Ness (character)

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EarthBound series character
Ness Clay Model.png
Ness, as he appears in EarthBound promotional artwork.
First game EarthBound (1994)
Created by Shigesato Itoi
Voiced by Makiko Ohmoto
(Super Smash Bros.) (1999)

Ness (Japanese: ネス Hepburn: Nesu?) is a fictional character in the EarthBound role-playing video games published by Nintendo, created by Japanese video game designer Shigesato Itoi. His first appearance was in the 1994 Super NES game EarthBound (known as Mother 2 in Japan), the second game in the series, in which he serves as the game's main playable protagonist.

Ness is depicted as a thirteen-year-old[i] boy who resides in the fictional town of Onett in Eagleland, gifted with psychic abilities referred to as PSI. In EarthBound, Ness teams up with several other characters to battle Giygas, the main antagonist of the game and a recurring character in the series.

Ness appears as a playable character in the Super Smash Bros. series of fighting games where he is voiced by Makiko Ohmoto.

Conception and creation[edit]

Concept art of Ness, his dog, King, and his house, during the development of EarthBound.

Ness was created by Shigesato Itoi, the creator of the EarthBound series, who intended the character to be like an actual person: "I wanted to create a game (EarthBound) with real characters; characters whom players would recognize in the people around them."[1] Ness's name is a reference to "NES", the abbreviation for the Nintendo Entertainment System.[2] In EarthBound, the player is able to rename all playable characters including Ness before beginning the game's story. Itoi has stated that by doing so, it allows the players themselves to decide if Ness is the same character as Ninten, the main protagonist of Mother, the previous game in the series.[2] Ness's favorite food and favorite thing are also decided by the player, although by default, his favorite thing is "Rockin", and his favorite food is "Steak".



Ness appears in EarthBound as the main playable protagonist, living in the town Onett in Eagleland. Ness possesses extremely powerful PSI abilities latent from birth that develop as the game progresses. Ness primarily utilizes baseball bats as offensive weapons against enemies.[ii] In the beginning of the game's story, a meteorite crash-lands near Ness's house. Upon inspecting the crash site Ness meets a time-traveling alien called Buzz-Buzz, who states that Ness is the "chosen one" that can defeat the entity Giygas, who in the near future destroys the universe. In order to prepare for the battle against Giygas, Buzz-Buzz instructs Ness to travel to eight sanctuaries in different areas of Eagleland, where he can absorb their psychic energies in order to unite his power with that of the Earth. During his journey, Ness teams up with Paula and Poo, who also possess PSI, and Jeff, a boy-genius. Ness's next door neighbor Pokey Minch, however, allies with Giygas and antagonizes Ness throughout the game.

After Ness, Paula, Jeff, and Poo visit all eight sanctuaries, Ness falls unconscious and enters Magicant, a realm within his mind.[3] There, Ness vanquishes a personification of his evil thoughts. Ness's mind then clears, causing his psychic powers to unite with each of the eight sanctuaries and greatly expand.[4] Ness, now fueled with unlimited power, awakens, after which the four characters learn that to battle Gigyas they must time travel to the past. The four time travel to the past using a time machine built by Jeff's father Doctor Andonuts, where they confront Giygas and Pokey. Giygas is defeated but Pokey flees. The four characters return to the present, and the game ends with Ness returning home.

Super Smash Bros. series[edit]

Ness appears as a playable fighter in all released Super Smash Bros. games. In these games, Ness possesses PSI attacks used by Paula and Poo in EarthBound; in Super Smash Bros. Melee the description of a collectable trophy depicting Paula states that she had taught her attacks to Ness.[5] Ness was originally going to be replaced by Lucas, the main protagonist of EarthBound's sequel Mother 3, in Melee but was retained after Mother 3's development was delayed considerably.[6] Both Ness and Lucas appear in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Ness is voiced by Makiko Ohmoto in all Super Smash Bros. games.


