Random: This EarthBound-Themed Rube Goldberg Machine Is Packed With References

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An EarthBound box sitting on a keyboard, because it wants to learn how to play music
Image: Zion Grassl/Nintendo Life

Musical Rube Goldberg machines — you know, where the marble knocks over the teapot and then bounces down a staircase made of xylophones (which sounds insane if you haven’t seen the videos) — used to be the realm of engineering and musical geniuses only, like the incredible Wintergatan Marble Machine or the OK Go music video.

At some point, people figured out how to make these machines in 3D modelling software, like Blender, and suddenly the process was a little more accessible. Instead of needing all the crafting skills of a carpenter, a musical engineer, and a marble magician, all you needed was… the ability to create 3D art, animation skills, and impeccable timing in order to match up the animations with the music. Okay, maybe the barrier to entry was just a different shape, rather than lower.

Anyway. All that is to say that this particular addition to the very specific 3D-modelled-Rube-Goldberg-musical-machines genre has an extra hook: It’s themed entirely around Mother 2, or EarthBound, as it’s known over here, and it plays “Eight Melodies“, the lullaby at the heart of EarthBound.

Check it out:

The details! The references! It’s gorgeous!

From the guest appearances of many Mr Saturns and plenty of the monsters you fight in the early game, to all the marbles being dressed as the characters, to the whole thing starting in Ness’ house — it’s just lovely. There’s even a cute little reference to the Octopus Statues, which were used as path-blocking statues in the original Mother 2 before they were replaced with Iron Pencil Statues in the localisation of Earthbound!

Shigesato Itoi himself, the creator of the Mother series, even took notice, retweeting the video onto his own social media feed; the official Hobonichi Mother account (which represents Mother-related merch) did the same:

…We should really play EarthBound again, shouldn’t we?