Earthbound creator Shigesato Itoi has signed a copy of his cult classic SNES RPG as part of an effort to raise money for cancer patient James Hensiek.
The folks at Fangamer have detailed the entire account at Earthboundbash. You see, prior to Hensiek's diagnosis, he gave his pristine copy of Earthbound to his friend Ben Bizzle. When Bizzle heard about Hensiek's illness years later, he set out to use his copy of Earthbound to raise money for his pal's treatment.
How, you ask? It wasn't easy as Bizzle didn't have any connections to the video games industry, let alone the Japanese celebrity-cum-game-developer. So Bizzle did what he could: he wrote a forum post explaining his desire on the Earthbound fan-site, Starmen.Net. After months of calls, e-mails, logistic challenges, and help from Lindsay Nelson - a superfan who helped translate Mother 3 and collaborated with Itoi by translating his popular Hobonichi Planners - the cart was handed off to Fangamer, then Itoi's office, Hobonichi.
This is the first known instance of Itoi's English autograph. Amusingly, he started to write "to James" on the cart, thinking the game was going to the cancer patient, when really it was set to be auctioned off on his behalf. Itoi, like a champ, turned the "t" into an "f" and wrote "for James" instead. Look closely and the original "t" is still visible, which somehow adds a lot more character to the one-of-a-kind cart.
The signed copy of Earthbound will be part of a complete set along with the game's mint-condition manual and box. Fangamer will be auctioning off the set when it beats Giygas at the end of its three-day Earthbound binge, Earthbound Bash. This is expected to happen around Monday, 2nd December at 1a.m. GMT (so really Sunday night). The action will take place on the Earthbound Bash website.
Since this is for charity, it will be a "cutthroat auction," meaning all bids go to Hensiek, regardless of whether or not the bidder wins. So if someone bids $200 and another $300, all $500 will be collected, but only the top bidder gets the goods.