These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Awesome Music: The game has a superb soundtrack and picking just one depends on your mood at the time. Whether the touching melody of the sound stone, the awesome battle music, or the groovy tunes of the Runaway Five, EarthBound's music is very high quality.
Demonic Spiders: Most notably, the Territorial Oaks on the way to Peaceful Rest Valley. You see, when you defeat these things, they explode. Now, later in the game, they'll explode on one character, and the characters next to him will receive smaller damage. But here, Ness gets it all. And explosions HURT, usually doing enough damage to kill Ness in this early part of the game. Fortunately for Ness (and the player), he is a Determinator (see Video Game tab). Fortunately, you get another party member to help fight them afterwards.
Almost everything in the occupied Department Store and Moonside are this; to make things worse, you don't have Paula at this point. Special mentions go to the Dali's Clock (which can freeze time mid-hit to get free strings of attacks) and the infamous Scalding Coffee Cup.
The Care Free Bombs near the entrance to the Sea of Eden. They only have around 500 HP, which is on the low end of average at this point in the game, but they have solid defenses and no exploitable weaknesses, meaning that nothing short of a Bag of Dragonite or a lucky strike with PSI Rockin Omega is going to get rid of them quickly. Now here's the fun part: they do NOTHING but chuck Bombs and Super Bombs at you every turn. These are defense-ignoring, 100% accurate, splash damage-inflicting attacks that regularly do north of 300 damage. Did I mention that you meet these little bastards in an area of the game where you're down to just Ness and your meat-shield buddy Flying Man (who's not going to live to see the end of the next round if you meet one)? One is bad news. Two is a game over waiting to happen.
From the same part of the game, there are the Loaded Dice. The only thing they do is call other enemies to the field; unfortunately, they tend to be things like the aforementioned Care Free Bombs, and Uncontrollable Spheres (which explode when killed). As you can see, the situation can quickly escalate beyond your control if he's not killed in at least the first two rounds.
The saving grace with things that go out with a bang is whether or not you continuously mash the A button to scroll the text (as a lot of players do). Combined with the rolling HP counters your characters have and the player's insistence on speeding through the text, this can minimize the damage done. Pro-tip: save things you know explode on death for last, as that's usually their whole shtick (such as the Oaks).
Ear Worm: Hell, any of them! But just try to get the Onett theme out of your head.
Epileptic Trees: The long running Giygas/Fetus/Abortion "theory", albeit with a single grain of truth involved.note That being the inspiration for Giygas was the sick, disgusting feelings that Itoi felt upon accidentally seeing a certain scene in a movie. Most believe he remembered it as a rape scene, but the interview where he mentioned this didn't specifically say, and the movie believed to be one he saw didn't actually contain any rape. Just to clarify, the final battle takes place between Mother, where Giygas was a full-grown alien, and the start of EarthBound.
To further elaborate, the theory revolves around the background image in the later phases of the Giygas fight looking like a child in its mother's womb. The "YOU WERE SENT BACK IN TIME TO ABORT A FETUS" element was introduced later. note For a really in-depth analysis of the theory as a whole, go here, but beware of spoilers.
The Rock Candy + Sugar Packet trick. (Ab)Using this leads to characters with erroneously higher stats than they normally would have. If Fridge Brilliance sets in, getting kids hyped up on sugar would totally add a new level of depth to the game.
Multi Bottle Rockets. As a payoff for their immense power, they were intended to be too expensive to buy in large amounts, but by the time you can buy them, this is simply not the case. Jeff can kill almost any boss in a single hit with them, and they are even more powerful than the Bag of Dragonite, of which there are only 6. They are even stronger when combined with the Rabbit's Foot, as their strength is relative to Jeff's speed. They do, however, 1/7 of the normal damage on Porky's Arachnid Machine and has a very high chance of not working at all on Giygas.
Any mushroom enemy that inflicts Mushroomization. Which is nearly all of them.
Earlier on: Goddamned crows!
Very far into the game, the Nuclear Reactor Robots. These things can fully heal themselves every turn, and explode when they are defeated, dealing huge amounts of damage. Couple that with some other enemies in the same area..
Hilarious in Hindsight: At the end of the game, you can go back to Onett and read the newspaper. Among other things, an article in the paper says "Police Captain finishes EarthBound, asks, "Where's the sequel?". Well...
It Was His Sled: Owing primarily to Memetic Mutation among other factors, Giygas's appearance and the inability to grasp the true form thereof - something hardly even hinted at until one actually reaches the final battle - are probably far more well-known than any other aspect of the game aside from Ness.
Mis-blamed: No, the decision to not export the games wasn't because Nintendo hated NA and EU. While at the same time, the lackluster sales and mixed reception of the second game (the only one to receive and official release in NA at least) probably left a bad taste in Nintendo's mouth, there were also a lot of other legal problems involving the music potentially violating copyright. That, and the series was in general plagued with late release dates - even the second game was relatively late in the Super Nintendo's lifespan. Main difference was that it wasn't released when the systems' next successor was already out.
