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  • All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": It's a safe bet to say that one thing most people know about the game is its infamous final boss. Some don't even realize there's a whole cartoony adventure role-playing game juxtaposed against that jarring final battle.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Orange Kid is presented as having a Small Name, Big Ego and being kind of a dick to Apple Kid. Later on in the game, though, he talks about Apple Kid having borrowed a book on Overcoming Shyness and how he wanted it when Apple Kid was done with it. Orange Kid may just be socially maladjusted rather than a spiteful Jerkass, especially since he's a good deal more polite to Ness.
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    • A lot is also applied to Pokey and Giygas. We can't list them all, but you can probably think of a few off the top.
    • The idea that Ness is actually a rather spoiled kid who wasn't ready to become The Chosen One, but had to adapt quickly. His mother makes him his favorite food anytime he feels like and lets him run off in the middle of the night without question, he gets homesick very easily to the point of debilitation, and many people describe him as chubby. No wonder his insane potential was buried under so much doubt and fear, as stated in his Magicant. Fortunately, if this is true, he definitely falls into the Spoiled Sweet category.
  • Animation Age Ghetto: A big reason why it was a commercial failure back when it was released in North America for the first time. Its localization was poorly timed as it was released when the bar was set VERY high graphic-wise for video games, especially for RPGs. Its preteen to young adult target audience didn't take a second look at the "chibi" graphics and Toilet Humor from the marketing and assumed it was merely a kids' game. The "cool"-looking boxart tried to change this, but it fell on blind eyes.
  • Anti-Climax Boss:
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    • Carpainter is very easy thanks to the Franklin Badge reflecting all of his lightning attacks back at him. He does have attacks other than lightning, but they're weak.
    • Mondo Mole, but only if paralyzed, which he very, very easily gets hit with. If you don't paralyze him though, he's That One Boss.
    • Master Belch is this once the Fly Honey is used on him. Without the Fly Honey though, he's nigh impossible to defeat.note 
    • Any boss can be this really after getting access to Multi-Bottle Rockets, which can one-shot almost all of them, making them all nothing more than a joke. See Game-Breaker below for elaboration.
    • Assuming you're not just going to use a Multi-Bottle Rocket to take them out in one hit, Thunder and Storm are weak to PK Freeze, which both Paula and Poo can use, allowing them both to deal a ton of damage to them each turn. Rarely does this fight ever last long for anyone.
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    • The first part of the Final Boss has a dual weakness that makes it hard to get hurt. Porky is weak to Paralysis and Giygas only uses PSI. Paralyzing Porky and putting PSI Shield α or Σ (not β or Ω, which will cause you to get hit anyway) will make you invincible until the shield runs out. And note that Heavily-Armed Pokey takes 1/7ths of the normal damage from Multi-Bottle Rockets, and they have a high chance of not working on Giygas, so it's telling that even with the Multi-Bottle Rockets out of the picture, the first phase of the final boss still manages to be easy.
    • The final boss in general can be this, at least in terms of difficulty, once you realize that his "incomprehensible attack" is actually just an alternate battle message meant to mask that he's using ordinary abilities—specifically, PSI Thunder β, PSI Flash γ, and a special PSI Freeze α reconfigured to target all opposing combatants—and these abilities do not bypass resistances and immunities granted by equipment. Just make sure Paula has the Franklin Badge and either a Sea or Star Pendant, put the Diadem of Kings on Poo, and Night, Sea, or Star Pendants on Ness and Jeff, and the main portion of the battle becomes very difficult to lose. Your mileage may vary on how much this actually detracts from the atmosphere of the fight, though.
  • 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.
  • Best Boss Ever: Giygas has become one of Nintendo's most memorable bosses for a few reasons:
    • After what's been a relatively kid-friendly jaunt throughout Eagleland and beyond, you confront what can only be described as the best attempt at Cosmic Horror the SNES can muster. People not aware of Giygas are caught extremely off guard by how surreal and creepy Giygas is, a complete tonal 180 from the rest of the game.
    • The method to his defeat. Subverting common RPG Final Boss methods of the 90s, Giygas cannot be defeated simply by throwing your strongest attacks at him (though you are required to deal a certain amount of damage in one phase). You must use the overlooked Pray command, calling on the people of the world to assist you in the final battle. And even that isn't enough. After one more attempt where it doesn't look like it will be effective anymore, praying calls on someone else... The player. Damage against Giygas will pile up until suddenly you're dealing five digits worth of damagenote  and finish him off.
