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YMMV / EarthBound Beginnings

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  • Accidental Innuendo: "Just like your Mom, you never want to stop."
  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Is George an awful man who stole knowledge man wasn't meant to know from Aliens and abandoned his wife? Was he a bold hero who stood up to forces that threatened to destroy him, his world, and the love of his life, whom he never wanted to leave behind? Is what eventually becomes of the Earth his fault? Giygas'? Porky's?
    • Is Giygas an Knight Templar or a Well-Intentioned Extremist? This ties in with the above, due to how ambiguous the situation is surrounding George and Giygas' relationship. Giygas could be interpreted as a Hero of Another Story, as we do only see the Mother series from the human perspective, which could serve as a form of unreliable narration. If the roles were reversed, with aliens taking human knowledge that could damage their race and the universe, humans might do the same, plotting invasion to right the wrong done.
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  • All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": If you're not Japanese and have heard of this game, you probably know that Giygas is the main villain. In the actual game, this isn't revealed at all until you get the final Plot Coupon near the end of the Very Definitely Final Dungeon, and most of the plot is just you going around the world to learn a song for an ailing queen who you met after a bunch of weird stuff started happening in your hometown. Even the game guides have no information on Giygas, and he has no official art.
  • Awesome Music: Plenty, but see The Power of Rock for more…
  • Broken Base:
    • While the game has always been polarizing in the Mother fandom, and people are excited since it means high hopes for Mother 3, Nintendo's decision to release this game in America before Mother 3 has gotten them quite a bit of flack from people who aren't fans of Beginnings, and to a lesser extent, people wanting a Video Game Remake compilation that updated Beginnings' battle mechanics to that of later entries of the series. On the other hand, many people tell the other side of the base to be glad another EarthBound/MOTHER game is being released overseas, and that they thought the first game was always going to be localized first due to being already translated.
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    • Which translation is better, the official localization or Fan Translation? The Bowdlerization of the official localization isn't as criticized as you may think; the main complaints are the town Dub Name Changes, that the script is "dry" and doesn't have that witty EarthBound or MOTHER 3 humor, and that due to only one member of the localization team returning for EarthBound, there are more than a few inconsistencies, including the Big Bad being called Giegue instead of Giygasnote . The fan translation imitates EarthBound's writing style and mends these inconsistencies, so it's all a matter of whether a fan prefers "official" or "polished". The Virtual Console version uses the official localization, so while it was unrealistic to expect a fan translation being used, it has brought up the debate again. There are also those who prefer the 'quirks' of the official translation because they find it hilarious.
      • Nothing has sparked more arguments when it comes to localization though as the crow enemy in the beginning of the game. In the Japanese original, it was showed to be smoking in its sprite. The main reason is because when the game got rereleased in Japan, the change was kept at Itoi's word himself, a major factor being he himself had quit smoking around the same time. Purist of the original feel it should be kept to keep the original vision of the game, while there are others who feel the change should be kept, even in more accurate fan translations, out of respect for Itoi's decision on the subject.
      • The town names are a further point of contention in the translation community. A good part of the community prefers the original Theme Naming of the towns, while another good part of the community agrees with the official translations reasoning that naming the towns after holidays sounds incredibly dumb, and prefer the official translations for the town names.
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    • A few fans wanted the game to be on the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console instead of or in addition to just the Wii U, either due to lack of a Wii U, desire for portability, or otherwise. Other fans once again tell them to be glad another EarthBound/MOTHER game is being released overseas in the first place. They also pointed out that since MOTHER 3 is a GBA game, if it was localized and released on Virtual Console in the near future, it would have likely be on Wii U, which would conveniently have made all three games playable on the same console, the Wii U; this was made moot when the Switch was released and Nintendo shortly stopped any first party work on the Wii U.
