Earth Bound: Tropes A to G


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Tropes A To G | Tropes H to M | Tropes N to S | Tropes T to Z


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    A 
  • Absurdly High Level Cap: You can get to Level 99 with every party member but it's really only good for increasing survivability when going through the last area.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • In the Japanese version, Porky and his brother are beaten off camera by their father after you bring them back home at the start of the game. In the American version, the sound effect was changed to the one later used when enemies use "verbal attacks" (which has its own implications relating to emotional abuse), though Porky still ends up being banned from dessert for the rest of the decade (of course, since the game takes place in 199X, it's unclear exactly how harsh this punishment is). Their mother is also strongly implied to be abusive, as she says that her husband is "too soft" on them. At the very least, she's terribly neglectful, as she clearly doesn't care a bit when the abuse is happening right in front of her, or even when Porky disappears off the face of the earth.
    • Also, when you talk to Porky after that off-camera incident, he'll say, "My butt hurts!" in the original version, while in the U.S. version, he says, "My dad really got after me. He said I get no dessert for the rest of the decade..."
  • The Ace: Ness. Pretty much everyone he knows tell him what a brave, outgoing, smart, adorable, and all-around excellent person he is. His neighbor and "friend" Porky, on the other hand...
  • Addressing the Player: Used in one of the most emotional boss battle endings ever.
  • Adorkable: Jeff has thick glasses and wears a dork suit everywhere, but he also has an adorable woobie-ish side as well.
  • Adults Are Useless: You have to stop a gang in your hometown because the cops and mayor cannot figure it out, you have to fight the local police force because they're jealous of you for stopping said gang, you have to save Paula because her dad is too scared and worried to do it alone, you have to get the zombies out of Threed because no one there knows what to do, you have to get the Runaway Five out of crippling debt twice...
  • Adventure Towns: One city is filled with delinquent children, another has a cultist group just around the corner, another is in the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse...
  • Aerith and Bob:
    • Ness, Jeff, Paula and... Poo? Heck, even Ness may qualify.
    • Talk to the Sanchez brothers in the desert between Threed and Fourside. In order, their names are Pancho, Pincho, and Tomas Jefferson.
  • A.I. Roulette: More striking because there are multiple AI moves that do nothing, and still more that inflict bad status effects on the enemy that uses them. Much of this, though, serves to enhance the game's odd world and contribute to the Rule of Funny.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Giygas apparently does. Considering his backstory, it makes sense.
  • The All-American Boy: Ness, of course.
  • All Cavemen Were Neanderthals: One of the enemies hanging out around Stonehenge is the stereotypical neanderthal, complete with fur tunic and club.
  • All in a Row
  • All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": It's a safe bet to say that one thing most people know about the game is its infamous final boss. Some don't even realise, there's a whole cartoon-y game juxtaposed against that jarring final battle.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Giygas' agents invade Onett in the game's final act.
  • Almost Dead Guy: Buzz Buzz gives you a truly amazing speech before knocking off, one that you can have him repeat over and over.
  • Always Night: Threed, at least until the zombie infestation is cleared up. As is Moonside until you realize it's a neon-hell-colored hallucination.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: In every battle. Psychedelic animated colorscapes are in the background of most.
  • Ambidextrous Sprite:
    • The Runaway Five's bus instead says YAWAИUЯ when facing left. Naturally, due to this trope, the Cyrillic letters are 100% unintentional.
    • The same goes for Porky's heli.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Giygas is almost always referred to as male, but one NPC questions whether or not this is correct, presumably since it's never easy to pin down gender when dealing with aliens.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: So many enemies. This is a game where stop signs, possessed garbage cans, and anthropomorphic molecules are likely to try and kill you.
  • Another Dimension: Both Moonside and Magicant are sort of Another Dimension-Phantom Zone hybrids.
  • Anthropomorphic Food: You get attacked by coffee cups at one point.
  • Arc Villain: Prominent in the first half of the game, with Frank in Onett, Mr. Carpainter in Twoson and Happy Happy Village, Master Belch in Threed, and Monotoli in Fourside, three of which interestingly enough perform a Heel-Face Turn. Though the real Arc Villain of the first half of the game is the Mani Mani Statue, a corrupting illusion device that Giygas uses to get people to do his bidding.
  • Arson Murderand Jaywalking: A cop at the beginning is annoyed because: "a meteorite crashed, the Sharks are are running wild in town, you kids are wandering around, and he's hungry. At least he has his priorities straight.
    • Mayor Pirkle also gets in on it after you beat Frank. He uses metaphors that amount to basically 'you kicked their asses' and ends it all with "...And you made them wet their pants."
