Ness (Japanese: ネスNess) is a boy from the town of Onett. He is the protagonist of EarthBound. He is a gifted child with various PSI powers, and has the power to use each of the eight Your Sanctuary locations throughout the game to add some notes to the Sound Stone. Upon ridding his mind of all of the evil within him, Ness unlocks his true potential and becomes the absolute strongest member of his party.
Ness wears a blue shirt with yellow stripes, a brown backpack, blue shorts, red shoes with white socks, and a red baseball cap with a blue bill turned to its side. According to the EarthBound Player's Guide, his cap has his favorite team's logo on it.
Ness shares many similarities to Ninten, the protagonist of EarthBound Beginnings, although with a few minor differences: Ness's cap is pointed left while Ninten's is pointed right, Ness's hair is rounded whereas Ninten's is more spiky, Ness wears white socks and red shoes while Ninten wears red socks and blue shoes, and Ness carries a backpack which Ninten lacks. Shigesato Itoi confirmed Ness was designed to be similar to Ninten in appearance to allow the player to choose whether they were the same person or different.
Spoiler warning:this article or section may contain major plot or ending details! Proceed with caution.
Ness's adventure first starts when a meteor crashes in Onett. He goes to investigate, but goes back. Later on Porky comes to the house and explains to Ness that he took his younger brother, Picky, to see the meteorite but Picky went missing. Ness comes back to the meteorite site with his neighbor Porky and his dog King to find Picky, who explains it was actually Porky who ran away. While there, they encounter Buzz Buzz, an insect-like being who has returned from the future to warn Ness of the threat that Giygas poses to the universe. Buzz-Buzz then explains to Ness of a prophecy that was passed down which surrounding Ness's future; he, along with the help of two other boys and one girl, will stand against Giygas and save the universe from eternal darkness.
With this knowledge, Ness accompanies Porky and Picky back to their home but is confronted by a Starman Jr, who was sent by Giygas to kill Buzz-Buzz. The Starman Jr. confirms the prophecy before attacking the group. However, it is defeated through Buzz-Buzz's massive PSI powers and Ness's physical attacks. Upon arriving at Porky's house, Buzz-buzz is unceremoniously killed who was mistaken for a dung beetle by Lardna Minch. As he is dying, Buzz-Buzz explains to Ness that he must reach the eight Your Sanctuary locations and passes on the Sound Stone, a special stone that records the special melodies from each Sanctuary, to Ness and starts him on his quest to save the world.
In the town of Onett Ness defeats the local gang, the Sharks, and their leader Frank Fly, who tells Ness about a strange occurrence at the Giant Step. Ness confronts the Titanic Ant, who reveals to Ness that the Giant Step is his first Your Sanctuary location. Ness defeats it and unlocks the power of Giant Step, and afterwards is telepathically contacted by a friend me never met before. However, Captain Strong and the Onett Police Force are not happy with Ness investigating private property and ambush him at the police station. After defeating them, they back off and Captain Strong opens the way to Twoson.
In Twoson, it is revealed that Ness was telepathically contacted by Paula, another member of his party, who this time asks him to come and rescue her. In Burglin Park Ness encounters friendly gangster named Everdred the leader of Burglin Park. When defeated, he tells Ness about that Paula was kidnapped and was considered being used as a sacrifice. Ness then meets an inventor named Apple Kid, who after Ness invests in him, tells Ness that he will give him an invention after it is finished. Ness then enters Peaceful Rest Valley, however he is unable to progress as the bridge is broken and the detour is blocked by an iron pencil-shaped statue. Upon returning to Twoson, Ness receives a call from Apple Kid saying his invention is finished, and Ness receives the Pencil Eraser from him. Ness removes the pencil statue with the machine and finds his way through Peaceful Rest Valley to Happy Happy Village, which is under the influence of the Happy Happyist Cult. He finds Paula locked in a cell in a hidden house. She gives Ness the Franklin Badge so that he can withstand the lightning attacks of Mr. Carpainter, the Happy Happyist leader. As Ness leaves the house, he is ambushed by Porky who reveals he is the high priest behind Happy Happyism and attacks Ness with Spiteful Crows. After defeating them, Ness confronts Carpainter and defeats him, thereby breaking the influence of Happy Happyism over the valley. He explains that a certain statue has caused him to do strange things, and Carpainter thanks Ness for freeing him and gives him the key to Paula's cell. Ness encounters Porky outside who says he has also been freed and then apologizes, but then reveals he was lying and escapes. Ness frees Paula and enters a nearby cave where they encounter the Mondo Mole, who is guarding the second sanctuary location, Lilliput Steps. They defeat it and Ness gains the power of Lilliput Steps.
