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Video Game / Cognitive Dissonance

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I’m a ghost... Living in the shadows. Looking for a way out... Into the light...

"Who has lost his tail?"

MOTHER: Cognitive Dissonance, formerly known as Cognitive Dissonance: Between Two Times, is a completed Fan Sequel in the Mother series, created in RPG Maker, specifically RPG Maker 2003, taking place between EarthBound Beginnings 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 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.

Since the game uses an older version of RPG Maker as its engine, the game's battle system leans far more heavily into EarthBound Beginnings style of combat than EarthBound or Mother 3's. The PSI and abilities are recreated rather accurately from the Mother series and the battle backgrounds feature a lower grade style of that of EarthBound's but ultimately it lacks the scrolling odometer mechanics the later Mother games are famous for. To compensate, the game instead uses an ATB gauge, not unlike that of the earlier Final Fantasy games to help simulate the frantic nature the scrolling HP mechanics in the main series has.


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: Niiue will address you in both the Good and Bad endings.
  • 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 There in the Manual: Cerue's name is never revealed ingame, and only appears in the game's data.
  • An Aesop: Don't ignore or fight your feelings and emotions. All it will do is cause you serious mental harm in the long run. At the same time, only focusing on positive emotions will do just as much harm as negative emotions. In the bad ending, this is what causes Giegue to be forever stuck as Giygas and dooms the universe, and in the paradox ending, Niiue trying to destroy Giygas' core ends up dooming all of reality. It's only by working together in the good and severance endings do they manage to end on a positive note.
  • Angst Nuke: Giegue unleashes one on himself during his Villainous Breakdown when he learns that his Hero Without Niiue is still alive. Giegue completely snaps in anger and fear, which causes 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 is presented as being completely separate from Giegue's Magicant. It's a subtle way of showing just how split Giegue's mind truly is.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Niiue is the personification of Giegue's positive feelings towards humanity, as well as Maria's love for him. After his defeat in EarthBound Beginnings, Giegue forcefully ejected Niiue out of himself with his immense PSI powers so that he wouldn't have to deal with the turmoil it's causing him.
  • Amazing Technicolor Battlefield: Downplayed. Cognitive Dissonance takes something of a middle ground between EarthBound Beginnings' black battlefield and EarthBound's psychedelic backgrounds, offering more minimalistic background color patterns against a black backdrop.
  • Apocalyptic Log:
    • Played straight on Mars, where a series of computers offers access to log entries describing the arrival of Giegue's "extrasolar race," the subsequent conquest of Mars, and the conscription of its people as the Starmen.
    • Used more subtly in Giegue's Magicant, where scattered tombstones mark the progressive deaths of more and more of Giegue's Flying Men, who represent his courage. Each tombstone's epitaph is bleaker than the last, with the final one reading, "Here lies Flying Man. He abandoned me." This, just outside the final door leading to the location of the mad alien's deteriorating ego.
  • Arc Words:
    • Who has lost his tail?
    • Love is all that stands between us and the great beyond.
  • 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: Unlike the Mother games, inventory in this game is shared among the entire party instead of being completely separate.
  • Badass Adorable: Colonel Saturn might be cute, but he can use pistols and a shotgun to blow you away.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Magicant, per series staple. Magicant is where the Applechasers confront Giygas in the end.
  • Benevolent Precursors: The unnamed race implied to have created the Apple of Enlightenment and left it on Eris for the residents of our solar system to eventually find.
  • Big Bad: Giegue, as in the original series, leads the invasion of Earth, and this time is searching for the Apple of Enlightenment to achieve more knowledge that he may use to accomplish his plans.
  • 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 Bad and Good endings. You send the Messenger back where he needs to be and distract Gigyas long enough, but in the former, the Applechasers can't defeat Giegue and die, and in the latter, Giegue assists Niiue in getting the Applechasers out of his mind, but Niiue is implied to die. This is Averted in the Severance 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 by Ness and co. 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.
  • Bonus Boss: The game has a few, some of which helps net you an alternate endings.
