EarthBound is considered a cult classic, though some may argue the game is a straight-up classic given its widespread popularity. However, this was not always the case.
For many people, unlocking Ness in the original Super Smash Bros. was their introduction to the world of EarthBound. Among the roster of fighters in the original game, Ness was arguably the least recognizable, and with that came an inescapable air of mystique. Who is this boy? Why does he have psychic powers? Is he a Pokémon or something? This drove children absolutely mad, and seeking answers to their queries, they would eventually stumble upon the critical darling known only as EarthBound.
Or Mother 2, as they call it in Japan. Oh, I’m sorry, did you already know that? Well, did you know that Super Mario Bros. 2 also went by a different name in Japan: Doki Doki Panic? Not so tough are you now, smart guy.
I’ll admit, I’ve yet to play EarthBound but I’m fully aware of its stature in gaming history and I’m one of the “many people” who was exposed to it via Ness in Super Smash Bros.