Video Game: Cognitive Dissonance

Take a melody...
What happened after the storm?

MOTHER: Cognitive Dissonance, formerly known as Cognitive Dissonance: Between Two Times, is a completed Fan Sequel in the MOTHER series, created in RPG Maker, taking place between MOTHER and EarthBound, and using a chapter structure similar to MOTHER 3. The story begins with Giegue overlooking the empty void of space from the bridge of his ship, haunted by his defeat at the hands of Ninten and his friends. It was developed by the fan handish2000, also known as otherhand, from the Starmen.net forum.

The main focus on the story is of a wandering ragtag band of aliens who are trying to keep the Apple of Enlightenment, a small, apple-shaped oracle, safe from Giegue. The first one chosen as an Applechaser is a blue Mook, Alinivar, who lives on the planet Saturn in Satralia with other Mooks and Mr. Saturns. He cannot use PSI unlike his brethren, and was lucky enough to not join in the war on Earth. He is joined on his journey by Colonel Saturn, a gun-wielding, funky hat-wearing Mr. Saturn that claims to have fought in "Rock War II", Zarbol, an intelligent insect and former delivery boy that is the team’s driver and pilots an insect-sized flying saucer, and Larice, a Starman with free will and an escapee from Giegue’s ship where he was set to be scrapped for insubordination. Along with these four is the mysterious Niiue, an alien of Giegue’s species who appears to know him well and can't fight him directly.

Along the way they are blocked by Giegue’s forces, Starmen and various robots under his will, as well as anything brought to life by his presence as he searches for the Apple himself. Also on his side is the mysterious Greyface, who always comes packed with explosives and taunts for the heroes. They are all in a race against time to find the Apple, as Giegue slowly descends into his insane form known as Giygas.

The game has been reworked into version 2.0 by handish2000 with assistance from another user named Crav. The new version includes re-balanced enemies, polished boss fights, animated backgrounds, new sprites, an updated spaceship and updated maps, along with an updated save system where you will start from the last natural point instead of back at the title screen. There will also be more planets to visit in some form or another instead of just the plot-essential ones (even Pluto, it’s the 80’s, you see). Oh, and there’s a tow truck if you run out of fuel in space. You can see the trailer here.

It can be downloaded at the Cognitive Dissonance homepage here.


This game contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Abandoned Laboratory: There is one on Mars to make Starmen. Implied by the reports to have been used to make the Martians into the Starmen to work for Giegue.
  • Addressing the Player
  • After the End: The first section of Chapter 7. Made worse by the fact that it's a destroyed version of Onett from EarthBound.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Made especially obvious when Alinivar and the gang visit Earth and you can talk to people.
  • All in a Row
  • Angst Nuke: Giegue unleashes one on himself during his Villainous Breakdown when he learns his Hero Without Niiue is still alive. Giegue completely snaps in anger and fear which caused his Psychic Powers to stretch and rip him apart and merge him with the fabric of Magicant, leading to the birth of Giygas.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Alinivar gets attacked by flowers and his own painting in his cave.
  • Another Dimension: Niiue’s Magicant.
  • Arc Words: Who has lost his tail?
  • Bad Future: You actually get a taste of Earth’s bad future when the Applechasers use the Phase Distorter to flee the Greyface and Giegue when they corner you, where you will eventually find a Point of Power: Ness’s home.
  • Bag of Sharing
  • Badass Adorable: Colonel Saturn might be cute, but he can use pistols and a shotgun to blow you away.
  • Big Bad: Giegue, who else?
  • Big Damn Heroes: After Larice is forced to give the pieces of the Apple to Giegue and Greyface via reprogramming, he is taken out by his team. When the team next meets Greyface, he comes back as a newly improved Starman to help his team out.
    • All of a sudden, some guys rushed into the room! It was two Niiues!