    • Master Magnolia, found in Giegue's old Mother Ship. Absolutely brutal, with a mountain of health and two forms, and the ability flood the battlefield with minions. While required to beat in order to get one of the other endings, they're not required for the normal endings. Beating them also nets you PSI Beam Omega for Larice before chapter 8.
    • Dr. Destructo, found on the moon after collecting all four gems. Slightly less brutal than Master Magnolia, but still quite a frantic fight. While not required for an alternate ending, beating him nets you the final two knowledge stones in the game.
    • The crowned king, however, has to be Fobbyiyg, which has mountains of health, hits like a truck, has several annoying PSI attacks, and is basically the last thing the player should tackle in the game. Beating them, however, nets you the single best weapon in the game.
  • 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 literal Bragging Rights Reward, the "Braggart's Coin", with its Flavor Text being "For those who win battles they aren't supposed to."
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Literally, the "Braggart's Coin" from beating the Border Patrol, whose Flavor Text is "For those who win battles they aren't supposed to."
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Per series staple, Giegue has this effect on people. His Insanity Fog attack can do it to your whole party at once, resulting in them all attacking one another in an insane haze.
  • Breakout Mook Character: Most of the party, actually, in contrast to the all-earthling parties of EarthBound Beginnings 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.
  • Brick Joke: More like "brick warm fuzzy feelings," if that's a thing. Early in the game, examining the microphone stand in Boson's house reveals that your character doesn't feel capable of performing on vocals. Examining it again later gives a new dialogue, wondering whether there is a vocalist in this universe at all. Much, much later, Niiue will poof into position at the mic stand during Nowheretrain's concert within Giegue's Magicant, in order to sing the vocals of "Speak" in front of an audience of Giegue and the other denizens of his psyche.
  • Camera Abuse: After learning PK Harmony, you're treated to a short scene that ends with the screen appearing to crack apart like glass.
  • Cessation of Existence: Given the game's thematic focus on psychic realities and the nature of existence, this comes up often.
    • Averted with the deaths of Alinivar in Chapter 1 and Larice much later. The former enters a gray limbo from which he is brought back to life by the Apple of Enlightenment. The latter doesn't fully die even though his mechanical components are destroyed, since his organic components are saved by Niiue's intervention.
    • Lampshaded in Chapter 8. The various entities within Giegue's Magicant fade away after the party talks to them. The last of them ponders, "Do Magicant people get an afterlife?" before fading away like the rest.
    • Appears to be played straight with Future Niiue, or at least straighter than most examples here.
    • This is implied to be Niiue's fate in the Good Ending.
    • Averted with Giegue and Niiue in the Severance ending.
    • Might be happening to all of reality as the characters know it in the Paradox Ending. Or maybe not. Niiue isn't too sure.
    • Discussed within the lyrics to "Ghosts in Flight," the song that plays during the ending's cast roll and appears to be sung in-universe by Niiue/Giegue.
  • 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, possibly due to being startled by his presence, before continuing along with Paula, leaving it for Greyface to pick up. Noticeably, Greyface pauses after grabbing the Yo-Yo and turns away from the camera while shaking, implying that he is sobbing that Ness and Paula are scared of him. The track playing for this specific scene also helps to solidify this.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Zarbol is actually Buzz Buzz, sent as a messenger to warn Ness about Giygas.
  • Church of Happyology: The Pigsnout Society.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Giegue can be defeated by Alinivar’s PK Harmony, similar to his defeats in EarthBound Beginnings and EarthBound.
  • Continuity Nod: All sorts to all three Mother games. Handish even said that there was even a nod to Mother 4 (the fan-game that has now since been re-branded as the new-but-similar product Oddity).
  • Cool Shades: Greyface wears these.
    • So does Elmadan, the boss of Chapter 1.
    • You can also get them as an equippable item whose flavor text invokes this trope: "If looking awesome was a stat it would give +10." Hilariously, Giegue, of all people, can equip it during his special Chapter 9, which only occurs when getting the Severance Ending.
  • 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. Niiue questions why anyone would choose to do this.