Th-the Boogey Tent...it's bad enough as-is, but isn't there a slit in between its jaws, and around that, the inside of his mouth colored slightly differently? Like there's something inside his mouth that he just hasn't swallowed yet?
One-Scene Wonder: Though he's talked up all throughout the game, you never see Giygas's true form until the final battle. It's probably the most memorable part about the game.
Aloysius Minch shows up in exactly three scenes over the course of the game, two of them being optional, but he's still one of the most hated characters in the entire series. Lardna Minch is just as reviled as Aloysius, despite showing up even less. During their brief moments of screentime, both of them come off as unlikeable, greedy, abusive parents. Bonus points go towards Lardna for killing Buzz Buzz.
"Homesickness" can be an inconvenience at certain parts of the game. There's no way of telling when Ness will get it, and if the symptoms pop up during a major battle, you're probably screwed. At least with other pain-in-the-butt status ailments like Mushroomization or Diamondization an experienced player can know what to expect and how to avoid it, but with this? No chance.
Mushroomization is a status ailment that can't be cured without walking back to town. Since it can cause party members to randomly target each other instead of the enemy (with often lethal results), you can't ignore it. But the main feature of the ailment is an Interface Screw that makes walking around annoyingly difficult, so that trudge back to the hospital can leave you with all your hair pulled out.
Scrappy Level: The Third Sanctuary is one, mostly thanks to a large number of mushroom enemies that attack before the party can move and that are hard to take out in one shot with fire attacks at the normal level you encounter them. And you don't even get to sell the mushrooms for $50 at the nearest hospital.
Sequel Displacement: Despite being the second game in the trilogy, EarthBound is by far the most well-known thanks to being the only one to get an American release. (It's also rather standalone enough that people didn't know about MOTHER.)
Somewhere, an Entomologist Is Crying: Skelpions are skeletal scorpion enemies you may encounter in the desert areas. This is in spite of the fact that scorpions have exoskeletons, not endoskeletons like depicted. Granted, this is one of the least strange parts about the game.
Suspiciously Similar Song: The Chaos Theater's bass line and melody sound almost the same as the bass line and guitar portion from The Doors' song "Cars Hiss by My Window" while the Runaway Five, who first appear there, play a song resembling the song "The Changeling," also by the same band. In a similar manner, the song that plays during battles with Frank Fly and New Age Retro Hippies is very, very similar to Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode."
When Jeff meets his dad for the first time in ten years, it is painfully awkward. Especially sad if you've been through something like that yourself.
That One Level: The Department Store in Fourside. All the monsters there have ridiculous offense at that point in the game, especially the coffee cups which attack Ness and Jeff. And there are so many of them and are way too tricky to evade. It's so hard, the first several times through, you might not even make it to the boss, and even then you might lose to him as well.
Making matters even worse, this is at the point where Paula gets kidnapped and you are left without your PSI powerhouse to help you through the level. Also the enemies not only can be paired in such a way that they can TPK your crew in a few hits by putting both your party members to sleep and then whittling your HP down to nothing, this scenario can occur the instant you step off an escalator with literally no possible chance of avoiding it as the enemies will swarm you while you're still riding it. Yippie.
Really, almost everything from Fourside's department store up to the point you rescue Paula is painfully difficult. After the aforementioned department store, you're soon treated to Moonside, which is jam-packed with nonsensical enemies that have incredibly powerful attacks. Gas pumps that throw bombs, fire plugs that do more damage than the bombs, dali clocks that randomly do continuous attacks - hope you bought a lot of double burgers! The Monotoli Building isn't nearly as difficult as either the store or Moonside, but that's not to say it's easy, especially considering the boss at the end.
Viewer Gender Confusion: Believe it or not... Giygas. Giygas is referred to as "he" throughout the game, but an addition to being an alien, an NPC even remarks that they can't be sure of "his" gender because no one has ever seen "him". Adding to the confusion, the work of a certain Japanese fan has begun a proliferation or fan art featuring Giygas as female.
Vindicated by History: In 1995, EarthBound had poor sales and received mixed reviews from critics in North America. Today, it's regarded as one of the greatest RPGs for the SNES and one of the best games of the 1990s.
Barring the Bowdlerisation, this game had a really good localization. For example, the fan favourite enemy New-Age Retro Hippie, often cited for his quirkiness and hilarious name, was originally just 'Carefree Man' in Japanese. Most localization edits (both for the good and for the bad) are covered in depth here. At least one change makes sense, since instead of "Cafe", the JP version had "Bar"s. Kids aren't allowed in Bars in America, you know, (Well, maybe a Bar and Grille...)
One of the cultists in the Happy Happy Village was shivering in fear ("buru buru", which sounds a lot like their chant) in the Japanese version. In the localization, he's trying to whistle instead ("blew blew").