The Video Game History Foundation does a lot of good work tracking down, preserving and archiving significant video game artifacts, and their most recent find is a big one: the original script files used in the process of translating Nintendo’s EarthBound to English. The files were on a floppy drive owned by Marcus Lindblom, the man responsible for the translation.
When Lindblom discovered the floppy, he tweeted about his discovery and the VGHF got in touch with him. He had to find a working floppy drive to test the disk, and when he did, he made the unfortunate discovery that he had overwritten the file with something else. He donated the disk to the VGHF anyway, in hopes they would still be able to extract something out of it.
The disk was not a lost cause after all. “Erased” files are not truly wiped, just marked to be safe for writing over. The file Lindblom “overwrote” EarthBound with was very small and did not overwrite the important stuff….so the script was still there. The VGHF extracted its contents and sent them to Clyde Mandelin, owner and manager of the “Legends of Localization” website — which did a massive analysis of EarthBound’s script that was later turned into a hardcover book.
Mandelin was definitely the right man for the job and he noticed a lot of differences instantly. He found names for NPCs no one knew before, alternate and extended cutscenes, and the reveal of just WHO the narrator was in a surreal sequence. He’s catalogued all the discoveries on this page.…or, if you’d rather digest the info in video form, you can do that too: