Mother 1, also known as Earthbound 0 or Earthbound Beginnings (as it was titled in the WiiU release back in 2015) is an NES game, directed by Shigesato Itoi.

When researching the games back in the day (Early 2010s), I wanted to know all there is about "Earthbound" (Hereby referred to as: Mother/The Mother series) due to the influx of hype for some reason- maybe due to other console releases or small tumblr circles.

I finally decided to sit down and play it one day, and with most game stuffs, I wanted to start from be very beginning!


Mother 1 was and is probably still my favorite in the series, especially due to the limited visuals yet deep story- You're a little boy in the 80s, blessed with some sort of ESPer type powers thanks to the "research" your great-grandfather learned, after he was abducted by aliens a long while back.

It sounds pretty funny being laid out like that, but I think that was one of the (many) quirky things about the game that drew me to it. It was definitely a new type of JRPG that wasn't really considered at the time- being one set in a more "modern-esque" setting instead of a fantasy or midieval time period with horse-drawn carriages and such.


I think I was especially drawn to the sound of the musical score for the game, which granted, was limited for the system of it's time, but the game eventually gained a fully voiced soundtrack! (And in English, which was doubly surprising for a game about suburban America(??), made by a Japanese company.)

You can listen to it here! (Outgoing link): SOUNDTRACK

The score for Magicant in this game still brings tears to my eyes whenever I think about it;;

There's so much I could gush about with this game, as my first experience to the Mother-verse: I love the quirky characters, the funny monsters and quips and then the overarching/climax... it's just so beautiful!!

In Mother 1, you play as Ninten, a young boy with a passion for baseball, and end up on an adventure with a handful of unlikely pals to figure out why animals are going crazy, the threat of alien invasion and the abduction of friends' family members and so on!


I've read a bit of the translated (or what there was translated) Mother Encyclopedia* a long while back, which contained TONS of lore, charcter details, world building and more! Truly a testimate to just how dedicated and passionate maker of games that Mr. Itoi would go on to be throughout his "Mother" series!

*(Can be viewed in Japanese, here: (Outgoing link) Mother Encyclopedia )

The really captivating part of this game for me, was the inclusion of learning "Melodies" in order to combat the greater evil, near the end of the game. I think there's just something really beautiful of knowing that there's a song that just means so, so much to others, that it'll change the way they feel about...things.

I'd say that it's definitely a fantasy element for sure, using "the power of magical song and healing" etc. to make things happen, but I think that's really nice!


As Ninten explores his world, he's able to eventually enter another, fantasy-esque "dimention", known as Magicant. Here, he learns the Queen, Mary, has lost her memories, and needs to be reminded to be able to help Ninten.

Certain entities all around can be encountered (some with specific conditions that need to be met first), that will give the player(s) the song or part of the melodies to help jog Queen Mary's memory, moving us closer to the end-goal.

I think the happy and sometimes somber chiptune like music made for the game makes me really feel immersed in the world of "Mother"- Happy music for happy times, known as "Bein' Friends", for one. (Notably, Ninten's overworld music plays a different tune depending if he's alone or with pals in his party.)

Ninten and his friends traverse the land, from an unruly Zoo with wild and dangerous animals running amok, to an "alien" infested swamp, to a haunted mansion, to a town filled with nothing but children- it's got tons of places to explore!


Another thing I absolutely love about this game, is just how expansive it's world and lore is, especially in the game itself. For a game released in the 80s with such an engine as the NES and it's limitations- I feel developers went all out in what could be used to it's fullest to make as much detail as possible- but maybe I'm over-hyping it haha..

As I mentioned earlier, I love the limited visuals for things (like in game backgrounds or item icons etc etc), as it forces the player to use their imagination for what these items and themes look like.

The same could be said for tons of old games, and that's true! It's just something I really love about old games in general, if I'm being honest.


Continuing with the "story", we find out that Ninten's great grandparents were abducted by aliens in the early 1900s. Due to some "incident", his great-grandfather, George, came back. Alone.

80 years later, Ninten was born. We learn that Ninten inherited some psychic abilities thanks to his great-grandfather somehow learning about PSI/ESP powers from the alien race he was abducted by.

Ninten travels far and wide- meeting a nerdy pal, Lloyd, who doesn't have any "magical abilities" like Ninten seems to posess, but he's quite handy in rockets/heavy hitting weapons! Lloyd (also spelled as Loid) suffers from bullying and lack of self-worth. He's often picked on for his nerdy tendencies.

The pals eventually also meet a young girl, Ana. Ana seems to posess similar ESPer abilities as Ninten, and even foretold his arrival before he made it to her little secluded village in the snowy mountains. Ana is looking for her mother, who had gone missing a bit before the story takes place, and wants to travel and find her!

The three eventually travel together, and meet up with the final member of the gang, Teddy.

Teddy seems to be an older individual, never explained in detail, but who has it out for the circumstances that lead to his parents being killed. All of these culminate in the party working towards a common goal: Fight the evil that's causing so much chaos around!


I suppose this *does* count as a fantasy type game, in the long run- but it technically takes place (half of the time) in a modern (80s) world.

As the group continues, we meet many different friends and foes alike- especially powerful ones in the forms of alien-made robots, wild bears, and sometimes giant snails (???)!

I think the most tragic part of this game, was definitely the ending and it's connection with Magicant and Ninten as a person. Maybe I'm reading too into it, but I enjoy theorizing on the topic of Mother and it's lore, and I quite enjoy thinking of what specific things in the game could mean.

No spoilers, but specific events leading to the ending is where I really feel my heart ache with this game. You experience love, loss and friendship- it's really a beautiful ride all the way through!


I really feel fufilled whenever I'm able to progress past specific enemies in the overworld- apparently, the original game for the NES was rather OP (over powered) in terms of NPC/enemy encounters and how hard they hit. This was nerfed down a bit by community members for computer gameplay, but was also altered to be more balanced for the localization release for the WiiU.

I'll never forget the feeling of getting absolutely DECIMATED by a wild bear when climbing a mountain for the first time...

Also, kids? Practice hygine! Use mouthwash to help prevent a cold! (The game includes having a Cold as a debuff. Not to mention; Ninten may suffer from his asthma when fighting enemies with a lot of exhaust like cars or mechanical entities!)


To be quite honest, I think I'd recommend players play the translated Mother 1 + 2 game by Tomato. It keeps the properly translated town names and doesn't censor what was taken out due to localization. (at least, from what I remember.)

If you like games for the NES, especially RPG style games, then this is the game for you! Also, this version of Mother was heavily inspired by Yume Nikki creator, Kikiyama, evident in the FAMICOM* world locations.

*(Fan name given to the, well, Famicom/NES "world".)

I love the Mother series, and I'm so glad I started from the first game before trying the rest out- I love knowing where the game franchise got it's start, where it built off of and honed into what would eventually become Mother 2.

Understand, I don't mean to call Mother 2 a "remake", as it's teeechnically NOT one, but it really took what we knew and loved from the first, and I think "built up" on that to make another story, connected through continuity in it's own way.

Give this game a try, if you like to imagine the world around you, immerse yourself in the simplicity of games of the 80s, and the heartbreak of what is Mother!

No crying till the end...

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