Earthbound is finally being made available digitally the the Wii U’s recently unveiled Virtual Console, but only through Nintendo of Japan’s channels. While Nintendo fans around the world will be getting seven games by July, Earthbound does not rank among them anywhere else in besides Japan. The SNES cult-classic has a massively loyal fanbase that’s been clamoring for an American re-release for years, but so far, Nintendo of America has been silent on the issue.
Instead of RPG hits like Earthbound and Fire Emblem: Monshou no Nazo, Americans will be getting Punch Out!! and F-Zero. Beyond that, the lists are identical.
Some blame possible copyright and localization conflicts with the game’s creator, Japanese renaissance man Shigesato Itoi’s script, while most others simply think Nintendo of America just plain doesn’t like Earthbound. Nintendo has never been one to keep financial failures around for too long.
The added salt to the wounds of American fans though comes in Japan’s pricing of the game. Japanese gamers will get to experience both Fire Emblem: Monshou no Nazo and Earthbound for a mere ¥30. That’s $0.33, less than that of a Japanese can of coffee.
Both games have been in high demand ever since Nintendo has taken to digital distribution, Earthbound never seeing a rerelease since the SNES and the entire Fire Emblem series being rediscovered after a decade of Nintendo keeping it a secret from all but the most loyal American audiences.
Both Fire Emblem: Monshou no Nazo and Earthbound‘s Game Boy Advance sequel, Mother 3, have extensive fan translations completed out there on the internet. They might be a better solution than dealing with this neglect any further.