Theories topic for April 7, 2014:

Who is the Photo Man, anyway? How does he always know where you are? What's he trying to do?

Theory of the Week:

The Earthpack Backpack Company (EBC) has been notoriously known for their intense marketing techniques. Their most controversial practice happened in 199X when they placed tracking devices inside their line of yellow backpacks. The original intent for tracking was to identify the locations of their customers in hopes of capturing photos of their product being used by locals. Having advertisements of locals wearing the backpacks in their hometown and in scenes familiar to shoppers was the EBC strategy to hopefully boost its sales of yellow backpacks.

The Earthpack Backpack Company hired out a freelance photographer with the pseudo name Photo Man to take the photos of customers wearing the new line of packs. PM owned and operated his personal photography and media graphic design company called Fuzzy Pickles. He was hired out to make EBC’s name great and was given full access to their tracking and GPS systems as well as the company’s pilot and helicopter. Needless to say the EBC was very committed to marketing their line of yellow backpacks.

However neither the EBC nor the Photo Man took into consideration that some of their customers would wear their traceable sacks to such a considerable large number of locations spread across the four corners of the Earth. This was the case with an adolescent from the suburbs of Onett who proudly wore his backpack not just in his hometown but throughout the whole world. With the assistances of the EBC’s resources the hired on photographic genius was able to capture 32 amazing pictures of the yellow pack being worn all over the planet. This caused EBC to rethink their marketing strategy from solely focusing on the locals wearing their products in their hometowns to more emphasis on how their product can be used worldwide.

Eventually world travelers caught wind of this global photo collage that was being developed which lead to the Monotoli Travel Agency (MTA) initiating with both the Earthpack Backpack Company and with the Photo Man to collaborate on making an unprecedented travel guide that still amazes its readers today.

MTA’s vision was to use the talents of the Photo Man to create a product that would benefit both the new and seasoned traveler. Not just an ordinary guide but an in-depth travelling resource providing information on area location statistics, shopping, entertainment, dining, points of interest and much much more. They sought out to leave no stone unturned as they provided handy information for travelers exploring locations in Eagleland, Foggyland, Chommo and beyond!

Though their vision was huge through collaboration and hard work they were able to pull it off with great success. The end result benefited the Monotoli Travel Agency as the word got out about many exotic locations around the world boosting tourism to faraway places. Also the Earthpack Backpack Company had a tremendous boost in sales as tourists saw yellow knapsacks conveniently product placed on the 8 postcards that made up the cover of this amazing guide. Though the Photo Man received a huge monetary gain from his hard work snapping shots around the world, when he was asked about what he benefited the most from the success of this joint endeavor he humbly responded, “I am glad that my great photographs will always bring back the fondest of memories.”

Ape Software Development Team’s office located a few blocks away from the Monotoli Travel Agency in Fourside witnessed firsthand the huge success of the collaborative work that was done in order to produce such an amazing product. At the time Ape was currently looking for a fresh approach to market one of their new projects they were working on. Seeing the victory that MTA’s travel guide achieved, they decisively bought the rights to the guide in hopes to use it alongside their new project Earthbound hoping that it will serve to be just as fruitful for them as it had for others.


I knew I didn't trust that guy:

I have a firm belief that the Photo Man is under the influence of the Mani-Mani statue, and perhaps a servant of Giygas himself.

Of course, he does look like your everyday businessman. He's got a cool beard, a nice suit, and a camera for documenting things. But I think that behind those plump cheeks and yellow-greenish beard lies a truly evil man, one who is out to serve Giygas himself, and one out to assist Giygas in any way possible, trying to stop Ness and co. from saving the world.

When Giygas had started attacking Earth, we all know that he had influence over the minds of people through his own power and the Mani-Mani statue (hippies, party men, Carpainter, Monotoli, etc). I think that Giygas had found out about the photo man, who was once a skilled photographer, and captured and manipulated him, using his tremendous photo-taking skills to document where and what Ness was doing at what times.

