The EarthBound universe (also known as the Mother universe in Japan) refers to the Super Smash Bros. series' collection of characters, stages, and properties that hail from Nintendo's obscure cult-classic Super Nintendo game EarthBound/Mother 2, which itself was the second game in a four-game (of which one is a collection of the first 2 games) Japanese RPG series titled Mother and is the game starring Ness. The series was created by Shigesato Itoi for Nintendo. The franchise's symbol is the Earth, a recurring theme in the EarthBound series.
 Franchise description
An influential Japanese television personality and copywriter named Shigesato Itoi took a foray into the Nintendo-dominated video game market of the late 1980s, and designed and directed the Japan-exclusive RPG Mother, which was partially developed by the Nintendo subsidiary Ape (which would later be renamed Creatures). Released for the Famicom in July 1989, it was a very unusual take on the primarily sword-and-sorcery-themed RPG genre in that it was set in a humorous rendition of modern-day America, had the player assuming the role of a neighborhood boy with psychic powers, featured modern objects such as baseball bats and yo-yos as stand-ins for weapons that could be equipped, and featured a variety of bizarre and comical enemies such as possessed automobiles. It also featured a very odd blend of simplistic character designs and a dark and brooding theme and tone. The game sold very well in Japan, and an English localization immediately began, with an intended Fall 1991 release date and Earth Bound as the intended Western title. However, marketing executives anticipating the mid-1991 release of the Super NES decided that the prototype NES game would be too expensive to produce and market, and the localized product was never formally released in the West.
Itoi designed a sequel for the Super Famicom, Mother 2, though the title's development was troubled and stretched across five years because it was a joint effort by Ape and HAL Laboratory (HALKEN at the time), separate studios based at separate locations (employs would regularly have to travel between studios to work). It was released in August 1994 in Japan, and unlike its predecessor saw a Western release the following June, under the first public occurrence of the name EarthBound. However, while the game's Japanese sales figures were relatively close to the original's, it sold poorly in the West because American audiences were largely indifferent to JRPGs at the time (this would only end with the 1997 release of Final Fantasy VII, which brought the genre to the mainstream). Critical retrospectives, however, portray it as not only one of the best RPGs in the 1990s, but one of the most original, both in its approach to established JRPG mechanics and in its uniquely quirky humor, storyline (which is comparatively more light-hearted than its forerunner), character, and bizarre, psychedelic aesthetic, as well as its many parodies of American culture and JRPG - and science fiction - storytelling conventions. Some publications have named it the ultimate example of a cult classic, with substantial fanbases in both Japan and North America.
More development and release-date woes awaited the Mother / EarthBound franchise following Mother 2. Itoi immediately began development of Mother 3 for the Super Famicom in 1994, which was then moved to the Nintendo 64DD add-on for the Nintendo 64. When the ill-fated add-on was met with failure, the game was cancelled and restarted on the Nintendo 64 itself, where it was initially expected to be a launch title for the console's Western release. But Itoi's development team was inexperienced with developing three-dimensional titles and the Nintendo 64 hardware itself, and the project remained unreleased even as Mother 2 / EarthBound was included by Masahiro Sakurai as a surprise contending franchise in the Super Smash Bros. crossover fighting game. Itoi eventually announced the official cancellation of EarthBound 64 in August 2000, citing that he did not want to make anything other than "something truly special". Shigeru Miyamoto subsequently became interested in finding ways to salvage some of the work, though this had to be put on hold because the Mother 3 development team was put on Nintendo GameCube projects. Meanwhile, the translated prototype of the Western version of the NES game was discovered and purchased by a fan translation group, which was modified, retitled "EarthBound Zero", and distributed through the Internet as a ROM image.
Itoi eventually decided to rerelease both Mother games in Japan as ports compiled on one Game Boy Advance cartridge, Mother 1 + 2, which was released in June 2003 in Japan; to the dismay of fans, this was never released in the West either. However, Itoi realized he would once again be pressured into reviving Mother 3, an idea he was initially opposed to, but encouragement from fans led to his decision to re-develop the game for Game Boy Advance, which he approached as though he were developing his magnum opus. Mother 3, essentially now a Game Boy Advance edition of EarthBound 64, was finally released in Japan in April 2006, twelve years after development began and over a year after the launch of the Nintendo DS successor portable. It was released to critical acclaim that praised its new rhythm-based but otherwise simple approach to JRPG combat, and more significantly, tragic storytelling and characterization that achieved a rarely-seen degree of depth in titles in the genre.
