[ Throwback Thursday ] Earthbound and David Bowie: An Unlikely Couple

Listen to the first minute of this song thoroughly and see if you can notice anything in particular in relation to music found in video games. Do you hear what I heard? Perhaps, perhaps not; what I heard was something that sounded very strongly like a lot of the music in Earthbound. So much so that, if you were to put in an instrumental version of this song in the soundtrack for Earthbound or, really, any of the games in the Mother franchise, it wouldn’t feel terribly out of place.

Now, I’m not trying to imply that David Bowie or his album, Heathen, inspired some of the music in the franchise as two of the games, including Earthbound, were released prior to the album release date but it’s not as though the styles featured on the album was unfamiliar to the world and it’s not like the people behind the Mother franchise were not already well known for taking musical inspiration from other artists in their work.

I can already hear some of you saying “Well, okay, but it’s not like they ripped those songs directly from the bands without permission, right?” Actually…

This is actually a pretty heated debate among the Mother fanbase and it’s cited as a large possibility as to why the game was not ported to Virtual Console for the longest time and likely also why Mother 3 was simply never considered for localization, as it would bring attention to the sensitive situation regarding the legality of the use of musical property and their copyright.

Given that it’s a well known fact that the developers really liked The Beatles, obviously, it wouldn’t be that much of a stretch to say that they might have also found influence or even samples from some of David Bowie’s work as it can be said that there’s some stuff in those games that sound awful familiar but can’t quite put a finger on to say, for sure. Those things referenced in those videos, especially the last one, they’re all literally direct samples, either modified or used exactly as they were in the source material.

I just found it really interesting to get that feeling of video game nostalgia from a song I’d always loved from David Bowie. Pretty interesting stuff. What do you guys think?


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