YMMV: EarthBound

  • 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 has some of the highest quality songs for the Super Nintendo, if not one of the best of the 16-bit generation.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Mondo Mole, but only if paralyzed.
  • Big Lipped Alligator Moment: Even by this series's standards, anytime the Photography Man shows up. Granted, even though the photos he takes appears in the ending credits, the game gives no explanation as to why or how he's taking photos of your party, not to mention where he comes from or how he can fly to and fro out of nowhere.
  • Breather Level: Pink Cloud's enemies are pretty easy, even more so thanks to the Franklin Badge. While the mood of the place itself is anything but, Threed's enemies are easier to handle as you and Paula have more than likely soaked up plenty of experience catching her up to Ness.
  • Cult Classic: Is it ever. To the point where it is granted Immunity To Criticism.
  • 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.
      • You can actually ignore the Territorial Oaks exploding in the first part, since (as long as you are fighting the Territorial Oak in a 1v1 fight, or take out the other Peaceful Rest Valley enemies before focusing on the Oak) you can easily end the battle before you take too much damage by mashing the A button on the results screen.
    • 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 we 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.
      • On the positive side, all this just hammers in how Ness must be going through, having to confront the fears in his mind. Which just makes the conclusion all the more satisfying since you can really feel like you've overcame a difficult task.
      • 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.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Compare Tony's relevance to the plot to his appearance in fan art and fan fiction.
    • Fobbies are probably the most popular enemies.
    • Don't forget Mister Saturn, zoom zoom.
    • The Runaway Five's antics, jazz concerts, and their helping you in many occasions made them well liked enough that they gained substitutes in Mother3 as the DCMC.
  • Epic Riff: The phasing synth riff from Kraken of the Sea. When fighting Pokey, after the 55-second mark, what had been an upbeat chiptune thus far, suddenly turns into the thrashiest,, most intense heavy metal riff that the SNES can muster.
  • Epileptic Trees: The long running Giygas/Fetus/Abortion "theory", albeit with a single grain of truth involved.note  Just to clarify, the final battle takes place between Mother, where Giygas was a full-grown alien, and the start of EarthBound.
  • Even Better Sequel: To the original MOTHER. The battle system is much better, the enemy encounter rate is more reasonable, among other improvements.
  • Evil Is Cool: Hinted at as to why Porky agreed to work for Giygas. Yes, really, that's his stake in everything. To be cooler than Ness.
  • Fandom Berserk Button: The Giygas Fetus theory.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • It's not uncommon for Ness to become homesick and miss turns during battle. The only way to cure that is to speak to his mother. Good thing this doesn't happen to Lucas in Mother 3.
    • Also, see the first Hilarious in Hindsight example below.
  • Game Breaker:
    • 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.
  • Goddamned Bats: Those trees those trees those trees...those suicidal, exploding trees...
    • Any mushroom enemy that inflicts Mushroomization. Which is nearly all of them.
    • Earlier on: Goddamned thieving 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... about that...
  • Ho Yay: Between Jeff and Tony. It's mostly one-sided on the latter's part, as he was confirmed to be gay by the creator.
    • There's also this often-overlooked line from a boy in the clubhouse in Onett:
      "You're beginning to look like a man. You're so cool! I... I think I really like you. Well, you know what I mean."
  • It's Easy, so It Sucks: Averted. EarthBound is almost as easy as Chrono Trigger, but the game is so bizarre and fun that hardly anyone complains.
  • 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.
  • Memetic Badass: Jeff Andonuts.
  • Memetic Molester: A molestee in this case, Giygas.
    • Also, Lier X. Agerate, at least, that's the vibe he gives off when he asks Ness to follow him deep into his basement, alone.
  • Memetic Mutation: "You cannot grasp the true form" of Giygas' attack!
    • Giygas himself. Whenever there's a scary Mind Screw on the internet, Giygas is usually mentioned.
  • Memetic Sex God: Prince Poo, quite possibly in universe if all the flirty girls are any indication.
  • Misaimed Marketing: "This game stinks!". Basically, most of the American marketing tried to portray the game as a Grossout Show, even using smelly scratch-and-sniff cards. While EarthBound is certainly strange, it's really not gross at all. Some fans even think that the inaccurate marketing contributed to the game's disappointing sales when it was first released in America. note  Nowadays, the old Tag Line is used as a joke among players and fans. Even Nintendo mentioned the old scratch-and-sniff cards on a Nintendo Direct broadcast.
