Earthbound vs. Mother 3: The Epic Battle of Nintendo’s Cult Classic RPGs

Discover the Epic Battle of Earthbound vs Mother 3: Two Classic RPGs That Shaped a Generation. Compare and Contrast the Worlds, Characters, and Gameplay of these Cult Favorites. Determine Which Game Reigns Supreme in This Ultimate Showdown of Nostalgia and Adventure.

Earthbound vs. Mother 3: A Head-to-Head Battle of Nintendo’s Beloved RPGs

If you’re a fan of classic RPGs, chances are that you’ve heard of Earthbound and its sequel, Mother 3. These two games have gained a cult following over the years, and are considered to be some of the best RPGs of all time. But which one is better? That’s a question that’s been debated by fans for years, and we’re here to settle the score once and for all.

Earthbound, released in 1995 for the Super Nintendo, was developed by legendary game designer Shigesato Itoi. It tells the story of a young boy named Ness who embarks on a journey to save the world from an alien invasion. The game’s quirky humor, unique art style, and catchy soundtrack quickly won over a dedicated fanbase.

In 2006, Mother 3 was released in Japan for the Game Boy Advance. It was also developed by Itoi, and served as a sequel to Earthbound. This time around, players took control of several different characters as they fought against an evil empire that sought to destroy their way of life. Mother 3 was praised for its emotional story, compelling characters, and innovative gameplay mechanics.

Both Earthbound and Mother 3 are beloved by fans for different reasons, and it’s hard to definitively say which one is better. But in this article, we’ll take a closer look at the strengths and weaknesses of each game, and help you decide which one is right for you.

The History of Earthbound and Mother 3


Earthbound, released in Japan in 1994 and in North America in 1995, is a role-playing game developed by HAL Laboratory and published by Nintendo. It tells the story of four children who journey through a quirky, surreal, and often bizarre world to save it from an alien invasion. The game features a modern-day setting and a unique sense of humor, as well as a battle system that uses rolling HP meters, text-based enemy attacks, and a variety of strange enemies.

Despite positive reviews, Earthbound was a commercial failure in North America, in part due to its quirky nature and lack of mainstream appeal. Over time, however, it developed a cult following, thanks to its unique storytelling, memorable characters, and catchy music.

Mother 3

Mother 3, released in Japan in 2006, is the sequel to Earthbound and was also developed by HAL Laboratory. Unlike its predecessor, it was never released outside of Japan, though a fan translation has made it playable in English.

Mother 3 tells the story of a boy named Lucas who must save his world from the destructive power of the Pig Mask Army, while dealing with themes of family, love, and loss. The game features a revamped battle system, as well as a dark and emotional story that surprised fans of the Earthbound series.

Despite its critical acclaim in Japan, Mother 3 never saw an official release in North America, leading to frustration among fans who felt that the game deserved a wider audience. However, its impact on the gaming world has been felt through its influence on other games and its devoted fanbase.

The Gameplay Differences Between Earthbound and Mother 3

Battle System

In Earthbound, battles are turn-based and take place in a first-person perspective. Players select actions for each character and watch them play out on-screen. Mother 3, on the other hand, features a more traditional RPG battle system where characters and enemies are visible on-screen and attacks can be timed for extra damage. Additionally, Mother 3 introduces the concept of rhythm combos where players must hit a button in time with music to land multiple hits on an enemy.


Both games feature open worlds that the player can explore, but Earthbound’s overworld is presented in a top-down perspective, while Mother 3’s is presented in a sidescrolling perspective. Earthbound also features a unique “rolling hit points” system where the player’s HP decrease gradually after taking damage, adding an extra layer of strategy to battles.


The two games share many themes, such as the importance of friendship and the dangers of unchecked capitalism, but the stories themselves are quite different. Earthbound follows a group of kids who must save the world from an alien invasion, while Mother 3 follows a group of characters fighting against a corrupt government and dealing with personal tragedy.


One of Earthbound’s most defining features is its quirky sense of humor, with oddball enemies and pop culture references throughout. Mother 3, while still featuring some humorous moments, takes a more serious tone overall and tackles darker themes such as loss and grief.

Battle System Comparison
Earthbound Mother 3
Battle System First-person turn-based Visible character/enemy, timed attacks and rhythm combos
Rolling Hit Points Yes No

The Influence of Earthbound and Mother 3 on Gaming Culture

A Unique Approach to Storytelling

One of the most notable aspects of both Earthbound and Mother 3 is their unconventional approach to storytelling. While most RPGs are set in medieval fantasy worlds or sci-fi settings, these games take place in modern-day or near-future towns and cities. The characters and enemies are also anything but ordinary, with quirky designs and personalities that set them apart from the typical RPG cast.

These games also use their unique settings to tell stories that tackle a variety of themes, from the power of friendship and family bonds to the impact of capitalism and consumerism on society. This approach to storytelling has influenced a number of games that have followed in their footsteps, such as Undertale and Night in the Woods.

An Emphasis on Music and Sound Design

Another area where Earthbound and Mother 3 stand out is their use of music and sound design. From the catchy, upbeat melodies that play during battles to the haunting tunes that underscore emotional moments, the music in these games has become iconic in its own right.

The sound design is also noteworthy, with everything from the sound effects for each character’s attacks to the ambient noise in each area adding to the game’s immersive feel. In fact, the music and sound design in Earthbound and Mother 3 have inspired a number of fan remixes and covers, as well as homages in other games.

