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Mother (video game)

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Mother boxart.png
Mother boxart
System Famicom, Wii U Virtual Console
Genre RPG
Rating T for Teen (ESRB rating, EarthBound Beginnings rerelease)
MSRP ¥6500
Publisher Nintendo
Developer APE
Release dates
Japan July 27, 1989
June 14, 2015 (Wii U Virtual Console)
North America June 14, 2015 (Wii U Virtual Console)
Europe June 14, 2015 (Wii U Virtual Console)

Mother (Japanese: マザー, stylized as MOTHER), also known as EarthBound Beginnings 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 Mother trilogy. Originally created by Japanese copywriter Shigesato Itoi, Mother 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. 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, and would finally be released in North America on the Wii U Virtual Console as EarthBound Beginnings, following the original prototype version.



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In the early 1900s, a strange cloud appeared over Mt. Itoi. With the cloud's appearance, several people began disappearing and then reappearing, with no recollection of where they had been or what they'd been doing. George, editor-in-chief of the Mother's Day Times set out to investigate this phenomenon with his wife, Maria. However, the day their results were to be published, they mysteriously vanished as well. In reality, they were abducted by a race of aliens capable of psionic powers, abbreviated as PSI. These aliens tasked George and Maria with raising Giegue, an alien of great potential. While Maria raised Giegue like how a mother would raise her son, George illicitly studied the aliens' PSI and fled back to Earth. He then began to continue researching PSI in seclusion, while Maria was left with the aliens. Though George and Maria were not mistreated while in captivity of the aliens (because they took care of Giegue), the aliens sought revenge on George for stealing the secrets of PSI, and subsequently planned to launch an invasion of the planet Earth. When Giegue matured, he was tasked with invading Earth and stopping PSI from being used against the aliens, and Giegue obeyed reluctantly, conflicted with the fact that Earth was the home of his only family...

The story then fast-forwards to 198X, in the rural American town of Podunk. Here, the tale focuses on a 12-year-old American boy named Ninten. His story begins when his home is attacked by a poltergeist, who possesses two lamps and a doll. after exorcizing the ghost, Ninten's father calls him, explaining that George, now revealed to be Ninten's great-grandfather, studied PSI. Ninten's father then tasks him with investigating a series of strange phenomena occurring across America, leaving Ninten to go out on his own.

After rescuing and befriending a 7-year-old girl named Pippi from the local cemetery, Ninten is sent to investigate the escaping and sudden hostility of the animals in the local zoo. There, he discovers the phenomena are the work of an invading alien race. Ninten is then warped to the world of Magicant, where the land's ruler, Queen Mary, has recently started to experience horrible nightmares. When she meets Ninten, she asks him to find her song, the Eight Melodies, and play them to her, as she has forgotten the song and desperately needs to remember it. After returning to the real world, Ninten visits an elementary school in the prototype) and meets an 11-year-old boy named Lloyd, who is constantly bullied for being a weakling. Ninten befriends Lloyd and joins Ninten on his adventure to find the Eight Melodies. The two then travel to the town of Snowman to deliver a lost hat to a 12-year-old girl with PSI powers, referred to as Ana, who tells Ninten that she saw him in a dream, and joins the party in hopes of finding her missing mother. The group then continues their investigations in the town of Youngtown, where all but two of the adults were abducted by a U.F.O. Having learned this, they decide to continue onward and further investigate these coinciding phenomena.

After finding five to six of the melodies (three of which Ninten found in Mother's Day, prior to his first visit to Magicant), Ninten, Ana, and Lloyd wind up in the city of Ellay, where they learn that strange, black clouds have appeared over Mt. Itoi. However, during the trio's investigations, they are harassed by members of the Bla-Bla Gang, a powerful street gang who attacks anyone that provokes them. After overcoming these thugs, the trio performs karaoke at the Live House. However, their performance is interrupted by the Bla-Bla Gang's leader, who is angered by the fact that the trio was beating up his lackeys. The leader then challenges Ninten (the trio's leader) to a duel, only to quickly realize how powerful of an opponent Ninten is. Swearing defeat, the leader introduces himself as Teddy, and explains that his parents were killed by wild animals on Mt. Itoi. Seeking vengeance, he joins Ninten's party, replacing Lloyd, who rests up at the live house. Teddy then instructs the group to climb Mt. Itoi and avenge his parents.

The trio then treks up the mountain, facing numerous formidable foes along their way. Eventually, they rest at a cabin, the only place where they can currently find safety. There, Ana drags Ninten into a secluded room, where the two dance and confess their love for each other. However, Teddy interrupts them, pointing out strange noises coming from outside. When they look out the window to investigate, they are immediately attacked by R7038, an upgraded version of a similar robot encountered earlier on in the game. R7038 brutally devastates the trio and escapes by tearing a hole through space. Lloyd then arrives in a tank borrowed from a man in the Yucca Desert, having hoped to save the trio from the robot. Lloyd then transports the trio back to the cottage, where Teddy is critically damaged by the fight. Teddy realizes that one cannot win all battles simply using brute force, and stays in the cottage to heal. Lloyd then rejoins the party in Teddy's stead.