  • Artifact Mook:
    • The Mole Playing Rough. They first appear in the Lilliput Steps, an underground cave, where they're a decent foe (oh, and the boss there is a giant mole, so there's a mole theme in that cave). However, for same reason, the designers put some specific points (to be exact, in the Dusty Dunes Desert, Summers's beach, and the Deep Darkness) around the game where one of them always spawns if you walk around there. Not only they're incredibly weak by that point, but they're places where you wouldn't even expect to find a mole.
    • Another famous example is the Mad Ducks (an enemy encountered back in Winters) behind the store in Saturn Valley. Even stranger is the fact that they are in an area that you can't reach unless you exploit a glitch.
    • Mad Ducks also appear in the underground tunnels in Dusty Dunes Desert. They're incredibly weak enemies at that point (to the point that, to be able to provide a bit of challenge, they spawn there in absurdly high numbers), and it also makes one wonder what a duck is doing in a desert cave.
    • Talah Rama's cave in Dusty Dunes Desert is for some reason populated by enemies by found back in the Milky Well cave. Not only are they weak at that point, they'll also run away from you if you've already defeated Trillionage Sprout (which most likely you'll have done by that point).
    • The area between Threed and Dusty Dunes Desert will sometimes have New Age Retro Hippies, enemies encountered back in Twoson. They're also on a high ledge, which your party cannot reach. note 
    • The Dungeon Man is full of these. His first floor contains enemies that were in the Fourside Department Store. The dead ends on his second floor contains enemies from Moonside, an area you can only enter once. His third floor contains a "monster zoo," which invokes this trope.
  • Artifact of Doom: The Mani Mani Statue gives off greedy thoughts to any nearby individual who comes across it.
  • Ash Face: Colliding with a person or obstacle when attempting to teleport causes the user to turn black with soot and a smile.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: When you get to the Lost Underworld, your size shrinks thanks to how huge everything (including the enemies) are compared to your normal size.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: Porky's battle music starts out 8-bit and simple, reminiscent of Dragon Quest, the series which inspired this one. A minute in, the instrumentals revert to heavy metal.
  • Award Bait Song: "Smiles and Tears". It had official lyrics in the Japanese instruction booklet, but it didn't have official vocals until 2010. A remix of it eventually made its way into the Super Smash Bros. series.
  • Awesome but Impractical:
    • The Casey Bat. (What this item is a reference to.)
    • The higher levels of PSI Rockin can feel like this because it requires significantly more PP than any other PSI move in the game. And unlike Paula and Poo, Ness doesn't have access to PSI Magnet to replenish PP. It does have its uses, like when you REALLY need to kill something fast, or when all the enemies are on separate "rows", making it impossible to hit everything with PK Fire.
    • Condiments, outside of one exception. The idea is having it in your inventory increases the effects of healing items if it's a good combo, and decreases their effect if it's a bad one, but thanks to the limited inventory you have in the game, said space it takes up could be better used for another healing item, in addition to the fact that they activate any time you use a food item, regardless of whether it's a good combo or not. Most players usually dump them the second they get one in their inventory instead of risking forgetting about it and wasting one of their healing items. Note 
    B 
  • Badass Adorable: All four of the main cast. Special mention goes to Paula, a blonde-haired, hair-bow wearing little girl in a pink dress who is capable of setting you on fire with her mind, and Jeff, an Adorkable little dweeb whose weapons of choice include lasers, bazookas, life-sucking machines, and rocket launchers.
  • Bad Future: According to Buzz Buzz, this was the state of the future under Giygas's control. It was presumably averted with Giygas's defeat.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Ness's Nightmare, an Evil Mani-Mani lookalike in the deep recesses of Ness's mind.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Ness only sets out in the first place because Buzz Buzz came from the future saying that he had to.
  • Better Than a Bare Bulb: Brick Road's dungeon has tons of signs that lampshade many dungeon clichés. So does Dungeon Man, his second dungeon.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Giygas and Porky Minch, or so it seems; no one can be completely sure if they're equals, or if one is pulling the strings of the other. It seems to be implied that at the start Giygas was influencing Porky's dark side and Porky was a simple mook, then later on The Dragon, but near the end of the game when Giygas is so batshit insane to the point where he barely comprehends what's happening around him, Porky takes advantage of that and becomes The Star Scream.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The first "Your Sanctuary" boss is the Titanic Ant.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • "All of a sudden, some guys rushed into the room! It was the Runaway Five!"
    • Poo shows up to blast Master Barf with the Starstorm attack he left you in order to learn.