A Legacy of Cult Status

While neither Earthbound nor Mother 3 were commercial successes upon their initial release, they have both gained a dedicated following over time. This cult status has inspired numerous fan works, including art, music, and fan games. It has also kept the games in the public eye, with regular mentions on social media and in gaming communities.

Furthermore, the influence of Earthbound and Mother 3 can be seen in the work of indie game developers who grew up playing these games. Many of them cite the games as major inspirations for their own work, and some have even incorporated direct references to the games into their own projects.

The Reception of Earthbound and Mother 3


When Earthbound was first released in North America in 1995, it received mixed reviews from critics and low sales. However, as time passed, it gained a cult following and is now considered a classic and one of Nintendo’s most beloved games. Its unique sense of humor, quirky characters, and innovative gameplay mechanics are just a few of the reasons why fans adore it.

Even now, more than 25 years later, Earthbound’s influence can be seen in modern RPGs and indie games. It’s also received several re-releases, including a limited physical edition for the Wii U and a spot on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition console.

Mother 3

Mother 3 received critical acclaim upon its release in Japan in 2006, but it never saw an official release in North America. Despite this, it has still managed to build a devoted fan base in the West, with fan translations allowing English-speaking players to experience the game.

Mother 3 is praised for its poignant story, emotional depth, and unique gameplay mechanics, including a rhythm-based battle system. It also features a cast of memorable characters, including fan-favorite Lucas.

Despite these accolades, Mother 3 has yet to receive an official localization in North America or Europe, leaving fans to wonder if they will ever be able to experience the game in their native language.

The Future of Earthbound and Mother 3

For years, fans of the Earthbound/Mother series have been clamoring for a new game. While we’ve seen re-releases and remakes of the existing games, there has been no official announcement of a new entry in the series.

However, there have been some hints and teases that suggest that Nintendo is at least considering the idea. In an interview with Famitsu, series creator Shigesato Itoi mentioned that he had “one more thing” that he wanted to do with the Mother series, though he didn’t offer any specifics.

In addition, during a Nintendo Direct in 2019, the company released a video featuring a number of secrets and Easter eggs hidden throughout their games. Among them was a reference to the Mother series, leading many to believe that Nintendo is aware of the demand for a new game and is acknowledging it.

Of course, this is all speculation, and there’s no guarantee that we’ll ever see a new Mother game. That said, the fact that there is still interest and demand for the series after all these years is a testament to how well-loved it is by its fans.

  • Will there be a new game?
  • We don’t know.
  • Do fans want one?
  • Absolutely.

Whether we see a new Mother game or not, the existing games will continue to hold a special place in the hearts of gamers everywhere. The quirky humor, memorable characters, and unique gameplay make for an unforgettable experience that will stay with you long after you’ve finished playing.

Frequently Asked Question:

What is the difference between Earthbound and mother 3?

Earthbound and mother 3 are two different games within the same series. While Earthbound takes place in a version of America, mother 3 takes place in a fantasy world. The gameplay mechanics are also different between the two games.

Which game is better, Earthbound or mother 3?

That is subjective and depends on personal preference. Both games are highly regarded and have their own unique charms.

Do I need to play Earthbound before playing mother 3?

No, you do not need to play Earthbound before playing mother 3. However, playing Earthbound can provide a better understanding of the series’ world and characters.

What is the combat system like in Earthbound?

The combat system in Earthbound is turn-based and involves selecting actions for each character. It also includes unique features such as rolling HP meters and the ability to dodge enemies’ attacks.

What is the combat system like in mother 3?

The combat system in mother 3 is similar to Earthbound, but with slight differences such as the ability to combo attacks and a rhythm-based battle system.

Which game has a better story, Earthbound or mother 3?

Both games have compelling stories. Earthbound focuses on a group of kids saving the world from an alien invasion, while mother 3 follows the journey of a young boy as he tries to save his homeland from destruction.

Can I play Earthbound and mother 3 on modern consoles?

Earthbound is available on the Wii U Virtual Console, while mother 3 has yet to be officially released outside of Japan. It is possible to play the game on an emulator or with a fan translation patch.

Are there any connections between Earthbound and mother 3?

Yes, there are several connections between the two games. Many characters and themes from Earthbound are referenced in mother 3, and there are even some returning characters.

Which game has better music, Earthbound or mother 3?

Both games have amazing music. Earthbound features a mix of catchy pop music and haunting melodies, while mother 3 has emotionally-charged tracks and memorable boss battle themes.

Are there any Easter eggs or hidden secrets in Earthbound or mother 3?

Yes, both games have numerous Easter eggs and hidden secrets. In Earthbound, there is a secret boss called “Mani Mani Statue” that can only be reached by traveling to an unmarked section of the game. In mother 3, there is a hidden room that can only be accessed by inputting a specific code into a vending machine.

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BattleMaster/ author of the article

Hey there, I'm Chris 'BattleMaster' Thompson, your go-to author and pro gamer here at RagingGameZ. My journey in the gaming realm spans over a decade, filled with epic quests, thrilling battles, and unforgettable adventures. I'm dedicated to sharing my gaming expertise, strategies, and in-depth analysis to help fellow gamers elevate their skills and fully immerse themselves in the captivating world of gaming. Together, let's conquer new challenges and dive headfirst into the exhilarating experiences our favorite games have to offer!

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