    • Played straight, however, with a huge Mecha-Saturn that was unfortunate enough to be in the Greyface's path.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Achieving this is a component of reaching the Severance, Time Paradox, and Hammertime/Cow endings.
  • Difficulty Levels: After beating the game, you are told to check the red machine in the intro and type "42" to unlock Hard Mode.
  • 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.
    • Enforced in the Paradox Ending, where the Applechasers do beat Gigyas, but they "weren't supposed to do that" and cause a Time Crash.
  • Doomed Hometown: Alinivar and Col. Saturn's hometown of Satralia.
  • Duel Boss: Everyone in your party gets one near the endgame.
  • 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 or use a special item to ignore Gigyas's defense.
    • The Paradox ending, earned by using Song on Giygas to confront the G-Core, allows your party to defeat Giygas, but this causes a Time Crash that erases that timeline.
  • Easter Egg: In the room next to the room Niiue leads Larice to at the end of the Timed Mission to escape Giegue's ship is a bunch of Starmen doing the Time Warp dance. Upon leaving the room, the timer is reset. Which helps if you're having trouble getting the Insignificant Item.
  • 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 of Giygas. There was a 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 Within: It's left ambiguous as to whether or not Giygas is the manifestation of Giegue's inner turmoil or if it's a completely separate entity inside him since birth. The flashbacks near the end of the game seem to imply the latter; and in the Golden Ending, you manage to completely separate Giegue from Giygas entirely.
  • Enemy Without: Inverted. Niiue was made from Giegue's positive emotions, making him a heroic version of this.
  • 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:
  • Fix Fic: It's most notable in the Golden Ending. The Applechasers successfully manage to separate Giegue from Giygas, allowing him to get a second chance at life instead of completely losing his sanity and seemingly dying for good in EarthBound.
  • Flavor Text: The literal Bragging Rights Reward, the "Braggart's Coin", with its Flavor Text being "For those who win battles they aren't supposed to."
  • 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.
    • The Golden Ending added in later versions plays with this a bit more. The events of EarthBound and Mother 3 are still destined to take place, but there's absolutely nothing that says the current timeline has to end in Giygas' complete domination; or that Giegue is doomed because of it.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer: If the Applechasers explore Cerue's base on Mercury, she will treat them to an enlightening sight: standing upon a balcony and looking left, off screen, to gaze upon the core of the planet. She notes, however, that "anyone else watching" probably won't be able to see it. The camera never pans over there, and the player doesn't get to see what it looks like.
  • Furry Female Mane: Inverted. Niiue (male) has humanlike hair, while Cerue (female) doesn't.
  • 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 reunite Niiue and Giegue as one being and temporarily restore Giegue's sanity.
  • 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!: The Wiki for Cognitive Dissonance will be your friend during most playthroughs.
    • It is possible to miss a few Points of Power on the first run if you don’t explore. Any that could be Permanently Missable 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.
    • Getting the max tier PSI for Alinivar and Larice, as well as the UFO abilities for Zarbol can be a pain, as they don't unlock them by beating all the points of power and instead require exploring the galaxy to find special items that allow them to learn them.
    • The reboot orbs needed for one of Multiple Endings are located in specific areas in the game and a few can even be permanently missed if you aren't careful or have foresight on them. The same goes for the four gems needed to unlock a Bonus Boss, though thankfully those aren't permanently missable.
  • 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, no one in your party knows what a sword is, much less how to use one, and so in this game it's Shop Fodder "Sharp-Pointy Thing."
  • Heroic Mime: The leader of the party, whoever it is at the time.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Giegue, in multiple ways. Forcing his positive emotions out of his mind created Niiue, who proves instrumental to saving the cosmos from Giygas. Likewise, Giegue's transformation into Giygas involves his own psychic powers destabilizing his Magicant and tearing his ego and body apart.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: Giegue will attack you in Chapter 1 and Chapter 3, and you will not survive. If you cheat to beat him in Chapter 1, the game ignores you and continues with you losing. If you cheat to beat him in Chapter 3, you will get a Joke Ending similar to that of Earthworm Jim; this is the same ending as if you used force without getting Song or Nightmare Empower in Chapter 8.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: Giegue's predicament in a nutshell.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Yep.