    • Giygas' dialogue. When you confront Giygas, not much remains of his sanity and the things he says are extremely unsettling, describing how he feels good, or sad, or repeating Ness' name over and over. It actually makes him even creepier than if he just told you to suffer or die or something.
    • The music. The first Giygas battle theme starts off as an 8-bit throwback before seamlessly seguing into 16-bit metal, emphasizing just how important this battle really is. The rest of Giygas' battle themes, while not necessarily catchy or even music, per se, serve a different purpose: To highlight just how twisted and how much of a horror Giygas is. It all adds up to one of the most nightmare-ish final bosses Nintendo has ever produced.
    • Giygas as a character, especially if you're familiar with his backstory. While other villains are just there for the sake of being villains, Giygas was one of the earlier examples of a villain that you could feel sorry for. Between his parental problems and his madness, chances are a good portion of players will actually end up pitying the poor alien.
  • Best Level Ever:
    • Moonside. It's a dark mirror of Fourside where the terrain is only visible by multicolored outlines, and the enemies inhabiting the area are all very surreal with unique abilities and challenging without being overwhelming. The NPCs talk in very strange ways, being creepy and funny in equal measure. Because of being usettling yet humorous, the place in general is very well remembered for being the culmination of EarthBound's best aspects. It finally concludes with a confrontation with the Mani-Mani Statue, which has been a thorn in the player's side since Twoson.
    • Ness's Magicant is also a major highlight of the game. As the reward for finding the eight sanctuaries, it conveys a feeling of accomplishment by setting foot in there. As for the area itself, it starts out bright and cheerful, featuring a motley collection of NPCs who provide hints of Ness's past, and talking to anyone in the area causes the terrain's color palette to change. After the initial section, Ness gets to fight a selection of unique enemies with unique attack patterns while journeying to the center of his mind. It all culminates with a fight with three Krakens, which Ness and his friends fought earlier but Ness can make short work of alone, and a confrontation with Ness's Nightmare, a Mirror Boss using most of Ness's own abilities.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: Even by this series's standards, anytime the photo-man shows up. Granted, even though the photos he takes appear 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. The sanctuary boss, Thunder and Storm, also applies to this, which was mentioned above under Anti-Climax Boss.
    • 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 EXP catching her up to Ness. It's also notable that the beginning of the game when Ness is going solo is considered by many to be the most difficult part of the game, and being that you have Paula leveled up by this point, the game in general is much easier in comparison.
  • Cult Classic: To the point where it is granted Immunity To Criticism. Has been averted when Nintendo finally rereleased the game, allowing people to play it for cheap without emulators. This has also removed its Sacred Cow status, due to newbies being very willing to pick apart the game's flaws after having it hyped up so much.
  • 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). Also more fortunately, you get another party member (Paula) to help fight the damned things off afterwards. (However, Paula is a bit of a Squishy Wizard, which likely means you have less time to escape due to her low HP.)
    • 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 Ω 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.
    • The Ghost of Starman. They immediately use PSI Starstorm α, which will likely put 3/4 of your team down for the count if not healed quickly enough. After that, they'll count down and use it again. They also hold the incredibly rare Goddess Ribbon for Paula.
  • Ear Worm: Hell, any of them! But just try to get the Onett theme out of your head.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Compare Tony's relevance to the plot to his appearance in fan art and fan fiction.
    • Fobbies are probably the most popular enemies. Possibly because they have some Ridiculously Cute Critter qualities to them, being a Waddling Head and all, possibly because they're a joy to see on the overworld, as "Fobby" is just another name for "big round sack of EXP."
    • 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 MOTHER 3 as the DCMC.
    • Master Belch was popular enough to make an appearance as a costume in Super Mario Maker along with the above-mentioned Mr. Saturn. Though that might be because he was the Creator's Pet to the American advertising team. Or because his boss theme has a few notes from Mario's 1-1 theme.
  • Epic Riff: The phasing synth riff from Porky Means Business. 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 
    • The theory revolves around the background image in the later phases of the Giygas fight looking like a child in its mother's womb. The "YOU WERE SENT BACK IN TIME TO ABORT A FETUS" element was introduced later. note 
      • The fact that the machine Giygas was locked in looked eerily like a woman's cervix didn't help matters. Granted, said machine was surrounded by tubes/intestines/brain-looking stuff, which is not actually what the inside of a vagina looks like.
