Ness (ネス Nesu) is the silent main protagonist of EarthBound (Mother 2 in Japan), and is analogous to Ninten and Lucas in their respective games. He greatly enjoys baseball; not only are most of his weapons various types of baseball bats, but he can also equip several baseball caps. In the EarthBound Player's Guide, he is said to wear a special baseball cap with his favorite team's logo on the front.
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 Lier 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.
In the town of Onett, Ness first unlocks the power of Giant Step after tangling with Frank Fly and the Sharks. However, Captain Strong and the Onett Police Force are not happy with Ness investigating private property and ambush him at the police station. They back off and give him way to Twoson after he bests them in a fight.
In Twoson, Ness is telepathically contacted by Paula, another member of his party, who asks him to come and help her. Ness learns of her whereabouts from Everdred, a friendly gangster. Ness finds his way through Peaceful Rest Valley to Happy Happy Village, under the spell of the Happy Happyist Cult. He finds Paula locked in a cell in a hidden house. She gives Ness the Franklin Badge so that he can withstand the lightning attacks of Mr. Carpainter, the Happy Happyist leader. Ness confronts Carpainter and defeats him, thereby breaking the spell of Happy Happyism over the valley. Though he blames a certain statue, Carpainter thanks Ness and gives him the key to Paula's cell. Ness frees Paula, but encounters Pokey outside. Pokey reveals that he was the high priest behind the Happy Happyist threat and escapes, vowing to return. Ness and Paula gain the power of Lilliput Steps from the nearby cave.
They then find way to Threed after assisting the Runaway Five, a famous jazz band, in escaping a debt at the Twoson theater. The Runaway Five take them there in their van and drop them off. Ness and Paula quickly realize the town is under an awful curse and zombies run rampant. They try to fight the zombies, but are lured into a trap and locked in an underground cell. Paula contacts Jeff telepathically. He arrives in a flying capsule and unlocks the cell door with a special invention. The three of them conspire with the townsfolk to trap the zombies in the circus tent with flypaper. They then find a secret exit in the back of the graveyard and venture forth to find the source of the zombie scourge.
Following the cave, they come upon Saturn Valley, which is under the threat of Master Belch, who not only has dominion of the zombies, but has kidnapped many innocent residents of the valley. They find the way to a secret base behind a nearby waterfall and encounter Belch. Playing on his obsession with fly honey, they easily defeat him and free the Saturn valley inhabitants, gaining the power of Milky Well in the process.
Their mission in Saturn Valley completed, they go back to Threed and take the bus to Fourside. Unfortunately, they run into bad traffic in the desert and are forced to abandon the bus and conclude the journey on foot. Arriving in Fourside, they find the Runaway Five has fallen into debt with the city theater yet again. Ness and the gang assist in digging for treasure in a mine in the desert and repay the theater proprietor on behalf of the band.
Later on, while shopping in the Fourside Department Store, there is a sudden power failure and Paula is snatched away in the dark. Hearing a call on the intercom, Ness and Jeff go to an office on the top floor where they fight and defeat the Department Store Spook. Looking for clues to Paula's disappearance at Jackie's Cafe, Ness and Jeff unexpectedly stumble upon a fantastical alternate dimension called Moonside. Navigating the oppositely-oriented domain, they discover the Mani Mani statue to be the cause and destroy it, to find that they have been in the storeroom to Jackie's Cafe all along.
At the advisement of the Apple Kid, they visit a mysterious man who lives among monkeys in the desert named Talah Rama. He gives them a vital trout yogurt machine. Ness and Jeff use the yogurt dispenser to bribe a maid to let them into the Monotoli Building in Fourside, where Paula is apparently being held. With some unexpected help from the Runaway Five, Ness and Jeff make it to Mayor Monotoli's room where they rescue Paula. Monotli apologizes to them for kidnapping Paula, but offers them use of his helicoptor to travel to Summers. Unfortunately, Pokey who has been working as a consultant for Monotoli and orchestrated Paula's kidnapping, steals the helicoptor and dlies away, taunting and sneering at Ness.
The Runaway Five take them back to Threed where they repair Jeff's flying machine and fly to Winters, leaving Eagleland to rendezvous with his father. While Dr. Andonuts remodels the Sky Runner, they find their way to Rainy Circle with the help of the dungeon architect, Brick Road. Afterward, they fly to Summers in the Sky Runner.
Ness is a playable character in SSBB, like all other installments so far. Ness's clay model also appears has a sticker in Super Smash Bros. Brawl based off his EarthBound clay model. Attaching this sticker to the bottom of Ness or Lucas's trophies in The Subspace Emissary increases their PK attack by 33.
Ness is an unlockable character in Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing, and can be unlocked by using every other character in Time Attack on Onett. Ness is playable on all regions and consoles.
After being saved by Ness from cultists, the two become great friends. During the closing of Earthbound, Ness is asked to accompany Paula to her home, and her parents comment on a relationship between the two.
Despite being accompanied by Jeff for the majority of the game and fighting alongside him, the two rarely interact. The two are known friend as stated by their first interaction
- Ness is the only main protagonist in the Mother series to not normally have the run ability. Although, he can temporarily run with the aid of a Skip Sandwich or Skip Sandwich DX.
- 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 outside of Japan.
- In Mother 2, when Ness enters Magicant, he appears naked (sprite seen above) instead of being in his pajamas as seen in EarthBound. This is because nudity is a sign of purity in Japanese culture, whereas it is considered sexually explicit in the West and changed during localization.
- Ness's name may be due to the fact that it is a homophone of NES and an anagram of SNES.
- A younger version of Ness appears in Magicant, saying "It's me... I'm you when you were younger. Hey, let's play ball. Do you prefer reading comics or playing games? What? You're busy?..."
- Ness is the only main protagonist to have a weapon for his first fight since his mom tells him to get the Cracked bat from Tracy's room.
- It is rumored that Ness's unnamed parents are in fact Ninten and Ana from the previous game. This could explain Ness knowing PSI, as well as his destiny to defeat Giygas. This theory has not been proven by Nintendo, but would explain Ness' similarity to Ninten, and his mother's similarity to Ana.
- In the commercial for Earthbound Ness was named "NessA"