    • Jeff is this to Ness and Paula, although not the player; you actually have to go save Ness and Paula while playing as Jeff.
    • And the player.
  • Bigger on the Inside: All of the houses and buildings in the game use this concept.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family/Dysfunctional Family: With the exception of Picky, you can count on the Minch family to be just plain evil.
  • Bizarrchitecture: By default, entering a home places the door on the right side of the screen even though you entered from the front of the building outside. This wouldn't be much of a problem, until you realize that the large hole in the house you can buy should be plainly visible from the outside.
  • Bizarro Universe: Moonside.
  • Blah Blah Blah: If you talk to the officer next to Chief Strong who had scolded you for entering Giant Step, he'll say the following dialogue:
    Police Officer: So here you are. You're the little delinquent that came back from Giant Step! Now you listen here... "Don't Enter" means just that— DO NOT ENTER! You got that? And furthermore... Blah blah Blah blah It's usually those tax evaders who... Blah blah Blah blah We don't enjoy blocking off the roads, you know... Blah blah Blah blah It's usually the local whiners that make a big deal about emergencies and meteorites! Blah blah Blah blah Blah blah
  • Blatant Lies: The fruit stand in Happy Happy Village claims to work on the honor system because "we trust you". The owner is not-so-discreetly standing 15 feet away and monitors the stand to make sure everyone pays.
  • Blinding Bangs: Porky's and Picky's, although they seem to see just fine. They make Porky look like more of a slob and tie Picky to Porky visually, so that was probably the reason behind the design decision.
  • Bookends:
    • That red static on the title screen sure looks like the unstable Giygas being fizzled out of existence at the game's end.
    • The second scene of the game and The Stinger open with one of the Minch brothers pounding on your door in the middle of the night.
  • Books That Bite: See Everything Trying to Kill You.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Final Starman.
  • Boring Return Journey: Subverted. It's entirely possible to have one after defeating Giygas, but since you can teleport by that point, there's really no reason to.
    Though by that point almost every NPC will have new dialogue about how awesome you are that you saved the world. It's both Crowning Moment of Heartwarming and Crowning Moment of Funny (Such as Orange Kid saying you were only able to do it because of him)
  • Bottomless Bladder: There are washrooms, but they're always occupied.
  • Bowdlerization: As one would expect from a game localized in the nineties, there are quite a few of these; EarthBound Central compares and profiles them here.
  • Brats with Slingshots: Several slingshots are available as alternate weapons, in keeping with the theme of children using improvised weapons.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: When Ness takes Paula back to her house and talks to her mother, she says that she has made "a hand-made band-aid. Oooh! That rhymes! I'll call it a Hand-Aid!" This was actually added to the English translation, as the Japanese version did not give a reason for the Hand-Aid's name.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The fourth wall is a bit soft in this game.
    • In the beginning of the game, if you have your bat without having it equipped and talk to Porky before leaving your house, he'll specifically tell you to equip it. If you respond no to his question of if you know what equip means, he'll say "'Equip' is used a lot in games like this, but you already knew that..."
    • In the First Town, a dog tells Ness that he's been possessed by the spirit of the game designer to explain something.
    • Those good moles who give you game advice. "Oh, I mean in front of you!!"
    • You, the player, enter your name multiple times throughout the game, under the guise of Jeff's friend Tony contacting you via phone.
    • Finally, the player helps to destroy Giygas, and is thanked by name, as per above.
  • Breather Episode: Twice during your adventure, the coffee and tea breaks. Relaxing music plays as a recap of your adventure scrolls by and Ness enjoys a little break. Interestingly, the Japanese text for these scenes has kanji in the text, despite the rest of the game being solely in kana.
  • Broken Bridge:
    • Lampshaded — the Onett police department is famous for closing roads, and are reportedly going for the world record of most roads closed because of emergency.
    • Also played straight, in that there is also a literal broken bridge in Peaceful Rest Valley. When you first enter the dungeon, you must take the long way around the bridge, but after you complete the dungeon, it gets fixed and acts as a shortcut back through.
    I wonder who made the bridge impassable? Why would someone do this? Crud...
  • Bug Buzz: When Buzz Buzz joins your party, his buzzing sound fills up the background music.
  • But Thou Must: When Porky wakes Ness up in the middle of the night, he asks him to help find his younger brother, Picky. If you refuse to help him, Porky says he will say something that will "cut you like a knife", and then bring up the Yes/No choice again. If you refuse again, he will say that he was just kidding, and won't actually say anything like that, and then asks you again, keeping you in a looped conversation until you say Yes.
