I give the first game in the mother series...an 85/100.
This review is an odd one. I haven't actually played this game. I only watched a Let's Play of it on YouTube, namely the LP by Chuggaconroy. Why? Because not only will this game never come to America except illegally, but I don't have an emulator, so I have absolutely no means to get or play it. And really, I really wish this game came to the US legally, because the game itself based on Chuggaconroy's playthrough is a really good game. It's very flawed in certain ways, but it has a lot of positives too. It also has a pretty interesting and twisty history behind it's release. This game was made for the Family Computer, or the Famicom, by Shigesato Itoi, released in 1989. It was a huge hit in Japan, selling about 400,000 copies, and it was supposed to come out in America a couple years later. But the thing is, the translators completed an English translation but couldn't release it because the Super Nintendo was coming out soon, and they decided it wasn't worth it to release a game for a console that'll become obsolete, something that'll happen to one of its sequels a decade later. However, a cartridge of the game was discovered on the internet and has circulated into the public ever since, and it is, in fact, the official translation (if it has the name Phil Sandhop on it, it's legit, because he was one of the people who worked in Nintendo of America at the time and the main translator of the game before it got shelved).
The game was pretty innovative for its time. RPGs mostly consisted of games taking place in medieval settings with warriors and swords and magic. The mother game is very different. Rather, it takes place in 1980s America, the main characters are kids and use everyday objects for various things, and they have psychic powers instead of magic. The main character is a normal boy named Ninten (get it? Nintendo? LOL), who has a nice family, a workaholic dad, two little sisters, and seems like a normal kid until his lamp attacks him. He discovers he has psychic powers or PSI. After a series of events, he encounters a magical world called Magicant, ruled by Queen Mary, who tells him he has to collect eight melodies of a song she used to sing to an alien named Giegue (Gyiyg in the Japanese version which is pronounced Geeg). He is joined by Lloyd, a smart kid who gets bullied a lot, and Ana, a girl who has very strong psychic powers whose mother has been kidnapped. A lot of this craziness first started when Ninten's great grandparents disappeared after a dark cloud surrounded their town beginning from a place called Mt. Itoi.
While the game was pretty innovative for its time, it hasn't aged very well. Its graphics are very primitive, even by Famicom standards. But the sprites for the enemies are very detailed and well done, and while there are some typical game monsters you fight in here like dragons (only one dragon, and he's a boss) and aliens, most of the enemies you fight in the wild are things you see in everyday life, like hippies (who have an awesome battle theme), animals (like wolves, dogs, bats, and rats), hillbillies, gang members, gargoyles, and giant bears. These aren't enemies you'd see in typical games of that time. But the problem is, the encounter rate in this game is RIDICULOUSLY high, and the game itself is RIDICULOUSLY difficult. If you're under leveled, most, if not all, powerful enemies could totally kill you in one hit, like hillbillies and Raeb Yddet (backwards for Teddy Bear). Basically, you really need to strategize and know what you're doing if you want to beat this game, and it's highly likely you'll die in this game if you're not careful. You even have to outright run from some enemies because they're just that strong.
Not only that, some of the characters are kinda bland (but from what I hear there's a manual that has more details about them and their personal lives). You just play as some characters and fight monsters. You don't get to find out whether they're more than just people destined to save the world. This is probably due to technology limitations at the time. But for what it's worth, the story, while simple, can be quite interesting and even heartbreaking, especially when you find out about the main villain of the series. Not only that, there's only one way you can defeat said villain, and it doesn't involve killing him with psychic powers, laser beams, or anything like that. This sets in motion the plot of the second game, Earthbound, and it explores the main villain even more. Plus the soundtrack, while typical 8-bit game music, is very impressive. I especially like the "Pollyanna" song and the hippie's battle theme. They're so catchy!
Only play this game if you know what you're doing, because it is HARD AS ALL HECK. But that doesn't make it bad! It's actually very enjoyable.