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EarthBound Beginnings

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EarthBound Beginnings
EarthBound Beginnings boxart.png
EarthBound Beginnings boxart (Nintendo Switch Online)
System Famicom
Rereleases Wii U Virtual Console (initial platform outside Japan)
Nintendo Switch (Nintendo Switch Online)
Genre RPG
Rating T for Teen (ESRB rating, EarthBound Beginnings rerelease)
Publisher Nintendo
Developer APE Inc.
Release dates
Japan July 27, 1989
June 14, 2015 (Wii U Virtual Console)
February 10, 2022 (Nintendo Switch Online)
North America June 14, 2015 (Wii U Virtual Console)
February 9, 2022 (Nintendo Switch Online)
Europe June 14, 2015 (Wii U Virtual Console)
February 10, 2022 (Nintendo Switch Online)
Other boxart

Mother boxart.png
Mother boxart
StrategyWiki Logo.png StrategyWiki guide for Mother.

EarthBound Beginnings, also known by its Japanese name Mother (Japanese: マザー, stylized as MOTHER), is a 1989 roleplaying video game originally released on the Famicom. It was developed by Ape Inc. and was published by Nintendo, and is the first game in the EarthBound trilogy. Originally created by Japanese copywriter Shigesato Itoi, EarthBound Beginnings follows the travels of four children — Ninten, Lloyd, Ana, and Teddy — and their attempts to stop an intergalatic alien's invasion of Earth. Gameplay takes place within an overworld consisting of Americana themes and tropes, where random encounters trigger turn-based battles with menu interfaces.

Mother was released to positive reception and commercial success in Japan, although some noted its difficulty. In 1990, Nintendo of America commenced and completed localization of the game under the name Earth Bound. However, the release of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and other difficulties resulted in the game not being released for the NES. Prototype cartridges of the localized version were discovered and uploaded to the Internet in 1998 with the name "EarthBound Zero". Mother would later be succeeded by Mother 2 and Mother 3, of which only Mother 2 would be released internationally as EarthBound. Mother was later part of the Game Boy Advance compilation Mother 1+2 in 2003. On June 15, 2015, Mother was finally released in North America and other countries on the Wii U Virtual Console as EarthBound Beginnings, following the original prototype version, making it the second installment of the series to be released outside Japan.


  Spoiler warning: this article or section may contain major plot or ending details! Proceed with caution.  

During the 1920s, a cloud forms over a small American town, during which a couple, George and Maria, are abducted. Years later, George quietly returns, and begins a study of powers called PSI.

In the year 1988, Ninten, a young boy north of the city of Podunk, has his house wracked by a poltergeist causing his lamp and sister's doll to come to life. Once the poltergeist left he examines the doll, which holds a tune that he memorizes. His father calls and instructs him to go on an adventure to realize his PSI skills. He advises Ninten to find his Great Grandfather's diary left in the basement. In the town, Ninten searches for a young girl named Pippi, who had gone missing in the graveyard. After rescuing her, Ninten is tasked by the mayor to calm the Zoo, where animals had gone crazy. Along the way he returns a lost canary chick to its mother, who sings a song which Ninten memorizes. At the zoo the animals became hostile due to the influence of a cosmic Starman. After defeating it and calming the animals, he learns another melody from a singing monkey. Heading east, Ninten comes across a cave with a strange pink rock where he hears a voice speak to him telepathically. He reads the Great Grandfather's diary which opens an entryway to Magicant—a mystical world ruled by Queen Mary. She explains the importance of finding Eight Melodies to complete a song.

Returning to the normal world, Ninten finds a boy named Lloyd, who joins Ninten's party after receiving a bottle rocket from the nearby factory. After this they head north to find a way to clear a landslide which is blocking the train station past the town's northern exit. After traveling through the large Duncan's Factory, Lloyd fires a bottle rocket to blow up the rocks to clear the way. They head to the wintry town of Snowman, where a psychic girl named Ana joins the party after Ninten returns her hat. Ana informs Ninten that they must check on the town of Youngtown. Along the way the children investigate a haunted houses, where a piano plays a melody for Ninten all on its own. They then head through a vast desert where a talking cactus sings another melody. At Youngtown they find that all of the childrens' parents have been abducted by a large spaceship and taken to Mt. Itoi, beyond a swamp and to the town of Ellay.

