EarthBound Beginnings boxart (Nintendo Switch Online)
|Rereleases||Wii U Virtual Console (initial platform outside Japan)|
Nintendo Switch (Nintendo Switch Online)
|Rating||T for Teen (ESRB rating, EarthBound Beginnings rerelease)|
|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)
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.|
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!
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.
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 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.
|Starman Jr.||52||16||32||$5||Choucream Zoo|
|The Fish||65||0||140||$180||Magicant Underground|
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.
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.
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.
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
|Title screens and logos|
by Shigesato Itoi
|Locations in EarthBound Beginnings|
Ninten's house • Podunk • South Cemetery • Canary Village • Choucream Zoo • Merrysville • Twinkle Elementary School • Sweet's Little Factory • Duncan's Factory • Union Station • Reindeer • Mislay Triangle • Snowman • Snowman Chateau • Spookane • Rosemary's house • Yucca Desert • Ruins of Desert • Youngtown • Swamp • Ellay • Live House • Look-Out Tower • Harbor • Mt. Itoi
Magicant • Queen Mary's Castle • Magicant Underground