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Ness is a thirteen-year-old boy from Onett and the main protagonist of EarthBound (Mother 2 in Japan). Starting off as a normal young boy, Ness ends up on a journey to save the world from Giygas's alien army. He also develops psychic powers, known as PSI, during the course of the game. Ness is often pictured with a baseball bat, which is the first weapon acquired in EarthBound.
Ness has been linked to the Mario franchise through the Super Smash Bros. series and some various small cameos involving other Nintendo characters such as the unlockable amiibo patterns in Yoshi's Wooly World and its port. Throughout the Super Smash Bros. series, Ness was voiced by Makiko Ōmoto, who also voices Kirby. Ness frequently appears as an unlockable character, being a default character in only two Super Smash Bros. titles. Ness's name is an anagram of "SNES", the shorthand term for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, on which EarthBound was released (however, it is also like "NES" as in the Nintendo Entertainment System).
Super Smash Bros.
Ness's first Mario franchise-related appearance is in Super Smash Bros., where he must be unlocked to become playable and is the sole rep of his series. To unlock him, the player has to beat 1-P Mode on Normal difficulty with three lives, without continuing, as any character. The player then must defeat Ness in Dream Land in order to unlock him. Due to being an unlockable character, Ness himself does not appear in the game's 1P mode.
Ness uses either his PK moves for his attacks or more physical-based ones. All of Ness's regular attacks involve physical moves, such as a punch kick combo with his jab or his headbutt as his upper aerial move. In addition, Ness uses a yo-yo for his up and down smash attacks and a baseball bat for his side smash attack, both of which are equipment in EarthBound. Additionally, the baseball bat can reflect projectiles. Ness throws his opponents using his psychic powers. When Ness jumps, he also uses his psychic powers to propel him through the air. Due to Ness's size, he has below-average weight, meaning that he is more easily knocked off the stage, but can escape combos more easily. If players press the taunt button, Ness looks at the screen, bows, and says "Okay!" Ness's stage entrance animation has him flying to the stage with PSI Teleport. Ness shares many animations with Mario in Super Smash Bros., such as his hurt, item swinging, walking, both pratfalled and face-planted prone animations, etc. In fact, his Fighting Polygon variant has a very similar appearance to Mario, with the most distinction giving to his smaller, lower nose and his jumps.
Ness's special moves are based upon some of the various PK (Psychokinesis) moves from EarthBound. His neutral special is PK Fire, which sends out a bolt of lightning that creates a pillar of fire that traps opponents when it hits. His up special is PK Thunder, which sends out a controllable lightning bolt to attack. Ness has a unique recovery move in this game, in that Ness can strike himself with the PK Thunder to recover, which propels him to the direction depending on how the PK Thunder hit him. His down special is PSI Magnet, which can absorb energy-based projectiles to recover damage. None of these moves can actually be learned by Ness in EarthBound; they are instead those of his friend and teammate, Paula (although her trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee suggests that she taught him these moves).
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Ness returns in Super Smash Bros. Melee. Here, he is a default character at the beginning of the game. Originally, Ness was to be replaced by Lucas, the main protagonist of Mother 3. However, Mother 3 turned out to be delayed until after Super Smash Bros. Melee was released. As such, Ness was kept in to avoid confusion.
While Ness retains many key features from the original Super Smash Bros., Super Smash Bros. Melee has seen drastic changes, where Ness has been given many tweaks. Many of his formerly physical moves now have Ness use his psychic powers, with examples being his dash attack and his forward and back aerial moves. When Ness jumps, he uses psychokinesis only for his second jump. Ness has been given a down and throw as new features to Super Smash Bros. Melee: his down throw has him throwing opponents to the ground and using PK Fire on them while his up throw involves him twirling his opponent and tossing them up, also with psychokinesis. Ness is given a new neutral special attack, PK Flash, which is one of his original EarthBound attacks, and it lets him release a ball of energy that can be charged as it rises and lowers to eventually explode. This replaces PK Fire as his standard special move, instead making it his side special move. Ness still retains most of Mario's animations, such as his Parasol drifting animation, though he has been given a new item swing animation. As Super Smash Bros. Melee has no unique stage entrance animations, Ness does not use his unique stage entrance in this game, though it returns in the next games.