  • Bittersweet Ending: This comes from the Normal and Good endings, where you do send the Messenger back where he needs to be, but in the former the Applechasers can' hold off Giegue and die and the latter Giegue assists Niiue in getting the Applechasers out of his mind. This is Averted slightly in the Secret ending when Giegue's core personality is pulled away as a child again, thus letting almost everyone survive while Giygas, the main force, is allowed to be destroyed without taking Giegue with him. The only one who dies is Zarbol, AKA Buzz Buzz.
  • Black Bead Eyes: All the Mr. Saturns have these boing!
  • Body Horror: Happens to Giegue as his PSI tears him apart.
  • Border Patrol: The Semi-Invincible Claws in Old Saturnae. They are always in deep water, to make you have to go the long way around. If you beat one, you get a literally Bragging Rights Reward, the "Braggart's Coin: For those who win battles they aren't supposed to."
  • Breakout Mook Character: Most of the party, actually, in contrast to the all-earthling parties of Mother and Earthbound. Alinivar is a literal Mook, Larice is a Starman, Colonel Saturn is... well, a Mr. Saturn, obviously, and Zarbol is Buzz Buzz.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: You are asked your name a few times for the credits. Also used to thank you for helping Alinivar through his journey by Niiue.
  • Breather Episode: Before leaving through the Phase Distorter for the last time, Colonel Saturn offers the group coffee before the trip.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Greyface time travels in one of the interludes to spy on Ness walking Paula home. Ness seems to pick up on him and drops the Friend’s Yo-yo before continuing along with Paula, leaving it for Greyface to pick up.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Zarbol is actually Buzz Buzz, sent as a messenger to warn Ness about Giygas.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Giegue is defeated by Alinivar’s PK Harmony, similar to his defeats in Mother and EarthBound.
  • Continuity Nod: All sorts to all three Mother games.
  • Cool Shades: Greyface wears these.
    • So does Elmadan, the boss of Chapter 1.
    • You can also get them as an equippable item.
  • Critical Hit: Although not SMAAAAASH!!! attacks, critical hits do exist as you can be hitting solidly for a hundred damage and suddenly hit for two to three hundred.
  • Curtain Call: There’s a cast roll at the end of the game.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Averted. Alinivar has a chance to become a mechanical Chimera Mook, which increases all of his stats and replaces his free-to-use tentacle-based attacks with more powerful ones that cost PP. It hurts like hell though, which is why a revitalizer is nearby.
    • Played straight however with a huge Mecha-Saturn that was unfortunate enough to be in the Greyface's path.
  • Difficulty Levels: After beating the game, you are told to check the red machine in the intro and type "42" to unlock Hard Mode.
  • Difficulty Spike: Happens momentarily on your first visit to Earth. If you had been keeping up with the game, it forces a minor amount of grinding on you to get money for new items as well as to beat the bosses that are there, otherwise you get crushed.
  • Doomed by Canon: The Applechasers did not stop Giygas in EarthBound. The pieces of the Apple of Enlightenment also will constantly tell them they cannot stop him now, and that only three boys and a girl will be able to do it so the Messenger must go meet one of the boys.
  • Duel Boss: Everyone in your party gets one near the end game.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: Defeating the Foppyig Cosmic Destroyer on Jupiter in the first version, who's much more difficult than Giegue/Giygas, will net you a joke ending that isn't considered canon by the creator. In the second version of the game, this happens if you beat Giegue early in the game.]]
    • [[The Paradox ending allows your party to defeat Giygas, but this causes a Time Crash that erases that timeline.]]
  • Eccentric Townsfolk: Quite a few when you visit Earth.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Mars has one of these.
  • Eldritch Abomination: And how. Unlike EarthBound, you get to see Giegue’s in-between form as he tears himself apart to become Giygas.
    • There is also Gargianthian, the Terror of Space; a space squid (with Eyes Do Not Belong There and Too Many Mouths who is known for eating spaceships. The first time you fight him, you have Niiue and another spaceship backing you up. After that, you're on your own, and you have to drive his HP to zero many times before his corporeal form is destroyed.
      • And then Abominithian is waiting for you in Magicant.
