Popular series of Dragon Quest-inspired RPG's, created by Japanese author and celebrity Shigesato Itoi. In Japan the series is known simply as Mother. The series is known for its idyllic modern-day American setting, complete with ATMs, convenience stores, and crazy hippies, as well as its quirky, ironic, and often postmodern sense of humor. The gameplay itself is derivative of Dragon Quest to a tee, with a few inconsequential surface innovations.
While the series enjoys widespread and immense popularity in Japan, it has a relatively small but devoted group of fans in the US, where it is more of a cult classic.
The only game to see a US release was Mother 2 for the SNES, which was released as Earthbound. Although its NES predecessor Mother was localized for US release (under the name Earthbound), a variety of factors — including anticipated marketing costs and the phasing out of the NES in favor of its successor hardware – prevented its release. Around 2000, a prototype of the original NES Earthbound cartridge surfaced on the internet; it was quickly acquired by fans, who dumped the ROM for wide distribution. This ROM has been dubbed by fans as Earthbound Zero.
Although a third game (called Mother 3) was planned for the N64's expansion peripheral, the 64DD, Itoi eventually pulled the plug, citing dissatisfaction with the game's engine. Now development is more or less confirmed again for the GBA; recent evidence, however, suggests its potential transfer to the Nintendo DS. It is also rumored that the game is actually a downport of the N64 game to Earthbound's SNES-level graphics. Though this has not been confirmed, Itoi has joked of releasing a limited run of Mother 3 for the Super Famicom when it is completed.