He is a 13 year old boy, gifted with special psychic powers, usually compared with the hero of EarthBound Beginnings, Ninten. Although just a young boy, Ness eventually became the hero of his country, Eagleland. Ness relies mainly on PSI, Baseball Bats, and Yo-Yos as his means of offense.
In EarthBound, Ness was a young boy, residing in the town of Onett. However, one day, a meteor crashed into the mountains of Onett, and Ness went to take a look. After being bothered by his obnoxious neighbor, Pokey Minch, who had lost his younger brother, Picky Minch, Ness headed out to the mountains with Pokey and Ness's pet dog, King. However, when he got there, he noticed the meteor acting strangely.
They find a small bug-like alien named Buzz-Buzz coming out of the meteor, who claims he is from the future. He tells Ness that he, two other boys and one girl, will rise up, and defeat the evil warlord, Giygas. Ness and the group defeat one of Giygas's minions, the Starman Junior, and they head to Pokey and Pikey's house, to drop them off to their parents. However, Pokey's Mom mistakes Buzz-Buzz for a fly, and swats Buzz-Buzz, killing him. With his last minutes, he gives Ness the Sound Stone and tells him to go to the eight "Your Sanctuary" locations, spread across Eagleland. Ness then starts his journey.
Ness is the most powerful character from among the main playable characters, as he is found at the beginning of the story, and thus is at higher levels than the rest of the party, and because he receives a special level-up in Magicant. By the end of the game, there is an abysmal difference between Ness's max HP and the rest's, for example. Unlike Paula or Poo, Ness doesn't rely much on PSI to attack. The only offensive attack he's got is his signature move PSI Rockin'.
The rest is mainly to assist in battles, such as Lifeup and PK Flash. However, this is not a problem, as he has a good Offense stat as well. His main weapons are baseball bats. Another battle-related issue only found in Ness is the Homesickness status, which will prevent him to attack regularly and instead thinking about his family, thus losing a turn. The only way to cure the Homesickness stat is by calling Ness's mom through a telephone.
Super Smash Bros. series
Ness also made a surprise appearance in the Nintendo crossover fighting game, Super Smash Bros.. He was included in the game to represent the EarthBound franchise. Ness was an unlockable player, unlocked by beating 1-Player Mode on Normal Difficulty, with three lives, without continuing, then defeating Ness himself in a battle. He was ranked at the top of the Tier list and has many odd moves, such as PK Fire and PSI Magnet.
He made his return in Super Smash Bros. Melee, this time, entering as a default character, not an unlockable. Ness has now, ironically, been tossed down near to the bottom of the Tier list, despite the fact he had the highest tier in the original game. He has now gained PK Flash, which is also the only one of Ness's Super Smash Bros. special moves learned by him in the original EarthBound.
The Franklin Badge, a notable item in the EarthBound series appears as an item in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Ness returns in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, this time, reprising his role as an unlockable character. He can be unlocked by playing 5 "Brawls", reflected attacks 10 times, or having him join the player's group in the Subspace Emissary.
Ness's popularity seems to have increased due to his appearances in the Super Smash Bros. series. He is voiced by Makiko Omoto in all games, who also does the voice of Kirby in most Kirby games and Super Smash Bros. games. His emblem representation is the Earth, EarthBound's logo.
At one point during Super Smash Bros. Melee's development, Ness was supposed to be replaced by Lucas, the star of Mother 3 (Or Earthbound 64, which was the name of the game at the time). However, the game was mass-delayed, and transferred onto the GameBoy Advance, with the final release of the game in 2006. Because of this, Ness was kept in.
- "Ness is a young boy who's mastered the psychic power known as PSI. Ness was living a normal life in the suburbs of Onett until a meteor crashed into a nearby mountain and sent him on a wild adventure. Believing in the ultimate powers of wisdom, courage, and friendship, Ness proves that some heroes come in small packages."
Ness (Adventure) (Melee)
- "The key to mastering Ness is controlling his unique midair jump, which makes up for what he lacks in speed. His PK Flash attack may seem weak at first glance, but it grows more powerful the longer you hold down the B Button. To do a lot of damage with PK Fire, try to burn your opponent as many times as possible."
Ness (All-Star) (Melee)
- "Ness's mind is his best weapon. PK Thunder is a PSI missile weapon that can be guided using the Control Stick, and if Ness hits himself with it, he turns into a living missile capable of doing massive damage. This move can also be used for recovery. PSI Magnet turns energy missile attacks into health; try out certain Pokémon for stamina replenishment."
Ness (3DS/Wii U)
Ness Alt (3DS/Wii U)
- "An average boy whose life changed when he found a meteor and an alien on a nearby mountain. The alien warned him of a future threat, and adventure ensued. He can use psychic powers known as PSI and also wields a bat and yo-yo. This brave youth gives his all to defeat the evil Giygas."
- Ness suffers from homesickness, whereas his predecessor Ninten has Asthma.
- Ness's name originates from either the NES or SNES, being an anagram of the latter, or another way to spell the former. Notably, Ninten, the protagonist of the original Mother was named after the company Nintendo.
- In Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, whenever using his up and down smash attacks, the "grab" sound effect from Super Smash Bros. Brawl can be heard once he grabs his yo-yo. This is only applied to Ness since then.