Ninten, Lloyd, and Ana arrive in Ellay. The leader of the Bla-Bla Gang, Teddy, attacks the group, but soon becomes amiable after losing to Ninten and joins the party leaving Lloyd behind to rest. They continue to find the rest of the melodies, where one is guarded by a dragon beneathe Magicant. Their next destination is Mt. Itoi, where inside a house at the plateau, Ninten and Ana profess their love. A large robot attacks their cabin, and the party is saved by Lloyd. Teddy, however, is severely injured, forcing Lloyd to rejoin the team. The party continues to climb Mt. Itoi, and meet George's benevolent robot, EVE. Their quick ascent ends after EVE sacrifices herself to defeat a large robot, however the wrecked EVE is revealed to contain a melody for Ninten to learn. At the peak of the mountain they find George's gravestone. Suddenly crystal fragments appear to teach Ninten the final melody. The party returns to Magicant to sing the full song to Queen Mary. She recalls the Melodies along with her adopted young alien child named Giygas, and reveals herself as Maria. Magicant, a result of her own conscience, disappears, along with Maria herself, leaving the children to face the alien threat at the summit.

At the top, Giygas reveals himself, telling how George stole the ability of PSI, unknowingly "betraying his people". Giygas attempts to unleash an attack on the party, but the children sing the Eight Melodies to him. Giygas, recalling Maria and her motherly love, is overwhelmed in emotion, and departs from the Earth. Lloyd, Ana, and Teddy return to their normal lives, while Ninten returns home. His father calls, and while waiting for Ninten to answer, states that "something has come up".


The year is 198X. As Ninten, a young boy from Podunk with psychic powers, you must locate the eight melodies to aid the Queen of Magicant. Armed with your trusty baseball bat, you'll fight crazed hippies, zombies... and the occasional Magic Snail? Find out what's causing these strange phenomena in the first-ever US release of the EarthBound Beginnings game!

Robots are everywhere, and Ninten can't beat them alone. You'll have to team up with a colorful cast of unexpected characters–including Lloyd, Ana, and Teddy–to win intense battles with psychic attacks. PK Fire! PK Thunder! PK Freeze! Sound familiar? Well, Ninten isn't the only one with psychic powers–his companion Ana also uses offensive PSI attacks to help out in battle.

But that's just the beginning of your epic team-ups. On Ninten's journey between Magicant and Earth, you'll join forces with the Flying Men too! Have a blast exploring an abandoned zoo, saving the world, and more!


Playable characters

EarthBound Beginnings has four different characters that can be controlled by the player. At the beginning of the game, the player must give a name to the following four characters. Only three can be in the party at a time.

Sprite Name Description
Ninten is the game's protagonist. A 12-year-old boy from the town of Podunk, he is sent by Queen Mary of Magicant to locate the Eight Melodies. Ninten can use special PSI abilities like 4th-D Slip and Quick Up. He can also use various baseball bats to attack opponents.
Lloyd is an 11-year-old weak and nerdy boy from Merrysville. Although lacking PSI, Lloyd can attack enemies using various types of guns and explosives.
Ana is a 12-year-old girl from Snowman. Ana joins Ninten to look for her missing mother. She possesses many powerful offensive PSI abilities. Additionally, Ana can use frying pans as weapons.
Teddy is the boss of the Bla-Bla Gang. Teddy joins Ninten to avenge his murdered parents. Although he lacks PSI, Teddy excels in physical combat, especially with blades.

Non playable characters

EarthBound Beginnings has a variety of non playable characters. The following are important factors to the storyline:

  • Maria is Ninten's great grandmother. She and her husband were abducted by aliens in the 1900s. Her consciousness appears in Magicant, where she rules as Queen Mary.
  • George is Ninten's great grandfather. While abducted by aliens, he studied and stole the knowledge of PSI.
  • EVE is a robot created by George to defend Ninten. Residing at the base of Mt. Itoi, EVE possess the seventh melody.
  • Giygas is an vengeful alien that was sent to retrieve the information of PSI. He is the main antagonist of the game.