Unfortunately, Nintendo of America would once more decline to localize the game for Western audiences, once again apparently because of fears that its inconvenient timing at the end of the commercial lifespan of the platform it was based on would negatively affect its sales. The fansite Starmen.net made headlines in October 2008 when it released its own English translation patch that could be applied to a copy of the ROM image of Mother 3, and the patch received over 100,000 downloads from the website in the first week of its release. Despite the project not being completely legal, it became one of few unofficial video game localization projects that officials in the video game industry did not formally object to and expressed admiration for. In the meantime, Mother has regularly appeared in every subsequent Smash Bros. game to date, including Mother 3 being focused on in 2008's Super Smash Bros. Brawl, though Itoi has announced that he has no plans to direct a fourth Mother game.
Each of the Mother / EarthBound games are relatively loosely-connected stories set on a fictional rendition of Earth, with the setting and scenario being different each game:
- Mother: In 1988, a 12-year-old American boy named Ninten, living in a town literally named Podunk, discovers that an alien race is invading the world, and is then warped to the surreal world of Magicant, where its amnesiac queen tasks him to go on a quest to collect pieces of her favorite lullaby, the Eight Melodies, and play them for her. Ninten's quest eventually leads him to a confrontation with the original incarnation of Giygas (whose appearance closely resembles the design of Mewtwo from Pokémon; this is not a coincidence, for one of the developers of Mother, Ape, became permanently involved in the Pokémon franchise as Creatures, Inc.).
- Mother 2 / EarthBound: In the 1990s, a 13-year-old resident of the fictional country Eagleland, Ness, is told by a tiny bee-like alien from the future, Buzz Buzz, that a hostile alien named Giygas is fated to dominate the universe in the future, and Ness must go on a quest to visit eight sanctuaries to unite his own powers with the Earth and gain the strength required to confront Giygas in the past. But along the way, Ness is repeatedly harried by his obnoxious next-door neighbor, Porky Minch (rendered as "Pokey Minch" in EarthBound), who is eventually revealed to have become Giygas' right-hand man and a willing believer that the universe should be destroyed. Ness and his friends' infamously disturbing final battle against Giygas - who has long since been driven incoherent and physically rendered into a visually frightening, gaseous form by his own boundless power - comes to demonstrate that Ness' quest to hone his power is insufficient to win (referencing a theme of the previous game that "brute force is not enough"), and so the heroes can only fall back on praying for spiritual help from everyone they know (and some they don't).
- Mother 3: In an unknown time period long after the events of EarthBound, a resident of a rural, egalitarian area named Nowhere Islands, Lucas, and his father Flint, tragically lose his mother, Hinawa, and his brother, Claus, as a result of the arrival of an army of pig-masked soldiers. In a story told from multiple perspectives, Lucas is eventually thrust into a quest to pull out seven special needles spread out across the island before the Pigmasks and their mysterious masked field commander can do the same, for the world would be destroyed if the needles are pulled by those of evil intentions. It is eventually revealed that the "King" of the Pigmasks and author of the plot to have the masked man destroy the world is Porky Minch, having traveled in time to the present and having been rendered immortal by the effects of time traveling. Lucas's quest ends at the capital of Porky's invasively hedonistic, industrious society on Nowhere Islands, New Pork City, where he fights both Porky in his last stand and the masked man himself, who turns out to be none other than a brainwashed Claus, in front of the final needle.
 In Super Smash Bros.
EarthBound is one of the "bonus franchises" in the original Super Smash Bros., for it contributes one unlockable character, and a song (his victory theme).There are no stages based on EarthBound in the game (Ness has to be fought in Kirby's stage in order to be unlocked, possibly because both games were made by HAL).