They return to Twoson and meet a famous jazz band named the Runaway Five who explains they were under a dept at the Chaos Theater. After watching a performance, they find Everdred who gives them a "wad of bills". They use it to pay off the Runaway Fave's dept who as thanks take them in their van and give them a ride to Threed. After being dropped off, Ness and Paula quickly discover the town is under an awful curse and zombies run rampant. They follow a suspicious woman into the hotel but are ambushed by zombies and locked in an underground cell. Paula then contacts a friend they never met before named Jeff telepathically, who resides in Winters, Foggyland. He arrives in the Sky Runner and unlocks the cell door with a special invention called the Bad key machine. Upon leaving they find a suspicious tent called the Boogey Tent who attacks them, and upon defeating it, receive a "jar of fly honey". Ness then receives a call from Apple Kid that he invented a solution to the town's zombie infestation called "Zombie Paper". The three of them conspire with the townsfolk to trap the zombies in the circus tent with zombie paper. They then find a secret exit in the back of the graveyard and venture forth to find the source of the zombie scourge.
Following the cave and progressing through a small valley, they come upon Saturn Valley, a town inhabited by strange but friendly beings called Mr. Saturn. The town is under the threat of Master Belch, who not only was responsible for the zombie infestation in Threed, but has kidnapped many innocent residents of the valley. They infiltrate a secret base behind Grapefruit Falls near the valley and encounter Master Belch who is a major henchmen of Giygas. The three take advantage of his obsession with fly honey and easily defeat him and free the Saturn Valley inhabitants, and in the process learn their next destination is the city of Fourside. They then travel through a cave and find the Trillionage Sprout, guardian of the Milky Well, the third sanctuary. They defeat it and Ness gains the power of the Milky well.
Afterwards they return to Threed and find that the town has been rescued The three attempt to take the bus to Fourside, however, they run into a traffic jam in Dusty Dunes Desert and are forced to abandon the bus and continue the journey on foot. They arrive in Fourside, where they find that suspicious activity has been occurring with the mayor Geldegarde Monotoli. They find the Runaway Five has fallen into debt with the city theater yet again. Ness and the gang return to the desert and find a new dig site which the miner is unable to continue in finding treasure because the cave is filled with five giant moles called the Guardian Diggers. Upon clearing the mine of the Guardian Diggers, the miner repays Ness and his friends with a diamond, and they use it to repay the theater proprietor on behalf of the band.
Later on, while shopping in the Fourside Department Store, there is a sudden power failure and Paula is snatched away in the dark. Hearing a call on the intercom, Ness and Jeff go to an office on the top floor where they encounter the Department Store Spook, an alien henchman of Giygas. They fight and defeat the Department Store Spook and continue looking for clues to Paula's disappearance. They then enter Jackie's Cafe where they hear a strange noise outside, and after leaving, find Everdred lying injured on the ground. He explains that he stole the Mani-Mani Statue from the Carpainter and Monotoli stole it from him as well. He says Monotoli gets his evil power from the Mani Mani statue and tells Ness and Jeff to check behind the cafe counter. Upon checking? Ness and Jeff unexpectedly stumble upon a bizarre alternate dimension called Moonside. Navigating the oppositely-oriented domain, they find Monotoli looking at the statue, and upon talking to him he denies he is Monotoli and disappears. They fight and destroy the Mani Mani statue, and find that it was a device that created illusions. They realize Moonside was an illusion the whole time, and that they have been in the storeroom to Jackie's Cafe all along.
