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EarthBound Beginnings

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Title Screen

EarthBound Beginnings

Also known as: Mother (JP), Earth Bound (US/EU in-game title), EarthBound Zero (unofficial title commonly used prior to Beginnings release)
Developers: Nintendo, Ape, Pax Softnica
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: NES
Released in JP: July 27, 1989
Released in US: June 14, 2015 (Virtual Console)
Released in EU: June 15, 2015 (Virtual Console)

AreasIcon.png This game has unused areas.
DevTextIcon.png This game has hidden development-related text.
EnemyIcon.png This game has unused enemies.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
ItemsIcon.png This game has unused items.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.
Carts.png This game has revisional differences.
PiracyIcon.png This game has anti-piracy features.

PrereleaseIcon.png This game has a prerelease article
NotesIcon.png This game has a notes page
BugsIcon.png This game has a bugs page
DCIcon.png This game has a Data Crystal page

John Lennon's cries of his painful mommy issues made Shigesato Itoi cry, and that compelled him to throw Americana, Pollyanna, and grinding into an equally-painful game. Because he wanted to make other people cry too. That game became Mother...

...which became EarthBound Beginnings for the Wii U Virtual Console overseas in 2015, based on an unpublished English localization that had been done in 1990, to critical acclaim. There are no more tears to shed.


Read about prerelease information and/or media for this game.
Prerelease Info
Miscellaneous tidbits that are interesting enough to point out here.
Read about notable bugs and errors in this game.
Mother - Title Logo.png
Regional Differences
An RPG such as this was bound to be retooled some for the United States.

Unused Enemies

To do:
Enemies' exact stats.

Such a pretty dress--OH GEEZ SHE'S EATING MY BRAINS The most threatening enemy in existence.

Two unused enemies remain in the final game: Pippi, and a possessed pillow, both with intact stats. Due to the way the game reads enemies when a battle starts, they do not have intact palettes (the palette settings are stored in the encounter group, not the enemy itself). The two enemies share name pointers with the used enemies Gang Zombie and Doll, due to appearing next to them in the game's code.

Stat-wise, the Pillow's stats are identical to the Lamp enemy fought at the beginning of the game, except for its HP, which is two points lower. It is functionally complete in comparison, just not named.

All of Pippi's stats are exceedingly low aside from her PP stat, placing her at a point in the game directly after Ninten would leave his home (perhaps she was intended to be encountered when Ninten would open the coffin she was trapped in). She also has an absurd amount of PP points, when at that point in the game none of the enemies use PSI techniques.

Their AI in battle consists solely of regular attacks.

(Source: BB Gang Zombie)

Unused Graphics

Mmmmmm, metal donut.

What the hey is this? Whatever it's meant to be, it's loaded with the factory tileset.

So does this mean he's just "man" then?

Looks like a variation of the Guitar Man, but without the guitar.


To do:
Japanese Mother equivalents of the doll and trapped person lines.

Version Identifier

Present in the ROM at 3FFF0.

Mother EarthBound Beginnings

Pretty self explanatory.

Doll Text

The text string below is found in both versions. Clearly meant to be used prior to encountering the possessed doll at the beginning of the game.

Spooky!! The doll walks by itself!

B.B. Boss Description

During this battle, you can only Fight; the Check option cannot be selected. Despite this, he does have a unique description:

Maybe he's not really rotten to the core....

Note that, since battle descriptions are unique to Beginnings, no equivalent of this line exists in Mother.

Unused Trapped Person

Near the end of the game, there are two people trapped in pods that you can speak to. The game has text for a third person not actually present anywhere:

Not that I have claustrophobia... but I can't stand small, close spaces!


In all versions, modifying RAM address $29 will modify the items in your inventory.