- Ness: A boy living in the town of Onett, Ness is gifted with psychic powers. He is chosen by a little alien named Buzz Buzz to save the world from Giygas, a malevolent entity which is causing the citizens and animals of his town and others to become hostile. To do this, he must first travel to eight sanctuaries and record the eight melodies there in his Sound Stone (given to him by Buzz Buzz), then he must combine those melodies and make the "Sound Stone melody", which will give him the power of the Earth necessary to defeat Giygas at the end of the game. (The second half of the melody comprise Ness' fanfare in the Smash series.) Ironically, all of Ness's special moves in SSB (PSI Magnet, PK Fire, and PK Thunder) were used by Paula, not Ness, in EarthBound. Ness is currently middle tier, ranked at 9th out of 12 by the Smash Back room community.
- 24: The victory fanfare of Ness is a shortened, orchestrated version of the second half of the eight melodies (The full song is called "Smiles and Tears", not to be confused with the Eight Melodies from the prequel, Mother) that Ness collects throughout his journey at the eight "Your sanctuary" spots in EarthBound.
 In Super Smash Bros. Melee
EarthBound is a franchise whose representation in the Smash series is quite expanded upon in Super Smash Bros. Melee, with one character, two new stages, a new item, and many new trophies.
Lucas was supposed to replace Ness in Melee, but Mother 3 had not come out, so they had Ness stay.
- Ness is still the only playable EarthBound character in the game, but with a new PK Flash chargeable explosion attack as his new B move.
Melee is the first game to introduce stages for the EarthBound series.
- Eagleland: Onett: The quaint suburban hometown of Ness, its citizens and animals become hostile under Giygas' otherwise invisible influence. The red spherical meteor on the hilltop in the background is the alien Buzz Buzz's spacecraft, and when Ness investigates it he is instructed by Buzz Buzz to go on a quest to save Onett and the world from Giygas' influence. This stage takes place on and around houses and a drug store whose balconies serve as battling platforms. The road in front of the characters on the ground has speeding cars on it, and cars zooming past characters on the ground will almost definitely KO them.
- Eagleland: Fourside: The New York City-inspired urban metropolis in EarthBound manifests as a battle-on-skyscrapers-in-the-nighttime stage for Melee, and it can be said that this is the spiritual successor to the Saffron City Pokémon stage from the first Super Smash Bros. The layout of the stage allows for bottomless pits in between buildings, so this is the most conceivable stage where the Wall jump technique can be used to save oneself from a fall. In addition, from time to time a UFO piloted by a henchman of Giygas called a Starman (not to be confused with the Mario powerup of the same name) will materialize above the city and serve as an extremely slippery platform. This stage is banned by many tournament legal standards.
Melee introduced another item for the series as well:
- Mr. Saturn: A race of odd little creatures with big noses, whiskers, and the ability to talk, Mr. Saturns are encountered as friendly NPCs by Ness in EarthBound. They make their home in an area of Eagleland called Saturn Valley, and when they speak the text in the game is presented as hard-to-read kindergarten scrawl, and they often mix the words "boing", "ding", and "zoom" into their speech for unknown reasons. As a Melee item, a Mr. Saturn is an intentional "dud" item. It walks around on its own, and it can be picked up and hurled at opponents for minor damage, but it can be reused this way because it does not disappear after one use. In addition, several bonuses are available based on the usage of these creatures.
- 19: Mother: Music not heard in EarthBound for SNES. It is actually a combination of three tracks from the original Mother for Famicom, the first track being the song Bein' Friends, the overworld and town song that plays when Ninten (the main protagonist of Mother) has another character in his party, the second being the Eight Melodies that Ninten collects throughout the game, and the third being a clip from the title theme (which would later be the shared victory theme for Ness and Lucas in the third Super Smash Bros.). The music also ends with an enemy encounter tune, which appears in both Mother and EarthBound. It is heard in Onett.
- 20: EarthBound: Synthesized music heard prominently in EarthBound, this is the official theme for the city of Fourside in both the game and in Melee's Fourside stage, with the first quarter of EarthBound's Sound Stone song inserted at a point (the second half, incidentally, comprises Ness' victory fanfare).