  • Even Better Sequel: To EarthBound Beginnings. 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 Rivalry:
    • Enjoys a mild one with MOTHER 3, mostly in terms of which one is the better game.
    • A larger and more volatile one is present with the Undertale fandom, due to the latter game having been brought up in nearly all EarthBound-related discussions since its release (as Undertale takes heavy inspiration from EarthBound and re-uses numerous gameplay elements and soundbytes). Many EarthBound fans have gotten sick of hearing about Undertale everywhere they go, to the point where some forums and comments sections will outright ban people for merely bringing the game up. Of course, this kind of behavior towards Undertale fans isn't unusual among other circles online (as the fandom has garnered a reputation for shoehorning the game into nearly anything, regardless of how relevant it is), but because of how great of an influence it was on Undertale, EarthBound's fandom is where this backlash is most prominent. It got even worse when Game Theory's infamous "Sans is Ness" video came into the picture, as several types of fanworks featuring Ness since then have started getting comments referencing Sans, which only leads to more annoyance for EarthBound fans, especially for those sick of Sans in particular being shoehorned into everything and/or hate MatPat and his videos.
  • Fanon:
    • Ness is almost always drawn with Purple Eyes in fanart, due to his appearance in Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Brawl giving his Black Bead Eyes purple irises at the bottom. Ness' model in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U does away with the purple irises, but fans still draw him this way.
    • In-game, when the party is turned into robots in order to survive time travel Ness is the only one with a distinguishable characteristic (his red cap); fanartists almost always give the robot versions of Paula, Jeff, and Poo a ribbon, glasses, and wire emulating his hair, respectively.
    • Paula's surname is commonly thought by the fandom to be "Polestar" due to Polestar being the name of her and her parents' preschool. The Japanese spellings for both Paula and the Polestar Preschool indicate that Polestar is actually meant to be a pun on Paula's name, as Paula is spelled ポーラ (Pōra) and Polestar is spelled ポーラスター (Pōrasutaa). There isn't any official material that calls Paula "Paula Polestar." There is official material however, though obscure and Japan only, that reveals Paula's last name to be Jones. Much of the fandom regardless refers to her as Paula Polestar, which has caused turmoil in the past on the EarthBound Wiki when fans argued over whether or not to call Paula's article Paula Polestar. There are also some people who, while they do know about Jones, refer to Paula as Paula Polestar anyway because being that Jones is a common last name, it is much easier to search up Paula Polestar as keywords for the Paula from EarthBound than it is for Paula Jones online.
    • Speaking of last names, Jeff is near-universally called Jeff Andonuts due to him being the son of Dr. Andonuts. Contrary to popular belief, Jeff is never actually called "Jeff Andonuts" in any official material; he is called that in the English EarthBound Player's Guide, which at least gives it semi-canon statusnote . Unlike Paula's case above however, there isn't any hard evidence against Jeff's surname being Andonuts, so there isn't much argument in the fandom about it.
    • Many people believe that Ness's Mother is really a grown up Ana from EarthBound Beginnings thanks to them both having blonde hair, blue eyes, and Ness's Mother holding a frying pan on her clay model, which is Ana's Weapon of Choice. Given the fact that Ness resembles Ninten and Ninten and Ana being shown as an Official Couple by the end of the game, they further believe that Ninten is the father. Likewise, there are people who also believe that Dr. Andonuts is Lloyd thanks to being geniuses with white hair and round glasses, and according to Mother 3, having a tendency to hide in trash cans. Hard evidence implies this all isn't the case thanks to EarthBound being ambiguously set in the 1990's, whereas Beginnings is set in the 1980's. Even if one were to argue that the first game is set in 1980 and the second in 1999, that would make the 12 year old Ninten and Ana just 31 by EarthBound, which would be a rather questionable age at which to be parenting a 13 year old biological son, especially when you consider that Ana is the daughter of a pastor. Additionally, the Famicom version of Beginnings concretely labels the events of the game as taking place in 1988, making the theory even more implausible. Nevertheless, the theory lingers. Some fans who are aware of that believe in the theory anyway because being related to Ninten (and therefore, Giygas himself) gives Ness a really good reason to be The Chosen One.