The game utilizes random encounters, similar to other early RPGs, such as the Final Fantasy series. When Ninten takes a certain number of steps, the screen will transition to the battle screen, displaying a random enemy. In battle, Ninten must defeat the enemy simply by attacking or using PSI, short for Psionics. Additionally, Ninten has the option to run if the enemy is too powerful to fight. If Ninten defeats the enemy, he and any members in his party will gain EXP. Once Ninten gains a certain amount of EXP, his level increases, allowing for greater stats and new PSI powers. A high level is mandatory to finish the game, as the enemies progressively get more and more powerful as Ninten progresses.

Status ailments

Status ailments are conditions that hinder the player or an enemy in battle. They can usually be cured with certain items.

  • Asleep - renders the player unable to do anything.
  • Asthma - renders the player unable to attack. This ailment is exclusive to Ninten.
  • Blindness - decreases the accuracy of an attack.
  • Bound - similar to paralysis, can only be afflicted with a rope.
  • Cold - causes the player to lose 1 HP for every 8 steps in the overworld.
  • Confusion - confuses the player, making them able to attack anyone, even those in their party.
  • Faint - occurs when the player's HP reaches zero. The player gains a Game Over if their entire party has this ailment.
  • Paralysis - renders the player unable to do anything.
  • Poison - same as Cold.
  • PSI Block - renders the player unable to use PSI
  • Puzzled - causes the player to daydream.
  • Stone - renders the player unable to do anything.


  • HP (Short for "Heart Points") - Shows the amount of damage Ninten can withstand. Any healing item replenishes this.
  • PP (Short for "Psychic Points") - Shows how much PSI Ninten can use.
  • Offense - Shows the maximum amount of damage Ninten can deal with a normal attack.
  • Defense - Shows how much damage Ninten can resist from an enemy attack.
  • Speed - Determines how fast Ninten can attack. If he has the greater speed, he attacks first.
  • Strength - Determines how much HP is gained when a character levels up.
  • Fight - Determines the likelihood of an attack being successful, as well as the likelihood of it being a   hit.
  • Wisdom - Shows how likely a status ailment can be inflicted on an enemy.
  • Force - Determines how much PP is gained when a character levels up.


