Game Groups > Mother / EarthBound series

Mother is a series of role-playing games created by Shigesato Itoi. Only its second installment was released in the West, as EarthBound (1994). The series distinguishes itself by its often unorthodox sense of humor, and by its somewhat unusual (for the genre) modern-day setting.

Setting and Story

Though the games in the series are set in differently named worlds, they bear resemblance to modern-day countries, in particular North America. Despite the realistic setting, the games contain many supernatural and sci-fi elements such as alien races, time travel, etc. The main characters are different in each game, but the player-controlled party of protagonists always consists of children. Recurrent characters include Giygas, the mastermind of an alien race bent on world domination, who is the main antagonist of the first two games, and a few others. Despite their serious premises, the stories contain elements of parody and satire, many humorous situations and conversations, and popular culture references.


Mother games are Japanese-style RPGs with simple turn-based combat mechanics, predominantly linear story advancement, and automatic leveling up. Instead of featuring a more typical "world map", the games have continuous worlds, with hostile and safe areas seamlessly connected to each other. The second and the third game feature an unusual odometer-like hit points (HP) counter; when a character is hit in battle, his/her hit points are depleted gradually, and it is possible to cure a character even if the blow was fatal.

The games feature many strange and unusual items and enemies. Weapons include, next to regular ones (bats, guns, etc.), household items such as frying pans, yo-yos, and others. Enemies range from the more or less traditional animals, zombies, robots, and aliens, to unconventional characters such as new-age hippies, cranky ladies, French kisses of death, and even abstract art.

Canceled installment

The third installment of the series, Mother 3 (2006) is based on an unreleased game EarthBound 64, which was in development for the Nintendo 64 platform and canceled in 2000. Mother 3 retains much of the story-related and gameplay content of EarthBound 64, but, due to the limitations of its handheld platform, features old-style 2D graphics, as opposed to the 3D of the unreleased installment.

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