“Come on Ness, smile! You’re on cricket!” Image by L. Rockword from Pinterest


In 1989, a strange phenomenon would occur in the space-time continuum, and the source would be a man named Shigesato Itoi. The phenomenon would birth the weird, but wholesome, Nintendo franchise known as Mother (or Earthbound)

“Let all be reminded that a freakin lamp was the first enemy of this franchise.”
Image from rpgclassics.com

Earthbound Beginnings

The NES game released in 1989 as a parody of rpg games at the time, like Dragon Quest. The story is about the asthmatic boy named Ninten, named after the company with the money. He must travel around a fictional America in order to stop his adopted alien fetus of a cousin named Giegue, who is invading Earth due to Ninten’s grandpappy stealing information from their race. Along the way, Ninten is helped by Ana, a love interest from Snowman, Lloyd, who’s literal trash in the game, Teddy, boss of B.B Gang who packs heat, and Pippi, the first member who leaves immediately.

The boy and friends must find the 8 melodies, which has a strange connection to his grandparents. The game was a hit in Japan, but the SNES’s release stopped the translation from arriving in American stores.


The sequel that introduced the franchise to America. In Eagleland, a chubby boy named Ness, who in no way resembles Ninten, is meets a bug from the future, who warns of a dark future in 10 years created by Giegue, who has been renamed Giygas. As part of of the Chosen 4, Ness must travel throughout the world in order to find the others and his “My Sanctuaries” while beating up everything from a dog to the Blu Blux Clan, all under the influence of the intergalactic terror.

The game’s simple artstyle, wacky humor, and dark undertone could have been a hit when released in 1995. However, due to stinky marketing, the game didn’t succeed well. In the years before the next release, a solid 11 years, Ness would become a stay in the Super Smash Bros. franchise, putting the franchise more into the spotlight.

“And out of the meteor came a rhino-beetle, bee, fly like thing from the future. What a start.”
Image from Earthbound Central

Mother 3

Once in development for the N64, Mother 3 came out on the Gameboy Advance as the finale of the series. In a more serious and emotional story, crybaby Lucas lives in Tazmily Village of the Nowhere Islands, which is slowly being changed due to the appearance of an army of pork-wearing freaks. After a major loss, and growing a little, Lucas and his group must unseal the 7 Needles to awaken the Dark Dragon before the pork army, led by a mysterious cyborg with the same power as Lucas, can use it.

Mother 3 has yet to be officially released outside Japan, much to the dismay of fans. Only a fan-made translation has been made. After Mother 3, Itoi stepped away and had no intention of continuing the series, ending it with 3 games.

“You’ll never see sunflowers the same way.” Image from Starmen.net

Legacy: A Cult-Classic Not Involving Blue

Despite the very few games, the Earthbound franchise got a turn around and gained a cult status. Without its growing fandom, Earthbound Beginning wouldn’t have received its Virtual Console release (remember that?) on the Wii U (remember that as well?). The franchise inspired games such as Undertale and Oddity (originally a fan continuation called Mother 4 coming out in Winter 2014), fan-sites such as Starmen.net and Mother Forever, and many people with its weird humor and emotional storytelling.

“Poo Puri about to meet his violent master.”
Image from Earthbound Fandom

I never grew up with Earthbound. I wasn’t even a thought back in the 90s. It wasn’t until March 2018 that I got my hands on the 3ds Virtual Console rerelease. The characters, world, and humor made an interesting experience that kept me guessing what would come next. After the playthrough, I became an immediate fan.

The series is a standout among other Nintendo such as Super Mario and Metroid, and it’s a good thing Ness and Lucas are still kicking it from a distance in SSB and within the fandom.

A Series Of Reviews

I plan to review the series in the end of 2020 and somewhere within 2021. The first will be Earthbound, coming by the end of the week before Christmas. Next will be Earthbound Beginnings in January sometime. Now Mother 3 is a complicated case. I’m not even sure when a review will come because I have not played it yet. I know the story because I watched Chuggaconroy’s Let’s Play of it. 2 pieces of advice: watch Chuggaconroy and don’t spoil yourself of the game. I love him, but I still regret it. I could just review the story, but for a game review that’s stupid. With college coming up during mid-January, my novel, and other games I’m playing through, I’m not sure when I will be able to dedicate time to get it and play it. All I can say is be patient and that will totally come out before it’s western release. If it doesn’t, well then you’ll know because a whole week won’t have anything at all. Also don’t be surprised if you hear a huge yell of satisfaction in the middle of the night.

Until then, play the games, support the Hobonichi Project, get a Ness Amiibo if you can, and don’t cry until the end.

-Samuel Argueta

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