    • Fobbyiyg, the Cosmic Destroyer of Jupiter is the Fobby version Giygas. There was joke ending if you could beat him in version 1.0, and an Infinity+1 Sword if you do in 2.0.
  • Eldritch Location: Niiue sends Alinivar and the rest of the gang into this to distract Giegue while he tells Zarbol where to find the next hero, Ness.
  • Elemental Tiers: Like in EarthBound, PSI attacks come in many different elements and most enemies have resistances and weaknesses to these elements.
  • Enemy Without: Inverted. Niiue was made from Giegue's positive emotions, making him a heroic version of this. In fact, putting them back together is how you get the best ending.
  • Escape Battle Technique: The game has the 4-D Slip PSI, which allows a guaranteed escape from battle. This is especially handy if you are low on HP and need to keep away from fights.
  • Escape Rope: Larice can warp you out of nearly anywhere back into the main ship.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: From a painting in Alinivar’s home to Cacti on Jupiter to newspapers on Earth.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Fling a Light into the Future: Or rather, the past. Whether you save Giegue or not, in most endings Giygas still exists, and Zarbol aka Buzz-Buzz still needs to go back in time to get Ness to start his quest.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: One of the optional bosses in the game is a giant space squid you have to hunt down. When you battle him, he takes up the whole background and his tentacles even grasp the sides of the battle screen.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Due to EarthBound's main villain being Giygas, even if you use PK Harmony to reunite Giegue and Niiue as one being in the Good end, Giegue admits that his insanity will continue to fester and Giygas will proceed to take form. He then helps the heroes escape his mind with Niiue's help. And by the looks of the ending scene, Niiue even gets to come with them.
  • Galactic Conqueror: Guess who.
  • Global Currency: Averted. On any other planet, there is an alien currency to use. But on Earth, you have to beat the local enemies for Dollars.
  • Good Hurts Evil: PK Harmony is used to bring Niiue and Giegue back as one and momentarily bring Giegue's sanity back to the forefront in his mind temporarily.
  • Guest Star Party Member: Niiue, whenever he joins the team. He generally obliterates every standard enemy in your way, and has most of the best healing moves to boot.
  • Guide Dang It: It is possible to miss a few Points of Power on the first run if you don’t explore. Any that could be Lost Forever have been ironed out in the re-release, but returning to Points of Power in Chapter 7 makes those bosses much more powerful but reward you with an Apple of Clarity, an item that gives you a free stat boost to everything but PP.
  • Hate Sink: While Giegue does order his henchmen to do some heinous stuff like attacking a village of innocent civilians, his tragic origins and his ultimate fate garners some sympathy. His minion Greyface however has none of those saving graces. When he isn't mocking the heroes, he's stealing the Apple Pieces the player worked so hard to get. The hate gets hammered home when on Mars, Greyface reprograms Larice to fight his friends which nearly kills him while he escapes from Mars. It's later revealed that Greyface's true identity is Porky unsurprisingly.
  • Hello, Insert Name Here: Besides Col. Saturn. Because Mr. Saturn is Mr. Saturn is…
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Subverted, you can still get Gold Starman to Rare Random Drop the Sword of Kings. However, noone knows what a sword is, much less use one; and so in this game it's Vendor Trash "Sharp-Pointy Thing."
  • Heroic Mime: The leader of the party, whoever it is at the time.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Giegue will attack you in Chapter 1 and Chapter 3, you will not survive. If you beat him in Chapter 3, you will get a Joke Ending similar to that of Earthworm Jim.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The Borange Ray in 2.0, dropped by the Bonus Boss Fobbyiyg the Cosmic Destroyer. A one-handed cannon, stronger than any weapon, hits everyone twice, anyone can equip it, and it inflicts the Insanity effect.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: Though more tragic than ironic. Use PK Harmony on Giygas enough times and he'll start singing parts of the Eight Melodies as his consciousness attempts to fight you.
  • It's Going Down: Happens to Larice when he goes to Saturn and to your spaceship when you first arrive on Earth.