  • Friendly Fandoms: While, noted above, EarthBound and Undertale have a bit of a rivalry, parts of these fandoms actually get along quite well, again due to the number of nods to the former present in the latter.
  • "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.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • Via exploitation of a glitch, often dubbed "the Rock Candy trick" by players, you can get your characters to have insanely high stats, with HP so high (higher than 999) that the game doesn't even know how to display it properly. The glitch happens as follows; if you use a food item at the way bottom of a character's inventory during a battle with a condiment also in the inventory, the condiment gets consumed, but the item does not. This means by keeping a consumable item at the bottom of the inventory, you can use consumables over and over in battle without them ever running out so long as you have a condiment to spare. Rock Candies raise a random stat permanently, and by several extra points when combined with either a sugar packet or delisauce. By (ab)using it over and over, your characters will have erroneously high stats. 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. These things can only be used by Jeff, and can deal up to 3000 damage, which is the highest damage roll any single attack has the power to deal in the game. Jeff can kill almost any boss in a single hit with them. If the damage rolls 3000, the only bosses it cannot OHKO are Diamond Dog and Electro Specter, the former having 3344 total HP and the latter having 3092.note  As a payoff for that, they were intended to be too expensive to buy in large amounts, but by the time you can buy them, money comes so easily that you have oodles of cash to spend on these things. The Bag of Dragonite is a similarly overpowered item, except that not only are there only 6 in the whole game, but Multi-Bottle Rockets are even STRONGER than them. Somehow, Multi-Bottle Rockets get even more broken when Jeff is equipped with the Rabbit's Foot, as their strength is relative to Jeff's speed.
    • Lifeup Ω makes the final portion of the game a complete joke. Using it heals the entire party by 300-500 HP for a mere 24 PP. Even at higher levels this will heal Paula, Jeff, and Poo almost completely, along with more than half of Ness' HP. The only catch is Ness' speed but post-Magicant it's hardly an issue.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: While the game had poor sales initially in North America, word of mouth quickly made it a cult classic. So much so that it became a big seller when it was released on the Wii U's Virtual Console. It's notable that EarthBound is a game on the SNES Classic in North America and Europe, but not in its native Japan.
  • Goddamned Bats:
    • Any and all exploding enemies.
    • Any mushroom enemy that inflicts Mushroomization. Which is nearly all of them.
    • Earlier on: Goddamned thieving crows!
      • And later on: Goddamned thieving Octobots! No, I wasn't going to use that Rock Candy, don't mind me. What makes this worse is YOU DON'T GET THE ITEMS BACK.
    • The Slimy Little Piles in Belch's Factory can immobilize a character for one turn, summon more of themselves, or inflict crying on the entire party, which severely reduces the accuracy of regular attacks. While crying does wear off after battle, curing it in the middle of battle is a waste of resources because they can just cause it again. They attack so rarely that they aren't much of a threat by themselves, but they often show up around enemies that do attack more frequently, making them an annoying enemy that makes other enemies more dangerous. And when they don't appear with other enemies, they can still cause battles to drag on and on because of their aforementioned abilities.
    • 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...
  • Good Bad Bug: Cited by EarthBound Central in 2009, there is a glitch on the bottom right pillar at the Threed tent, when you press the L button repeatedly, the game will do random things from generating scrambles of characters to even skipping to certain areas.note 
  • Hate Sink: Porky may be an asshole, but his parents are simply vile people. It's rather obvious that they're the reason Porky is so insecure and hateful.
  • 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 Chief finishes EarthBound, asks, "Where's the sequel?". Well... about that...
    • Shigesato Itoi confirmed in an interview that Tony is gay. With the release of the Ballad of Gay Tony 15 years after EarthBound's Japan release, this is kind of awkward, considering the title of the GTA game.
    • "My dad's not a PHONE!!"
    • Throughout the game, Orange Kid will occasionally call and claim that he's researching on how to unboil an egg. 20 years after the game's release, scientists figured out how to do just that and it's being used for cancer research.
    • One of the random NPCs had a blond flattop haircut and sunglasses and, by pure coincidence, bares a strong resemblance to Duke Nukem as a result. Likely unintentional- while the character did exist sometime before EarthBound was made, Duke was rather obscure until about a year after EB was released (EB came out in 1995, Duke Nukem 3D in 1996).