This is where he was given the ability to fly. Giygas must've granted him with those powers so he could get around to places with ease. But Giygas can probably fly, right? Why can't he pose as a friendly photographer and snap shots of his arch-rivals? Because Giygas is an alien. Duh. He needed a regular-looking man to cover that for him.

This leads into another factor: The photo man is very charming. I'm sure that when we all played Earthbound for the first time, we had gotten a smile or a chuckle when the photo man had flown from the sky and took a picture of a kid outside his house. He's a lovable person, but still influenced by Giygas, who sent him out across the skies, looking for these kids so he knew what they were up to.

And finally, the last thing that I think helps this theory; he takes pictures at key moments in the journey, letting Giygas know the important bits. For example, when the adventure started, he got a shot of Ness in Onett. When Paula was saved, he took one outside the cabin in Happy Happy. When Jeff was on his way to save Ness and Paula, the photo man documented that too. When they were about to get into Belch's base, the photo man took a picture so he could get that info.

There's still one hole in this theory that you might be questioning: "So why can you still get photos after you beat Giygas?". Because, like everyone else, the poor old man came to his senses and realized what terrible he had done, and continued pursuing what he wanted to to: Photography. He woke up from the evil that was taken over him and tried to finish what he had started, continuing to take great pictures of Ness and Paula in a run-down house.

-- SwiftWaffles

So that's where the money comes from:

The Photo Man is actually Ness' dad. Using his PSI powers, he teleports to his son during his adventure to take photos. He disguised himself so that Ness wouldn't know it was him. When he's not teleporting around to make his son do poses while saying things about haired foods, he's at work, processing all of the photos.

The reason he's doing this is kept secret, but in truth, the Photo Man, Ness' Dad, is to make a profit off of the photos. He daydreams about one day selling the photos for truckloads of cash, by advertising them as "Wonder Kid Adventure Photos". When he finally got rich, he would spend it all on the most extensive plastic surgery treatment: the surgery of becoming a telephone.

-- gooieooie

I take commissions:

In the house of Photoman , a phone call was made ​​:

"Hey there."
"Oh! You ! Long time no see my dear fellow , are you going well?"
"Lately , I've been busy , a lot of work you know? You probably understand , I believe that many still call you for your good service with pictures."
"Unfortunately not."
"No ? But I even remember how every year end its agenda was filled with so many events year-end , remember you photographing me when I graduated , I met you there was his work as a photographer . "
"In fact , it was right there."
"I also remember that you took the best photos when I got married , remember my wife?"
"The blonde? Remember like it was yesterday, you two smiling at the altar, that was a beautiful moment."
"Yeah, I already have a son too."
"Really? I'm glad, he should have your face."
"And my hair."
"What's his name?"
"Ness? ... What an exotic name, never heard before."
"It's a long story, involving games, wanna hear?"
"I think not, I never understood these little thingies. But back to the subject. I have been called less and less to an service, you know, now the cameras have become more modern, people are caring less and less with the content of pictures, and care more about how you can "correct" them. Pfft, never understood these guys with Photoshop."
"Well, I think it's your lucky day. I want a capable photographer for work that I thought."
"And what would be that work?"
"Well .. you know ... my son will embark on a grand adventure, will it be a great opportunity to him to see the world outside the small house where he has always lived in Onett. I wanted to be with him now, to celebrate the achievements he will have, but all I can do is stay here, seeing my son grow as my time with him escapes from my hands. I wished I didn't had to work so hard like my wife does, like my own son does. I wanted to see him ... And now, fortunately, I can, I will be able to take a week's vacation, but will be here for a long time. Probably the adventure will end before I get my vacation."
"So... you want me to take pictures of his adventures while you are getting ready to go to Onett."
"Well that is indeed a nice job, I did never had such kind of request, but it does sound pretty fun."
"How much will it be then?"
"Oh Please, for this kind of work, I do not need money, you know, although I have not received more requests, I still have enough money coming in from my photographs of the past. I assure you, soon, you will have the fondest of memories to share with your son when you go visit him."
"Well, this is very nice of you, but I heard he is going to be in many places, Eagleland, Foggyland, Chommo. How do you will go to such places on foot or in a car?"
"No need for worry my young friend, I spoke to an old guru in the deserts called Talah Rama, who taught me a way to overcome great distances in the blink of an eye. I will be where he is in no time at all."
"I'll keep you informed of his locations. But are you sure you can do this?"
"Do not take me for a cheap photographer, I'm a photographic genius, if i say so myself."
"Thank you very much."
"You're welcome, goodbye and good work for you sir."