    • Subverted with Larice on Mars. Although the fight has all of the usual trappings of one, it's quickly clear that there's nothing you can do to dissuade him, and that your only recourse is to fight with him until he breaks down. While it's true that his organic core self is still "in there," he can't overcome his programming at that moment in time.
    • Zig zagged with Giegue/Giygas. Despite Niiue going into the final battle with the stated intention of reasoning with Giegue, the situation deteriorates until the transformation into Giygas has irrevocably begun. At that point, everything from how seriously the party tries to save Giegue's mind, to how much can in fact be saved and for how long, depends heavily on the player's choices and preparation.
  • 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 fragments of his consciousness within the maelstrom that is Giygas.
  • Kill 'Em All: The Bad ending leaves all the Applechasers dead, with Zarbol Doomed by Canon.
  • Lampshade Hanging: There’s a lot of it here, being a Mother game that has a long history of doing that.
  • Layered World: If the player triggers an event to allow Niiue to explore Giegue's derelict Mothership solo, the reality of the place will flicker back and forth periodically between the material environment and a haunted psychic plane associated with it. Among other things, this causes the wandering monster encounters to flip flop between conventional enemies and creepy, fragmented hauntings from Giegue's lingering mental presence. Only while viewing the haunted layer can a concentrated phantom of Giegue's presence can be found and interacted with to obtain Nightmare Empower and make the Severance ending possible.
  • Lethal Joke Character: A Fobby that claims to be the true Cosmic Destroyer, Fobbyiyg.
  • Lovecraft Lite: The setting is even closer to a Cosmic Horror Story than the original trilogy, but fortunately The Power of Love can save one from even the worst horrors.
  • Love Redeems: Niiue as a character was created by Geigue's love for Maria, and is the only way to save any part of him from Gigyas.
  • 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 Very Definitely Final Dungeon.
  • Mechanistic Alien Culture: The Starmen. They were forced into it.
  • Medium Awareness: A nurse describes left and right in relation to, "the direction of your monit...err, the viewing window of the gods."
  • 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.
  • Mind Screw: The Paradox ending of the game. You get it by having Niiue sing Maria's Song to Gigyas. The Final Boss fight instantly ends, leading the cast into an even deeper hallway into Giegue's mind. This leads to the G Core, Giegue's core self, being guarded by four different colored swirls. Each swirl seems to correspond to one of the original Mother's protagonists (Ninten, Ana, Lloyd, and Teddy). Pressing on and defeating each swirl causes the G Core to self-destruct and pitches the protagonists into a disintegrating void as time collapses around them. Niiue is very confused as to what happened, but thanks Alinivar.
  • 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 MechAlinivar. He has your PSI, and 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.
    • Bad 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. He and Niiue also decide to "try something that they both want." Whatever they do causes Giygas to never have appeared in this timeline. This still leads to the events of EarthBound, however, as the chaos of Giygas still exists in the previous timeline, and Zarbol must still sacrifice himself.
    • Golden Ending, Severance: If you manage to get all five Reboot Orbs into Giegue's ship, you discover the playroom where Giegue grew up, where Niiue thanks you for finding it and taking a solo mission to pick up some new skills. Both Niiues survive the initial encounter with Giegue in his mind, and you proceed to beat Giygas by casting Nightmare Empower to weaken him when he becomes the full-screen Eldritch Abomination, causing his defenses to become unstable as Giegue's consciousness is extracted from him, then beating him down with sheer power. This causes a chapter 9 where Giegue flees, saving the gang from various spots in Magicant and escaping with Niiue, coming out as a child. Again, however, this does not destroy Giygas, so Zarbol must still go to the past to warn Ness about him.