Normal enemies

Image Name HP PP EXP Money Location
  Lamp 6 0 1 $0 Ninten's house
  Rat 10 0 3 $2 Ninten's house
Choucream Zoo
Sweet's Little Factory
  Centipede 12 0 1 $1 Podunk
Choucream Zoo
  Crow 22 0 3 $4 Podunk
  PseudoZombi 30 0 8 $12 Podunk
South Cemetery
  Snake 18 0 2 $8 Podunk
  Stray Dog 16 0 4 $10 Podunk
Duncan's Factory
  The Hippie 25 0 6 $35 Podunk
  Wally 20 0 5 $35 Podunk
  Gang Zombie 34 0 12 $32 South Cemetery
  Ghost 20 0 5 $10 South Cemetery
Rosemary's house
  Mr. Bat 20 0 4 $7 South Cemetery
  Alligator 30 0 21 $18 Choucream Zoo
  Elephant 70 0 60 $99 Choucream Zoo
  Fly 10 0 1 $1 Choucream Zoo
  Gorilla 40 0 23 $52 Choucream Zoo
  Hyena 30 0 12 $20 Choucream Zoo
  Tiger 35 0 24 $47 Choucream Zoo
  BionicCenti 35 0 18 $14 Outside Choucream Zoo
North Podunk
  Lil Saucer 32 20 20 $22 Outside Choucream Zoo
  BigWoodoh 70 0 100 $140 Magicant
  Dadseyes 40 0 35 $53 Magicant
Magicant Underground
  Foureyes 40 0 32 $26 Magicant
Magicant Underground
  Groucho 35 0 3 (If defeated)
60-80 (If left alone; EXP granted to only one party member)
$12 Magicant
Magicant Underground
  Magic Snail 50 0 42 $28 Magicant
  Momseyes 40 0 35 $34 Magicant
Magicant Underground
  Raeb Yddet 40 0 25 $27 Magicant
  Sky Yddet 74 0 40 $23 Magicant
  Watcher 30 0 5 $20 Magicant
Magicant Underground
  Woodoh 40 0 40 $38 Magicant
  Ullrich 40 60 50 $65 Magicant Underground
  Bag Lady 90 0 63 $150 Merrysville
  Eagle 45 0 36 $30 Merrysville
  Fugitive 60 0 60 $350 Merrysville
  Mad Car 40 0 55 $32 Merrysville
  Mad Truck 60 0 57 $30 Merrysville
  ManiacTruck 80 0 75 $58 Merrysville
  Psycho Car 40 0 61 $45 Merrysville
  Psycho Truck 58 0 24 $37 Merrysville
  Rope 80 0 48 $80 Merrysville
  Barbot 60 40 32 $45 Merrysville
Sweet's Little Factory
  Bear 80 0 70 $250 Merrysville
  Cougar 42 0 32 $25 Merrysville
  Skunk 40 0 32 $32 Merrysville
  Wolf 50 0 34 $31 Merrysville
  Bomber 60 0 56 $32 Duncan's Factory
  Dr.Distorto 60 0 45 $40 Duncan's Factory
  Fire Ball 58 50 61 $35 Duncan's Factory
  Old Robot 60 30 54 $38 Duncan's Factory
  Scrapper 70 30 65 $38 Duncan's Factory
  Big Foot 90 50 150 $48 Snowman
  Lone Wolf 80 0 100 $41 Snowman
  Polar Bear 100 0 160 $50 Snowman
  Silver Wolf 80 0 66 $43 Snowman
  Alarm Ghost 50 0 80 $27 Rosemary's house
  Armor 120 100 200 $300 Rosemary's house
  Bionic Bat 50 0 40 $34 Rosemary's house
  Dust Ball 78 0 80 $100 Rosemary's house
  Nasty Zombie 90 0 68 $58 Rosemary's house
  Shroudley 90 0 58 $34 Rosemary's house
  Zombie 70 50 48 $43 Rosemary's house
  BionicScorp 100 0 61 $56 Yucca Desert
  EnergyRobot 80 0 202 $70 Yucca Desert
  Gabilan 100 0 70 $43 Yucca Desert
  Nancy 120 60 68 $50 Yucca Desert
  OmegaSaucer 65 50 82 $57 Yucca Desert
  Rattlesnake 100 0 57 $54 Yucca Desert
  Scorpion 75 0 50 $36 Yucca Desert
  Starman 80 50 165 $68 Spookane
Yucca Desert
Mt. Itoi
  Tarantula 120 0 205 $85 Yucca Desert
  UltraBarbot 80 50 220 $87 Yucca Desert
  Red Snake 150 0 500 $37 Youngtown
  Spider 80 0 48 $40 Youngtown
  Titanees 130 40 78 $50 Youngtown
  Bison 160 0 186 $63 Swamp
  Buffalo 150 0 103 $95 Swamp
  Crocodile 120 0 172 $88 Swamp
  Kelly 120 80 102 $88 Swamp
  Mook 85 80 166 $42 Swamp
  Seagull 90 0 100 $44 Swamp
Mt. Itoi
  B.B. Gang 80 0 72 $60 Ellay
  BlueStarman 100 80 150 $91 Mt. Itoi
  Cerebrum 200 180 89 $80 Mt. Itoi
  Gargoyle 180 60 110 $86 Mt. Itoi
  GrizzlyBear 340 0 250 $65 Mt. Itoi
  Megaborg 160 60 197 $109 Mt. Itoi
  Rockoyle 120 60 162 $93 Mt. Itoi
  SuperEnergy 120 0 230 $260 Mt. Itoi
  Titanian 320 0 180 $130 Mt. Itoi
  Oh-Mook 160 250 175 $110 Mt. Itoi
  Giga Borg 180 80 98 $143 Mt. Itoi
  Juana 300 200 270 $362 Mt. Itoi
  Star Miner 200 0 209 $138 Mt. Itoi
  LastStarman 120 100 330 $389 Mt. Itoi


Image Name HP PP EXP Money Location
  Doll 12 0 10 $50 Ninten's house
  Starman Jr. 52 16 32 $5 Choucream Zoo
  The Fish 65 0 140 $180 Magicant Underground
  Dragon 650 220 500 $1,200 Magicant Underground
  R7037 1,000 0 205 $71 Yucca Desert
  B.B.'s Boss N/A 0 0 $0 Ellay
  R7038 1,000 0 430 $101 Mt. Itoi
  R7038XX 1,000 0 550 $180 Mt. Itoi
  Giygas N/A 0 0 $0 Mt. Itoi


Mother was originally released in Japan for the Famicom in 1989.

