Ness is the silent main protagonist of EarthBound, and is analogous to Ninten and Lucas in their respective games. He is the leader of his team, known as "The Chosen Four". He started off as a young 13-year old boy, until a meteor smashes in his hometown Onett, and he finds a bug named Buzz Buzz, who gives him a quest to save his planet from Giygas.
Ness strangely resembles Ninten; Both of their caps, their clothes, and shoes are the same. Their eyes are also the same color, but the styles are different. While Ninten has Pac-Man eyes, Ness just has circle eyes, that are purple-blueish in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. The only differences are that the blue flap on his red cap is on the right side instead of the left side, he wears white socks instead of red, and wears red-white shoes. He wears a brown backpack he always wears even in the Super Smash Bros. series.
At the beginning of EarthBound, Ness is awoken from a sound sleep by the impact of the meteorite north of his house in Onett. His mother and sister are agitated, but Ness leaves to find out what happened. After meeting up with Liar X. Agerate and Pokey Minch, he returns home and tries to get back to sleep. Soon thereafter, Pokey arrives and demands that Ness help him look for his little brother, who has gone missing during the calamity surrounding the impact.
After a pep-talk from his mother, Ness, Pokey and King go back out to the hillside, where they find Picky (who reveals it was Pokey who actually ran away). They also encounter Buzz-Buzz, an insectoid warrior who has returned from the future to warn Ness of the threat that Giygas poses to the universe. It is from Buzz-Buzz that Ness learns of the prophecy surrounding his future; that he, along with the help of two other boys and one girl, will stand against Giygas and save the universe from total annihilation.
Vested with this knowledge, Ness accompanies Pokey and Picky back to their home, but is assaulted by a Starman Jr.. The alien confirms the prophecy before attacking the group. It is defeated through Buzz-Buzz's massive PSI powers and Ness' physical attacks. Upon arriving at Pokey's house, Buzz-Buzz is unceremoniously killed (for his alleged resemblance to a dung beetle) by Lardna Minch. Before expiring, Buzz-Buzz passes on the Sound Stone to Ness, and starts him on his quest to save the world.
- Ness is the only main protagonist in the Mother series to not normally have the run ability. He can temporarily run with the aid of a Skip Sandwich or Skip Sandwich DX, however.
- Ness was originally planned to be replaced by Lucas as the character representative of the Mother series in Super Smash Bros. Melee; however, Ness reprised his role due to the original cancellation of EarthBound 64.
- Using the Don't Care naming option, possible names for Ness are "Ness", "Alec", "Roger", "Will", "Brian", "Tyler", and "Lane".
- In an early video of EarthBound 64, footage was shown of what appears to be Ness riding a Pork Bean and walking in the forest. It is speculated by fans that he would have been playable, as a 3D model of Onett was also shown.
- Ness is the only Mother character to have his game released out of Japan.
- In the original, Japanese verion dubbed MOTHER 2, when Ness enters Magicant, he appears naked (sprite seen above) instead of being in his PJ's. This is explained by nudity being a sign of purity in Japanese culture.
- Ness's name is likely a homophone of NES and an anagram of SNES, two Nintendo consoles that were out at the time.
- Ness appeared in Super Smash Bros., Brawl, and the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. 4 as an unlockable character and starter of Melee & the Wii U version of SSB4 as a starter character along with Captain Falcon.
- It was rumored that Ness might be the son of Ninten, which means Ninten might be his father.
- Ness has similarities to Junior from VeggieTales; they both are kids, they both wear striped clothes, (though Junior wears them in common episodes) they both wear caps, they both go on quests and succeed them.