Immediately, Ness receives a call from Apple Kid about a "Gourmet Yoghurt Machine" that can only make "Trout flavored yoghurt" and sends it via Escargo Express's "neglected class", however the inexperienced delivery person dropped it in the desert, forcing Ness to return once more. Upon leaving the cafe, they meet Porky's maid Electra, who is desperate for trout flavored yoghurt to give to her master, and following this a monkey with the power of Teleportation who takes him to a cave filled with monkeys in the desert. After trekking through the cave, they visit a mysterious man who lives among monkeys in the desert named Talah Rama. He gives them a vital trout yogurt machine. Ness and Jeff use the yogurt dispenser to bribe Electra to let them into the Monotoli Building in Fourside, where Paula is apparently being held. After dealing with the security robots, with some unexpected help from the Runaway Five, Ness and Jeff make it to Mayor Monotoli's room where they rescue Paula. Monotoli apologizes to them for kidnapping Paula and explains that he fell under the influence of the Mani Mani statue, and how it creates illusions to draw out the evil within people's hearts, causing them to do Giygas's will. He mentions that in the trance a voice spoke to him telling him to stop Ness from entering Summers, and from seeing a certain pyramid, and saying Ness must go to Summers because Giygas was trying to stop him from going. He offers them use of his helicopter to travel to Summers. However, Porky, who has been working as a consultant for Monotoli and orchestrated Paula's kidnapping, steals the helicopter and flies away, while taunting Ness.
Afterwards, Paula receives a telepathic message saying they need to return to Threed. The Runaway Five take them back to Threed where they repair the Sky Runner and fly to Winters. While Dr. Andonuts remodels the Sky Runner, they find their way to the Rainy Circle guarded by Shrooom!. They defeat it and Ness receives the Rainy Circle's power.
They then return to the lab and find the Sky Runner's remodel has been completed, and fly off to Summers. While in Summers, they visit Stoic Club and Ness chats where a woman offers him and his friends some magic cake. After they take a bite, they falls into a slumber and see a vision of a foreigner from Dalaam in the Chommo region named Prince Poo, the fourth and final member of his party. After passing the final test in his training, Ness regains consciousness and Poo teleports to the group.
Poo suggests they visit the Summers Cultural Museum, where they find a hidden exhibit that gives an odd clue about the Sphinx in Scaraba. As they are leaving they get a call from Mr. Spoon at the Fourside Dinosaur Museum meant for the museum proprietor. At the Dinosaur Museum, Mr. Spoon says he noticed an odd activity in the sewers, and will let them in if he brings an autograph by the famous singer Venus. After watching a performance, Ness receives Venus's autograph on a banana peel, bringing it to Mr. Spoon, who lets them enter a pothole in the back leading through the sewers of Fourside, where they defeat the Plague Rat of Doom, and Ness gains the power of Magnet Hill, in the middle of the city. Here Ness picks up a Carrot Key, which he uses to open the entrance to a cave leading to the Pink Cloud in Dalaam, guarded by Thunder and Storm. The four defeat it and Ness unlocks the Pink Cloud's power.
The team return to Summers to travel to their next destination, Scaraba, by boat across the ocean. But on the way they are attacked by a monster called the Kraken. They defeat him and arrive in Scaraba. By activating a set of buttons in front of the Sphinx, Ness and company journey into a pyramid to find the Hawk Eye, and upon leaving, Poo temporarily leaves to learn the "Way of the Starstorm" from the Star Master. With some help from Dungeon Man, they travel through a river by submarine into a dark swamp known ad the Deep Darkness. In the gloomy swamp, the group confronts Master Belch, now known as Master Barf, who is defeated by Poo who returns while using PK Starstorm α. They then find Tenda Village, a cave filled with overly shy creatures known as Tenda. The leader knows of a book about Overcoming Shyness and Ness then leaves to find the book. When leaving the cave, Ness receives a harried phone call from the Apple Kid in Dr. Andonuts's lab, but the line is cut off unexpectedly.
