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Nightmare Fuel / Mother
aka: Earth Bound

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Inside the mailbox was absolutely nothing.
Nothing after nothing came bursting out.

It may look like another innocent series made by Nintendo... But it's far worse than the outside implies, and delving deep into its subconscious may end up driving you mad. Case in point and putting it short, it might just be the darkest Nintendo series to date, and that's saying a lot.

The first game, MOTHER / EarthBound Beginnings, has its own page here.

As Moment Pages are Spoilers Off, all spoilers will be unmarked. You Have Been Warned.

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    MOTHER 2/EarthBound 

  • Poo's Mu Training. You're controlling an unfamiliar character who is told to go attend a training session. The training initiates a battle, where an outline of a stylized Chinese-ancestor head appears. It then proceeds to (all in text, mind you) break your legs, tear off your arms, cut off your ears, and take away your eyes. Worst of all, before each step, it asks for confirmation. After each step, your health drops. When you lose your ears, the music cuts off. When your eyes are gone, the whole screen goes blank. The final step reminds the player that all they have remaining to them is their mind—which they are then asked to give up as well.
    • The Japanese version is even scarier; where in English the spirit informs you that he will "I shall steal your sight," in Japanese he says he will "crush your eyeballs." See here for the comparison between the Japanese and English versions.
  • Wait through the logos for Nintendo, Ape (now Creatures), and Halken (now just HAL Laboratories). Eerie red static flashes on the screen, with an quiet, high-pitched noise, and as the flashing slows down, we see a scene of UFOs shooting lightning at a city. Does This Remind You of Anything? Cue Scare Chord.
  • Really, there are some pretty unnerving tunes in this game. Most of it has to do with creating an otherworldly-effect on the atmosphere of certain parts; a good example would be Alien Invasion.
    • The music in Porky's House is pretty scary as well. It starts off normally... then dissolves into cacophonic noises, then a weird carousel theme, and back to the start. It gives the feeling of walking through a house and realizing something is very messed up. Given how abusive the Minch parents are and how unhinged their older son is, it's rather fitting.
    • Some players may be frightened when they hear Whoops! which plays during the Threed Hotel ambush and Magic Cake scenes.
  • The Mani-Mani Statue spreads Giygas' influence to plants, animals, and people with questionable intentions, hence why there are humans that attack you. Porky comes from an abusive household, often being physically and emotionally mistreated by both of his parents, and all he ever wanted in life was love from someone, anyone. Seeing as Porky usually shows up wherever the Mani-Mani Statue is, it's easy to make the connection as to why he acts the way he does and why he tries to make Ness' life a living nightmare; his mental health had declined so much that he became an easy target of Giygas' evil influence.
    • The whole concept of the Mani-Mani Statue itself is unsettling. It's a device that is able to control plants and animals into turning violent, and shows people with desires of power illusions, thus making them susceptible to Giygas' influence. It's downright chilling to think what someone with an ambition big enough can do once they have fallen under Giygas' evil influence, and the series shows us just that with Porky.
  • Threed, anyone? Up until this point, the game has been pretty cheery, and then it drops you into a dark, zombie-infested nightmare where the undead can occasionally even be found walking around near the usually "safe" areas of town. Sure, it's all Played for Laughs, but try telling that to a kid.
    • Not to mention think of the people in the town, they are in a town that is always night, zombies are roaming around, people with Jack-o-lanterns for heads are causing trouble, living dummies pop out from nowhere and chase you, and everyone is literally trapped there. Threed is a living hell.
  • The penultimate level of the game, where your party returns to Onett to find that Giygas's invasion has begun. The whole city is dark and all of the buildings are locked; while the aliens haven't gotten to the town yet, it's only a matter of time.
  • Happy Happy Village in general is pretty eerie. The presence of the religious cult in the town makes every one act unnaturally happy and strangely obsessed with the color blue. The creepy music in the town alone sets the mood perfectly, telling you things definitely are not right here. The creepy hooded cult members don't help matters.