  • 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.
  • Moe: To be honest, most characters, especially the kids qualify, but Paula's sweet disposition, her obvious feelings for Ness, and her status as the team's psychic powerhouse makes her a standout example.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The satisfying sizzle and crack of PK Starstorm colliding into an enemy. Also, the cathartic pop as you instantly k.o a weak monster, followed by the triumphantly trilling trumpet tune.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Pokey Minch crosses it at the end when he unleashes Giygas to bring the universe into darkness.
    • Though you barely get to know the guy, and it happens very early in, there's still no going back after Porky's mom kills Buzz Buzz.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Giygas. NESS NESS NESS NESS NESS NESS NESS NESS NESS.
    • "Paula's prayer was absorbed by the darkness!"
    • 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 word: Ambush!
    • Moonside.
    • The Cave of the Past.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Though he's talked up all throughout the game, you never see Giygas itself until the final battle. For better or worse, it's easily the most well-known 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.
    • Buzz Buzz himself only appears a few minutes early in the game before being unceremoniously killed yet he's also a source for Epileptic Trees for his identity.
  • The Scrappy: The Photography Man, to some. He'll interrupt the game, sometimes next to enemies, to force you though about 60 seconds of "dialogue", dialogue that never changes after the second time he appears.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • "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.
    • Condiments to some. Not only are they impractical because said space they take up could better be used for another healing item, as well as generally taking up precious inventory space, it's all too easy to forget you have one in your inventory if you don't immediately drop it and end up accidentally wasting one of your healing items since they activate whenever you use a food item, regardless if it would work well with said item.
  • 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 don't know it's the second game in a series, about MOTHER 1, let alone Mother 3)
  • Signature Scene: Mainly because it stands out so much from the rest of the game, the final battle with Giygas is easily the most well-known part by those that have not played EarthBound.
    • The moment when you've completed the Sanctuaries, and hear the complete melody of the Sound Stone while a flashback to Ness as an infant plays in the background is spellbinding. All before you enter Ness's Magicant.
    • Trippy as it is, both scenes where you're prompted to stop, relax, and have a cup of coffee while you reflect on both victories and hardship is rather sweet. Weather it's from feels or confusion, it remains a pretty memorable scene. Being set to a gentle but uplifting song helps.
  • 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." Many Beatles influences as well. The rest theme upon waking the party playing the first few chords of Good Morning from Sargent Pepper. The trumpet of All You Need is Love is distorted with reverb and acts as late-game dungeon music. And back to Sargent Pepper, the percussion used for Dungeon Man while he walks is the same drum sample in the album's reprise. Lastly, one lesser known example is the Cave of the Past. You know, the desolate, haunting bgm? that comes from a Beach Boys song Of all things; deirdre. The theme is a sample of the first 4 seconds of dense vocal harmony, merely pitch-shifted and slowed down until it's hard to identify unless you've heard the song. In short, the composers must have a thing for 50s and 60s American hit singles, makes sense, given the setting.
  • Tear Jerker:
    • When you play Mother 1, and discover Giygas's origins, you just might feel sorry for him. Almost.
    • They killed Buzz Buzz!
    • 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.
    • Let's just say the final song of the game, "Smiles and Tears"" describes the ending perfectly.
  • That One 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.
    • The Department Store in Fourside. All the monsters there have ridiculous offense at that point in the game, especially the Scalding Coffee Cups, which attack your entire party. 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. 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.
    • 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.
  • Toy Ship: Ness and Paula; Tony and Jeff.
  • Uncanny Valley: The Ego Orb. Just look at it.
  • 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". Once you actually get to Giygas the lack of anything resembling a physical body leaves the situation completely ambiguous to anyone who didn't play Mother 1, which is almost everyone. 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.
  • Watch It for the Meme: Many gamers first heard about this game from Super Smash Bros., but what made some of them curious to play it was the infamous Giygas battle which became hot on the internet.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: For all its happy-go-lucky goofiness, Earthbound gets notoriously dark sometimes. What other SNES game can you think of that involves stuff like religious fanaticism, police brutality, rape symbolism, dismemberment, and a nightmare-inducing Eldritch Abomination? Then again, many fan agree that this is one of the games best features.
  • Woolseyism: 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. A lot of the Japanese wordplay had to either be repurposed with an English equivalent or thrown out for and replaced with a joke that fit the situation. 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").