Unlike most RPGs, this game takes place in the present, in the year "199x". The main character, Ness, wakes up in the middle of night, in his pyjamas, when a meteor falls close to his house, and decides to investigate. At the crash site he meets a fly, named Buzz Buzz, from ten years in the future who sends him on a quest to destroy the Evil Alien Giygas in this time, because he is too powerful in the time Buzz Buzz comes from. Ness must then journey through the world, seeking eight "sanctuaries" where the Earth's power is strongest in order to gain the strength needed to confront Giygas.
EarthBound was not very sucessful in the Americas, although it has spawned somewhat of a cult following amongst loyal fans. Its prequel, EarthBound 0 (or Mother), for the Famicom was never released in the United States. Mother 3, the proposed sequel to EarthBound, was cancelled after 3 years of work on the Nintendo 64 system. However, there is news of Earthbound 0 and Earthbound being bundled together for a re-release on the Game Boy Advance, as well as a possible revival of Mother 3, which will presumably be released on the GameCube. (Sources from starmen.net indicate that Earthbound 2 will be released on the Game Boy Advance as well. The GameCube version was trashed a while ago.)