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Origin of EarthBound Zero: The Interview - by ShadowX

Origin of EarthBound Zero: The Interview



What seems like a long time ago I once maintained the Mother 1/ EarthBound Zero section at Moonside.Net. This was during the days when Jeb2, a former Starmen.Net staff member, owned and operated this EarthBound fan site. Before Moonside.Net fully opened I set out on a mission to add something truly unique to my section. I wanted to interview Demi of Neo Demiforce about the origin of EarthBound Zero. In case you did not know, Neo Demiforce is the reason why we all are able to play EarthBound Zero today. I was able to get Demi's ICQ name from his site. I tried for a week straight to contact Demi, but he always had his "away" message up. Finally on February 5th, 2001 after trying for a third time that afternoon Demi finally came out of his away status and responded. This is the conversation we had. I pretty much let Demi do all the talking.

***PLEASE NOTE: This conversation has been modified a bit due to naughty language, horrible spelling, and unrelated content***

ShadowX:Hi Demi, I'm trying to gather as much information about the origin of EB0. If you have a few minutes I would like to ask you some questions.
Demi: yaaya
ShadowX: hey
Demi: YOH
ShadowX: guess you got my last 2 messages. got a few?
Demi: k
ShadowX: ok here's what i know about the creation of EB0, its rather long cause its part of the article but here goes. If you can fill in any details or find any mistakes that would be great.
ShadowX: Sometime in 1998 an "unknown person" began posting an "EarthBound NES Cart for Sale" on an internet message board. There are two theories as to how this rare NES cart came into the hands of this "unknown person". One is this person was an NOA employee and stole (or liberated) the English EarthBound NES Cart, or it was given to him as a gift. Whatever the reason, this cart caught the eye of a group of famous ROM translators, Neo Deimiforce.
ShadowX:The English Mother NES Cart was bought by another "unknown person." This person was soon found by Neo Demiforce. They decided to pay the owner of the English EarthBound NES Cart to create a ROM Dump, which makes a NES Cart possible to play on an Emulator. The owner agreed to the amount of $400. Neo Demiforce then renamed the RPG EarthBound Zero. A sort of "prequel" to the great SNES RPG EarthBound. What happened to the real EarthBound NES Cart? Apparently its owner sold it for another $400 on eBay around the summer of 2000. It has not been heard of since.
ShadowX: An English version of Mother was finally available in the States! But a problem faced Neo Demiforce. It seemed there was a lock-out device. A screen would pop up at a certain point warning that this was an illegal copy and it would no longer function. This prevented anyone from completing EarthBound Zero. But a guy by the name of Barubary soon made a patch to get around this screen, and thus the entire game became fully playable.
Demi: there are some screw ups in your story, but it's been so long i can't remember the details either.. i'll tell you what i know:
ShadowX: ok thanks
Demi: it was originally being sold on rec.games.video.classic, not a wwwboard
Demi: he sold it to some dude for 125 bucks
Demi: the original seller went by the name 'mariotti'
Demi: i got a hold of this dude and he was the rat who marked it up
Demi:i offered him 300 but the jerk still wanted more, so i offered 400 and he agreed
Demi: oh yeah! and this was where it got interesting hehehe
Demi:he like
Demi: he sold it to this one dude, right
Demi: mariotti sold it to the dude
Demi:(i'm readin thru all my old emails as this happened)
ShadowX: heh thanks. go on this is interesting
Demi:so anyhow the mariotti dude was kind of a jerk
Demi: i was like 'man.. would you at least let me talk to this dude who you sold it to, so i could maybe work something out with him?'
Demi: and this mariotti dude was always like 'i will talk with the buyer and get back to you'
Demi: you know, i wanted more reassurance and stuff
Demi: or like i just wanted the buyer's email, that woulda been best
Demi: i mean what did he have to lose by telling me this guy's email address
Demi:nevertheless he was a jerk about it
Demi: so you know what i did?
ShadowX: whats that? Demi: i posted a message on my wwwboard telling everybody to email mriotti to give me the buyer's email address
Demi: and he got all mad and told me to back off
Demi: i was such a jerk back then dude =]
Demi:and like
Demi: i was all like 'tell me the buyer's email address and i will'
Demi:At 02:20 PM 1/19/98 -0800, you wrote: >please tell your "friends" to back off. i have had at least five emails >today, pleading for a dump of mother. i will do what i can for you, but >only if everyone but you backs off. I am sick of responding to their >emails. > bawahahwhabw
ShadowX: lol
Demi: ha this is so wrong
Demi: it's just not the way to do business but i didn't know better, i was a kid, you know
Demi:i should just give you all the emails