They return to Winters to investigate the deserted lab, and finds clues that point to Giygas's Stonehenge Base nearby. Navigating the base, Ness discovers Dr. Andonuts, Apple Kid, and several residents of Winters held captive in the deepest realms. Ness and the gang find the culprit Starman DX a henchman of Giygas. They defeat it and free the kidnapped people. Apple Kid points Ness in the direction of the Onett Library, where he returned a book called "Overcoming Shyness". Ness retrieves the book and lends it to the Tendas, who soon become social and help direct Ness to a cave leading to the seventh sanctuary Lumine Hall, where they defeat the Electro Specter and Ness gains access to Lumine Hall's power.
They jump into a hole that deposits them all in the Lost Underworld, a realm where the dinosaurs became wild due to Giygas's influence. They trek through the world and enter a volcanic cavern which leads them to the final Sanctuary location, Fire Spring, where they challenge the Carbon Dog, who later transforms into the Diamond Dog. They defeat it and Ness receives the Fire Spring's power. Suddenly, Ness falls asleep after hearing the melody and has a vision of his past. He then wakes up in Magicant, the colorful, dreamy paradise of his mind. Ness encounters everyone he has met in his journey here. He is directed to the Sea of Eden, his central conscience, where he confronts Ness's Nightmare, the last force of evil in his heart. By eliminating any means that Giygas has of controlling him, Ness gains incredible power with the help of the Sound Stone. The last thing he hears is his own voice telling him to head to Saturn Valley.
When Ness wakes up, he and his friends teleport to Saturn Valley to meet up with Dr. Andonuts. With the help of the Apple Kid, he has developed the Phase Distorter II after Porky stole the original. However in order for it to work it needs one sample of a Zexonyte, a rare element only found in meteorites. Ness remembers the meteorite that landed in Onett at the start of his adventure and then travels back to Onett, for a piece of the meteorite. Giygas's invasion had already begun in Onett and so the town is swarming with dangerous enemies. Ness and company successfully extract a Zexonyte from the meteorite and make it back to Saturn Valley to travel in the Phase Distorter II to the determined location of Giygas's Lair.
Ness and the others wind up in the Cave of the Past, where the Star Master returns to pass the power of PK Starstorm Ω to Poo. Apart from the ruined Phase Distorter, however, they find nothing. Dr. Andonuts and the Apple Kid arrive in the Phase Distorter III with news that Giygas is attacking from many years in the past and that the four themselves must also travel to the past via the Phase Distorter III. However, the Phase Distorter III destroys life in the process of tine travel, then explaining that the four of them must have their bodies and souls transferred to robotic bodies since organic matter cannot survive time travel. Even though there may be a possibility he and his friends may never return back to their body, Ness and his friends unhesitatingly agree to the procedure and Dr. Andonuts sets to work.
Now as robots, the four of them travel back in time to the Cave of the Past, where the travel through the cave finding Giygas's Lair with Porky at his side. They learn that Giygas's power became too great for even his own mind to handle, literally becoming the "Embodiment of Evil" itself. Giygas now exists as a nearly omnipotent entity without thought or reason; an "all-mighty idiot." After dealing with Porky, he turns off the Devil's Machine unleashing Giygas, who attacks the heroes with incomprehensible attacks. They attempt to battle Giygas, but their attacks are ineffective. As Porky insults them and Giygas continues attacking them in ways they cannot comprehend, Paula prays with all her heart that someone lends them strength. As she does so, their acquaintances and friends from their journey return with prayers of their own and successfully help to vanquish Giygas. With one more useless insult, Porky retreats to another time period and Giygas vanishes for eternity. With the war against Giygas over, Ness' spirit, along with the others, leave their battered robot bodies and return to the present. Poo returns home, Jeff joins his father. Ness receives a letter from his mother, who tells him how she heard he defeated Giygas, and about the family not eating as much of his favorite food anymore. Ness then escorts Paula back to Twoson, and returns back home. He receives a call from his father saying he will be home to celebrate his upcoming birthday, while Ness, Tracy, and their mother look at the photos of Ness's journey.