    C 
  • CamelCase: EarthBound.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: There's a few clones here and there, but the NPC sprite variety in this game is very impressive, especially compared to other RPGs at the time.
  • Carnivore Confusion: One of the healing items in the game is hamburgers. Later on, you have a conversation with a cow.
  • Celebrity Endorsement:
    • In Japan, EarthBound was heavily promoted by Takuya Kimura (who is still the ideal man of most Japanese women today) of the boy band SMAP. He was on the advertisements and commercials — granted that the game was also advertised towards young women, there's a likely chance that many women started playing the game because of him. Not only that, but all the nameable characters could be named after the members of SMAP using the "Don't Care" option!
    • Similarly, one of the biggest selling points for the series as a whole in Japan was that Itoi is a popular celebrity and the games were something he made, to the point where tagging his name onto the ads was a big part of the campaign.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The meteor that kicks off the adventure is used much, much later to provide what you need for time travel.
  • Circle of Friendship / Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Giygas is ultimately defeated by people all around the world joining in prayer... including the player.
  • Climax Boss: The Mani Mani Statue.
  • Combined Energy Attack: The way to defeat Giygas.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: A subtle example. This game is a Coming-of-Age Story in the guise of an offbeat JRPG adventure.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Several music cues are taken from the previous game. For example, Ness's eight "Your Sanctuaries" (places where he finds the Eight Melodies) use for background music a remix of Queen Mary's lullaby, aka the original Eight Melodies. Also, the first time you leave your house during the day, "Pollyanna" (the outdoor theme from EarthBound Beginnings for when Ninten travels alone) plays for a few bars before seguing into the Onett theme.
    • Among these, certain other recurring elements and lines of dialog were Lost in Translation. One instance is the Strawberry Tofu, which was localized as Trout Yogurt. Another is that the first boss of the game (translated as Starman Junior both here and the original game's English prototype) is implied to be the same character, since only one ever shows up, it retreats in EarthBound Beginnings, uses a similar "insect" insult as Giygas in the past title, and there is an unused sprite of its capsule device.
  • Cool People Rebel Against Authority: Most notably, Ness gets in a fight with a bunch of cops to get on with his mission. To be fair, they were corrupt and under the influence of an Artifact of Doom, but still.
  • Copy Protection: Legendary for its unusually fiendish brutality. If you ran the game from a copied cartridge or cartridge-copying device, bad things would happen. Should you get past the abnormally high amount of enemies it adds, the game suddenly crashes and all your saves are deleted during the final boss fight.
  • Corrupt Politician:
    • B.H. Pirkle, Mayor of Onett. He lets the police set up road blocks for no reason, and he bribes a teen to take care of his gang problem for him. After Ness deals with it, the mayor gives him the key to a broken shack outside of town, but keeps it a secret so he cannot be held responsible for anything bad that might happen. This leads Ness, a young boy, to get in trouble with the police, who for some reason opt to solve the dispute by having 5 of their guys fight him one-on-one.
    • Gelegarde Monotoli of Fourside, under the influence of the Mani Mani Statue, kidnaps Paula. He gets better.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: After the Genre Shift from comedy, occurring roughly around the Stonehenge base assault.
  • Covers Always Lie: On the cover, Ness is reflected in the Final Starman's visor. By the time you do encounter the Final Starman, you'll be in The Very Definitely Final Dungeon. The offense? You're in robotic bodies at that point, so Ness' face is not visible.
  • Crapsack World: Corruption and incompetence is everywhere, but these traits are frequently seen in authority figures such as politicians and cops. The townsfolk don't fare much better, as most of them are either socially inept, a Jerkass, or just plain lazy to give a hoot of what's going on, not to mention there's a disturbed kid roaming around, causing mayhem wherever he goes. Ness and his friends really have their work cut out for them.
  • Creative Closing Credits: The background of the credits feature all of the photos taken by the flying photographer (the one that says, "Say, 'Fuzzy Pickles'!") The more photos you collect, the more complete the slide show is.
  • Creepy Cemetery: Threed has one the first time you enter there. Come on, were you NOT expecting enemies? Thankfully it becomes much more cheerful after defeating Master Belch.
  • Creepy Child: Porky. Minch.
  • Critical Hit: SMAAAASH attacks can be made, both by your party and the enemies. The chance to make a critical hit is usually quite low, but melee weapons such as bats have a greater chance to do this. Critical hits will ignore all Defense stats, and since your party is generally well armored, enemies that SMAAAASH you can easily deal a One-Hit Kill to weak party members such as Paula. This is especially prevalent with mice; mouse-type enemies have massive Guts stats which allow them to deal critical hits much more often than any other type of enemy (on the flipside, their standard attacks deal pathetically low damage).