IGN called Ness "one of the biggest surprise additions to the original Super Smash Bros. lineup."[7] He was voted by fans as the second favorite character in that game.[8] Fans of Ness were anticipating a reveal of Ness for Super Smash Bros. Brawl; the reveal of Lucas as well as the similarities between their moves in the Super Smash Bros. series, however, caused fans to worry.[9] IGN expected that Ness would be cut from Brawl as a result of Lucas' inclusion, declaring "But we'd love to be wrong about that."[10] Thomas East from Official Nintendo Magazine ranked him eighth on his list of "Smash Bros characters who need to be dropped for Wii U and 3DS", explaining "Ness was considered to be an obscure choice back in 1999, it is perhaps more of a surprise that he is still hanging around."[11] Russ Frushtick of UGO Networks stated that Ness was cool because "Ness' childlike appearance belies his potent psychic abilities."[12] The same site later placed Ness at the ninth spot on its "Top 30" list of "The Coolest Helmets and Headgear in Video Games", and also ranked him as the 45th best kid in video games in their "Top 50", with the writer Marissa Meli saying "he is the best RPG star of all time".[13][14] He was named as the 17th best Nintendo character of all time by GameDaily.[15]


  1. ^ Swan, p. 120.
  2. ^ Swan, p. 6.


  1. ^ "Shigesato Itoi Quotes". Retrieved 2011-03-22. 
  2. ^ a b "Weekly Famitsu – June 19, 1992". Retrieved September 29, 2013. 
  3. ^ Ape, HAL Laboratory (June 5, 1995). EarthBound. Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo. Level/area: Magicant. "Star Master: "Ness, you've stood on the eight power spots of the earth. From these, you created Magicant, the realm of your mind."" 
  4. ^ Ape, HAL Laboratory (June 5, 1995). EarthBound. Super Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo. Level/area: Sea of Eden. "Instantly, Ness's mind cleared, and he realized that he had possessed great power! At that moment, Ness's psychic powers radically expanded! [...] Ness made all the hidden powers his own. Ness absorbed the power of the land into his heart, and Magicant was no more." 
  5. ^ Nintendo (December 3, 2001). Super Smash Bros. Melee. GameCube. "Paula: Paula is a PSI master who used her incredible psychic abilities to call Ness from afar. Ness rescued Paula from the blue-stained clutches of the Happy Happyist cult, and she became integral to his EarthBound adventure. Originally, Ness didn't know either PK Thunder or PK Fire, so Paula probably taught him these techniques." 
  6. ^ Sakurai, Masahiro (July 17, 2001). "Super Smash Bros. Melee" (in Japanese). Nintendo. Retrieved September 24, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Smash Profile: Ness - Cube Feature at IGN". IGN. June 27, 2001. Retrieved 2011-03-22. 
  8. ^ Ohbuchi, Yutaka (June 7, 1999). "Smash Brothers Fans Vote". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  9. ^ Thomas, Lucas M. (2008-02-01). "Smash It Up! - The Final Roster". IGN. Retrieved 2014-01-09. 
  10. ^ Thomas, Lucas M. (2007-11-16). "Smash It Up! - Veterans Day". IGN. Retrieved 2014-01-09. 
  11. ^ East, Thomas. "Smash Bros characters who need to be dropped for Wii U and 3DS". Nintendo Official Magazine. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  12. ^ Frushtick, Russ (February 12, 2008). "Ness - Smash Bros. Characters". UGO Networks. Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  13. ^ Meli, Marissa (March 4, 2011). "The Coolest Helmets and Headgear in Video Games". UGO Networks. Retrieved 2011-03-21. 
  14. ^ Meli, Marissa (April 29, 2011). "E For Everyone: The Best Kids in Video Games". UGO Networks. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  15. ^ Workman, Robert (August 22, 2008). "Now You're Playing With Power: Top 25 Nintendo Characters of All Time". GameDaily. Archived from the original on August 29, 2008. Retrieved April 21, 2013. 
  • Swan, Leslie; Pelland, Scott; Munson, Terry; Lindblom, Marcus, eds. (1995). EarthBound Player's Guide. Nintendo of America, Inc.