  • In the Lost Underworld, Ego Orbs can be this, especially on first sight. They move really fast, much faster than the Chomposaur or Wetnosaur. Like most enemies, they can also detect you if they're even partially on-screen, catching careless players off guard, as well as giving them a nasty surprise. Lastly, there's their faces, which easily fall into Uncanny Valley territory and make them suddenly darting toward your position from off-screen all the startling. How would you react if this made a beeline for you?
  • The final area of the game, the Cave of the Past, an eerie and melancholic place with a gray fog covering all the place. You find powerful enemies that easily can one-shot half of your party. The music is extremely minimal, and (besides the enemies, all of which are represented by diamond-shaped objects instead of the normal, unique enemy sprites you've seen throughout most of the game) there aren't any characters and only one recharge station, way at the beginning of the area. Then you find the cave where the Devil's Machine lies, at the end of a fleshy, intestine-like corridor, and the whole thing seems to be breathing and pulsating with life.
    • How do Ness and his friends get there? In the words of Dr. Andonuts himself, life is demolished in the process of time travelling, which is the reason why he transfers their "brain programs" to robotic bodies so they can travel, while their bodies stay behind, without any guarantee that their spirits will come back to their bodies; this thought can be very terrifying because this means Ness and company are making the greatest sacrifice by renouncing their human bodies, go around in robotic bodies unable to feel pain or anything, and even if they manage to win and come back to the present, they still might be stuck in their robotic bodies forever. Fortunately, it doesn't happen. Upon Giygas' defeat, their spirits go back to their human bodies.
    • The present-day version of the cave has a bit of creepiness of its own. After exploring the Lost Underworld, you walk in to this strange cave where you can't do anything, and the only thing that keeps you company is this creepy, discordant, almost mocking "song". It's more unsettling than outright scary, especially since it's possible to wander in here earlier than you're meant to.
  • Desert Wolves cause a lot of Fridge Horror. Not only do their battle sprites show them constantly drooling despite living in a desert, but they can attack with poisonous fangs even though wolves aren't venomous. The only sensible conclusion is that they're rabid.
  • Last but certainly not least is the one that everyone knows about - Giygas. Put simply, he is generally agreed to be the single most terrifying Nintendo villain in all of the company's history, which, considering Nintendo's track record, says quite a bit. He is, of course, the most terrifying part of the game, not to mention the most memorable. After having spent the entire game fighting cartoonish monsters with baseball bats and frying pans, Ness and his friends are now fighting an Eldritch Abomination with a terrifying, amorphous visage that looks like a demonic, ghostly hurricane with a warped, screaming face. The creepy, amorphous, jarring background music (and the dialogue inspired by the creator's trauma of catching a glimpse of a murder scene, which he thought was a rape scene, in a movie as a young child) only adds to this. The fact that most of the rest of the game is so childlike and cartoonish only makes this more frightening, because it seems so out of place.
    • Some of said dialogue. He claims to be happy among his irrational babbling.
    Giygas: Ness... ah, grrr, ohhh... I feel... g...o...o...d.............
    • Not to mention when he starts calling out your name repeatedly...
    • Of course, this bit...
    Giygas: It's not right... not right... not right...
  • Think of it this way. Even after Ness and co. have fought powerful monsters, grown stronger, and even after Ness defeated his inner evil and got that massive level-up, this abomination is so horrifically powerful that all they can do is pray for help.
  • In spite of you defeating him through The Power of Love and Prayer, Giygas constantly says, "It Hurts" as you attack him. Even if he is a horrific evil abomination that threatens to destroy the universe and you are killing him with Incorruptible Pure Pureness, it still kind of makes you question yourself.
  • With praying being your only hope, one could mistake Giygas as a demon, what with the red coloration and the sheer horror that is his appearance.
  • Probably one of the terrifying parts of the battle comes from a small bit of flavor dialogue: just before Paula prays for the last time (which is when you come in), she gets no response from anybody.
    Paula's call was absorbed by the darkness.
  • Not to mention: when you finally defeat Giygas, the visual and audio distortions get worse and louder until they peak, then everything instantly blips out like a TV set turned off. It's jarring, to say the least.
