, American-ness?
**Z:** Itoi has gone on record to say that there will be no more Mother games... are fans making continuations of the series since there will be more more official releases?
### Main Discussion
**Topics covered in this episode:** TBD
### Spotlight? [The Minch Foundation](http://www.minchfoundation.org/)
> A Charity for People Like Us
>You are a successful businessman. People owe you a hundred thousand dollars or more. But when have you ever taken time out to give back to your community?
>— [The Minch Foundation](http://www.minchfoundation.org/#our-story-1-alex)
A division of Golden Aloysius Heavy Industries, you might know them for the EarthBound Bash or their Strategic Partnerships Enabling Network Dynamics (S.P.E.N.D.) awards presented at Camp Fangamer most recently awarded in 201X to Bill Gate, Elong Musk, and Mr. Uber.
### Spotlight?! Camp Fangamer / EarthBound Baaaash!!
There _was_ (is?) a cool event related to EarthBound, but it may be defunct? It's hard to find permanent information. In 2014, there was an event called EarthBound Baaaash!! which raised over $20k for [Speak your Silence](https://speakyoursilence.org/#), a charity "to inspire people to prevent sexual abuse and assault by sharing their voice for those affected". That event _may_ have evolved into [Camp Fangamer](https://www.fangamer.com/blogs/newsletter/tbd), which is a more general celebration of the Fangamer community while also being heavily Earthbound influenced.
### Spotlight: [Mother 4 Game](http://www.mother4game.com/)
> Mother 4 follows the journey of three kids and the leader of a biker gang. With dark rumors of "Modern Men" running wild, these unassuming heroes set out to uncover the truth, no matter how dangerous. From bustling urban streets to secret volcano bases, all kinds of oddball thugs and impossible monsters stand in their way... but everything should be okay if they don't forget to write home!
> This game is built from the ground up by a group of volunteers to be released completely free for Windows, Mac and Linux. It features original artwork, music, story and even a custom engine. This project has been in development for five years, with serious work beginning 2 years ago.
> — [Mother 4](http://www.mother4game.com/about.html)
### SPOTLIGHT: [EarthBound Anthology](http://anthology.starmen.net/index.html)
> In spite of a seemingly endless stream of disappointments and letdowns, the EarthBound fanbase remains as strong and optimistic as ever. This online version of the Anthology was posted as the final bonus for the 2009 EBFGP, a yearly event in which the community plays through EarthBound together over the course of a month. The 2009 event drew thousands of visitors, hundreds of whom would tune in daily to watch the live broadcasts by various community members.
> There never was a greater illustration of the EarthBound community's spirit, and its in that same spirit that we (finally!) commit this book to the public. Stay classy, EarthBound fans!
> — [EarthBound Anthology](http://anthology.starmen.net/index.html)
- [Mother's Cookbook](https://twitter.com/motherscookbook): A cookbook inspired by the wacky foods in the Mother series of games. Unclear if you can buy this or not, but you can find out more by following them on twitter and DMing them.
### Famous Last Words
Our chance (and yours, if you're watching on [twitch.tv/thenickscast](https://twitch.tv/thenickscast)) to have some (in)famous last words about next week's topic before we've done any prep work! Next week, we'll be talking about the fans and fandom of _Pro Wrestling_!
**G:** < Abstained >
**T:** Why do people enjoy watching bad wrestling?
**Z:** Wrestlers are pretty great show people, performing for the back of the room... have there been wrestlers that were not fans before they got into it (or ever during)? Is every pro-wrestler a fan?
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## What is "Fanthropological"?
Every week, Fanthropological delivers over an hour of fandom-related "fanalysis" covering a different fandom every week and giving you hard data, history, special guests, and, of course, speculation!
We cover topics spanning the gamut of anime, manga, comics, video games, comics, movies, books, television, and, in general, geek culture.
- Logo: ["EarthBound icon.png"](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:EarthBound_icon.png) by [Arkhandar](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Arkhandar) used under [CC BY-SA 3.0](https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)
- _Ending_: ["Pollyanna (I Believe in You)"](https://soundcloud.com/jamieirl/pollyanna-i-believe-in-you) by [Jamie Paige](https://soundcloud.com/jamieirl) used under [CC BY-NC-SA 3.0](https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/)
- All other music and sound for this week's episode were provided by Nick Green!
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