EarthBound, known in Japan as Mother, is a role-playing game series created by Shigesato Itoi for Nintendo. The series started in 1989 with the Japan only release of Mother for the Famicom, and was then followed up by a sequel, released in the U.S. as EarthBound for the Super NES in 1995, and followed up again much later with the Japan only release of Mother 3 for the Game Boy Advance in 2006.
The EarthBound games are not a sequential series, but rather three "stand alone" games that feature some common characters, themes, and settings. All three games are tied together with the final bosses.
Although most RPGs depict knights and wizards in pseudo-medieval settings, the EarthBound series takes place in a more present-day Western setting, told from a Japanese perspective. Mother is set in suburban America, while EarthBound is set in Eagleland (an allusion to the United States) and Mother 3 is set on Nowhere Island (with some Western overtones). Enemies consist of everything from aliens, to possessed guitars, to evil hippies. Instead of swords and shields, weapons consist of household items, from Yo-yos to frying pans (Though there are some cases of swords being used as weapons, but they are often rare).
Mother (Earthbound Zero)
Mother tells the story of a young boy who has to journey around the world to save the planet from an evil race of mind-controlling aliens. Along the way he is joined by several friends, and meets many unusual characters and visits strange settings before ultimately confronting the leader of the aliens. The game was a smash hit in Japan, and gamers appreciated its unorthodox and refreshing take on the often formulaic RPG genre.
EarthBound (Mother 2)
EarthBound (known as Mother 2 in Japan) is a distant sequel to the original Mother, with many characters, themes, and tunes borrowed from its predecessor. Many of the characters and settings are very similar, but the only explicitly returning character is Giygas, who swears revenge at the end of the first game (evidenced by EarthBound's Japanese subtitle: Gyiyg Strikes Back!).
Mother 3 (Earthbound 2)
Mother 3 is the third long-awaited (and according to Shigesato Itoi, final) game in the EarthBound series. Beforehand, the game was in development for Nintendo 64 and the main character was Flint, but the project was cancelled due to the release date being near the end of the system's life span (and possibly with issues with the 3D engine and other production problems) The project picked up again for the Game Boy Advance (which was announced on a commercial for Mother 1 + 2). The game was finally released on April 20, 2006, and retained the traditional EarthBound artstyle and the general story and characters that were introduced in the cancelled N64 version. Unlike the first two games, the story focuses on a boy named Lucas and his family on Nowhere Island. Their home is invaded and the peace is disrupted by the mysterious "Pig Mask Army" who dramatically changes Nowhere Island by introducing technology and infrastructure and performing bizarre experiments on the flora and fauna in their takeover. The game chronicles the trials and tribulations of Lucas and his family and friends as they fight against the Pig Mask Army threat.
The game is only available in Japan, but on October 17th 2008, a fan translation patch was put for download.