Continuing their trek up Mt. Itoi, the trio is sucked into a whirlpool while trying to cross a lake in the center of the mountain path. The whirlpool brings the trio to George's abandoned underground laboratory, where they find a large robot named EVE. EVE explains that she was built with the purpose of protecting Ninten in his time of need, and joins the trio on their adventure. The glass windows in the lab then give way, flooding the lab and whisking the trio (now a quartet, with EVE supporting them) back to dry land. The quartet then continues their trek, learning that EVE is so powerful that she can kill enemies in a single blow. However, she is soon challenged by R7038XX, an upgraded variation of R7038. R7038XX and EVE then duel on the mountain, R7038XX gaining the upper hand. However, as a last resort, EVE self-destructs, destroying R7038XX in the process. The remaining trio then finds a chip in EVE that plays the seventh of the Eight Melodies. They then continue up the mountain until they reach a cliff near the peak, where they find a cave barricaded by several immovable rocks. Along with the cave, they find George's gravesite, where his spirit contacts Ninten and relays to him the final melody. Ninten and co. then head back to Magicant, where they relay the full song back to Queen Mary. Not only does Mary remember the song, but she also remembers that her true identity is Maria, George's wife and Giegue's former caretaker from 80 years ago. She explains that she sang the Eight Melodies to Giegue as a lullaby and that she and Giegue loved each other very much, akin to a mother and her son. Realizing her true identity, Maria ascends to heaven to join George, as Magicant slowly disappears, as it was only a figment of Maria's imagination.

When Ninten, Ana, and Lloyd return to the real world, they find that the rocks blocking the cavern are gone, allowing them to enter. Inside, they find a room filled with alien pods containing numerous adults, many of whom were abducted from the town of Easter. One adult recognizes Ana from her hat and explains that her mother is being held in a room in the back. However, it is also explained that it is impossible to free anyone without defeating Giegue first. With this in mind, the trio then continues through the cavern and reaches the summit. There, Giegue appears in his mothership and attacks the trio, explaining his backstory all the while, and expresses his gratitude for Ninten's family, as Maria raised Giegue when he was but a child. While he initially reprimands Ninten for obstructing his plans, Giegue offers to spare Ninten's life, should he board the mothership with him. However, Ninten refuses, and an angered Giegue then attacks the trio further, stating that they can "fall into a long sleep with the rest of the ugly Earth people". When the trio tries to fight back with force, they are unable to defeat him, no matter how much they attack. However, upon checking the alien, Teddy's realization from before comes into place: Maria's spirit explains that Giegue cannot be defeated with brute force, and can only be defeated by the singing of the Eight Melodies. With this in mind, the trio repeatedly tries to sing the Eight Melodies, yet are attacked by Giegue, who hopes to silence him to escape his old conflictions. However, after ten failed attempts, one member of the trio (determined by the player's actions during the battle) manages to sing the entire lullaby. Unable to bear the pain of the memories induced by the melodies, Giegue is defeated, and flies back to the cosmos, swearing that he will have his revenge. In the Famicom version, the game ends at this uncertain point, as the characters turn to the player while the credits scroll behind them, leaving the player to assume that all is well again. However, the English prototype and Game Boy Advance re-release add an extended, clarified ending, as shown below:

After Giegue's defeat, the adults in the cavern are freed and brought back to their families in Easter, while Ana reunites with her mother and returns to Snowman. The group then parts ways, and each member continues with their own life. Lloyd is given a hero's welcome back in Merrysville, and is no longer bullied by his peers. Teddy, now fully recovered, changes his ways and becomes a live performer at the Live House in Ellay. In Snowman, Ana receives a letter from Ninten, and eagerly hopes to meet him again. Back in Podunk, Ninten is greeted by his family, who infer that Ninten must be famished after his long journey. Now that the earth's crisis is finally over, Ninten decides to lay down and go to sleep. This extended ending finishes off with a cast of all the characters who appeared in person in the game (minus Giegue, standard enemies, and bosses), a new credits sequence, and a post-credits scene: Ninten's father tries to call Ninten, apparently with urgent news, implying that a new problem has arisen for investigation...

Major Characters

  • Ninten is the protagonist of Mother. He is sent by Queen Mary of Magicant to locate the Eight Melodies. Ninten can use special PSI abilities only him can use like 4th-D Slip and Quick Up. He can also use various baseball bats to attack opponents.
  • Lloyd is a boy from Merrysville. He joins Ninten's quest to locate the Eight Melodies. Although lacking PSI, Lloyd can attack enemies using various types of guns and explosives.
  • Ana is a girl from Snowman. Ana joins Ninten to look for her missing mother. She has many powerful PSI powers. Additionally, Ana can use frying pans as weapons.
  • Teddy is the boss of the Bla-Bla Gang. Teddy joins Ninten to avenge his parents, which were killed at the mountains. He is unable to perform PSI attacks but can use deadly blades to attack.
  • Maria is married with George, but she never returned. She is Ninten's great-grandmother. Her conscience later appears as Queen Mary of Magicant
  • George is Maria's husband, who steals the knowledge of PSI from Giygas' race. He is also Ninten great-grandfather.
  • Eve is a robot created by george to defend Ninten. It also has the seventh melody.
  • Giygas is an alien sent by his people to reclaim the knowledge of PSI, that was stolen from George. 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.
  • Asthema - 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
  Mr. Bat 20 0 4 $7 South Cemetery
  Alligator 30 0 21 $18 Choucream Zoo
  BionicCenti 35 0 18 $14 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
  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)
$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
  Lil Saucer 32 20 20 $22 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
  LastStarman 120 100 330 $389 Mt. Itoi
  Star Miner 200 0 209 $138 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 ?? 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]


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


  • 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.