    • Paradox Ending; obtained by completing the Dr. Destructo side quest and obtaining the knowledge stones, saving one of them, completing the infected mothership sidequest in order to have Niiue join you temporarily in Magicant and using the stone on him to teach him the sing command. Using this on Giygas causes the Applechasers to head deeper into his mind to find the last remaining shred of sanity inside him. Killing him ends up completely eradicating Giygas for good; but also causes a Time Crash that slowly destroys the universe, with Niiue commenting that he feels extremely hollow now Giygas and Giegue have been completely erased from existence.
    • Joke End, Hammertime: Defeat Giygas without unlocking Maria's room with the Reboot orbs (thus not using Nightmare Empower), without using Song, and without using PK Harmony. Its defense is astronomical, making this normally an overwhelmingly daunting task, but the Ballpeen Hammer, an item you can receive by trading an item you get when escaping the Mothership as Larice with a Shambler on Uranus, deals a fixed 9999 damage, toning the challenge down from "impossible" to "manageable". However, reality cannot handle Giygas being defeated by brute strength alone, causing everybody to spontaneously transmute into cows. You also get this ending by beating Giegue in Chapter 3. It's impossible without cheating, though.
      • This ending also occurred in the 1.0 version of the game if you beat Fobbyig.
  • Musical Spoiler: When you fight the Greyface for the first time, his identity should become pretty obvious.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • During chapter 1, you can save your game using black, rotary-dial Earth phones, despite being on Saturn. This feels totally intuitive to players of Mother or EarthBound, and no one in-universe questions it.
    • The piles of cow bones on Mars behave exactly as fans of the canonical Mother games would expect. Never mind how the bones got there!
    • The game makes new strides in joking about the inconsistencies in Giegue/Giygas/Gyiyg's canonical name in localization. In a late-game cutscene, we learn that Maria used to refer to him as "Googie" before he eventually corrected her via telepathy. Likewise, there are some encounters in Giegue's Magicant in which the party faces weaker, noodle-limbed caricatures of him called Goog. Apparently, much like for his attacks, we cannot grasp the true form of Giygas's name!
  • Non-Standard Skill Learning: Alinivar and Colonel Saturn learn some of their PSI from the Points of Power instead of leveling up.
    • Larice also learns PSI through Discs rather than leveling up.
    • Some PSI you pick up by traveling to different planets and talking to certain characters or beating extra bosses.
      • Knowledge Stones can also grant one special ability to each player character, including Niiue.
  • 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 has 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.
  • Raise Him Right This Time: In the Severance ending. After Niiue manages to overpower Giygas and separate him from Giegue, the two manage along with the remaining Applechasers to escape the crumbling Magicant. When they return to the real world, Giegue has been de-aged back to the age Maria left him. It's left ambiguous if Giegue still remembers what happened or if he's back to being an uncorrupted child, but the Applechasers welcome him to their gang with opened arms.
  • Random Encounters: Averted until Alinivar and the gang visit Magicant themselves in a world based on the Magicant of EarthBound Beginnings.
  • 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.
  • Ret-Gone: In the 'Good' ending, if the player uses PK Harmony seven times after Niiue joins them to battles Giegue as he's becoming Giygas, they are able to temporarily restore him back to sanity. Realizing what he's become and will eventually become again, Giegue and Niiue manage to work together to create a timeline where Giygas never existed.
  • 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 midquel of the first two Mother games.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Simple, yet Awesome: a few!
    • Alinivar's Forceful Jab doesn't look like it does very much, but the defense debuff it applies has brutal consequences for bosses and other tough enemies.
    • Zarbol can easily spend most of his combat turns over the course of a playthrough casting PSI Reflect Alpha or using Recharge if he's out of PP. The Reflect status is just that good, especially since it will entirely reflect party-wide abilities if even one character has the status.
  • Skippable Boss: Certain Place of Power bosses aren't necessary, except for one of the endings. Also, you can avoid fighting Captain Deepsea and the second Elmadan (except in Hard) fight.
    • Captain Deepsea will be waiting for you by the meteorite in Chapter 7 if you skip him, and he'll drop his cape. His ID can be found on his ship in the room where he was originally.