Ness appears in the Super Smash Bros. series. He is playable in every game of the series. He is an unlockable character in the Smash 64, Brawl, the 3DS version of Smash 4, and Ultimate, but is a default character in Melee and the Wii U version of Smash 4.
Super Smash Bros.
Ness is one of the four unlockable characters in Super Smash Bros. To unlock him, the player must complete the 1P Game on a difficulty of Normal or higher, with three lives or less and using no continues. Ness then must be defeated on Dream Land. Ness's Special Attacks are PK Fire (Standard B), PK Thunder (Up + B), and PSI Magnet (Down + B). His up and down Smash Attacks uses his Yo-Yo, and his side Smash Attack uses his Baseball bat. His Baseball bat can also reflect projectiles, though it is difficult.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Ness returns in Super Smash Bros. Melee. This time, he is a default character, meaning that he is playable from the start. He now has a new Special Attack, PK Flash, which is now Standard B. PK Fire is now moved to Side + B.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Ness returns in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. He is an unlockable character. To unlock his, the player must either play 5 VS. Matches, reflect 10 projectiles, or have him join your party in the Subspace Emissary. With the exception of the third method, Ness must then be defeated on Onett. Along with the other characters, he now has a Final Smash, which summons PK Starstorm. He also appears in the game's story mode, The Subspace Emissary.
The Subspace Emissary
In The Subspace Emissary, Ness appears after saving Lucas from the giant King Statue, which is soon revealed to be Porky Minch. Lucas and Ness team up to defeat Porky. After the two defeat Porky, Wario appears and attacks Ness with a strange cannon, and Ness successfully dodges each shot. Wario, however, then aims at Lucas, forcing Ness to push Lucas out of harm's way and take the arrow from the Dark Cannon, which turns him into a trophy. As Lucas is too scared to face Wario, he leaves Ness behind as Wario cackles in the rain. Most of Lucas's story in SSE involves getting revenge on Wario and trying to find Ness.
As Wario is driving his Cargo with Ness' and Peach/Zelda's trophies on board, he finds Luigi's trophy and prepares to take it until he is ambushed by an army of Waddle Dees, who throw Luigi's trophy into the cargo, which is stolen by King Dedede. At his hideout, Dedede puts a badge on Luigi's, Ness', and Peach/Zelda's trophies before the roof collapses on them, turning Dedede into a trophy in the process, and Bowser takes Peach/Zelda's trophy. Soon afterwards the Ancient Minister detonates a Subspace Bomb that consumes Dedede's castle along with Ness', Luigi's and Dedede's trophies by Subspace.
Ness is not seen again until much later in the story, where he and Luigi are revived thanks to the Dedede Badges. Upon inspecting Luigi's badge, he notices that it looks like Dedede, and, assuming that Dedede made them, proceeds to revive him. Upon being revived, King Dedede gives both of them a hug before they team up and rescue Lucas, along with most of the other characters. Kirby, who was revived by the Dedede brooch he swallowed earlier, revives whatever characters that Ness' group did not come across, including Wario. Wario then bashes Dedede in the head as revenge for Dedede stealing his cargo and trophies. He is then surprised to see Ness and Luigi on Dedede's side. They offer to let Wario to join them, and he agrees and rides his bike up to the entrance of The Great Maze. After clearing The Great Maze, the characters reaches Tabuu again. He attempts to use his Off Waves attack, but they are destroyed by Sonic. Lucas, along with the other revived characters team up to defeat Tabuu, the ruler of Subspace.