  • Cult: The Happy Happists. They all dress the same and live in an isolated community in the middle of nowhere, and kidnap little girls. Blue, blue...
  • Curtain Call: The cast roll at the very end of the game.
  • Cut the Juice: When Ness and Jeff inflict enough damage on the Clumsy Robot, the Runaway Five burst in, and turn it off by flipping a switch on its back. If you inflict enough damage by its own attack, the Runaway Five turn the robot off a second time because of a glitch.
    D 
  • Daddy's Girl: Paula appears to be very close to her father, who loves her to pieces in return.
  • Damage Over Time: Whenever a character receives damage or healing, their Life Meter rolls down or up to the new value over time (rather than instantly), the speed of which is governed by the character's individual "Guts" stat. Side effects like Critical Existence Failure do not trigger based on the raw damage a character has received, but the value that's currently shown on their meter instead.
  • Damage-Sponge Boss: The Clumsy Robot — your party is incomplete for this fight, and the Robot can take a lot of punishment. Worse, sometimes it eats a bologna sandwich (somehow) and maxes out its HP again... Except it doesn't. The sandwich does nothing, and the battle dialog actually lies to your face about it. Not that this makes the fight any easier...
    In other words, the bologna sandwich's effect is nothing but baloney.
  • Dark World: Moonside, though it's a hallucination caused by the Mani Mani Statue.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: While you lose half your money when your party is defeated, the ability to keep your money in an ATM (plus the fact that money usually is added to your ATM account rather than given directly to you) basically means that you never need to lose ANY amount of money. A game over is more or less an inconvenience, rather than any sort of peril to avoid.
    It's worth it to note that dying and continuing leads to only your front character being alive (and with no PP). In certain areas, this leads to some difficult situations.
  • Debug Room:
    • Fairly elaborate, accessible only with these Game Genie codes: 6B88-54D4, 3188-5404, 3E88-5464. This menu contains, among other things, a Kirby sprite as the menu cursor — an artifact left by a HAL Laboratory programmer, perhaps.
    • Although, another more well-known debug menu exists as well — one intended to be used during the game, similar to Super Mario RPG. This menu is also reachable via one of the options from the former... and is significantly trickier to figure out, since it remains untranslated from Japanese despite the lack of a Japanese font. Only a few words are recognisable as compressed garbled Engrish — "SUND" for Sound, "TRP-T" for Teleport, and "GtZStTI" for Goods Edit, for example.
  • Deconstruction: Of the "young kids saving the world" plot. While innocent undertones are included, it factors in several characters emotions and thoughts and brings light to several disturbing tones in stories of the sort, such as Ness's homesickness, and Giygas essentially being a child when you kill him/her/them/it.
  • Deep South: Twoson can be depicted as this, which is not without reason (it's named after and is pronounced the same as Tuscon, Arizona). It can also be depicted as a Sweet Home Alabama.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Frank Fly, Everdred, and a few other supporting characters.
  • Degraded Boss: The Kraken. When you first fight him he is a major boss who capsized your boat. The upgraded versions of him you fight later appear as regular enemies and can be taken out by Ness alone without much trouble.
  • Desert Skull: You can actually have a conversation with a cattle skeleton in the Dusty Dunes Desert.
  • Determinator:
    • Any character, if their Guts stat is sufficiently high, will hang in there through repeated mortal blows for a very long times - enough, usually, to heal them completely.
    • The Hit Points in this game rolls down, much like a odometer in your car. When a character takes enough damage to be knocked out, it will say "X has taken Y points of mortal damage!" but they won't actually die until the meter rolls down to zero. This will lead to you rushing to heal the party member or end the battle before their HP counter rolls down to zero and they die. There's a chance that the game will omit the "mortal" part in the message and the meter will stop at one instead of zero, the chances of this happening depends on the character's Guts stat.
    • There's also an item called the "Sudden Guts Pill" that, when used in battle, will temporarily double the character's Guts stat for the duration. However, it's incredibly rare, and the one shop that has it sells it at a ridiculous price.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
    • In the Playable Epilogue, Ness can finally return the map to the Onett library and the bike to the Twoson bicycle shop. How considerate!
    • If you take said bike into the rain forest in said epilogue and ride it through the puddles, it gets its own unique sound effect that never plays at any other point in the game.