  • StoneOrigin - Functions like the spell.
  • PoisnNeedle - Functions like the spell.
  • IC-Chip - This item cannot be thrown away. In the Mother 1+2 version, there was an added item called "Memory Chip".
  • Debug (72-7F) - The version at 7F has a unique description of "......."; in the Japanese version, this item is called ざひょう (Coordinates) and its usage pointer seems to point to code that is no longer there (which would've presumably displayed your map coordinates somehow), often leading to random effects/crashes. Beginnings fixes this bug with a unique message of "Nothing happened."
  • TimeMachine - This item is used in an event in Mother at Twinkle Elementary School (see regional differences for more details), but it was never intended to be in the player's inventory. By looking at it, the text "System Error!!!" is displayed.
(Source: Lost Levels)

Unused Areas

To do:
Check for unused rooms and upload the map from Mother for comparison.
  • Three grey churches to the right of Duncan's Factory on the map.
  • Several grey rooms surrounding Duncan's Factory.
  • A grey factory room to the right of the Monkey Grotto.
  • Some land with trees in the northeast portion of Snowman.

The world map of EarthBound Beginnings is humongous, and a significant amount of it cannot be seen during normal gameplay. Due to its size, view it here. (Note that the ripped map does not display any objects or NPCs, only the layout of the world.)

Notably, the entire game takes place on one giant map. Several areas are spaced out with grey filler consisting of random overworld tiles.

Exploring these areas is possible using the bread crumbs glitch in the Japanese version, or by using the walk-through-walls Game Genie code (AEOTEOAP) in Beginnings. Use bread crumbs to refresh the screen once you are in the desired location, or the area will appear to endlessly loop.



An anti-piracy measure was added to EarthBound Beginnings that checks whether the ROM's checksum has been altered. If so, the game may fade to the screen pictured at certain points:

  • Reaching the title screen.
  • Teleporting to Magicant.
  • Checking the XX Stone.
  • Before the "All That I Needed Was You" performance in the Live House.
  • Before the "Fallin' Love" dance scene in Mt. Itoi's cabin.

The consequence of this screen is less severe than it states; rather than making the cartridge nonfunctional, it simply impedes your progress. Pirated copies are flagged in RAM at $0006, activating if its value is not zero.

Historically, back when Demiforce acquired the prototype ROM in 1998, NESticle, a popular NES emulator at the time, had an issue where the game would freeze whenever textboxes were drawn. Demiforce made a one-byte edit to the ROM to resolve this and added "ZERO" in white text to the title screen to distinguish the game from its sequel, which inadvertently triggered this anti-piracy screen. Later modifications to the ROM disabled the anti-piracy checks, distinguishable by a two-toned blue and white "ZERO" on the title screen.

Modern emulators function properly with the original, unmodified ROM.

(Source: Data Crystal, Lost Levels)

Virtual Console Changes

Like the other games in the EarthBound series, a few changes were made to this game when released on the Japanese Virtual Console.


Three enemies were altered to use their sprites from EarthBound Beginnings, seemingly to avoid a higher age rating, though similar features among other enemies remain unchanged.


Famicom Virtual Console
MotherCrowJ.png MotherCrowE.png

The Crow enemy's cigarette was erased, as in the localized version and Mother 1+2. Strangely, the B.B. Gang members were allowed to keep their cigarettes.

Gang Zombie

Famicom Virtual Console
MotherGangZombieJ.png MotherGangZombieE.png

The blood on the Gang Zombies was replaced with a tie, matching Beginnings and Mother 1+2. The bit of blood on Dr. Distorto's lab coat was not removed.


Famicom Virtual Console
MotherShroudleyJ.png MotherShroudleyE.png

Just like Beginnings and Mother 1+2, the dripping blood was removed from Shroudley's hands and feet.


To do:
Rip and translate both lines.

In the Japanese version, a kid in Twinkle Elementary asks you if you've played Dragon Quest IV yet (which was notably not out yet by the time of Mother's release), and admits that he hasn't because he's still stuck on the third game. This text was rewritten to avoid any specific references, as was the case in the Mother 1+2 version of the game.

(In case you're wondering, the Beginnings version of the line wasn't altered, as the games it mentioned were changed to "Super Mario Bros. 7" and Super Mario Bros. 3 respectively in the localization. Hey, wait a second...)