  • Jerkass: Greyface. It seems sort of familiar...
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: To Giegue’s, to try and reach the last of his consciousness within the Maelstrom that is Giygas.
  • Lampshade Hanging: There’s a lot of it here, being a MOTHER game that has a long history of doing that.
  • Lethal Joke Character: A Fobby that claims to be the true Cosmic Destroyer, Fobbyiyg.
  • MacGuffin: The four pieces of the Apple of Enlightenment, scattered from Saturn to Earth.
  • MacGuffin Location: The Points of Power on Saturn and other planets.
  • Made of Explodium: The Mr. Statues, Nuclear Reactor Robots and Smilin’ Spheres. note 
  • Magic Meteor: One lands in front of Alinivar’s cave. Guess where you get supplies for the Phase Distorter to reach the final battle.
  • Mechanistic Alien Culture: The Starmen. They were forced into it.
  • Mental World: Niiue has his own version of Magicant that he visits regularly. Even some forms of the Applechasers make it there, although it turns out this is actually Giegue's mind since he and Niiue are one and the same.
  • Mirror Boss: Alinivar battles one of these. Reflecto, as his name implies, reflects your choices made in the game, from choosing whether or not to blow up one of the space ships to choosing whether or not to become Mech Alinivar. He has your PSI, he looks like Alinivar normally with his guitar and everything.
  • Money Spider: Everything in this game that can kill you.
  • Monster Town: There are friendly towns of the monsters of the game throughout the planets. Mooks live on Saturn, Wooly Bullys live on Pluto, etc.
  • Mooks: Your group is made of them from the previous games, even literally.
  • Multiple Endings: Many of them.
    • Normal End: Alinivar's group manages to fight back Giygas long enough for Zarbol to go back to the past to warn Ness about him, but they end up losing the final battle and Niiue laments that this wasn't how he envisioned it would go, and asks you, the player, to see them again and to not let them die next time.
    • Good End: You use PK Harmony to bring Giygas down from his chaotic insanity and restore him temporarily to his natural form of Giegue, who then helps Niiue transport the party out of the Maelstrom of his mind. This still leads to the events of EarthBound, however, the chaos of Giygas still exists, and Zarbol must still sacrifice himself.
    • Secret End, Severance: If you manage to get all five Reboot Orbs into Giegue's ship, you discover some past things with Maria. You also need both Niiues to survive the initial encounter with Giegue in his mind, and at the end of it all Giegue's core personality is pulled away from what is now Giygas as a child again.
    • Time Paradox. Use a Knowledge Stone to grant "Song" to Niuee, and use it against Giygas. This sinks you deeper into Giygas psyche, and you fight his aspects. Winning this fight "should not have happened" and erases the future timeline.
    • Joke End: Using the hammer item nets this ending.
    • Joke End Two: You beat Geigue in Chapter 3.
  • Non Standard Skill Learning: Alinivar and Colonel Saturn learn some of their PSI from the Points of Powers instead of leveling up.
    • Larice also learns PSI through Discs rather than leveling up.
      • Knowledge Stones can also grant one special ability to each player character, including Niuee.
  • NPC Roadblock: Happens twice, once when the Mr. Saturns and Mooks are protesting in front of an essential roadway, blocking Alinivar’s way forward, and once in Magicant when Colonel Saturn needs to get by robots blocking his path. Both are cleared by a special device meant just for the occasion, the Buzzin' Crowdbuster.
  • Ominous Message from the Future: Zarbol is sent to give this to Ness.
  • Only One Name: Everyone except Zarbol, AKA Buzz Buzz.
  • Palette Swap: Several enemies are color swapped from the series to be new enemies in the game, and some original enemies like the Mr. Sickos are colored red as Mr. Psychos.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: A few people on Earth can see right through the party's disguises and know they are aliens. One person even asks to be abducted!
  • Place of Power: The Points of Power on different planets.
  • The Player Is The Most Important Resource: Niiue thanks you personally for helping the party and telling Alinivar to use PK Harmony at the right moment.