The game was translated into English by Nintendo of America in 1990 and slated for a 1991 release, but marketing delays prevented the translated game, to be titled Earth Bound in English, from ever seeing release. The fan group Demiforce, who had been working on their own translation of the game at the time, discovered that a prototype cartridge had been sold to Kenny Brooks, a game collector, and made a deal with him to release a ROM of the game to the public in 1998. The released ROM featured minor alterations from the prototype cartridge to get around the copy protections Nintendo had placed on it, as well as the addition of "Zero" to the title screen to differentiate it from its sequel, which had received an English release in 1995. Since then, four other cartridges with the prototype have been found, one of which resides in Nintendo of America's headquarters.[1]

Unlike the original Japanese release of Mother, the prototype English translation contains detailed enemy descriptions, some redesigned areas, and an ability to run, among other differences. A few of the changes were requested by Nintendo of America producer and scriptwriter Phil Sandhop, who stated that there were plans to release the game with an 80-page instruction manual and a separate release of the game's soundtrack, but the production costs ended up having the game cancelled. Most of the alterations later saw official release in Mother 1+2.

On June 14, 2015, Nintendo announced and released Mother for Wii U Virtual Console, in Japanese as well as its first ever English release, under the title EarthBound Beginnings. While the English version is the same as the unreleased English prototype, the Japanese version had several changes from Mother 1+2 backported to it. Notably, the Crow's cigarette was removed and a line in Twinkle Elementary School that mentioning Dragon Quest 4 had the reference to that game removed.[2]


Mother was a commercial success in Japan, receiving the "Silver Hall of Fame" score of 31/40 from Weekly Famitsu. According to a Famitsu poll, it was considered the 9th best Famicom game and the 38th best game of all time. EarthBound Beginnings also received strong positive reception in the west, similar to its successor. It was one of the most bought NES games on the Wii U Virtual Console during its lifespan, and was the only NES game with a 5-star rating during the first few months of the release. Critics praised its originality, music, and artstyle, while saying how it "parodies" other more "serious" RPG games such as the Dragon Quest series. Around the time of its initial release, EarthBound Beginnings was the best selling downloadable game on the Wii U in America and Europe, surpassing Splatoon in digital sales[3].

Balance issues

While positively received, there are still various criticisms with the game - namely, the infamous difficulty spikes. Many parts of the game have enemies far more powerful than the previous section's (most notably Mt. Itoi) which forces grinding. Another complaint is also the random encounter rate, with enemies appearing far more frequently than other RPGs of the time.


For the subject's image gallery, see Gallery:EarthBound Beginnings

English boxart for EarthBound Beginnings used for Nintendo Switch Online
Japanese boxart for Mother
Promotional art
Nintendo eshop card artwork
North American banner from the official website
European banner from the official website
Title screens and logos
English title screen
Japanese title screen
EarthBound Beginnings logo from the E3 2015 trailer


  • Mother was named after the John Lennon song of the same name.
  • It took 26 years for Mother to get an English release, making it only the second game in the series to be released outside of Japan.
  • Prior to its official English release, the game was commonly called Earthbound Zero.


External links

by Shigesato Itoi

Unreleased titles
(EarthBound 64)
(Nintendo GameCube)

  Characters of
EarthBound Beginnings
Main Party
Mimmie and MinniePippi
Queen MaryFlying MenEve
MickMrs. LindgrenA. GoodmanAbbottMysterious Goods-KeeperMysterious MimickerBenevolent Old ManForgotten ManGoldrich DuncanOld Sawbones BennyMysterious TeacherSuzyBuggerror RosemaryTom GarricksonGarrickson babyLloyd's fatherBla-Bla GangAbleBaker
List of all characters
Locations in EarthBound Beginnings
Ninten's housePodunkSouth CemeteryCanary VillageChoucream ZooMerrysvilleTwinkle Elementary SchoolSweet's Little FactoryDuncan's FactoryUnion StationReindeerMislay TriangleSnowmanSnowman ChateauSpookaneRosemary's houseYucca DesertRuins of DesertYoungtownSwampEllayLive HouseLook-Out TowerHarborMt. Itoi
MagicantQueen Mary's CastleMagicant Underground