- 35: Mother 2: The song's real title is Pollyanna. This quaint soft rock is a heavily extended version of a track heard in "EarthBound" (known as "Mother 2" in Japan) whenever Ness returns to his house during his quest. The track first appeared, however, in the original Mother, as the typical overworld music that plays when Ninten is the only character in his own party. It also appeared in Mother 3. It is heard as a secondary track on Onett.
- 47: Ness's Victory: The victory fanfare of Ness is a shortened orchestrated version of the second half of the "Sound Stone song" that Ness collects throughout his journey.
 Full Trophy List
 In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
The content from the EarthBound franchise have been given a major representation since Melee with two playable characters and another item in Super Smash Bros. Brawl
- Ness: The protagonist of EarthBound and unofficial mascot of the EarthBound series consisting of Mother, EarthBound/Mother 2 and Mother 3 was confirmed to be returning in Super Smash Bros. Brawl by the opening sequence of the game and by the Dojo on February 1st, 2008. He retains his old moveset.
- Lucas: The protagonist of Mother 3 and the most recent hero of the series is a newcomer to Brawl and although his Final Smash is somewhat the same as Ness and he shares most of his special moves, Lucas' standard moveset is slightly different from Ness'. One of Lucas' color swaps makes him look like his twin brother from Mother 3, Claus.
On the final character select screen (after all characters are unlocked), the EarthBound characters occupy the eighth column alongside the Fire Emblem characters (both of these series were originally Japan-only RPG series that later saw at least one entry released in the West).
- Porky Minch: Porky appears as a boss in Brawl's Subspace Emissary mode. Porky's supposedly robotic statue form chases Lucas around The Ruined Zoo. Ness retaliates against the giant statue and uses a PK Flash to destroy it. When the statue crumbles, a mechanized spider-looking machine appears with the body of Porky in the center.
 Assist Trophy
- Jeff Andonuts: Jeff uses his bottle rocket launcher and launches homing missiles at all opposing characters.
- New Pork City: An enormous stage akin to Melee's Temple stage. Based on the locale from the Japan-only Mother 3, a beast known as the Ultimate Chimera makes an appearance here.
- Melee Stages: Onett: One of the few stages known to return from the previous game, it has only some minor differences such as a few areas that differ and the addition of My Music, as well as the knockback from the cars having been significantly lowered since Melee. Otherwise, it's unaltered.
Two items are in the game:
- Mr. Saturn: Confirmed in a screenshot shown at the 2007 Tokyo Game Show, Mr. Saturn appears to be unchanged from his Melee appearance: minimal damage when thrown, but breaks shields within an instant.
- Franklin Badge: This equip-able item from Mother and EarthBound is an item in Brawl. In Mother it could reflect the Gamma-level PK Beam attack, while in EarthBound it reflects electricity-based attacks back at the attacker; in Brawl, it is worn by a character for a short while, making him immune to all projectile-based attacks which get reflected back in the direction whence it came.
See List of SSBB Music (EarthBound series)
- Porky's Theme - The theme of Porky, main villain of Mother 3, and his Pig Mask Army. This remix is taken directly from the Mother 3i soundtrack (with the Log-O-Type part of the song taken from another remix in the Mother 3i soundtrack). It is used on the New Pork City stage.
- Unfounded Revenge/Smashing Song of Praise - A remix and combination of the two boss-battle songs of the same name from Mother 3. It is used on the New Pork City stage.
- Mother 3 Love Theme - Taken from Mother 3, this song is a remix of the "Theme of Love" song from the Mother 3 and is the main theme of the game. It is used on the New Pork City stage. This song also plays during Lucas's Classic Mode credits.
- You Call This a Utopia?! - The background music of New Pork City from Mother 3, which is another remix of Porky's Theme. It is the theme of the New Pork City stage.
- Humoresque of a Little Dog - A whimsical song taken from the very first Mother game, the Drug Store theme from EarthBound, and in Porky's jukebox in Mother 3. It is used on the New Pork City stage.
- Snowman - A redone version of a song that is used in every single Mother game. It is very similar to the Mother 3+ soundtrack's version (minus the chanting and added instrument after first loop). It is used on the New Pork City stage. This song also plays during Ness's Classic Mode credits.
