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MOTHER 2 Translation for the GBA

This is a work-in-progress translation patch for MOTHER 2 on the GBA.


Our Discord server is pretty active:

Hasn't it been done?

There are at least two other projects that translate the MOTHER 2 side of the game:

  • Mato's menu text translation: here
  • TheZunar123's full translation (in progress): here and here

Why start another project?

Neither of the above projects use a true variable-width-font (VWF) to render text. A VWF would look much better and would make the game more enjoyable.

Adding a VWF is hard, however. Mato explains here why it's generally a very difficult task to fully translate the game, let alone to insert a VWF.

A long time ago (before the release of the MOTHER 3 Fan Translation), I started working on a proof-of-concept VWF for MOTHER 2 on the GBA. It worked, but it quickly became apparent that the amount of hacking required would be huge; window-rendering functions contain a ton of repeated code and some of it is downright non-sensical.

A few years after that, I tried it again from scratch with the intent of having a more organized codebase. It went much better, but I was soon limited by not having any translated dialogue, rather than not having a VWF; I couldn't test much of my VWF code without any English text inserted into the ROM.

Now what?

This project aims to both complete the VWF codebase and to provide a tool for translating the game's dialogue. My new intent is to bring the hack to a state where I can just sit down and translate text efficiently in my spare time with a graphical tool. Not only that, but having such a tool means that other people can contribute!




  1. One-time setup
    1. Install .NET Core 2.1, PowerShell Core, and GNU Arm Embedded Toolchain. Make sure the Arm toolchain's bin folder is in your PATH.
    2. Create a bin folder in the root of the repo.
    3. Copy MOTHER 1+2 ROM to bin/m12fresh.gba.
    4. Copy EarthBound ROM to bin/eb.smc.
    5. Run build-tools.ps1.
      • Windows: .\build-tools.ps1 in a PowerShell prompt
      • Linux and MacOS: pwsh build-tools.ps1
    6. Copy/build armips to bin.
      • Windows: grab the latest release here and copy the executable to bin/armips.exe.
      • Linux: follow the README to build armips and copy the executable to bin/armips.
      • MacOS: grab the latest release here and copy the executable to bin/armips.
  2. Building the ROM
    1. Run build.ps1.
    2. The default compiled ROM is copied to bin/m12.gba.
  3. (Optional) Build the GUI script tool:
    1. dotnet build tools/ScriptTool (don't set the output directory)
    2. dotnet build tools/ScriptToolGui -o bin/ScriptToolGui
    3. Run with dotnet bin/ScriptToolGui/ScriptToolGui.dll (or just run the EXE file directly).


A translation of MOTHER 2 for the GBA.




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