    • After the Virtual Console release was revealed to be called "EarthBound Beginnings", what is the "true" English title of this game? The big contenders are MOTHER and EarthBound Beginnings, with the official title of the first English prototype, Earth Bound, being ruled out as being too similar to the almost universally accepted English title of the second game, EarthBound and thus would cause confusion. EarthBound Zero is also eliminated, being an obligatory Fan Nickname to solve said problem. Supporters of the EarthBound Beginnings title do so because it's official and makes more sense next to EarthBound. Supporters of the MOTHER title argue that MOTHER is just as official an English title, citing Super Smash Bros., and also support it because it was Itoi's original and intended titlenote  and it's what they were used to for years. This wiki and EarthBound Wiki have settled for EarthBound Beginnings, but The Other Wiki and WikiBound, another EarthBound/MOTHER wiki, decided to leave it at MOTHER until discussion comes to a consensus.
  • Cult Classic: Like the rest of its series, although much less so than its sequels, due to Sequel Displacement. It does have its fans, though.
  • Demonic Spiders: Nearly everything on Mt. Itoi, especially the grizzly bears and their combos and One-Hit Kill "last blows".
    • 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 due to their high Defense and good HP and their immunity to PK Beam.
    • The Bombers found in Duncan's Factory have an explosion attack that deals heavy damage to your entire party. Hope you remembered to level Lloyd up before going there.
  • Disappointing Last Level: Mt. Itoi falls into this. The developers forewent any sort of playtesting for the area, and the only feasible ways to get to the final boss are to either grind for hours until your team is strong enough to stand a chance against the enemies there, or just run away from everything you encounter. If you choose to go the latter route, you'll want to bring several PSI Stones along to keep Ninten's PP high enough for 4th-D Slip, or else the trek becomes a Luck-Based Mission once his PP runs out and you start having to rely on successfully escaping enemy encounters the normal way.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • PSI Freeze γ, thanks to being an HP to 1 attack that instantly weakens enemies down to where the party can easily pick them off, and Ana learning it fairly early on too. Good thing too, considering a lot of the enemies late game are Nintendo Hard.
    • Pippi and Teddy have the highest physical attack growth in the game. The former gives you an easy way to level grind near the Podunk Zoo and the latter can easily one shot a lot of late game enemies, especially when he gets the Katana. Naturally, they both get Put on a Bus shortly after they join you, but they both make leveling up the main party members a lot easier.
    • PK Fire Ω, thanks to being an Instant Death Attack that actually works frequently on all enemies in a battle. Granted, you have to do some serious grinding to get it, but it makes the likes of Mt. Itoi much more bearable. Similarly, there's PK Beam γ, which is also an Instant Death Attack that actually works on enemies, and Ana learns far earlier than PK Fire Ω. A bit less gamebreaking since it only targets one enemy, but still helps immensely.
    • 4th-D Slip, thanks to being a guaranteed way to run from battles. You don't get any EXP from using it, but it's a good panic button should you find yourself in a sticky situation, and is a God send for getting through Mt. Itoi without serious grinding.
    • How can one forget the utter brokenness that is Power Shield. For a cost of a measly 9 PP, all attacks get completely blocked and reflected for the duration of the battle. Repeated for good measure: Power Shield only costs 9 PP, reflects and blocks ALL damage, and NEVER wears off. For 27 total PP, you can put up a Power Shield on all 3 characters and and effectively become invincible for the rest of a battle. And both Ninten and Ana learn this. The only thing about Power Shield is that you're not allowed to use it during certain boss battles, such as against R7038 and Giygas.
  • Goddamned Bats: Plenty of these, too, especially since you can't skip low-level encounters like you can in the sequels.
  • Good Bad Translation: While there is some criticism from purists, quite a few people like the official translation because of how off it can get at times.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Lloyd is a bullied kid who stole explosives from a factory. Back in the eighties, you were supposed to view him as The Woobie who just so happens to like fireworks. In this day and age, though, where there have been a number of terrorist attacks on schools carried out by students using real weaponry…
  • Heartwarming 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.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • 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. The situation was such that when Tomato finished his Fan Translation of the game, he hacked in the Easy Ring which increases experience gained and decreases enemy encounter rates, and made it literally the first item available in the game in order to help new players. Similarly, the "Mother 25th Anniversary" fan hack also touts lowered encounter rates and increased experience yields as one of its features.
