Ness (ネス, Ness) is the main character of the cult classic SNES RPG EarthBound, the most successful game in the Mother/EarthBound franchise. He appears as the sole representative of both the game and the series in Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee. He appears in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. 4 alongside fellow Mother representative, Lucas, who hails from Mother 3. His voice actress in all four games is Makiko Ōmoto, who voices him in English with a false American accent.
In EarthBound, Ness is a courageous, kind, and helpful boy from the fictional town of Onett located in north-western Eagleland. His favorite food is steak and his signature PSI move, named for his favorite thing is PSI Rockin. He possesses strong psychic powers, and in the year 199X, utilizes his abilities to defeat an alien invasion by the forces of Giygas, the villain of the original Mother. Ness is the successor to Ninten, the hero of Mother, sharing a very similar design and some abilities; however, the two are distinct characters.
On a dark night in the year 199X, Ness gets woken up by a meteorite crash. He investigates the crash site, where he meets his neighbor Pokey Minch and an alien named Buzz Buzz. Buzz Buzz tells him that he is the boy who will save the world, and sends him on a mission to collect the Eight Melodies that tie together the Earth's power. He is joined in this quest by Paula, Jeff, and Poo. By recording and collecting the Eight Melodies using his Sound Stone, Ness gains access to the realm of Magicant within his mind and unlocks the power necessary to defeat Giygas. Five years after the release of EarthBound, Ness would make a surprise appearance in Super Smash Bros. and continue to be playable in the series, carrying his legacy.
Although capable of wielding several types of weapons, such as slingshots and yo-yos, Ness's signature weapon is a baseball bat. Ness's PSI powers include PK Flash, PSI Rockin, Lifeup, and a variety of status moves. Several PSI techniques used by Paula and Poo (PK Fire, PK Thunder, PSI Magnet, and PK Starstorm) would be borrowed by Ness for combat in the Super Smash Bros. series.
In Super Smash Bros.
Main article: Ness (SSB)
Ness was a bit of surprise addition to the roster for the original Super Smash Bros.. Many players had never expected such an obscure character to turn up in the game, which seems to be reflected in-game as he is a secret character, unlocked by completing the 1P Game on a difficulty of Normal or higher, with three lives or less and using no continues. Strangely, none of Ness's special moves are his own; his special attacks, the PSI Magnet, PK Fire and PK Thunder, (B + Down, B and B + Up, respectively), were originally used by one of his party allies, Paula in EarthBound. A possible explanation for this discrepancy is offered in the sequel to this game, Super Smash Bros. Melee, which states that Paula may have taught him these techniques. Ness is ranked 10th out of 12 on the current tier list.
In Super Smash Bros. Melee
Main article: Ness (SSBM)
Ness returns in Super Smash Bros. Melee, though this time as a default character. He keeps all of his special moves and, as all other veterans, gains a fourth one: PK Flash, which is assigned as his neutral special move. PK Flash is Ness's first "true" special attack, as his other two offensive moves were not used by him in EarthBound. PK Fire was also changed to Ness's B + Forward.
During the development of Melee, Ness was intended to be removed and replaced by Lucas; the eventual delay and cancellation of EarthBound 64, however, caused Ness to stay in the game.
Ness was nerfed from Smash 64 to Melee, similar to Kirby and Pikachu. He is ranked 23rd out of 26 on the tier list in F tier, which contrary to popular belief, is a slight improvement from being 10th out of 12 in the first game.
Main article: List of SSBM trophies (EarthBound series)
In Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Main article: Ness (SSBB)
On January 20, 2008, Edible, a GameFAQs member, made a topic in the site's Brawl message board about an official trailer on the Japanese Wii website that leaked Ness (as well as Lucario and Jigglypuff) being playable characters in the game. In this screenshot taken of the video, a Ness icon can clearly be seen in the lower right hand corner when the Claus sticker is selected, confirming Ness's return in playable form. The video in question can be viewed here.
Ness was a default character in Melee, but back as an unlockable in Brawl. Ness was officially revealed to be a playable character in Brawl on February 1st, 2008, the day after Brawl came out in Japan.
Ness is currently ranked 26th on the tier list in D tier, being buffed from Melee, with a general increase in the power and speed of his attacks, and being equipped with a vastly superior grab. However, he gained a major flaw in the additional 10 frames of lag he gets when grab released, making him very vulnerable to grab release combos, most infamously the zero-to-death grab release from Marth as well as Donkey Kong.
Main article: List of SSBB trophies (EarthBound series)
Main article: Ness (SSB4)
Ness was leaked as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. 4 via the ESRB leak, and later through twitch.tv streams. He remains an unlockable character in the 3DS game, but is part of the starting roster on Wii U, making it the first game since Super Smash Bros. Melee where Ness appears as a starter character. He also sports an updated appearance and all new voice clips.
Ness currently ranks 16th out of 58 on the tier list, making this his highest tier placement to date. He has been heavily buffed from his Brawl incarnation, with not only his extra grab release frames removed, but also the general changes brought about by SSB4, such as the removal of hitstun cancelling and edge-hogging, proving beneficial to him as well, as now he possesses an efficient and strong aerial combo game, and he can more easily recover with PK Thunder, since he can grab hold of an edge regardless if an opponent is hanging from it or not. Slamming into a wall during PK Thunder 2 no longer leaves Ness immediately helpless, as now he is capable of initiating PK Thunder a second time, improving his overall recovery further. Yet, his reliance on using PK Thunder to recover is still susceptible to being intercepted and foiled, especially by Rosalina and Villager. Nonetheless, as a result of his vast improvement from the three previous games, Ness has gained strong results in tournaments.