    • There is a Happy-Happyist who chants "Green, green..." when she is meant to chant "Blue, blue...". Fast forward to the late 1990s, and we've got a similar confusion with the very first series of the Pokemon games.
      • Ditto with Ingress and its two factions, Resistance (blue) and Enlightened (green). Especially funny since the Resistance is the dominant team in Ingress, with fewer players being Enlightened, and the whole goal of Ingress seems to be to "paint" the world your color.
    • The Happy Happyist religion dictates that everything must be painted blue. Twenty years later, Nintendo releases Splatoon, a game where the primary objective is to cover the map with as much of your team's paint color as you can... which can sometimes be blue!
    • The Skip Sandwich lets you move faster on the map; the name simply refers to the concept of having a spring in one's step. Later, a glitch was found that lets players scale cliffs in an instant using the item, allowing them to "skip" large parts of the game.
  • 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."
  • Hype Backlash: It's so beloved in most circles that many players experiencing it for the first time now are left with a "is this it?" experience, as several of the games' mechanics have not aged well and the earliest parts of the game are easily the dullest.
  • It's Easy, So It Sucks!: Averted. EarthBound is almost as easy as Chrono Trigger and is by far much easier than Earthbound Beginnings, 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.
  • Love to Hate: Porky, non-stop. He's an irredeemable, cowardly brat that acts like a total jerk towards Ness and co. every chance he gets (despite Ness basically being his only friend) and was more than willing to team-up with Giygas to destroy everything just for kicks. And yet, the fanbase can't help but love how unapologetically awful he is. And that's not even getting into what he does in MOTHER 3.
  • Memetic Badass: Jeff Andonuts, due to a combination of his high intelligence and apparent knack for heavy artillery.
  • 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.
    • Cursed Images but with Earthbound (and occasionally Mother 3) music”. Videos on YouTube showing bizarre images with The battle HUD and music from the two aforementioned games in the background. Probably inspired by the games' many, many weird enemies and the fact that the things in the cursed images would probably fit right in among them.
  • 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 that 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.
  • 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.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Porky 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.
  • Most Annoying Sound: When an enemy gets a Smaaaaaaash!! attack on your party, it plays a distinct sound that might just ruin your day. There are certain enemies with high Guts stats that are specifically geared to do frequent critical hits, so expect to hear this sound often against them.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • The satisfying sizzle and crack of PK Starstorm colliding into an enemy.
    • The cathartic pop as you instantly K.O. a weak monster, followed by the triumphantly trilling trumpet tune.
    • The famous Smaaaaaaash!! sound effect, so long as it comes from an attack by Ness' party.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • Giygas probably has enough fuel to have a whole subpage for himself.
    • "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 and all of its surreality.
    • Poo's Mu Training. An ancestral ghost that breaks your legs and tears off your arms, then removes your sight and sound which leaves you with only your mind which he vows he will one day take as well, is a bit unsettling considering the cartoonish nature of the game up until that point. The eerie humming throughout the scene only makes it worse...
  • Nightmare Retardant: The Cave of Winter, Giygas theme, and Cave of the Past songs get so used in .exe Creepypasta games that most people just find their overusage to be more annoying and boring than scary. Cave of the Past is also way less scary when you know it sampled "Deirdre" by The Beach Boys.
  • 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.
      • To a lesser extent, Picky, who, while weak, actually tries to help Ness in the fight against Starman Junior and establishes himself as the only member of the Minch family that isn't awful.
    • 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.
  • Praising Shows You Don't Watch: Before it attained its Sacred Cow status, it was very common to see people constantly praising the game and talking about how awesome it was. Its sales figures (before it rose to triple digits in the second-hand trade that is) would tell you otherwise.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • The photo-man will interrupt the game, sometimes next to enemies, to force you though about 60 seconds of "dialogue" that never changes after the second time he appears.
    • "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. The only thing good about the homesickness mechanic is that it adds a layer to Ness's characterization.
    • 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. The only time many players use them is to exploit the aforementioned Rock candy + Sugar packet trick.
