Mother, officially known outside of Japan as EarthBound Beginnings, is a 1989 role-playing video game developed by Ape and Pax Softnica and published by Nintendo for the Famicom. 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. Mother 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.
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, but was 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. Mother was praised for its similarities to the Dragon Quest series and its simultaneous parody of the genre's tropes; however, many considered its sequel Mother 2: Gīgu no Gyakushū (Known outside as 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. Jeremy Parish of 1UP.com wrote that Mother importantly generated interest in video game emulation and the historical preservation of unreleased games. The game was re-released in Japan on the single-cartridge compilation Mother 1+2 for the Game Boy Advance in 2003.
Mother is a single-player, role-playing video game set in a 'slightly offbeat', late 20th-century United States as interpreted by Japanese author Shigesato Itoi. The game deliberately avoids traits of its Japanese role-playing game contemporaries: it is not set within the fantasy genre and only enters science fiction for its final sequence. The player fights in warehouses and laboratories instead of in standard dungeons. Instead of swords, assault weapons, and magic, the player uses baseball bats, toy guns, and psychic abilities. The game's protagonist, Ninten, is about 12 years old.
Like the Dragon Quest series, Mother uses a random encounter combat system. The player explores the overworld from a top-down perspective and occasionally enters a first-person perspective battle sequence where the player chooses attack options from a series of menus. On their turn, the player selects between options to fight, guard, check enemy attributes, run away, use items, or use offensive, defensive, or healing psychic powers. The player can also set the battle on autopilot with the 'auto' option. Critical hits register with the series' signature 'SMAAAASH' text and sound.
The player can press a button to have Ninten 'check' or 'talk' with nearby people, animals, and objects. The game shares similarities with its sequel, EarthBound: there is a game save option through using a phone to call Ninten's father, an option to store items with Ninten's sister at home, and an automated teller machine for banking money (ATM). The members of Ninten's party are all visible on the overworld screen at once, and are analogous to EarthBound's party members in style and function. Mother's world map does not keep locations separate, and instead connects all areas (akin to the Pokémon game series). The game's story begins as Ninten discovers a music box and receives the journal of his great-grandfather, who studied psychic powers nearly a century earlier. Ninten is attacked by household items, and ventures outside to find a crazy world with hostile everyday objects and other odd events.
Find digital download of this game on
This version of EarthBound Beginnings (Mother) was designed for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), which was an eight-bit video game console manufactured
by Nintendo in the years 1983 - 2003. In that time, it was the best-selling video game console for which more than 700 licensed games and a number of non-licensed
games were created. Worldwide, approximately 62 million units of this console were sold at approximately price $ 100 per unit. More information about the
NES console can be found here.
Recommended Game Controllers:
You can control this game easily by using the keyboard of your PC (see the table next to the game). However, for maximum gaming enjoyment, we strongly recommend using a USB gamepad that you simply plug into the USB port of your computer. If you do not have a gamepad, you can buy one of these NES controllers:
Available online emulators:
6 different online emulators are available for EarthBound Beginnings (Mother). These emulators differ not only in the technology they use to emulate old games, but also in support of various game controllers, multiplayer mode, mobile phone touchscreen, emulation speed, absence or presence of embedded ads and in many other parameters. For
maximum gaming enjoyment, it's important to choose the right emulator, because on each PC and in different Internet browsers, the individual emulators behave differently. The basic
features of each emulator available for this game EarthBound Beginnings (Mother) are summarized in the following table:
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