  • Giygas gets even worse if you've played or are familiar with MOTHER/Earthbound Origins. He was once an alien creature who was adopted by a human who he genuinely loved. However, his conflicting loyalty to his species who sought revenge for humanity stealing the secrets of their technology from them and his love for his adoptive mother caused him to undergo catastrophic Sanity Slippage. The Giygas American players are more familiar with is the end result of Giygas' incredible PSI powers collapsing in on themselves due to his mental conflict until an amorphous Almighty Idiot was all that remained. With that being said, his "It's not right" line might just be the last rational part of Giygas horrified at what he's become, provided it isn't just his madness echoing it endlessly, no longer knowing what it means.

    MOTHER 3 
  • Mother 3 would have a terrifying scene at the final boss fight, but it is cut off. You still can see the unused scenes by special code if you dare...
    • Note that some people think they are unused bosses, but Itoi has said in an interview that they are just unused backgrounds.
    • You can view a fan concept of what the unused backgrounds and cutscenes would have been like here. Again, if you dare.
    • According to Itoi, the final battle was supposed to be a nightmarish sequence similar to the fight against Giygas from EarthBound, except this time with no dialogue. It had to be cut out of the game because it was too nightmarish. The battle backgrounds are theorized to be remnants of this cut sequence.
  • Flint's breakdown after learning of Hinawa's death. Home-hittingly scary, isn’t it?
  • The Ultimate Chimera. After the duel with the Almost-Mecha Lion in the Chimera Laboratory, your fellow Pigmask co-worker alerts you to pretty much get the hell out of a room if you see it, and for good reason: running into it kills you, no ifs, buts, or battles. If that warning doesn't scare you, the next part will: the creepy music will cut out, replaced with background sounds of other Pigmasks fleeing for their lives only to get devoured by that thing. Can you confidently traverse from one room to another knowing that such a powerful creature is loose inside the lab? This is when it's safe and the Chimera isn't around. When the music returns, then you have much more reason to worry about your own safety.
    • Perhaps even more horrifying, if you do run into it, you get to witness the Ultimate Chimera chomping and crunching on Lucas while the screen turns red.
    • Even worse: after you escape the Chimera Lab unscathed, there is a giant, gaping hole on the building to the left of the entrance and an injured Pigmask, implying that the Ultimate Chimera escaped containment and is now out in the wild.note  If the whiteboard in the lab is to be believed, the Pigmasks understandably have no intention of getting it back.
    • In the last section of the Empire Porky Building's Restroom Level, knock on the right-most men's room door and you'll hear an all-too-familiar Ba-DEET! noise. Knocking on it again will result in something banging the door from the inside. Go inside the room and you'll see the Chimera, inches away from you, on a toilet.
  • The rather horrific changes that Fassad undergoes. It may look funny to some, but he's been turned into a cyborg who can't even speak anymore because they've replaced his mouth with trumpets, and thus needs a robot interpreter to translate what he is saying. The second time around is even worse.
  • How about Chimeras in general? Even the ones that aren't robotic had to undergo a lot of pain to be converted into a chimera. The idea of mixing up random body parts of different animals is really disturbing in itself but it becomes much more worse if you imagine what kind of pain these animals must've endured through the process with their bodies being horribly mutilated and brought back to life with different body parts attached, maybe even having died in the process and becoming empty shells of their former selves, much like the Mecha-Drago.
    • The Chimera Lab has a horrifying room containing a table with straps on it, ostensibly to hold down these poor creatures while the variety of sharp implements shown above it do their work.
    • After taking into account of how painful the animal mutilations probably were, one can only imagine how painful were the procedures the victim involved in the making of a human Chimera - or rather, the Masked Man - had to undergo. There's even an unused sprite showing the process of how the Masked Man was created... needless to say, it's really unsettling...
    • It's even more disturbing if you consider or think about what the Pigmasks say about Butch's place once being a farm, mentioning that there used to be pigs and cows there before it became a Pigmask training faculty. Also, if you walk back up to Alec's cabin, all of the animals that were there before are no longer there. Remember those cute friendly pigs, cows or chickens you spoke to in chapters 1-3? It's possible they became part of the Chimera experiment and have become those Cattlesnakes or Pigtunias or Slitherhens you were just battling!
