EarthBound is a series of turn-based role-playing games. The series is created by Shigesato Itoi for Nintendo. It began in 1989 with the release of a Japan-only Famicom (the Japanese version of the Nintendo Entertainment System) game called Mother. A sequel was released in 1995 titled EarthBound (Mother 2 in Japan) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. In 2003, a port of the first two games was released in Japan titled Mother 1 + 2. The last game in the franchise (according to Shigesato itoi) titled Mother 3 was released in Japan in 2006 for the Game Boy Advance. Shigesato Itoi stated in an interview that the name of the franchise, Mother, derived from the John Lennon song Mother (The Beatles, and other American pop culture are a common theme in the Super Nintendo game).
The games are all "stand-alone" (meaning they don't have to be played in order to be understood) as opposed to following a single group of heroes, the games share common themes, characters, and setting. The trilogy is connected through their final bosses.
This series differed from other RPGs in many key ways. When Mother was first released, most RPGs featured knights, wizards, and other such medieval things. The franchise is more of a modern American setting. The enemies are unique to the franchise, from giant piles of barf to hippies. The weapons are also unique, normally some sort of household item (for example, yo-yos, baseball bats, and frying pans).
The series is well-known for its devoted and extremely loyal fanbase. Since the release of Mother, the franchise has had this following among both American and Japanese gamers. Despite the Japan-only releases of Mother and Mother 3, a translated cartridge of Mother was uncovered and dumped for gamers to play. Mother 3 was also translated, and is available in English (as well as being translated into other languages). Both of these were fan projects originating from the franchise's central American fan website, Starmen.net.
EarthBound has also appeared in Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. franchise. Ness and Lucas are playable characters in the franchise. Onett, Eagleland, Fourside, and New Pork City (locales from the franchise) have also appeared as stages in the game. The popular Mr. Saturn character appears as an item in all three games as well.