EarthBound (game)

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EarthBound, known in Japan as Mother 2, is a role-playing game for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It was developed by both Ape Inc. and HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo in 1994 in Japan and 1995 in the United States. EarthBound is the second title in the EarthBound series, although it was the series' first title that released in the United States. The first game, EarthBound Beginnings (known as Mother in Japan), was originally planned to be released for the Nintendo Entertainment System in America, but was cancelled; when it was originally announced, EarthBound Beginnings had the title Earth Bound.[1]

Themed around an idiosyncratic portrayal of Americana and Western culture, EarthBound subverted popular role-playing game traditions by featuring a real world setting while parodying numerous staples of the genre. EarthBound follows the same basic plot as EarthBound Beginnings, but Giygas is the only returning character. The North American release was marketed with a $2 million promotional campaign and promoted throughout Nintendo Power, but despite this, EarthBound did poorly in sales, unlike Japan, where it was a commercial success.

In 2003, EarthBound was ported to the Game Boy Advance and included on the Mother 1 + 2 compilation with EarthBound Beginnings. In 2006, EarthBound received a sequel, Mother 3, which was released for the Game Boy Advance exclusively in Japan.

On March 20, 2013, Nintendo released Mother 2 on the Wii U's Virtual Console in Japan. In a Nintendo Direct presentation on April 17, 2013, Satoru Iwata announced that EarthBound would also receive a Virtual Console release in America and Europe, making it the first time it would be released in the latter region. EarthBound would eventually be released in the regions on July 17, 2013 and July 18, 2013 respectively. In 2016, EarthBound was released for the New Nintendo 3DS's Virtual Console. EarthBound is included as one of the 21 games for the SNES Classic Edition.


EarthBound is set in the year "199X" in the small town of Onett. The main character, Ness, wakes up when a meteor falls close to his house in the middle of the night. He heads out to investigate the meteor, but not before his mother reminds him to change out of his pajamas. At the crash site he meets an insect named Buzz Buzz from ten years in the future who sends him on a quest to destroy the intergalactic destroyer Giygas in this time, because he is too powerful in the time period that Buzz Buzz came from. Ness must then journey through the world, seeking his eight "sanctuaries" where the Earth's power is strongest in order to unite his own powers with the Earth's and gain the strength needed to confront Giygas.


Many of the RPG elements featured in EarthBound are very traditional. In towns, the party can purchase items, recharge energy, or gather information from various NPCs. Battles are not random because the enemies are visible in the navigation portion of the game. When the characters come in contact with an enemy, a battle starts. Depending on from which angle in which the characters make contact with the enemy, the party can be at an advantage or disadvantage when the battle starts. If the enemy is approached from behind, the party gets an extra turn at the beginning of the battle and vice versa. As the characters become stronger, battles with weaker enemies are eventually won immediately.

The battle system resembles the Dragon Quest games in that the characters are not shown onscreen. Once all actions are inputted, the protagonists and the enemies perform the actions depending on character speed. Once the battle is won, the party receives experience points in order to level up their characters and improve attributes. Naturally, as the game progresses, the characters must have their levels increased to deal with stronger enemies.

One traditional RPG element not present in EarthBound is an overworld. Instead, the party follows a path, occasionally branching off in some areas. Later on, teleporting spells help them return to previous areas quickly. Another non-traditional element is the perspective used for the world. The game uses oblique projection, while most RPGs use a top down view on a grid or an isometric perspective.

Playable characters[edit]

Name Description

The silent protagonist in EarthBound. Has good attack and decent defense, along with having the second strongest PSI attack (though the majority of his PSI powers heal or affect status), makes him a well-rounded fighter, but has low speed until after Magicant. Occasionally, he will develop homesickness, and will waste turns in battle daydreaming about his home. For much of the game, Ness is the main healer for the group, because until Poo arrives, he is the only character with the ability to regenerate HP and cure ailments.

The first character to join Ness' party. She is adept almost exclusively with PSI powers. Has low HP and Defense, but high speed and good skill with PSI, including a shield. Has a unique "Pray" ability. Pray can cause one of several random effects in battle, that can assist or weaken one or both parties, and occasionally is vital for winning battles. Although Paula has a bad physical attack and low HP, her PSI skills make up for it. Most of her PSI is centered on attack and defense.
Location: Found in the Cabin near Happy Happy Village, after beating Carpainter.

The second character to join Ness' party. Jeff is unable to use PSI powers, but he makes up for it with his ability to take a piece of junk and turn it into a useful item, and his ability to use things like bottle rockets as weapons. Has a unique "Spy" ability, which allows him to see an enemy's offense, defense, and any weaknesses they may have.
Location: Winters, a country in the far north. He soon flies over to Threed in the Sky Runner to join Ness' party.

The final character to join Ness' party. Having spent his entire life training on a small, isolated village on top of a mountain, Poo is unique in that foreign foods barely help him, in terms of HP recovery, and cannot use the same equipment as the rest of the party. Poo has a unique Mirror ability, which allows him to shapeshift into a monster during battle and use all the monster's attacks. Has well-rounded PSI skills, with fairly good attacks, and good healing.
Location: After completing his training in his homeland of Dalaam, he teleports to Ness and his friends in Summers.

References in other games[edit]

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese MOTHER2 ギーグの逆襲!
MOTHER 2: Gyiyg no Gyakushū!
Mother 2: Gyiyg's Counterattack


  1. ^ Nintendo Power volume 18, page 89.