The Mother series (Japanese: マザー, Hepburn: Mazā) consists of three role-playing video games: the 1989 Mother for the Famicom, the 1994 Mother 2, known as EarthBound outside of Japan, for the Super NES, and the 2006 Mother 3 for the Game Boy Advance. Written by Shigesato Itoi and published by Nintendo, and featuring game mechanics modeled on the Dragon Quest series, the Mother series is known for its sense of humor, originality, and parody. Set in a late 20th century United States, the player uses weapons and psychic powers to fight hostile, everyday objects. Signature elements of the series include the lighthearted plots, the battle sequences with psychedelic backgrounds, and the "rolling HP meter": as player health ticks down like an odometer, players can outrun the meter to heal before dying. While the franchise is popular in Japan, in the United States, it is best associated with the cult following behind EarthBound.
While visiting Nintendo for other business, Itoi approached Shigeru Miyamoto about making Mother. When approved for a sequel, Itoi increased his involvement as a designer in the five-year development of EarthBound. When the project began to flounder, producer and later Nintendo president Satoru Iwata rescued the game. EarthBound's English localizers were given great liberties when translating the Japanese game's cultural allusions. The American version sold poorly despite a multimillion-dollar marketing budget. Mother 3 was originally slated for release on the Nintendo 64 and its 64DD disk drive accessory, but was cancelled in 2000. Three years later, the project was reannounced for the Game Boy Advance alongside a rerelease of Mother and Mother 2 in a combined cartridge: Mother 1 + 2, released in 2003. The new Mother 3 abandoned the 3D graphics progress for a 2D style, and became a bestseller upon its release. EarthBound was rereleased for the Wii U Virtual Console in 2013, and Mother received its English-language debut in 2015 for the same platform, retitled EarthBound Beginnings.
EarthBound is widely regarded as a video game classic, and is included in multiple top ten lists. In absence of continued official support for the series, an EarthBound fan community organized online to advocate for further series releases through petitions and fan art. Their projects include a full fan translation of Mother 3, a full-length documentary, and a fangame sequel to Mother 3. The protagonist of EarthBound, Ness, received exposure from his inclusion in all four entries of the Super Smash Bros. series. Other Mother series locations and characters have made appearances in the fighting games.