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Video game fandom
Mother 2
HAL Laboratory
Release dateAugust 27, 1994 (JP); July 1995 (US)
Platform(s)Super NES
External link(s)Official site
Related articles on Fanlore.

EarthBound, known as Mother 2 in Japan, is a role-playing video game co-developed by Ape Inc. and HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo.


As Ness and his party of four, the player travels the world to collect melodies en route to defeat the evil alien force Giygas. It is the second game of the Mother series, and the only one to be released in the English language until its predecessor was released under the name EarthBound Beginnings in 2015.


EarthBound is known for having a cult following, that had slowly sprung well after its release. While the game was well received in Japan, it had problems with its marketing in the United States; even with a lot of money put into it, it didn't attract buyers since it had the tagline "This game stinks", and focused a lot on toilet humor that wasn't as prominent in the game itself.[1] It also came in a large box containing a instruction manual, making it pretty expensive. It was considered a flop at the time, even with good reviews in gaming magazines.[2]

Despite that, the game became a lot more popular over the years for several reasons: the internet helped to introduce the game for many people, notably with videos showing its darker sides that weren't present in the marketing campaign; the series' presence in Super Smash Bros. also presented it to people that had never heard of it; the rerelease on the Wii U Virtual Console, and many other modern Nintendo consoles also helped, since original copies of EarthBound for the SNES became very expensive over the years.

Connections with Other Fandoms

Ness' appearance in Super Smash Bros. was for many fans the introduction to his character and the EarthBound series.

Popular indie game Undertale was heavily influenced by EarthBound. Its creator, Toby Fox, also created an EarthBound ROM hack himself when he was younger, which has now gained some notoriety due to Undertale's success. The relationship between the two fandoms is somewhat volatile at times due to Undertale having been brought up in many EarthBound-related discussions since its release. Some EarthBound forums and comments sections have been known to ban people for merely bringing the game up. Tension continued to grow after Game Theory's infamous "Sans is Ness" video came into the picture, as several types of fanworks featuring Ness since then have started getting comments referencing Sans, which only leads to more annoyance for EarthBound fans. Additionally, with the release of another indie RPG game called Omori, although their respective fanbases modestly clashed with each other, owing to the fact that one of the latter's inspirations is EarthBound itself, whilst still being quite much darker and personal than the former in terms of themes, amicable discussions and fanworks crop up from time to time, alongside smaller circles' derision towards Omori's development team beyond the gaming context[citation needed].


  • Ness is almost always drawn with Purple Eyes in fanart, due to his appearance in Super Smash Bros. giving his black eyes purple irises at the bottom.
  • In-game, when the party is turned into robots in order to survive time travel Ness is the only one with a distinguishable characteristic (his red cap); fanartists almost always give the robot versions of Paula, Jeff, and Poo a ribbon, glasses, and wire emulating his hair, respectively.


  • Ness/Paula
  • Jeff/Tony
  • Jeff/Paula
  • Jeff/Ness
  • Chosen 4 OT4

EarthBound-Inspired Games

EarthBound was the inspiration for many other RPG games, many of them being indie games, or games made on RPG Maker. One of the most famous is Undertale, with others being Yume Nikki, OFF, LISA: The Painful, and OMORI. Some aspects these types of games can have that come from Earthbound are a child protagonist, a modern-day (or alternately, in certain cases, present-day) setting, abstract imagery, some kind of social commentary and quirky/whimsical humor.




  • Harmony - A comic explaining what happened after EarthBound, taking place between the former and Mother 3

Fangame / ROM Hacks



Archives & Fannish Links

Resources and Links


  1. ^ Earthbound's Marketing Campaign [archived ver.] Earthbound Central. (Published January 21, 2009; Archived (latest known) August 19, 2023).
  2. ^ EarthBound - Reviews from the 90s