    • Inventory management and Escargo Express in general. The $18 fee is a pittance and they're much faster than Mach Pizza, but you can't call them in some areas of the game, which happen to be the areas where you find a lot of good stuff you don't want to throw away or leave behind but can't carry. A surprising amount of items you'd think would be one-use, like the pencil eraser, aren't, so you have to find a place to call Escargo Express and engage in inventory tetris. And then, if you are at all conservative with item use you WILL run out of space by around Fourside. Not to mention that half of Ness's inventory is taken up by useless-in-battle stuff like his ATM card and the Sound Stone, although you can trick the game into sending the latter to Escargo Express by loading up on Cookies early game, you know, before you'd ever think to do so, that Poo requires all his own food... It never really gets better.
    • Your father calling you every once in a while (couple hours) to remind you to save your game makes sense on its original system, but it can get frustratingly annoying on the 3DS, whose virtual console is perfectly capable of letting you continue from the second you stopped playing. It can be annoying to start up the game and immediately get a message saying you've been playing a while and should take a break.
  • 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 when it first came out. (It's also rather standalone enough that the international audience generally don't know it's the second game in a series, between MOTHER and MOTHER 3.)
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: Ness/Lucas is surprisingly popular as a ship due to the fact that they both represent the Mother series in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, despite never meeting each other in actual game canon, or even appearing in the same game in their home series.
  • 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 Beginnings. For those who have played through it, the method used to defeat Giygas doubles down on this scene.
    • 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. Whether it's from feels or confusion, it remains a pretty memorable scene. Being set to a gentle but uplifting song helps.
    • Battles against the New Age Retro Hippies, minor mooks that could practically be the mascot of the game, both for their music and for summing up a greater part of the game in a nutshell.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Considering that half of the game is a parody of the United States, this happens a lot.
    • The bass line and melody of the song played in the Chaos Theater 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 another Doors song, "The Changeling."
    • Overall, the Runaway Five are a parody of The Blues Brothers, so their songs sound very much like those featured in their eponymous 1980 movie.
    • The music heard after waking up from sleep uses the same progression as "Good Morning Good Morning" by The Beatles.
    • The song that plays during battles with Frank Fly and New Age Retro Hippies is very, very similar to the guitar break between the second and third verses of Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode."
    • The Skyrunner's organ music is very close to a similar part in The Who's "Won't Get Fooled Again".
    • A few Pink Floyd songs end up being quoted in this game's soundtrack:
  • Tear Jerker: a given with the MOTHER franchise.
    • When you play the first MOTHER, 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 Boss:
    • The Clumsy Robot. He has surprisingly powerful and devastating attacks that seriously damage the group, and you only have Ness and Jeff for that fight. He has an annoying amount of HP, and can eat a bologna sandwich to recover his health, although that in itself is load of baloney, since it doesn't do anything. Not that it keeps first time players from raging at it. Its attacks can solidify the group. All in all, it's a long, incredibly annoying battle. Though, he is fifty percent weak to paralysis.
    • Ness' Nightmare, which is likely to be a Nightmare for the player. First, you can only fight it with Ness alone (unless you're lucky enough to keep a Flying Man alive up to that point, which is hard enough in itself), and second, it has a wide arsenal of Ness' abilities, tends to constantly use Lifeup and power shields on itself, before whaling on you with PSI Rockins, sometimes casting Rockin Ω, which will likely one-shot Ness at that point in the game. It's such a pain that most people find the most effective strategy with dealing with it is to stall it out until it has no PP left, and even then, doing such is a hard feat in and of itself.
    • Mondo Mole can be this. His offense is high enough as it is, but he's fond of buffing it with Offense Up, at which point he'll likely be able to take out a SHIELDED Ness in only a couple of turns, much less Paula whose HP and defense are guaranteed to be far below Ness'. To make matters worse, he's highly resistant to ice, making Paula's main offensive option useless, as she'll still be doing less damage than Ness' normal attacks with her PSI Fire. That leaves her with PSI Thunder, her only option of hitting him hard and that's only if you're lucky enough for it to actually hit. To top it off, he's also capable of using Lifeup and PSI Shield, essentially making your new party member useless in this battle. It's no wonder the player's guide warns you it may take a couple tries to beat him. However, as mentioned above under Anti-Climax Boss, you can avoid all of this by paralyzing him, as he's highly susceptible to paralysis, and being paralyzed renders him about as threatening as a potato.