Photo Shop of Horrors:

Ness walked back to his house for the first time after defeating Frank Fly. He was exhausted, and he was homesick. More than anything, he just wanted to have some of his mother's delcious homemade steak and have a rest in his own bed rather than the ratty ones with itchy sheets at the Onett Hotel. As he walked past the mailbox, suddenly, something happened that he would never have expected. From the air above him, he heard a fanfare. A man in his late fifties with a blond beard and mustache descended from the heavens, swirling down like a spinning top, and landed in front of Ness.

"Pictures taken instantaneously! I'm a photographic genius, if I do say so myself!"

Ness stared on, flabbergasted, but eventually mustered a grin and a peace sign with his fingers before the Photo Man took a snapshot and went swirling back into the sky. Above the clouds he went, and continued upwards, passing passenger jets and Spiteful Crows. The air grew thin, but the Photo Man's face did not turn blue, nor did he begin to choke. He continued, swirling upwards into the sky. He was now high above the Earth, now swirling about in the void of space, and in this airless vacuum, he continued upwards, towards Giygas' mothership. A hatch opened on the bottom on the metal beast, and the Photo Man swirled inside; the hatch closed neatly behind him. Inside the mothership, the Photo Man removed his human skin, revealing the Starman minion underneath the silly disguise.

"Fuzzy *click* pickles." The Starman laughed and sighed. "I can't believe the *boop* stupid Earth boy fell for it." He took his snapshots- valuable information in this war against the Chosen One- and presented them to his mentor, the Starman DX.

"Perfect," said the Starman DX. "Using photoshop, we can manipulate these photos to give Ness a bad public reputation. Make it so he's beating a puppy or something."

"That won't need editing," said the Starman, and pulled out another photo of Ness beating a Runaway Dog with a baseball bat.

Regardless, the two opened up Photoshop anyway, and gave Ness a double chin, severe acne, ripped clothing and greasy hair.

Photo manipulation is wrong, children.

-- Ostricho

Building a Portfolio:

The Photo Man is,obvious, a photographer. His biggest dream was to become a world-class photographer. Although his photos were high quality, he wasn't recognized as an official world-class photographer yet. He needed to sign up at the Academy of Photography and achieve a Diploma in Photography in order to be recognized as a world-class photographer. And that what he did.

Months have passed, and the Photo Man was one step back to achieve the diploma. He needed to fulfill one final task which consisted in photographing one or more persons in various places all over the world.

The Photo Man was looking for someone to pose for him and at the same time to acquire his task. He tired to convince a few persons to pose for him by telling them it was for a good cause. But nobody wanted to pose for the Photo Man because they thought that he is just an amateur who wastes his time doing photos for people. He decided not to tell people about the diploma and offer his services directly to the next person he will see. He reached the northern part of Onett and saw Ness heading to his house. The Photo Man offered his services to Ness and our hero posed for him. When the photographer saw the excellent photo, he started talking to himself:

"Hmm...this boy offered me such a great photo, I'd better follow him and see id I can get some more photos."

The Photo Man started following Ness all around the world and eventually, he got a total of 32 photographs. Before going to the Academy of Photography to lift his diploma, he printed all the photos with Ness and his friends and made an album using them all and sent it to Ness' family so they could store the wonderful memories of the quest. Then, he went to lift his diploma and became a world-class photographer.

-- Shadow542

It's all in your head:

So, what I think.

He isn't even real. He just is Ness collecting memories. Think about the locations where you get your picture taken. They all have something important to do with the four. These memories are collected up until, the end, where Ness tells his mom about his adventures. Where the pictures come from, I would say Ness got anonymous people to take them for him.