      • Going by that logic, one has to wonder what Fassad ever did with the pigs he got from Butch in exchange for the money he gives him in return.
      • The Muttshroom or Dogfish enemies may have silly appearances, but it soon becomes Fridge Horror if you consider that these dogs were probably someone's lost pet. You don't see any other dogs that look like them rather than the generic stray dogs you see wandering around, looking more akin to Boney in appearance, so most likely these were someone's pets. If one takes into account how in Real Life some people actually do in fact take peoples pets or steal them and ship them to research institutions for animal testing and experimenting makes it much more scarier.
    • Some of the chimeras designs are so creepy and scary that you can't be blamed if you decided to purposely avoid fighting some of these enemies sometimes. It makes sense to have such a understandable reaction at seeing some of these things at first glance.
      • The Slitherhen, the first chimera you'll encounter, can look pretty unnerving at first. It really shows how much things have changed.
      • If you have a fear of spiders or deathly terrified of anything spider-like, then the Horsantula is truly the scariest thing you'll come across. Just look at it. Someone hacked off a horse's head and stitched it on top of a gigantic freaking spider's head (not helping matters is that the horse's head looks as if its in pain either), they also killed other horses nearby and ripped off their legs and stitching those to the spider after they had ripped off all eight of the spider's own legs. Then there's also those four big yellow spider eyes staring straight back at you.
  • The horrible change that occurs to your hometown. In the beginning it was a peaceful rural town, no one locked their doors, there was no crime, and almost everyone helped one another if the need arose... there was no concept of 'money'. It is only when Fassad introduces the concept of money to Tazmily that the greed starts to spread among the villagers (with Butch being the first victim of this, slowly spreading it to the rest of the neighbours one by one). Then, three years later, it has become much more akin to a modern town, but crime has arisen seeing how there are now police officers in Tazmily who are shocked at the fact that there used to be no police officers before, and the villagers themselves have become much colder and greedier, treating those who refuse to embrace change like outcasts (some people, like Pusher and Elmore, outright tell Lucas that they hate him).
    • By the end of Chapter 7, everyone is gone as they have moved to New Pork City. All the doors are locked, and the only people left behind are complaining about their lot. The town is still there, but its soul is sucked away bit, by bit, by bit until everyone's gone.
  • Tanetane Island. You have to eat the funky-looking mushrooms, which send you into a trippy world of pink trees and creepy music, plus the occasional mailbox (see page quote). Oh, yes - and all the enemies look like people you know, most notably your father and your allegedly dead brother, one of them even takes up the form of Violet, Kumatora's alter-ego during the time she worked at Club Titiboo. They spout insane dialogue ranging from funny ("I'm going to lick you all up, ice cream!") to threatening ("I'm gonna beat you, boy. Daddy's gonna beat you.") to batshit insane ("Touch my heart. See how it beats in and out? Lucas! There's noooothing to worry about now.")
    "Everyone's waiting for you. Everyone's waiting to throw rocks at you, spit on you, and make your life hell. Who's "everyone"...? Everyone you love."
    • During the trip, the party can enter an incredibly inviting looking hot spring... but when they enter it, Boney will stand outside of the spring and whimper. Come back when the trip's over, and the reason Boney refused to enter is because it was a pool of stagnant pond water surrounded by garbage and hazardous waste, ew.
    • The script for this was rewritten, because the original terrified its creator too much. We don't know what was in the original script, but some fans have posited an interesting possibility; we are told the hallucinations tear at the victims' emotional scars and weaknesses by taking the forms of their loved ones, present or otherwise ...but in the final version of the game, Hinawa never shows up...
  • After defeating Miracle Fassad and coming back to the streets of New Pork City, you find that there are now even more people than when you first arrived, which is even lampshaded by one of the NPCS. If you attempt to talk to these people their dialogue will be non-sensical, often limited to only two words, or just repeating the same word twice, not to mention that they always stand on the spot all the time, sometimes even blocking some streets and entrances, thus forcing you to make a detour, and they don't even look at you when you talk to them. Their zombie-like behavior just comes off as creepy and unsettling and just keeps on telling you what you already know: Nothing in New Pork City is as perfect as it seems.
