Super Smash Bros. Brawl launched last week, and according to Nintendo it's already sold over 1.4 million copies. It features the biggest roster to date in the series, with major additions such as Solid Snake and Sonic the Hedgehog. It also includes Lucas, a psionically powered child with abilities comparable to series veteran Ness.
Ness comes from Earthbound, a Super Nintendo role-playing game that has become a cult classic because of its quirky sense of humor and simple, cartoony art style. Earthbound was originally launched in Japan as Mother 2, the sequel to an NES RPG called Mother that never made its way to the United States. Lucas comes from Mother 3, a sequel to Earthbound/Mother 2 that was released Japan on the Game Boy Advance just two years ago.
Lucas is one of only two characters in the entire SSBB roster without any presence in America. The other is Fire Emblem's Marth, who might be getting his own game if the upcoming Fire Emblem DS, a remake of the original Fire Emblem, comes to the United States. Every other character in SSBB has appeared in the U.S. in some form, whether as a video game, a toy from the early '80s, or a Virtual Console download. You might not remember Popo and Nana from Ice Climbers or Pit from Kid Icarus, but they hit the American NES and they're both available on the Virtual Console. Lucas has only been seen in America on the battlegrounds of Brawl.
Earthbound stands out as one of the great classics of the Super Nintendo era, right up there with Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI. Its sequel got a respectable 35/40 in Japan's Famitsu magazine, and its American release remains breathlessly anticipated by fans of Earthbound. Mother 3 should see the light of day in America, whether it's a Virtual Console release, a Nintendo DS remake, or even a GBA cartridge. It's been 13 years since Ness and his friends warmed the hearts of SNES gamers. The next generation deserves its own chance in America. Of course, if Ness or his NES-based predecessor Ninten want to show up as Virtual Console releases of Earthbound and Mother, that wouldn't be too shabby either.