Demi:it was funny, it was like.. i was all trying to play it cool even though i was all having people email him, beg for the game, and then when he'd snap back at me, i'd post all his whining on my wwwboard for everybody to laugh at
Demi: ANYHOW
Demi: this other dude, wildbill, came into the situation and straightened the whole thing up
Demi:he was a guy i knew who did some translating and he's like 60 or so
Demi: so he had a little better skill at bargaining and i eventually got the email
Demi: and um.. yeah he wanted 400
Demi:oh wait! no! that's not the way it happened!
Demi:i totally screwed things up with mariotti and like the deal was going so bad and he eventually just stopped emailing me
ShadowX: wow
Demi: but then this really cool dude named EBounding hooked me up with the buyer's email address like a months later, right out of the blue
Demi:if it wasn't for him this whole thing never woulda happened
Demi: and then wildbill came in and negotiated with the buyer i think
Demi: i don't know how wildbill fit into it, but i remember him having a large part in the play
Demi: hm
ShadowX: so after all of this you finally got the dump?
Demi: yea! it all worked out
Demi: this buyer dude was a real bloodsucker
Demi: he knew we wanted it bad, so he charged 400 bucks
Demi:and then see, we had to give it back
Demi: the 400 was just to dump it and return it
ShadowX:he wouldn't give you the cart too?
Demi: no
Demi: THEN he sold it on ebay for like 1000 bucks
ShadowX: jeez
Demi: some kid like saved up for like two years and bought it
Demi: he had a webpage for it, showing off the cart
ShadowX: yeah i think i got a pic of that
Demi: i was like 'woo.. there's the cart.. congratulations dude, you've got it.. pfft'
Demi: what a scam.. i'm just happy to play it.. it's a good game
ShadowX: What did you do about the lock up screens?
Demi: there were actually two lockup screens in there.. barubary got past one, trelane did the other
ShadowX: you guys went through a lot to get EB0 out
Demi: heck yeah, it was a thing for a while
Demi: barkley of vertigo dumped it
Demi: man i haven't talked to that guy in years..
ShadowX: well i must say thanks. EB0 is great! Many EB fans owe you guys
ShadowX: was it really already translated when you got the dump?
Demi:yeah, but some of it was screwed up.. the english wasn't fully proofread in spots, so i did an update ROM after a couple months to straighten some crud out.
Demi: i always hated that font it had in it though..
ShadowX: heh. Nintendo never went after you guys for this?
Demi: no, i've never gotten any threatening emails from any companies.
Demi: (on any of my projects)
Demi: i actually was translating earthbound zero unofficially for a little while before i heard about this rom dump thing.. we were just going to dump the script and do a hack of it, the same way as other translation projects are done. i had a title screen done (by luke drelick) and everything.. it woulda been very different than the ebz you know today.
ShadowX:thats good to hear. well thanks for answering all my questions. You filled in a lot of holes. Just one last thing, is it ok to use any and all information you have provided including this ICQ conversation?
Demi: yeah, use anything you want dude
ShadowX: thanks. a lot did go on that was unknown about EB0, just want to give credit where its due.
Demi: did you know the american release of mother (earthbound zero) actually has a bunch of enhancements over the original japanese mother? it's like they must have felt it wasn't completed when they released it in japan. all the town names are different (in the japanese one they're all holiday names), you can't run in the japanese one, and there's no map, either.
ShadowX: didnt know that
Demi:yea, it's pretty lame
Demi:i ran all the time in ebz
ShadowX:i ran all the time too.
ShadowX:thanks again dude you rock
Demi: kbye

After the conversation I was ecstatic. I never thought I would get so much background information about EarthBound Zero or even get in contact with Demi. I quickly read over the conversation and was very pleased with what I had. As mentioned above I had to edit some of the conversation due to language. Also, towards the end of the interview it turned into things that didn't have much to do with the conversation about EarthBound Zero so I removed that as well. I happily added the interview to my section. Although, I don't think very many people actually read the interview...

About a month ago when I was cleaning out my computer I came across this interview. I thought it would make a great article. Hopefully now more people will get the chance to read this interview and learn a little bit more about the origin of EarthBound Zero. I should mention, that if anyone has any conflicting information with this interview let me know. Demi mentioned he was remembering things as best he could. So if you were apart of bringing EarthBound Zero to life and have more information let me know. I hope everyone found this old interview of mine interesting. Now go play EarthBound Zero!


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