A team of three Nesses appear in Stage 9 in Adventure Mode. During this match, the only item that appears is Mr. Saturn. Ness appears in several of the game's events in Event Mode, either as the required playable character or as set opponents. In Spare Change, Ness has to obtain 200 coins while fighting Captain Falcon, failing if Ness gets KO'd. In All-Star Match 3, the player has to fight a set amount of characters in different stages, Ness being one of the opponents. In Space Travelers, Ness, with one life, has to fight Samus, Kirby, Fox McCloud, Captain Falcon, and Falco in a row. The first three characters are fought in Fourside while the last two are fought on Battlefield.
Onett, Ness's hometown, is featured as a stage in Super Smash Bros. Melee and returns in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Ness returns in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and is once again one of the unlockable characters. He is unlocked if the player plays five Brawl matches, reflects 10 projectiles, or recruits Ness as a member of the party in The Subspace Emissary. When any of these requirements are met aside from recruiting him in The Subspace Emissary, the player has to battle Ness in Onett, and by winning, Ness becomes a playable character. Ness is the only unlockable character who is fought from a returning stage from Super Smash Bros. Melee.
Ness retains much of his moveset and his strengths and weaknesses from Super Smash Bros. Melee, with a few gameplay tweaks. Ness is given a variety of new animations to differentiate from Mario, and he now has an extra idle pose. In addition, Ness has been given a new pummel when attacking grabbed fighters, pummeling at a faster rate than when he once had Mario's pummel animations. Ness has two more taunts as a result of Super Smash Bros. Brawl giving more taunts to all characters: Ness's side taunt has him swinging a bat while his down taunt has him creating a PSI sparkle effect. Lucas who is introduced in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, borrows many moves from Ness while been given slight variations: for example, Lucas's PK Thunder is weaker, but can travel through opponents and can be controlled more tightly. He is given a Final Smash which is shared with Lucas: PK Starstorm, which sends meteors raining down on the stage to damage opponents. In EarthBound, this move could only be learned by Poo, though like with Paula's trophy in the previous game Ness's Final Smash trophy suggests that he learned this move from Poo.
In All-Star mode, Ness and Lucas appear in the 10th match, on the New Pork City stage, where character order is determined by chronological release of their series. Ness appears in four solo events and three co-op events in Event Mode. He appears as an opponent or with several opponents in Visit to Onett, The Aura Is With Me, and All-Star Semifinal Regulars. In The Slow and Easy Life, the player controls Ness and has to defeat three tiny Captain Olimars before the song ends. Ness is the playable character in Those Who Wait in Onett and an opponent in Jigglypuff's Great Comeback. In both co-op events, Ness is paired with Lucas.
The Subspace Emissary
When Lucas is attacked by The Pig King Statue at the Ruined Zoo, Ness arrives and uses PK Flash on it to save Lucas. The statue explodes, revealing Porky in his Spider Mech. Lucas and Ness then both fight Porky and defeat him. However, after his defeat, Wario, with his Dark Cannon, comes and attempts to shoot Ness several times. Ness avoids all the shots so Wario decides to aim for Lucas. Wario shoots an arrow out of the gun and it flies straight at Lucas - Ness however jumps in front of the arrow to save Lucas, and ends up becoming a trophy. Wario grabs the trophy and starts laughing while Lucas runs away terrified.
Wario later travels in his Cargo with the princess trophy (the one that wasn't rescued at Midair Stadium) and the Ness trophy. After finding the Luigi trophy, he decides to take it. However, King Dedede steals the Cargo and drives off with all three trophies, as Dedede had been using Luigi to distract Wario. Later, at King Dedede's Castle, Dedede puts a timed Badge on the Ness trophy, along with the other two trophies. Dedede ends up becoming a trophy not long after, and the princess was captured by the Subspace Army again. Later, the Ness, King Dedede and Luigi trophies end up in Subspace.