    • The first Kraken. It has several massively damaging party hitting attacks that, if not one-shotting a party member will at least leave them very close to death. You'll pretty much be using either Ness or Poo as a dedicated healer throughout the fight and even if Paula is boosted up on stat boosting items and Jeff is spamming Big Bottle rockets, the Kraken still takes a long time to go down because of its massive amount of HP. Worse still; you can't even abuse its statis weakness since near all its attacks are PSI based and paralysis only stops physical attacks; it might buy you a turn at most but it doesn't majorly help when near everyone's HP is scrolling down to death. It's little wonder why most walkthroughs will recommend using one of the sanctuaries to grind at before facing it. Worst part is, it's possible to encounter it way before you're expected to, when your characters would be grossly underleveled for dealing with it. By Magicant, while Ness will be leveled up enough to take them down in a few thorns, it doesn't stop them from being a massive thorn in your side thanks to needing to reserve your HP and PP for Ness' Nightmare, as stated above.
  • That One Level:
    • Peaceful Rest Valley. While the game itself is subjected to Early Game Hell, no more so does it apply then here, so much so it's as if the localization team (it was known as the Grateful Dead Valley in Japan, thus necessitating a name change) realized this, and intentionally gave it an Ironic Name to troll the player. As for why Peaceful Rest Valley is so bad...
      • The most infamous enemy found in this locale is the Territorial Oak, which explodes on defeat for more damage than Ness likely has HP at this point. The only realistic solution is to flee - either out of combat, as the oaks are mercifully slow, or from battle if you get caught, as any damage the oak does to you while you try to escape will probably be less than the explosion if you choose to kill it. While the explosion isn't likely to outright kill you unless your HP were low to begin with, since the battle will mercifully end before your rolling HP reach zero, it still does enough damage to make it a drain on resources, and is guaranteed to destroy a Teddy Bear, if you decided to take one with you.
      • In addition to Territorial Oaks, it has several other Goddamn Bats in the form of quick-moving enemies on the overworld that use rather unpredictable movement patterns. Two of them, Lil' UFOs and Spinning Robos, can inflict the Cold status, which isn't that dangerous but eats up either 5 PP for a Healing cast or a Cold Remedy that takes up inventory space.
      • Mobile Sprouts are not particularly powerful, but in addition to being able to summon more of themselves in battle, they can also use PSI Magnet to drain Ness' PP. If you have extremely bad luck, it's possible to get into a fight with one and by the time you're done fighting its damn offspring be completely drain of all of Ness' PP.
      • Besides the above hazards, Ness is still alone, enforcing the same Early Game Hell issues that have existed up to this point.
    • 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.
    • Deep Darkness. It's a maze level filled to the brim with water that can slowly kill you since Ness and co. can't swim, with large areas filled with said deep water, and even when your head's above the water you still move at a snail's pace while some of the enemies in the area (especially the Hard Crocodile and electric eels) not only have full movement speed but also move faster in the water. It also doesn't help that more than 60% of the map is covered in water, and while you can use Teleport α to move across some of the bodies of water faster there are plants everywhere that will stop you just short of dry land, and you fight the area's boss in the deep water that damages you over time. Thankfully you only need to go through Deep Darkness once.
    • The gauntlet consisting of the upper and lower floors of the Lost Underworld, and the Lethal Lava Land preceding Fire Spring. The upper floor starts off by drowning you in Fobbies, which, like their weaker counterparts Foppies back in Saturn Valley, pose about as much of a threat as big, overinflated orange balloons stuffed with EXP. However, after that come the demonic spider duo of Uncontrollable Spheres, which hit hard and explode, and Conducting Spirits, which, like the Conducting Menaces back in Dalaam, love to spam PK Flashes, which, thankfully, don't One-Hit Kill you that much, but tend to cripple you with Paralysis and Crying, making it harder to put them down. Oh, and their PK Thunders tend to hit everyone much more often than it would if YOU used them, much like a certain OTHER Thunder. Electro Specter isn't too hard, in fact, he's downright tame compared to what comes next. Then you have to beat up the dinosaurs on the lower floor, who all have shields and high HP. Except the Wetnosaur, for some reason. And after this comes the trek to Fire Spring, which is crawling with Evil Elementals, which are easy to kill, sometimes even getting autofragged to a sneak attack, and Soul Consuming Flames. which are NOT, as they constantly "spit fireballs" (actually PSI Fire α, β, or γ in disguise.) Oh, and you can't tell which is which by the overworld sprite. For more fun, the Psychic Psychos make their debut here. The normal ones aren't too hard to handle, but the Major Psychic Psychos can spit out attacks all the way up to PSI Fire Ω. And then comes Carbon/Diamond Dog, who, as the name implies, is a Stone Wall that, after transforming into Diamond Dog, hits harder and occasionally Diamondizes. And then...
