Ness (character)

Ness (character)
Ness, as he appears in Super Smash Bros. Melee.
Series The EarthBound/Mother series
First game EarthBound (1994)
Created by Shigesato Itoi
Voiced by Makiko Ohmoto
(Super Smash Bros.) (1999)

Ness (ネス Nesu?) is a fictional character from the EarthBound series. He is the main protagonist of the Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game, EarthBound (known as Mother 2 in Japan). He is analogous to Ninten and Lucas in their respective games.

Ness is a young boy of about age 13, from the fictional town of Onett, in the fictional country of Eagleland. Gifted with psychic abilities referred to as PSI, and enlisted by the insect-like alien from the future, Ness embarks on a quest to save the universe from the Universal Cosmic Destroyer; the alien antagonist of Mother, known as Giygas.



Ness is a youth gifted with psychic abilities who plays the role of the main protagonist in EarthBound. Born in the town of Onett, in the fictional country of Eagleland (which is supposedly made to resemble America), Ness is a seemingly ordinary boy whose fate would be radically altered on the night of a meteor shower. Out of curiosity, he and his next-door neighbor, Pokey Minch, inspect the meteor landing site. There Ness learns from the time-traveling alien, Buzz-Buzz, that he has been chosen by the Apple of Enlightenment, a prophetic fruit, to destroy the evil alien, Giygas, who in the future destroys all of reality. To do this, he must travel to eight sanctuaries and absorb their psychic energies in order to unite his power with the Earth's. At each sanctuary, he records a fragment of a melody in his Sound Stone and experiences a personal sense memory. During the flashbacks experienced via the Sound Stone, it is revealed that Ness was born with psychokinetic abilities, and they manifested when he was an infant.

Conception and Creation

Concept art of Ness, his dog and his house, during the development of Mother 2.

Like many of the main protagonists of RPG's, Ness is mostly silent throughout the game, engaging in little more dialogue than simple replies of "Yes" and "No". In the fighting game Super Smash Bros. wherein Ness appears, he says the names of his PSI powers when he uses them.

Shigesato Itoi, the creator of the Mother series, who is known for his use of light-hearted and eccentric humor, made it so that the main character in EarthBound could be personalized to a then unprecedented depth, allowing the player to not only name the protagonist and his allies, but also choose his or her favorite homemade food, and name the player's "Favorite Thing." (which essentially assigns a name to the character's most powerful PSI ability). He created Ness intending for him to be like an actual person. He is quoted as saying, "I wanted to create a game (EarthBound) with real characters; characters whom players would recognize in the people around them."[1]

Not unlike the young male protagonists of many Nintendo games, Ness is initially portrayed as just a regular kid, and begins his journey as a seemingly ordinary boy, though it becomes evident early in the game that he is destined to be much more. Ness is very similar in appearance to the protagonist of the previous game in the Mother series, Ninten. Another trait that the two share is that both of their names make reference to the platforms on which their video games appear (Ninten's name being the first two syllables of the name of both the company and the platform, and Ness' being a rearrangement of the letters in the acronym SNES).

Since Super Smash Bros., Ness became linked to Mario and his brother Luigi, sharing a similar fighting style and behavior, like Lucas in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. However, Ness, along with Lucas, has much of their own custom style in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, except when they swim. Ness' female voice actor is seiyū Makiko Ōmoto in the Super Smash Bros. series (who voices Kirby[disambiguation needed ]), since Ness first joined the series.

The name "Ness" is a take on the acronym S.N.E.S., meaning Super Nintendo Entertainment System.



Ness is portrayed as a friendly, unassuming youth, who is generally altruistic, similar to the protagonists of many of Nintendo's video games. His altruism is shown early in the game, when he opts to help his obnoxious (and ultimately villainous) neighbor and supposed best friend, Pokey Minch, despite his opportunistic nature, conceit and his snide personality. In this respect, Pokey is Ness' antithesis; while Ness is friendly, brave, and selfless, Pokey is traitorous, cowardly, and gluttonous.

He often assists people in their troubles, at no benefit to himself, and ultimately for the sake of the universe itself, displaying true heroism. Ness has a very affable nature; he is generally well received (with the exception, of course, of people who are under the influence of the evil emanating from Giygas). Ness quickly becomes friends with the three children destined to be his allies in the fight against evil, despite their varying personalities, which is a testament to his forthcomingness. Ness even considers Pokey to be a friend, until Pokey allies himself with the forces of evil, ending their already feeble friendship.

Ness is first made aware of his role as hero when Buzz Buzz, an alien from 10 years in the future, tells Ness of his destiny as prophesied by the Apple of Enlightenment. He tells Ness that "when the chosen boy reaches the point, he will find the light. The passing of time will shatter the nightmare rock and will reveal the path of light," which is an allusion to events leading up to Ness meeting Buzz Buzz, and the events to come later in the game. Buzz Buzz reveals that in the future that he escaped via time-travel, Giygas has devastated the universe, and sentenced all to "the horror of infinite darkness." He also states that only Ness can prevent that from future coming into being.

Ness even sacrifices his life for saving a person's life, like he did with Lucas in Super Smash Bros. Brawl's Subspace Emissary to prevent Wario to turn him into a trophy, however, it seems they know each other like close friends in the game.


Ness is a remarkably potent fighter, able to damage enemies made of various materials (including various unknown metals) using either a weapon that he has equipped, or his bare fists. He also has more stamina than his accomplices; in RPG terms, Ness' maximum amount of Hit Points is vastly higher than that of his allies. However, Ness' most valuable asset is his mind; his vast PSI powers are what make him most formidable.


Ness and Lucas in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.

Ness first appeared in EarthBound as the main character.

Ness makes a cameo in Mother 3, a game where Lucas is the protagonist. He, as well as Paula, Jeff, and Poo, appears in a movie created by King P that the protagonist views in a theater in King P's amusement-park-like metropolis known as New Pork City.

Other appearances

Ness has appeared in every game of the Super Smash Bros. series to date. He first appeared in Super Smash Bros. as a hidden character. In this game, Ness possesses the same fighting style as the Mario Bros. and none of the PSI powers that he possessed in EarthBound, but instead, he possesses three powers that his partner Paula knew: PK Fire, PK Thunder, and PSI Magnet. It is notable that Ninten, Ness' predecessor from Mother, didn't know any of these moves either, and his female counterpart, Ana, did. Ness appeared again in Super Smash Bros. Melee as a starting character. This time, Ness' own PK Flash move was added to his arsenal. Ness was originally going to be removed and Lucas added, however the developers scrapped this idea, and Ness stayed.

While Ness was thought to be removed in Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii due to several previews of Lucas, the protagonist of Mother 3 being introduced, a leak on the Japanese website confirmed that Ness was still in the series.[2] Ness appeared as a hidden character the second time, where he and Lucas share the Final Smash known by Prince Poo and Princess Kumatora in Mother 2 and 3 called PK Starstorm, which causes meteor-like stars to jet down upon enemies.[3]

Reception stated that Ness was cool because "Like Lucas, Ness' childlike appearance belies his potent psychic abilities."[4] They later listed Ness ninth on their list of "The Coolest Helmets and Headgear in Video Games", describing him as a "adorable boy adventurer".[5] IGN called Ness "one of the biggest surprise additions to the original Super Smash Bros. lineup."[6]


External links

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