- Mother (Melee) - Taken directly from Melee. It is used on the Onett stage.
- Mother 2 (Melee) - Taken directly from Melee. It is used on the Onett stage.
- Mother (EarthBound) Series Victory Theme - Lucas and Ness's victory theme. Taken from the title song of Mother.
Hackers have found unused music in the game. This series has more cut out music than any other series.
- Ninten (Mother)
- Ana (Mother)
- Lloyd (Mother)
- Teddy (Mother)
- Little Saucer (Mother)
- Mad Truck (Mother)
- Devil Car (Mother)
- New Age Retro Hippie (Mother)
- Ness (EarthBound)
- Paula (EarthBound)
- Jeff (EarthBound)
- Poo (EarthBound)
- Porky (EarthBound)
- Starman (EarthBound)
- Master Belch (EarthBound)
- Mr. Saturn (EarthBound)
- Lucas (Mother 3)
- Claus (Mother 3)
- Kumatora (Mother 3)
- Duster (Mother 3)
- Boney (Mother 3)
- Salsa (Mother 3)
- Hinawa (Mother 3)
- Flint (Mother 3)
- Pig Mask (Mother 3)
- Mr. Saturn (Mother 3)
 Games with elements in or from the Super Smash Bros. series
 Mother / EarthBound Zero
- Numerous tracks from Mother appear in Melee and Brawl:
- The two music pieces featured on the Onett stage, known as "Mother" and "Mother 2" in this capacity, originated in Mother as "Bein' Friends" and "Pollyanna" respectively.
- More songs from Mother were introduced in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, these being "Snowman" and "Humouresque of a Little Dog". Another song, Eight Melodies, was originally planned to appear but was cut from the final game.
- In Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Ness and Lucas's victory fanfare is a sped-up snippet of the opening theme of Mother.
- A Starmen, one of the main enemies in Mother appears in Super Smash Bros. Melee as a trophy.
- The Franklin Badge from Mother appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl as an item and a trophy. In addition, the player's party members of Mother, Ninten, Lloyd, Ana, and Teddy appear in Brawl as stickers.
- The special moves PK Fire, PK Freeze, PK Thunder and PSI Magnet, first appeared in Mother.
 EarthBound / Mother 2
- Main article: EarthBound
Ness, the main protagonist of EarthBound, is an unlockable character in Super Smash Bros. Paula, Jeff, Poo, the Runaway Five and a Mr. Saturn make a brief appearance in Ness's 1P Game "congratulations" graphic.
 Mother 3
Originally, Lucas, the main character of Mother 3, was supposed to replace Ness in Super Smash Bros. Melee. However, since the Nintendo 64 version of the game was cancelled, Ness remained. However, Lucas is in the next Super Smash Bros. game, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, as Mother 3 had been released for the Game Boy Advance in Japan only in 2006.
Porky Minch's design from this game is also used as a boss in The Subspace Emissary, although he doesn't look as frail as he does in Mother 3. Also, in The Subspace Emissary , the Porky Statue will chase Lucas before being defeated by Ness. It also appears as a background character in New Pork City.
All are only usable by Lucas and Ness.
- Boney [PK] Attack +16
- Claus [PK] Attack +13
- Duster [PK] Attack +4
- Flint [Specials: Indirect] Attack +4
- Hinawa [Battering] Resistance +4
- Kumatora [PK] Attack +11
- Lucas [PK] Attack +13
- Mr. Saturn [PK] Attack +7
- Pigmask [PK] Attack +7
- Salsa [PK] Attack +9
New Pork City from Chapter 8 appears as a level in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. It is a large sprawling stage (similar to in the actual game) that is actually just outside an accurate replica of New Pork City from Mother 3. The Ultimate Chimera and flying Limousine occasionally turn up at some points during brawls.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl contains various themes originating from Mother 3.
- Porky's Theme
- Unfounded Revenge/Smashing Song Of Praise
- Mother 3 Love Theme [Mom's Hometown]
- You Call This a Utopia?!
 External links