    • ...since you've (likely) visited all of the Your Sanctuary locations, Ness and Ness alone is immediately taken to Magicant. You start off in a small town-like area where you can buy things and heal, but the level itself is brutal. Numerous dangerous enemies, most notably the Care-Free Bombs, are here, and the narrow path makes avoiding fights luck based. Your only possible help comes in a Flying Man. Five live at the end of the town, and one will join you at a time. They're helpful for a while, but they'll likely get killed halfway in, and if you want to get another one, you'll have to go all the way back to the town. Once you finally reach the end, you're taken to the boss's lair. The area has three Kraken - the same that was a boss fought with the whole party - in the way, and the boss itself can use PSI Rockin Ω and a variant of Flash that can instantly kill you if you're not protected with the Night Pendant. And to make it all worse, the only phone is at the town. If Ness ever runs out of health before beating the boss, you're sent right back to town to do the trek all over again.
    • The return to Onett and The Cave of the Past that come afterwards are, fittingly for the penultimate and ultimate dungeon, very hard. In Onett, Starmen and Mechanical Octobots abound, the former slapping you silly with hard hitting attacks, while the latter constantly pilfer items from you. Items you were probably going to USE. (If it was a cheap item, less inventory tango for you.) Rarely, a Ghost of Starman jumps into the fray, which, as stated in the Demonic Spiders entry, will not be good for everyone's health. Evil Eyes are in the mix as well, which, while they don't hit particularly hard, WILL spam Brainshock, which is basically the equivalent of a Golbat using Confuse Ray on your whole party. The Cave of the Past takes all of that and kicks it Up to Eleven. It's infested with two variant of Starmen; the Final Starman, which CAN use PK Starstorm, but doesn't use it as much, and the Ghost of Starman, which is self explanatory. In addition to this, you have Ultimate Octobots, too, which do one thing: steal early, steal often, at least in comparison to how much the Mechanical Octobots did. There's also a Bionic Kraken. For some reason. And last, but not least, the Nuclear Reactor Robots get thrown into the mix, which, as stated, can heal enemies and themselves fullly and often, and they EXPLODE. Thankfully, they're the only exploding enemies there. Needless to say, you're gonna get VERY tired of the Kraken of the Sea and Battle Against A Machine themes. And then there's Giygas and Heavily Armored Pokey afterwards....which is actually a cakewalk compared to the hell that came before, as it just boils down to paralyzing Pokey and letting loose (phase 1) and spamming Defend and Pray (phase 2.)
  • Toy Ship: Ness and Paula; Tony and Jeff.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Giygas, of all characters, despite being referred to as "he" throughout both this game and its predecessor. An NPC even remarks that he's heard that Giygas might be female, although the Japanese version of this line is very clearly a joke about how Giygas managed to accrue so many followers, with said NPC speculating that Giygas is a beautiful woman who recruited them through sex appeal. 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 the first MOTHER, which is probably most English-speaking fans, especially before 2015. Although, to be fair, it's not as though Giygas' appearance in that game is especially-gendered, either, thanks to the small size of the sprite and Giygas' nature as an alien. The fact that his loving adoptive mother refers to him as, well, "him", is probably a good indicator of his gender, though.
    • Adding to the confusion, the work of a certain Japanese fan has begun a proliferation of fan art featuring Giygas as female, with (possibly) Non-Mammal Mammaries, no less.
  • 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. It's telling that when the game was finally released on the Virtual Console, it quickly rose to second place in the Wii U digital shop's "recent best sellers" list in America. It was beaten only by Donkey Kong, which at the time was on sale for thirty cents... and then it surpassed Donkey Kong while it was still on sale. It also topped the same chart in other countries. Furthermore, a large Miiverse community quickly formed around the game composed of both old and new players.
  • Watch It for the Meme: Many gamers, especially in countries without an official release, 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 a fan agrees that this is one of the game's best features. Averted on the Wii U Virtual Console, it got a T rating instead of the old E rating.
  • 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". 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").


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