-- pigmask455

Cataloguing the universe:

A long time ago on a distant planet called Bild X-17, a bunch of aliens were shuffiling around in a research center, looking at data they had collected. These aliens are skilled photographers, and work to take photos of many different species in different settings. They had collected pictures of every species in the Universe except... humans.

In the year 199X, a strange spaceship was floating miles away from Earth's atmosphere. It emitted a blueish glow. The aliens inside pulled some levers and pushed some buttons, and suddenly a strange chrome cannon came slowly out of the side. Their plan was to launch a meteorite onto the planet's surface to lure a human out. An alien slammed a button, and BOOM! The meteor was launched to Earth.

They waited for a subject to come to the meteor. Many people came to check it out, but the one that caught their eyes was a boy in a striped shirt and a red cap. He proceeded toward the meteor, but before they could photograph him he left back to his home. They decided they would wait until the morning.

They chose a man to photograph the boy. They implanted a Universal Translation Device by his mouth, and when the boy was seen out of his house in the morning, they sent the Photo Man to take a picture. They did this many times. They made duplicates, and when they knew they had enough pictures they sent a scrapbook to the boy's family.

And that is who the Photo Man is and why he takes photos of you. :)

-- TheLopman

Wish You Were Here:

Ahh, the Photo Man... Our very own Earthbound enigma... He shows up out of nowhere, takes Ness' picture, and then disappears just as fast. But who is he? How does he know where Ness is all the time? What is he up to? Let's take a look. Let's start with the first question. WHO is the Photo Man? Simply put, the Photo Man is Ness' dad. I will explain exactly why this makes sense by answering the other two questions. Now, onto the second question. So if he is Ness' dad, then how does he always know where Ness is going to be? Well, the answer to that is actually pretty obvious. Ness is always calling him and telling him of his adventures. Think about this for a second. You've got a 13-year-old kid who uses the phone all the time, telling both his mother and father exactly where he's been and what he's been doing. So right there, his dad is always going to know where he is. He constantly calls Ness on the receiver phone, let alone, KNOWS Ness got one, even if he doesn't call his dad to tell him. That's someone who is very informed about the goings on in the world.

But you may be asking another question. How does he get to where Ness is? Well, he flies there. Notice that no matter where he shows up, he always descends to get to you? And when he's done, what does he do? He ascends. On occasion, he shows up inside of buildings and does the same thing. This is because he is trained specifically with equipment that can be used to ascend or descend buildings, while the chopper waits above outside. This also explains why he never shows up in the Lost Underworld, or the Cave of the Past. He won't show up in places he couldn't sneak into. Since he'd need to be a robot in the past, he can't go there. But he's waiting for you at the end, which will answer the next question.

So, what is he up to? Well, it's simple. He's creating a photo album. He can't fight the big bads himself. But he can keep an album of everything Ness did. Further adding weight to this idea is the line of dialogue that's said in the end credits. We all heard it, yet we had no idea what it means or who is saying it. Well, now we know the answer to both of those things. Dad misses Ness.

-- SBaby

Not just a photographic genius:

For who he is and what he is, there is only little known about this Photo Man. He is some sort of guy that is like uh you know… Loner? But there might be a reason why he is doing this. Not because of the sake of taking pictures, but maybe he has something that interests him in life or a photographer. He might even be a spy. Who knows!

So one day, the Photo Man was kicked out of his business due to complete failures of taking pictures of things he was required to do. He was always miserable from that day. He thought of an idea and gathered all the materials for a camera. But instead of just basic materials, he used some other complex materials that would improve a normal camera. So he started working on this “special” camera for about a month.

He made a secret hiding place so that no one would find his incredible invention. He ditched his real home to live somewhere. That’s why when you go everywhere in Earthbound you can’t find the Photo Man’s house. This invention was finally finished. This device can track down people and teleport strait away. This might be a possibility that he possesses the ability so PSI Teleport. That’s probably the reason he comes out of the sky. This device can get the precise location of anyone in the world. There is a chip inside that camera, about as small as an SD card but smaller that does all the locating.

There might be a possibility that he use to work with Dr. Andonuts. For one reason we might think this is that “where else are we going to make an invention so good that it would locate other people?”.

-- HCchicken



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