    • In the monkey caves at Dusty Dunes Desert, you need to give the monkeys a certain item so they'll let you pass. Depending on the items that you have, this may or may not turn into a Chain of Deals-type quest. There are two monkeys that ask for Hamburgers... however, Double Burgers also fit the requirement.
    • When you reach the end of the Scaraba pyramid, Poo will leave your party which will turn the game into an unwinnable situation if you put the Hawk Eye in his inventory, right? Instead, you'll get a call from Escargo Express saying that Poo gave the Hawk Eye to them for safekeeping and that you can have the item delivered to you for free.
    • Buzz Buzz will give the Sound Stone to Escargo Express if your bag is full.
    • If Paula has the Pencil Eraser when she gets kidnapped by the Dept. Store Spook, you'll get a call from Escargo Express saying that she gave it to them. This is because you need the Pencil Eraser for the monkey caves in Dusty Dunes Desert.
    • One notable subversion, however- if you obtain the signed banana peel from Venus while Ness is unconscious and Paula is in the lead of the party, the dialog will still play out as if Ness were there- causing Venus to kiss Paula instead.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Ness didn't, Paula didn't, Jeff didn't, Poo didn't, but you, the player, sure as hell did!
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: In musical form: the Eight Melodies, scattered across the Your Sanctuary locations, combine to form the Sound Stone's song.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Porky's motivation for the remainder of the game.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: In the Japanese version, the welcome sign for Twoson tells you that it is the second town and asks, "Did you notice?" The English version handles this by saying, "We got this name because we weren't first."
  • Doomy Dooms of Doom: The Plague Rat OF DOOM.
  • Dub Induced Plothole: In addition to replacing the phrase "Gyiyg Strikes Back" with "the war against Giygas", the revelation that Giygas is attacking from the past near the very end of the game was changed to the more explicit Giygas attacking from the DISTANT past - the implication being that the events of MOTHER are overwritten.
    • A minor instance- renaming the "Tonzura Brothers" to "Runaway Five" causes a problem as there are clearly six members on stage during the concerts.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • Too many to list, but worthy of note is that the trope-naming New Age Retro Hippie was more simply known as a "carefree guy" in the Japanese version, with the English translation giving the trope name.
    • Threek was changed to Threed — although it was most likely intended to sound like a combination of "three" and "eek!" due to the zombies, Nintendo of America didn't want people misreading it as "Three K," in other words, "KKK."
    • Offensive spells had their prefixes changed from PK (psychokinetic) to simply PSI in the translation, possibly for consistency with defensive moves like the shields.
  • Duel Boss: Ness's Nightmare. Also, the bosses encountered before rescuing Paula - Frank, Frankystein Mark II, Titanic Ant, and Mr. Carpainter. (If you gave Ness a different name, then Ness's Nightmare will be renamed accordingly as well!)
  • Drunk on Milk: Jackie's Cafe in Fourside was actually originally called "Boris's Bar" in the Japanese version but was changed due to Nintendo's censoring guidelines. Of course, this means that the guy who is slightly pink and keeps drinking his "coffee" is...
    E 
  • Eagle Land: The Trope Namer.
  • Early Game Hell: The game tends to become a lot easier as Ness recruits party members to join his cause.
  • Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion
  • Easter Egg:
    • Early in the game, the police chief will explain that "...kids like you should be at home playing Nintendo games in a time like this!"
    • Then again, if you go back to Onett later on, you'll find the police chief talking about how he's having a hard time playing this game called EarthBound.
    • If you visit a certain area in Onett after defeating Giygas, you can read a newspaper that has a story about Onett's police chief completing EarthBound, and asks, "Where is the sequel?".
    • There's also a planning meeting for EarthBound 2 in Fourside. Which only twists the knife if you live outside Japan.
    • One of the Sharks, a local gang Ness fights early in the game, asks if you'd like to join. The correct response in order to continue the plot is "no". Answering "yes" will prompt the gang member to tell you to come back after completing EarthBound.
    • One girl NPC asks "Has Earthbound been released yet?"
  • Easy EXP: The caterpillar-type baddies you find in the deserts are rare, but experience points pinatas.
  • Eccentric Townsfolk: Hippies, angry ladies, drunks...
  • Edible Theme Naming: Apple Kid and Orange Kid.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Giygas's army has one at Stonehenge.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Giygas is a famous example, at least within the video game community. By the time you get to him he is basically a formless blob of hate.
  • Eldritch Location: Moonside. Also, it's entirely possible that Giygas is sufficiently large and amorphous that once he's released from the Devil's Machine, he is one of these of his own accord instead of being just an Eldritch Abomination.