Ness returns again for Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U. To unlock him in the 3DS version, the player must either play 10 VS Matches, or clear Classic Mode on any difficulty. After completing one of the two methods, Ness must then be defeated on Magicant. In the Wii U, Ness a default character, meaning he is playable from the start. His moveset is largely unchanged, but with considerable buffs, making him a much stronger character. His overall appearance has changed as well, wearing brighter colors and his overall head being more proportional to his body, as well as losing the rosy cheek accents that were there previously. He retains PK Starstorm as his Final Smash.
Ness, along with the other characters (excluding DLC characters), have Custom Moves, which are Special Attacks with different effects. The Custom Moves PK Freeze, PK Fire Burst, Lasting PK Thunder, and Forward PK Thunder have similar effects to how Lucas preforms them in Brawl.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Ness, along with Lucas, returned in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which was released on December 7, 2018.
Ness was a seemingly-average kid from Onett, but in truth, he was destined for much more. When a strange meteorite landed near his hometown, the little boy with psychic powers set out to save the world. Little has been said of Ness's character, and much remains hidden.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Ness is a young boy who's mastered the psychic power known as PSI. Ness was living a normal life in the suburbs of Onett until a meteor crashed into a nearby mountain and sent him on a wild adventure. Believing in the ultimate powers of wisdom, courage, and friendship, Ness proves that some heroes come in small packages.
The key to mastering Ness is controlling his unique midair jump, which makes up for what he lacks in speed. His PK Flash attack may seem weak at first glance, but it grows more powerful the longer you hold down the B Button. To do a lot of damage with PK Fire, try to burn your opponent as many times as possible.
Ness's mind is his best weapon. PK Thunder is a PSI missile weapon that can be guided using the Control Stick, and if Ness hits himself with it, he turns into a living missile capable of doing massive damage. This move can also be used for recovery. PSI Magnet turns energy missile attacks into health; try out certain Pokémon for stamina replenishment.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
An average boy whose life changed when he found a meteor and an alien on a nearby mountain. The alien warned him of a future threat, and adventure ensued. He can use psychic energy known as PSI, and also wields a bat and yo-yo. This brave youth gives his all to defeat the evil Giygas.
Ness as he calls down a host of damage dealing stars in his Final Smash. Everyone on the screen must dodge like crazy to avoid getting hurt, but that's no easy task. This attack first appeared in the Mother series, but it was Poo, not Ness, who wielded it. Perhaps Poo taught Ness the secret of the attack for use in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U
Hailing from Onett, a small town in Eagleland, this young boy's ordinary looks hide his psychic powers. Ness fought against the evil Giygas in EarthBound, and in Smash Bros. he unleashes some of the same PSI moves. Watch out for PK Thunder, a guided attack that can also launch Ness like a rocket!
Ness may have psychic powers, but that doesn't mean he shies away from getting physical. His side smash packs a real punch if you hit enemies with the end of his bat, and it can even deflect projectiles! His up and down smashes also have a lot of range—Ness can land his strikes with ease!
In EarthBound, this PSI ability belonged to Poo, the Crown Prince of Dalaam and one of Ness's friends. Ness must have learned it especially for Smash Bros.! The attack makes a shower of meteors fall onto the stage, damaging any foe it hits. While the attack's in progress, Ness is invincible and can adjust the meteors' trajectory.
Note: This trophy only appears in the Wii U version.
Although Ness's age was never confirmed by Shigesato Itoi, there are a few minor instances where Ness was given an age: The Japanese guide for Mother 2 states Ness's age as 12, however the EarthBound Player's Guide as well as the official UK website states he is 13. When asked by Clyde (Tomato) Mandelin about Ness's age, this was Shigesato Itoi's response (Quoted from Clyde Mandelin's Legends of Localization book):
"I don't think he had an 'official age', actually. Plus the game's development took so long, he might have aged overtime anyway. However my own daughter was in fourth or fifth grade at the time, which held a very strong spot in my mind. She would put on a backpack (just like Ness's) and head out to all sorts of places, you know?"