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This is the first game in the Mother series. For other games in the series see the Mother category.

Box artwork for Mother.
Box artwork for Mother.
Developer(s)APE, Pax Softnica
Year released1989
Followed byEarthBound
Designer(s)Shigesato Itoi
ModesSingle player
Rating(s)CERO All agesESRB Teen
EarthBound Beginnings
Developer(s)APE, HAL Laboratory
Year released2015
System(s)Wii U, Nintendo Switch
LinksEarthBound Beginnings ChannelSearchSearch

EarthBound Beginnings, known as Earth Bound in-game and in Japan as Mother, is an RPG developed by Ape and Pax Softnica and published by Nintendo for the Famicom in 1989. It is the first entry in the Mother series. It is modeled on the gameplay of the Dragon Quest series, but is set in the late 20th-century United States, unlike its fantasy genre contemporaries.

Writer and director Shigesato Itoi pitched Mother's concept to Shigeru Miyamoto while visiting Nintendo's headquarters for other business. Though Miyamoto rejected the proposal at first, he eventually gave Itoi a development team. A North American version of the game was localized into English under the moniker Earth Bound, but was eventually abandoned as commercially nonviable. A copy of this prototype was later found and circulated on the Internet under the informal title EarthBound Zero. The game was eventually released globally as EarthBound Beginnings for the Wii U Virtual Console in June 2015 and Nintendo Switch Online in February 2022.

Mother was the sixth best-selling game of 1989 in Japan, where it sold about 400,000 copies and received a "Silver Hall of Fame" score from Famitsu magazine. The game was praised for its similarities to the Dragon Quest series and its simultaneous parody of the genre's tropes; however, many considered its sequel EarthBound to be similar and a better overall implementation of Mother's gameplay ideas, with the game's high difficulty level polarizing critics, along with balance issues. The game was re-released in Japan on the single-cartridge compilation Mother 1+2 for the Game Boy Advance in 2003.


The game follows the young Ninten as he uses his great-grandfather's studies on psychic powers to fight hostile, formerly inanimate objects and other enemies. The game uses random encounters to enter a menu-based, first-person perspective battle system.

From the title screen:

In the early 1900s, a dark shadow fell over a rural town in America. Shortly after, a married couple mysteriously vanished.

The man's name was George. The woman's name was Maria.

Two years later, George returned home but never told anyone where he had been or what he had done. Instead, he deeply immersed himself in strange research.

As for his wife, Maria...she never returned.

80 years have passed since then.

From the manual:

It happened at the beginning of the 1900s. A black cloud-like shadow fell upon a town in rural America and a married couple went missing. The husband’s name was George; the wife’s name was Maria. People grieved for them, but there was nothing they could do aside from pray to God. Perhaps their prayers were heard, for about two years later, George unexpectedly returned to his home. However, he made no attempt to speak to anyone about where he had gone or what he had been doing. They saw George immerse himself in a mysterious research, and all sorts of rumors began to fly. But time stole past, and even the gossip train died away from people’s speech. Even so, what they did not forget was that in the end, his wife Maria never did return home…Then, 1988. It’s terrible! It’s terrible! What’s terrible, you ask? A lampstand is clattering around Minnie’s room, and a milk-drinking doll is spinning around through the air in Mimmie’s room! I mean, is there anything more terrible than this? I’m guessing it falls on me to protect my still-little sisters, doesn’t it? And I’m hardly one to talk, as I’m just a twelve-year-old kid myself, but I’m the only man in this house. I’ve got three ladies I have to protect. Which reminds me, where’d Mom run off to?

Phew! Things have managed to quiet down here in the house. My mom was flustered, but even she’s calmed down now. I know! Let’s call Dad. “It was a form of poltergeist, I guess. I believe your great-grandfather once researched psychic powers (PSI). Taking a look through the storage room might clear something up here.” Sure enough, Dad came through for me, although he did sort of drop the ball by forgetting where he left the key to the storage room. But I knew right away. In the storage room there was an item that seemed like it could be pretty useful, my great-grandfather’s diary or something like that. Huh?! Useful for what, you ask? I’ve made a resolution: I’m gonna use my own strength to pin down the source of these mysterious happenings, and protect my mom, Minnie and Mimmie.[1]

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