  • Point of No Return: After you use the Phase Distorter the second time.
  • Psychic Powers: This is a MOTHER game after all. Alinivar gets his from the Apple of Enlightenment.
    • Each character gets more the more Points of Power they visit.
    • Larice receives all of his through Discs that can be bought or found. All but Starstorm anyway
  • Quirky Towns: Mars is the only planet that lacks one, while all the other planets get some forms of life. Even Uranus with its stormy surface instead have a gas station where you can fuel up and talk to patrons.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: A Mook, a Mr. Saturn, an escapee Starman and a space bug in a UFO.
  • Random Encounters: Averted until Alinivar and the gang visit Magicant themselves in a world based on the original MOTHER game’s Magicant.
  • Raygun Gothic: The Starmen and other robots, naturally.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Giegue as he starts to deteriorate into Giygas at the end of the game.
  • Save Point: Mixed between phone calls to your cave/home base/spaceship, an NPC in your space ship, and various frogs around. There are even Fuzzy Frogs, an Ascended Glitch that allows you to save anywhere in the game by using them up from your inventory.
  • Scenery Gorn: Some parts of Niiue's Magicant are severely corrupted, essentially looking like Giygas in dungeon form. It starts making sense once you discover how Niiue and Giygas are connected.
  • Sdrawkcab Name: The Raeb Yddet and Sky Yddet return in Magicant.
  • Sequel Hook: Naturally, as a mid-quel to MOTHE Rs 1 and 2.
  • Shoutout:
  • Spell Levels: Greek letter tiers for the PSI attacks.
  • Standard Status Effect: Averted with the Insanity status effect. It causes members of your party to start attacking each other and eventually die if they don’t get healed.
  • Stat Meters: Time meters for turns to attack, and a Fuel meter for when you're traveling through space.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: Niiue assumes that Giegue will calm down when he gets the Apple and starts looking into it to see his future. It all promptly goes to hell after that.
  • Take Your Time: Except for one instance where you need to help Larice escape Giegue's damaged space craft in a timed event.
  • Talking Frog: *hop* Save your game?
  • Talking to Themself: Giegue does this quite literally by forcing all his positive memories and almost all emotion into another being: Niiue.
  • Title Drop: At the end of the game, Niiue explains that he is actually Giegue's positive memories and emotions that had been forced out through the power of PSI into a seperate physical being, to try and be rid of them. He explains that it really is the most literal form of being at war with yourself. Cognitive Dissonance.
  • Tortured Monster: As Giygas begins to take form, you can see Giegue being pulled apart by the chaotic forces of his PSI, already losing his mind.
  • Trauma Inn: Averted; restoration pods, beds and hotels heal you, but you have to talk to Dr. Saturn to get rid of status effects.
  • Units Not to Scale
  • Updated Re-release: The game has been remade by the same maker along with some artistic help from someone else. It has been rebalanced, many sprites have been improved, the game itself was expanded, original music and more endings were added.
  • Wackyland: Magicant, both in its familiar pink fluffy cloud form from MOTHER and the fact it all takes place in Giegue's head.
  • The Watcher: Cerue, a member of Giegue's race, has a hidden base on Mercury where she observes life in the Solar System. She can't interfere with Giegue and apologizes for this, but she does give access to a Reboot Orb and will teach Alinvar Lifeup Omega. She also has People Jars, but the non-malevolent, intelligent specimens she has say they enjoy it.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Giegue, due to his backstory in MOTHER and this game.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Both Giegue and Niiue have these kinds of abilities.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: On Saturn before Bowfest '8X, you play as Zarbol and another insectoid in a UFO named Boson, who is bringing the group their instruments to play for the crowd. As Colonel Saturn approaches them and says they are nearly ready to play, a fanboy Shambler approaches them and tells the Colonel that his own hat is off and fights them for the chance to play at their own show. After he gets trounced, he says they'd make an acceptable cover band.
    "... That dude is whack."

to exist happily in this time, it must surely flow backward