• Accidental Innuendo: "Just like your Mom, you never want to stop."
  • Awesome Music: Plenty, but see The Power of Rock for more...
  • Cult Classic: Like the rest of its series, although much less so than its sequels.
  • Demonic Spiders: Nearly everything on Holy Loly Mountain.
    • The suits of armor in the ghost house in Halloween hit like a freight train compared to the other enemies found there, and take far longer to kill.
  • Disappointing Last Level: Honestly, you could rename the trope Mt. Itoi Syndrome and get the same effect. The testers ran out of time and the only feasible way to get to the final boss is hours of tedious, dangerous grind.
  • Epileptic Trees: Like its successors, a magnet for these, especially concerning Giygas. The backstory is more implied than spelled out, leaving plenty of room for interpretation. Same thing with most of the setting, like Duncan Factory.
  • Ear Worm: The beloved and oft-remixed Pollyanna, I believe In You. Makes sense, it's a very upbeat tune that plays in overworld when Ninten's a solo party.
  • Fan Nickname: Before the official character names were known by the English-speaking fandom (as the characters were unnamed in the original manual save for Ninten in screenshots), players somehow came up with the name "Jack" for Teddy, and considered the other three Ness, Jeff and Paula. This didn't last long, although coicidentally before the release of MOTHER 2, Itoi stated that he wanted it to be ambiguous as to whether those characters were the same ones from the first MOTHER.
  • Faux Symbolism: Queen Mary, the ruler of a kingdom that appears to be a Fluffy Cloud Heaven. Plus she's the great-grandmother of the game's hero, Ninten.
  • Goddamned Bats: Plenty of these, too, especially since you can't skip low-level encounters like you can in the sequels.
  • Heartwarming/Hilarious in Hindsight: Shigesato Itoi was known to smoke a lot. The Crow smoked in the original release, but after the unreleased English version Bowdlerized that, the change was also in MOTHER 1+2. Near the time MOTHER 1+2 was released, Itoi quit smoking.
  • It's Hard, so It Sucks: The heavy grinding and less forgiving dungeon design common to early RPG's is the main thing that tends to turn even hardcore MOTHER fans off from playing it. To the point when Tomato finished his Fan Translation of the game, he hacked in the Easy Ring which increases experience gained and decreases enemy encounter rates, literally the first item available in the game to help new players.
  • It Was His Sled: Like the sequel, the Final Boss is the most well known part of the game.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Giygas loved Maria very much, but was forced to lead the Earth invasion by his people for vengeance on George for stealing their information. He apparently killed her in attempt to get rid of his deep feelings of love for her, but that didn't work.
  • Memetic Badass: Pippi. Considering who she's based on, it's not really surprising.
  • Most Annoying Sound: Giygas' battle "theme" which consists entirely of this high-pitched 8-bit squeal. Of course, this was intentionally the point.
  • Narm Charm: The official licensed English album is well-composed and produced, especially for its time. The lyrics however, can be seen as cheesy and overly peppy, particularly the rendition of "Pollyanna". Performing at the age of 14, Catherine Warwick's delivery is rendered slightly incomprehensible by the production with a noticeable accent. And yet, she sings with utter conviction and sincerity, capturing the childlike innocence like nothing else could have, and is precisely why it's considered the definitive theme of the series.
  • Player Punch: Giygas begs you repeatedly to stop when you fight him and start singing the lullaby.
  • Polished Port: The MOTHER 1 part of MOTHER 1+2 is much more accurate of a port (and even received some updates) than the lower-quality MOTHER 2 side of it was. Despite this, it was MOTHER 2 that was the focus of the game's commercials.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: The battle system may be the sole reason why this game is less popular than its sequels outside of Japan, as it's just a bad Dragon Quest clone in terms of gameplay. (Remember that the reason Itoi decided to make a video game in the first place is because he played Dragon Quest, so the similarity is inevitable.)
    • The fact that random NPCs can give Ninten a cold, which acts like poison and can only be gotten rid of by a trip to the doctor or some Mouthwash (which you can't buy until you reach Snowman.)
  • Sequel Displacement: Despite being the first game in the series, it's the most obscure. Notice how Ness, Lucas, Porky, and various references to their games are in the Super Smash Bros. series, but all this game gets is some music (most of which are used in all three games, or at least EarthBound) and a few stickers in Brawl. Oddly enough thought, it's the MOTHER version of Magicant that appears as a stage in the fourth game rather than EarthBound.
  • That One Boss: The game has only a handful of bosses, but the Dragon in Magicant stands out for his powerful normal attacks and devastating PSI. Even with a PSI-Block from Ana, it's still a very challenging fight.
  • That One Level: Holy Loly Mountain due to the Difficulty Spike. Duncan Factory to some due to it's massive size.
  • Woolseyism: Many of the (Itoi-approved) changes Nintendo of America made in the unreleased American version, including the run button and an epilogue, were added to the game in MOTHER 1+2, a GBA port of this game and EarthBound.

Alternative Title(s):

Earthbound Zero