15 years ago today, reidman & Tomato founded Starmen.net.
From a simple fan website full of mostly nothing but midi’s, Windows98 desktop icons, a fanfic that ended on a cliffhanger, and a small message board, there grew a larger idea. A new site was created, further expanding and collecting the seemingly endless EarthBound wonders that the 56k powered internet of yesterday provided. A community quickly formed around this site, paving the way for an even grander idea. A safe haven emerged, where fans could get together and celebrate the creative spirit that EarthBound inspired in them. Art, music, comics, writings, events, and much more soon became the daily norm. Starmen.net, was born.
I could spend the entire length of the front page detailing everything the Starmen.net staff and community has accomplished and experienced over the years. But instead, here are just a few “small” highlights: (check out Stonehenge for even more)
- May, 1999 – The MOTHER on Gameboy Color Petition finishes with 1850 signatures. This is the first landmark project the community accomplishes.
- September, 2000 – The EarthBound 64 Petition ends. With the continued growth of the community, signatures greatly increased with 10,013 signatures.
- April, 2003 – The MOTHER 3 Petition hits an all time high with signatures at 31,338. (about 1,200 are handwritten) Included is an art album and music from Rock Candy. Sometime after, Shigeru Miyamoto is quoted as saying in an Interview with Nintendo Europe, "You might not know this, but there was a petition in the US, a 'Please make Mother 3' petition and it got about 30,000 signatures! After that, we thought 'Wow... Earthbound fans are really solid.'"
Sieges & Call'N's
- 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008 - NP Sieges & PK Call’Ns organized and executed, giving EarthBound fans a voice and directing it straight at Nintendo Power & NoA. Countless calls are made and a ton of envelope fan art is created, all with one goal in mind: we want MORE EARTHBOUND! The final siege held was aimed at getting the word out to the source, NoJ.
Funktastic Gameplay & Holiday Funfests
- 1999 ~ 20XX - The first EarthBound Funktastic Gameplay was held in July 1999, starting a new site tradition and was possibly one of the first "Let’s Play’s" of its time. Various site staff and members of the community get together to play EarthBound, EarthBound Zero, and MOTHER 3 as they broadcast their progress over the internet for the entire community to play along. Contests are held, prizes are given out, fun times are had.
- Fall/Winter, 20XX – Funfests are usually inspired by the thematic holidays in fall or winter. Held nearly every year (sometimes twice), these large community events continue to celebrate EarthBound with art contests in various categories such as hand/comp art, music, poetry, writing, and games.
The EarthBound Anthology
- July, 2007 – One of the most ambitious projects ever attempted. Funded by the supportive community, this 250+ page book is a tribute to EarthBound and its potential future in America. Jam packed with history, data, fan art, videos, and music, this was sent to various media outlets, including NoA. (this lead to a small staff visit to the NoA Headquarters and an article in Nintendo Power) About a month later, a translated version was sent to NoJ as part of the final Siege, and then later Shigesato Itoi himself.
(check out the digital copy here)
Do-It-Yourself Devotion: MOTHER 3 Translated
- November, 2006 – Resolved that NoA would not be releasing MOTHER 3 in North America, the only way to play the long awaited sequel was to do it ourselves. And that we did.
- October, 2008 - Tomato & a band of plucky programmers quickly came together and spent the next 2 years hard at work. Finally, everyone could enjoy MOTHER 3 in English, all thanks to devotion.
- September, 2012 – Community member Chewy brings a very special gift with her back from Japan. During PAX Prime, reidman is presented with a hand-drawn piece of art from Shigesato Itoi featuring Mr. Saturn saying "it's good" and "potential." Scrawled on the top reads "Starman Club," which was uttered by Itoi during a recent MOTHER music event in reference to the Starmen.net community.
It’s been a long, good journey. So what’s in store for the future of Starmen.net? You can be sure there will always be a place where fans of EarthBound can gather and celebrate the game we all love. In fact, there might even be a new website in the works…
So let us all take a moment to give thanks to Shigesato Itoi for providing us much more then just a simple video game to play. To reidman, Tomato, the countless Staff Members and Forum Moderators for their continued love, support, and dedication. And of course, to all of you reading this and for being a part of this fun little community. Here’s to many more years celebrating the MOTHER/EarthBound series!
ok desu ka?
Also, as I said before the highlights above don't even scratch the surface of everything that has happened in the past 15 years. Do any of you have a favorite moment from the site or have an awesome past experience because of the community? If so, please share it with us in the comments section!