  • Elemental Tiers: Elemental attacks have different areas of effect. Freeze is a single-target, Fire hits a whole row but does less damage, and Thunder targets a random enemy and is prone to missing frequently unless there are many enemies. So even if you're facing a lightning-vulnerable boss you probably want to use ice, and same goes for if the fire-weak enemies are on multiple rows.
  • Emergency Transformation: Dr. Andonuts transplants the heroes' souls into robot bodies. Without them, you can't stop Giygas in the past.
  • Enfant Terrible: Porky takes this trope to a whole new and scarier level.
  • Enlightenment Superpowers: This is how Prince Poo gets two critical level ups. Coupled with a Journey to the Center of the Mind, it's also how Ness gets his biggest level up of the game going into the Grand Finale.
  • Escape Rope: The Exit Mice. They can even be found in long dungeons!
  • Epileptic Flashing Lights: The game will be one of the many that Nintendo has edited to take these out in its Virtual Console release. Mainly, some of the stronger PSI attacks put out one hell of a seizure-inducing light show.
  • Everyone Join The Party: While fighting the Big Bad, the only way to beat him is to use the up until then useless skill "Pray," which causes all the NPCs in the world, plus the player, to pray together, which destroys him.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: Why else is Threed in the game?
  • Everytown, America: Onett is the quintessential '50s Amer- er, Eaglandian town, replete with school, burger joint, arcade, City Hall and gang of street toughs. And a meteor, but we don't talk about the meteor. Twoson and Threed may also count, but Onett is the more obvious one.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Animals, stop signs, hippies, robots, animate cups of coffee, and a hundred other weird monsters, including those goddamn exploding trees!
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The Monotoli Building. It is so large you can barely see the top. Luckily once you're inside you can skip most of the floors on the elevator.
  • Excited Show Title!: Its full title is EarthBound: The War Against Giygas!
    • Some enemies also invoke this, like the Shroom! boss or the Arachnid!!
  • Expy:
    F 
  • Fan Sequel: Cognitive Dissonance. — or Fan Prequel, rather.
    • Not to mention it heavily inspired Homestuck; the name of which is intended as a Shout-Out to this game.
    • The Halloween Hack is a seemingly humorous sequel that takes place a few months after the end of the game. "Seemingly" humorous, because it gets Darker and Edgier very fast.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Zombies, ghosts, dragons, telekinetic powers, aliens, talking animals, a loch Ness monster clone, time travel, robots... really, it gets to the point where it's quite possibly satire.
  • Father Neptune: The captain outside the boat you're supposed to get on when going to Scaraba.
  • Fight Woosh: There are four different kinds. The gray woosh means that the battle will go on as normal. Sneak up behind an enemy to get a green woosh and a surprise attack. Don't let the enemy sneak up behind you or you'll get a red woosh and they'll get a surprise attack on you! The fourth kind is the spiky one used for bosses.
  • Flunky Boss: Both Titanic Ant and Trillionage Sprout start with a couple of minor enemies in tow (Black Antoids and Tough Mobile Sprouts, respectively)
  • Forced Level Grinding: A little, mostly just to get Ness and Paula's levels up early in game.
  • Foreshadowing: The hint about the sequel can be found in the final moments of final battle.
    Pokey: "Ness! Now, I... well... It's going to seem like I'm running away. But perhaps I'll just sneak away to another era to think about my next plan."
  • Follow the Leader: The Tengi Makyou/Far East of Eden series, which shares this series's offbeat humour, with hilarious writings, taking place in a fictional Japan based on exaggerated conceptions by the west. The fourth one even takes place in a fictional America, with hilarious results. The first game appeared after MOTHER in 1989. Unlike that game, it never lost its No Export for You status.
  • Food as Bribe:
    • How you befriend the Apple Kid in Twoson and Gerardo Montague in Dusty Dunes Desert.
    • You also need to give a scruffy guy in Fourside a food item in order to talk to a wounded Everdred.
    • The Tenda in the Lost Underworld open their village gates for you when they find out you have Tendakraut.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Inverted; the fourth wall doesn't protect Giygas from you.
  • Free-Range Children: The Chosen Four themselves, as well as some of their friends from around the world. Deconstructed, as Ness has to deal with crippling homesickness the entire way, and the world isn't exactly kind to them.
  • From Beyond the Fourth Wall: You kill Giygas. You, personally, called by your name when everything else has failed.
  • Futureshadowing: "The War Against Giygas!" can be this.
