Mother 1/EarthBound Zero

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Mother (マザー Mazā?), often referred to as EarthBound Zero outside of Japan, was a game released only in Japan for the Famicom (FC). It was the first game in the Mother Series, which created three games and gained a large cult following.



In a brief introductory screen, the story of George and Maria is told. In the early 1900s, the couple were abducted by aliens, and were not seen until

The Story at Hand

Ninten's power, PSI, was utilized by an alien race that abducted George and Maria, his Great-Grandmother and Great-Grandfather. George stole the secrets to the power while living among the aliens, and upon his return to Earth attempted to research it further and spread the research. Of the four playable characters, Ninten was able to learn it due to being the grandson of George, while Ana had developed her PSI powers on her own, and became famous for having done so.

Though George and Maria were not mistreated while in captivity of the aliens (due to taking care of one alien named Giygas), Giygas sought revenge on George for stealing the secrets of PSI, and subsequently launched an invasion of the planet Earth.

often referred to as "Earthbound Zero" outside of Japan, was a game released only in Japan for the Famicom (FC). The game was named after John Lennon's song "Mother."[citation needed]


Mother tells the story of Ninten, a 12-year-old boy who journeys around the world using his psychic powers to collect eight melodies in order to save the planet from an evil race of mind-controlling aliens. Along the way he is joined by three friends; a young boy tormented at his school for being a genius, a girl whose mother mysteriously went missing, and a gang leader whose parents were murdered. They meet many unusual characters and visit strange settings before ultimately confronting the leader of the aliens, Giygas (known as "Giegue" in the unreleased prototype and transliterated as "Gyiyg" in Japan).

Planned United States version

Nintendo of America had originally planned to translate and release the first Mother game in the United States under the title Earth Bound [sic]. The game was ultimately deemed unprofitable for a United States release, however, and the planned release was cancelled after the game had already been translated and all packaging and advertising was ready. The English version of the game was actually completed in 1990; however, marketing pushed it far into fall of 1991, the time period in which the SNES had been released [1].

In 1998, one of the auctioned beta cartridges of the game was made into a ROM and circulated for download on the Internet. To avoid confusion, the game was dubbed Earth Bound Zero by fan translation group Neo Demiforce, as Nintendo had since released the SNES sequel to Mother in the United States under the title EarthBound. This copy was shipped over to a relative of one of the members in Neo Demiforce. Soon after, fans of the series and other video game enthusiasts debated as to the origin of the original development cartridge.

It was later confirmed by former Nintendo employee Phil Sandhop that Nintendo refused to release Earth Bound in the United States because the SNES had already been released in the United States. Therefore, they thought that no one would notice a new NES game because a large number of gamers had already shelved their NES consoles for their new SNES consoles. Further, the cost of releasing the game with the thick manual and hint book planned would have not been economical.

Today, it is generally agreed that the cartridge is legitimate, as Mother 1 + 2 contains most of the changes found in the NES cartridge.


Mother's interface is very similar to that of the Famicom Dragon Quest games. When not in battle, one button opens a menu and selects items from it; another is used to close the menu. However, Mother also uses some design principles which, at the time of production, were strangely modern. Instead of an overhead view with four directions, Mother uses isometric graphics, and the main character is capable of moving in eight directions. Also, instead of using a world map and several city maps, Mother's world is constructed from a set of relatively large and interconnected maps, allowing the world to have a uniformity of scale.


The game provides very few hints to solve the puzzle elements of the game, forcing many players to rely almost entirely on guides to finish the game. Producer Shigesato Itoi explains that the last parts of Mother were not tested for bugs and balance issues, resulting in the extremely difficult last dungeon, where many enemies have the ability to instantly kill one of your allies. When talking about this at a Mother 1+2 promotional event, Itoi humorously stated "When we got to fine-tuning the difficulty there, I was like, 'Whatever!'". Itoi had made a previous remark about getting requests for help on this part of the game. Some of this difficulty was alleviated as the protagonists gain a large robot helper, whom can defeat most enemies in one blow, and is usually the target of enemies who can only do minuscule damage to it. Being an older game, Mother has a high difficulty when compared with modern RPGs.


External links

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