"Listen. Free your mind and KNOW what you must do!"
Given the fame of other Nintendo characters, EarthBound's hero Ness seems somewhat neglected, as does the game series in which he stars. Though huge in Japan at the time of release, the Super Nintendo role-playing game EarthBound (known there as Mother 2) saw little success in America and was not released at all in Europe or Australia. It did, however, gather a cult following.
Ness is the complete opposite of the standard RPG hero. He is an ordinary young boy with a baseball bat and yo-yo, although he has the innate ability to use psychic powers. Ness is presumably based upon the stereotypical American child of the 1950s, a time frame that the game emphasizes and parodies. He lives peacefully in his hometown of Onett before he is intercepted by a bee-like creature, Buzz Buzz. The tiny messenger tells him of the malevolent entity Giygas, set to take over the world ten years in the future. Buzz Buzz also informs Ness of the quest that he must undertake: to travel to eight sanctuaries and collect the Sound Stone melodies, thereby acquiring enough power to take on Giygas.
Ness is one of a party of four heroes in EarthBound, the other members being Paula, Jeff and Poo. Paula is another child with psychic abilities. It is hinted in the game that she is a love interest for Ness; the song 'Smiles and Tears' recounts Ness's love regrets near the end of the game. Jeff is the intellectual type, helping repair gadgets for the party. Poo is a relative stranger from the far-off country of Dalaam and is highly trained in martial arts; he too has some predisposition for psychic power. It should be noted that Ness rarely talks directly and is somewhat ambiguous as a character.
Selected game appearances
- EarthBound (1994)
- Super Smash Bros. (1999)
- Super Smash Bros. Melee (2001)