  • It Was His Sled: Like the sequel, the Final Boss is the most well known part of the game, despite that fact that he seems to be intended to be a Walking Spoiler in the original.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Giygas loved Maria very much, but that doesn't exactly excuse either of his invasions of Earth and all that they entailed.
  • Memetic Badass: Pippi. Considering who she's based on, it's not really surprising.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Just like your mom, you never want to stop." Explanation 
  • 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.
  • Sacred Cow: The only one in the series to avert this, due to Early Installment Weirdness.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The battle system may be the biggest reason why this game is less popular than its sequels outside of Japan, as it's just a Dragon Quest clone in terms of gameplay. note  It should be noted that being a clone doesn't make it bad, though. On it's own, it's a fairly decent NES Era RPG.
    • That said though, even people who don't mind the rather plain battle system can't stand the "But [enemy] was already gone" gimmick, where if a monster dies while a character is still targeting it for an attack, instead of switching to the next monster, it'll just display this message and have the character waste their turn as a result.
    • 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.) This is especially bad in a game like Mother where the NPCs usually have funny/interesting things to say. The potential of getting a cold discourages doing so.
    • Just about every game mechanic from the original Famicom version that was changed for later releases. With no run button, the map takes up an item slot (in already cramped item space), no item descriptions, Duncan Factory and Mt. Itoi being even harder, no Repel Ring, and no ATM in Magicant, next to no one prefers it.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny:
    • A lot of people learned this the hard way even when they played it via emulation - simply put, the game has not aged well. New party members join at level 1 in this game, meaning that you have to spend a lot of time grinding to level up Lloyd and Ana to the point that they won't drag the party down, and even then they Can't Catch Up to Ninten. The sole exception to this is Teddy, who joins at level 18 and still manages to be underleveled for the point in the game you meet him… although he is most definitely not underpowered.
    • The game is also notable for being the first RPG to feature elements such as an Urban Fantasy setting and a world made up of large, seamlessly-connected areas as opposed to towns, dungeons, etc. separated by an overworld. While these would still be seen as unique traits of the game for much of the following decade, over the years they've become increasingly commonplace for RPGs, to the point where their presence in EarthBound Beginnings is nothing special by comparison.
  • Sequel Displacement: Despite being the first game in the series, it's the most obscure, likely because of Sequel First being enacted overseas. 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 though, it's the MOTHER version of Magicant that appears as a stage in the fourth game rather than EarthBound's.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: Like its two successors, the start of the game is subjected to Early Game Hell and a lot of Level Grinding is pretty much mandatory if you want to even make it past the first few dungeons. However, once you make it to Magicant, the amount of EXP enemies start giving out is far better balanced and scaled to the levels you'll likely be at. Similarly, once you get Lloyd and Ana, battles become a lot less "spam attack / auto until someone needs heal, then spam attack / auto again" and take on a more strategic element to them. The game's difficulty, while by no means easy, is also fairly better balanced than the beginning, and there's a lot more to the overworld once you open up the Paradise Line. While it's still a matter of taste due to being rather different from its successors, once you get to this point, it becomes a rather good NES Era RPG.
  • 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. Unless you've actively gone out of your way to grind for PK Freeze γ, you're in for a wild ride.
  • That One Level: Mt. Itoi due to the Difficulty Spike. Duncan Factory to some due to its 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. The change of Halloween to Spookane deserves special mention - since it not only keeps the "Halloween"-theme intact, but also sounds like an actual city in the US.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: All That I Needed (Was You) from the soundtrack is a pretty generic-but-catchy pop song, though the fact that it was sung by a choirboy (Jeremy Budd) makes it sound more than a little jarring.


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