    G 
  • Gameplay and Story Integration:
    • One notable piece is the fact that each party member has one thing that sets them apart in their attacks: Ness focuses on protecting others because he's the leader, Paula is the PSI powerhouse and resident medic because she wants to get stronger and become independent, Jeff builds things in the night because of his inferiority complex, and Poo is the debuffer because of his disarming nature.
    • Possibly the best example is Ness homesickness status effect. It happens when Ness is between levels 16 and 75, and corresponds to Ness being strong enough to be away from home, but still weak enough to be distressed about it.
  • Gang Bangers: The Sharks.
  • Genius Loci: Dungeon Man. It even goes far enough to say that he's a walking, talking dungeon made from the dungeon builder Dungeon Man, AKA Brick Road.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Though the Wii U release lessens this with its T rating, the original release of EarthBound had a lot of moments that would raise eyebrows.
    • The person in the hotel room in Twoson when you first arrive, who's been Mushroomized. S/he asks "Do I have a mushroom on my head?" Ness answers "Yes," and the person says "That's what I thought... Recently, I couldn't walk quite right. It's because of this mushroom. It's actually kind of fun, so I'll leave it there." Does This Remind You of Anything?
    • One grandma asks Ness if he has grandchildren. If he answers "Yes", her response is hilarious.
    • When you're controlling Jeff and Tony helps you get over a gate, he does so by bending over on his hands and knees. Keep in mind that not only was this was completely unnecessary, as Jeff could have easily unlocked the gate or just stood on Tony's shoulders, but Tony has been confirmed by Itoi to be gay.
    • When Picky and Porky's father beats them, the sound effect was changed to something sounding a bit more cartoony in the American release. However, the implications of child abuse was not lost on any older gamer.
    • There's one exclusive to Japanese version, delivered from one girl to Poo. This has been changed to her asking to play with her in translation.
      Girl: Will you make out with me again like you used to?
    • The "Monkey's Love" is an item you can use in battle; a monkey will come out of nowhere and pin your enemy to the ground.
    • That attractive woman you chase into the zombie-infested hotel. Due to her appearance and the way she swaggers at first, she seems to be implied to be a hooker. Even an NPC nearby says he would love to "spend some sweet time with her".
    • Optional dialog with Venus' mother after the final battle tells us that Venus has become a model as well as a singer, with the implication that she is doing nude modeling.
  • Girl of My Dreams: Can happen with Ness — if he sleeps in inns before he battles the Happy Happyists, he will receive psychic pleas from the imprisoned Paula. And it also happens with Jeff, who receives similar psychic pleas from Paula when she and Ness are trapped in Threed.
  • Global Currency: Slightly more acceptable here. Sure, the world only uses one currency, but it's dollars. And stuff in other countries is more expensive, but this may be because of the Sorting Algorithm of Weapon Effectiveness, and one of the last towns is a tourist resort where everything sells for double what it does anywhere else. The signs for stores in other countries also make a point of stating that they do indeed accept Eagleland currency, something real foreign stores would do to promote tourist spending.
  • Go Back to the Source: Ness and the others must fight Giygas at a point in time when he was much weaker.
  • Good Hurts Evil: How Giygas meets his end.
  • Good Morning, Crono: Justified by the fact that the game begins in the middle of the night. The main character is wide awake by the time the sun rises.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: The eight melodies for the Sound Stone, which are plot crucial. There's also the optional photo spots with the flying photographer, which are later added to the Creative Closing Credits. These photo spots are hidden, but the maps are designed in such a way that you'll probably stumble over these Easter Eggs anyway.
  • Guest Star Party Member:
  • Guide Dang It: Earthbound came with a free Player's Guide so that first-time players could figure out what they're supposed to do if they got stuck. Either that or pay the Hint guy to get a clue on the next place to go or the next thing to do.
    • Figuring out that you're supposed to pray in the final battle can be tough without checking a guide, as the game only drops a few subtle hints.
    Pokey: Do you want to scream for help here in the dark?! ... I know you have telepathy, or something, so just try and call for help...
    • Possibly making it even tougher is when, the eighth time you pray, you get a message saying "Paula's prayer was absorbed by the darkness." This can make players think that prayer no longer works and you're supposed to return to simply beating Giygas up again. Actually, you're supposed to pray AGAIN, one last time, to finish the battle.
    • Buzz Buzz does somewhat tell you even from the start. His final words are of you having to "unite with the Earth's (power)". This can be seen as both having to find all Eight Melodies and as uniting all as one in prayer.
    • Original copies of the game were bundled with the complete strategy guide at no extra charge (and the Virtual Console release was accompanied by Nintendo releasing said guide as a free download on their website). So if you must shout "guide dang it!" you need not shout too loudly.


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