  • The People Jars in the Lab area of the Empire Porky Building, with the liquid inside said tubes being stated to brainwash people into liking and supporting Porky's actions. Made all the more disturbing by the fact that you can talk to the people inside them, and they're all quite 'happy' being there. There's even a cow, who will say that it is going to become a wonderful steak. The receptionist of that area even suggests that all those people and animals entered the tubes on their own free will. Yeesh.
    • When you combine this with the statement above it looks rather easy to make the connection as to why all those people in the streets of New Pork City behave in such an unsettling manner. Yeah, Porky is just that fucked up.
  • If you've seen the unused sprites, you can pretty much tell what happened between the prologue and chapter 1. As seen in this vid here. To make matters worse, this happens before the twins were found in the river while they were still with Hinawa.
    • There is also Porky Minch's original (or unused) death scene. While some people like to see what's coming to him for all he's done, others might find it disturbing when they see him in a sympathetic light. His machine crashes into the ground after his supposed defeat, breaking the glass on it. Porky tries to reach out to get out of it, but he starts to go limp and he dies. What a way to go.
  • Speaking of Porky, that's basically nothing compared to his canonical fate. True, he did it to himself and he probably deserved it at this point, but still: he ends up being trapped forever in the Absolutely Safe Capsule. A capsule that will keep whatever's inside it completely immortal, and can never be destroyed or opened from outside or from inside. Even after the death of the sun and possibly the universe itself, Porky Minch will still be alive.
    • Porky's situation provokes chilling thoughts: a little boy trapped in the body of an old man who, by this point, is already the series' equivalent to Dr. Weil.
    • The final battle with him is rather horrifying, in and of itself:
    Porky sprayed something!
    Porky sucked something!
    Porky did something!
    ?!... What did Porky do?
    Porky coughed something up!
    What did Porky do?
    What did Porky do?
  • The final battle theme for the Masked Man/Claus is incredibly creepy. It's basically a giant mess of weird sounds, pianos, drums, and at one point, the Love Theme.
    • Notice how the background gets more and more distorted each time Hinawa interrupts the battle. Really goes to show how insane everything become at this point, as well as implies this is the moment that Claus starts coming back to his senses and his own inner battle begins.
    • One of the unused songs (here) was arguably even creepier — in fact, that might be the very reason it remained unused, because it really is disturbing. Even after it was discovered what it is, it's still not clear what it would have actually been used for. It's DCMC's "One, two, three, four!" line slowed down, but it still sounds unsettling at that speed.
  • How about the zombies from the canceled N64 version of the game? Here's what they originally looked like. Compare that to what we eventually got on the resurrected GBA final version of the game, and most people will agree that they were greatly toned down, since they merely resemble Hinawa and Claus.
  • The Empire Porky Building can create a deep sense of unease. The floors are extremely varied in their contents and layout, ranging from indoor pools of hippos (complete with grass and vines), a game show, a futuristic area, dozens of toilets, and even including a large area still under construction. The whole building seems to be an Eldritch Abomination. Compounding how disturbing it is, the player is repeatedly told that whatever floor they are on is the 100th floor, their goal. An air of futility begins to seep in, as the player may begin to wonder if they'll be trapped in this product of Porky's twisted imagination forever.
  • Some of the monster designs get really freaky with the Body Horror as the game goes on. Special mention to the Hefty Heads in Argilla Pass, who must've dragged their enlarged heads out of the Uncanny Valley.
  • Try entering the Clayman Factory while on your way to Saturn Valley. It's now abandoned, the Pigmasks will attack you and it's all accompanied by this tune.
  • The Dur-T Cafe could potentially qualify if you're enough of a germaphobe. Especially when you try to run inside it and are immediately stopped from doing so by one of its waitresses because "you'll kick up the mold spores". The fact that it features some of the most disturbing music in the game (other than Battle Against The Masked Man) doesn't exactly detract from its creepiness either, and neither does its BLAM-ness.

Alternative Title(s): Earthbound, Mother 3, Earth Bound 1994