  • Spell Levels: Greek letter tiers for the PSI attacks.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Used meaningfully here with Giegue. Although his Japanese name was always the same in both Mother 1 and Mother 2, being roughly pronounceable as "Geeg," Cognitive Dissonance uses the discrepancy in the English localizations — as "Giegue" in the first game and "Giygas" in the second — to differentiate the character's original alien self from the Eldritch Abomination he later becomes.
  • Stat Meters: Time meters for turns to attack, and a Fuel meter for when you're traveling through space.
  • Status Effects: Insanity status effect. It causes members of your party to start attacking each other and eventually die if they don’t get healed.
  • Stuck Items: Several party members start with items that can't be unequipped.
  • Sudden Downer Ending: Niiue assumes that Giegue will calm down when he gets the Apple and starts looking into it to see his future. He doesn't. Quite the opposite, actually. The situation promptly goes to hell after that.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: Giegue's race, relative to all of the ones in our solar system. This did not end well for Mars.
  • Suicide Mission: The Apple TELLS them they cannot win, they can only buy time to find the Chosen Four. Niiue confirms this right before the final battle.
    • This can be avoided, except for Zarbol.
  • Surprise Creepy: Minus Giegue being a constant threat, the game and locations start off rather cheery and simplistic. Then, in Chapter 7, you go aboard the Abandoned Mothership, where Starmen and Mooks have been taken over by parasitic plants, and a voice asks its "friends" to get you. And when you try to leave the ship the first time with your space map?
    Where are you going? Come back.
    • The start of Chapter 7 and the whole of Chapter 8. You work through this womb-like zone that looks like Giygas in dungeon form with scattered bits of Magicant, and when you get to the final area, you are attacked by Eldritch Abomination creatures that are static screens, miniature Giygas swirls, and the Universal Cosmic Destroyer himself as his last shred of sanity, which then starts getting distorted and stretched, his face pure agony.
  • 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.
  • The Call Knows Where You Live: Subverted. At first, the meteors and poltergeist activity in Alinivar's hometown look like they're setting up for this trope. Then you learn Giegue is simply looking for the Apple of Enlightenment, and that happening to cross his path while he does this means death. After being killed, Alinivar has little choice but to accept the Apple's telepathic offer to return him to life as one of its protectors, effectively making Alinivar a case of Kidnapped by the Call instead.
  • 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.
  • True Final Boss: Well, for certain values of "true", anyway. If the player taught Niiue Sing and uses it during the final battle against Giygas, the battle immediately ends, and after a hallway, the party must fight G-Core and the NALTs it summons, significantly more difficult opponents. Defeating it grants the Paradox Ending.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The flashbacks near the end of the game makes it fully clear that George genuinely thought he was doing what was best for both Maria and Giegue by taking the items that bestowed PSI onto them, simply wanting them to escape and resume a normal life on Earth. Unfortunately, not only did it end with Maria being disintegrated into her Magicant, but it also seemed to stir up whatever Giygas is inside Giegue, starting him on his dark path from there.
  • Updated Re-release: The game has been remade by otherhand, along with some artistic help from Cravdraa. It has been rebalanced, many sprites have been improved, the game itself was expanded, and original music and more endings were added.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: And how! With multiple points of no return within the dungeon's progression, a series of mini-dungeons for individuals and the whole party, several cutscenes with major reveals, and a landscape that deterioriates alongside the final boss's sanity, the place is downright apocalyptic.
  • Wackyland: Magicant, both in its familiar pink fluffy cloud form from EarthBound Beginnings 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.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: A very literal, in-universe example. Giegue kills Alinivar in Chapter 1 without so much as a greeting.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Giegue, due to his backstory in EarthBound Beginnings and this game.
  • You Cannot Grasp the True Form: Both Giegue and Niiue have these kinds of abilities.
    • In Giegue's Magicant, you come across enemies so incomprehensible even the battle introduction text is confused.
    "...What blocked the way?!"
    "Is it an enemy?"
    "Something attacked!"
    "Is something attacking?"
    "You're under attack?"
    "They might be enemies!"
  • 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