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Mother

Composed by Keiichi Suzuki, and Hirokazu "Hip" Tanaka

Mother was an unusual game. It took gameplay mechanics inspired by Dragon Quest, but set the story in the United States, and told the story in a way that humorously spoofed the tropes of Japanese role playing games. Outside of Japan, this series didn't see the light of day until 1995 with it's Super Nintendo sequel, Earthbound. This game, originally released in 1989 was not released outside of Japan until June 2015 as a Wii U Virutal Console title under the name Earthbound Beginnings. 

Hirokazu "Hip" Tanaka had already established himself as an integral part of Nintendo's music history. Contributing to the original Donkey Kong series, establishing franchises like Metroid, Kid Icarus, and composing scores for other memorable titles like Duck Hunt, Balloon Fight, Wrecking Crew, and Super Mario Land for the Game Boy. Mother would not sound like any of those games. It is odd, etheral, a weird mix of both, haunting, and melodic. The main plot of this game is to recover the missing song of Magicant's ruler, Queen Mary. The missing song is scattered across the world as eight different melodies. The melodies would serve as important plot devices, which would later help the protagonist team defeat the game's main antagonist, Giygas. All of this may sound very familiar to Earthbound fans. Yes, Earthbound followed a fairly similar plot, but was more successful in its implementation. However, it was Mother that started the concept of finding melodies in small rural America while fighting various oddities.


It was also the first video game score of Keiichi Suzuki. Suzuki began his professional music career in the 70s, as part of the bands Hachimitsu Pie, the Moonriders, and The Beatnicks with one of the Yellow Magic Orchestra founders. As a video game composer, he only worked on the Mother series with Tanaka, except for Mother 3. In addition to those two games, he also composed the game Real Sound: Kaze no Regret, a game specifically targeted to blind players in Japan. Primarily, Suzuki is a film composer, composing scores for memorable films like Uzumaki, Tokyo Godfathers, and Beat Takeshi's Outrage trilogy. Suzuki's experience with the Nintendo hardware wasn't completely a positive one, as he struggled with the three-note limit of the hardware. Some of the pieces in Mother were reprised and arranged in the other Mother games. Pollyanna, Snowman, Humoresque of a Little Dog are just a few examples of what was reprised. The Earthbound piece, New Age Retro Hippy, is an arrangement of Mother's third battle theme. 

Mother had a weird release history. While Japan got to experience all of it, including the rereleases, the rest of the world got Earthbound, and had to wait 20 years to experience the beginning of the Mother series. Mother 3, on the other hand, was never officially released in Japan. Whether it's the allure of experiencing the entire trilogy, wanting more of a game like Earthbound, or whether you're just looking for a quirky role playing game, Mother has you covered. And with Mother comes a score from one of Nintendo's most established composers, and one of Japan's most experienced musicians.

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