Near the end of the game, Tabuu turns all characters into trophies. Meanwhile, Luigi and Ness are both turned back to life. This is because the badges that King Dedede put on them had the power to turn revert trophies to their living counterparts, but this didn't happen until a long time later. Ness and Luigi revive King Dedede (who is overjoyed that his plan worked out), and they go out together into Subspace itself where they turn Mario, Donkey Kong, Samus, Fox, Pikachu, Captain Falcon, Marth, Mr. Game & Watch, Falco, Pit, Olimar, Lucas, Diddy Kong, the Pokémon Trainer, and Ike back into their living counterparts. Ness and Luigi also witness King Dedede's battle with Bowser and convince Wario about the truth of the situation. All trophies (including Kirby and the ones he rescued) then endure the Great Maze and fight Tabuu.
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U
Ness reappears as a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U. In the Nintendo 3DS version, Ness is unlockable; he is unlocked after either Classic Mode is completed twice or 10 matches are played, then by defeating him in a 1-stock match on the Magicant stage. In the Wii U version, Ness is a default character.
Ness's base moveset and utilities are still unchanged, albeit with a few tweaks for rebalancing him that occur from game to game. Ness's down aerial now has a psychokinesis effect as opposed to it being physical in the previous games. Ness gains the ability to use PK Thunder again immediately after hitting the wall, for a potential second attempt at using the move. Additionally, at the very start of the move, Ness's PK Thunder moves through opponents, decreasing the opportunity for opponents to gimp him. Ness receives new custom special moves though half of his alternate special moves originate from Lucas's variants of his special moves, such as PK Freeze and Lasting PK Thunder. In addition, PK Starstorm has been changed to be more concentrated rather than meteors falling across the stage, allowing players to control the column of meteors to a desired direction. For custom Equipment use, Ness uses bats, hats, and shoes.
In All-Star mode, as the order of characters is chronologically reversed as it is from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Ness is fought in Level 5 and Level 3 in the 3DS and Wii U versions of the game respectively. In Event Mode, Ness appears in three solo events and in two co-op event. In All-Star Battle: Secret, as the event focuses on unlockable characters in previous games, Ness is one of the opponents fought. In It's Past Your Bedtime!, Jigglypuff needs to make a variety of children characters fall asleep with Sing, one of them being Ness. In Playing Tricks, Ness needs to bury two Villagers with a Pitfall. In co-op events, Ness appears as an opponent in The Ultimate Battle, where players must defeat the entire roster. Ness, paired with Villager, is the character featured Visiting Onett, where they must defeat Kirby, Meta Knight, Fox, Falco, Captain Olimar, and Rosalina & Luma.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Ness is set to reappear as a playable fighter in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. While his moveset is mostly unchanged from the previous Super Smash Bros. titles, he has received various new tweaks to his moves. Ness now emits PSI when pummeling opponents and while using his neutral aerial. His up aerial, rather than headbutting, has him waving his hands in the air. In addition, for his PK Fire and PSI Magnet moves, graphics are taken from Earthbound. Lastly, PK Starstorm has been changed to be more similar to the Super Smash Bros. Brawl variant, where slow-falling meteors appear in a fan-shape; in this Final Smash, Paula and Poo now assist him.
Yoshi's Woolly World / Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World
Super Mario Maker
Ness makes a cameo appearance in Super Mario Maker as an unlockable amiibo costume for Costume Mario. Mario's 8-bit sprite takes the appearance of Ness, and his sound effects change to ones from EarthBound: when acquired, the PSI healing sound effect plays. Clearing the stage plays the boss victory theme. When falling into a pit, the sound effect of Ness's party being defeated from that game plays, and pressing on the controller makes the jingle for learning a new technique play. The costume is unlocked either randomly upon completion of 100 Mario Challenge on Normal difficulty or higher, or by scanning a Ness amiibo.
Profiles and statistics
Super Smash Bros.
Super Smash Bros. Melee
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U
Red indicates exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS version.
Sprites and models
Names in other languages