- "Well, now that the Earth's crisis is finally over, I think I'll just lay down for a moment and Zzzzzzzzz"
- — Ninten
Ninten (ニンテン, Ninten) is the main protagonist of EarthBound Beginnings. He is a boy from the suburbs of Podunk. He usually uses common-place items such as baseball bats as his primary weapon, along with boomerangs and slingshots. Ninten is the only character in the EarthBound series to suffer from asthma during battle. This is similar to Ness's homesick status effect in that it is unique to their characters only.
Ninten is 152 cm (5'0'') tall and weighs 42 kg (93 lbs). He wears a red baseball cap with a blue bill turned to his left, and sticking out of it is his short black hair. He has black eyes, which on his clay model resemble the style of eyes drawn on 1920s-1930s cartoon characters. He wears a blue t-shirt with thin horizontal yellow stripes, tucked under blue shorts on only one side. His socks are red, and he wears blue shoes.
Ninten is the eldest son of Carol and her husband, elder brother of Minnie and Mimmie, and the great-grandson of George and Maria. Ninten lives in a small house north of Podunk with his Mother and Father (although the latter is rarely at home, and does not appear in-game until the epilogue), and his two twin sisters. Ninten's adventure begins when a poltergeist causes some objects in his home to become animate and violent. After Ninten routs the poltergeist by defeating a possessed baby doll, he begins to investigate the origin of these strange phenomena, which have begun occurring across the countryside. The cause of these events is later revealed to be a group of alien invaders led by Giygas.
Like most protagonists of early Nintendo games, Ninten is generally a silent character, having no speaking roles beyond "yes" or "no" responses, with the exception of a brief few lines of dialogue at the end of the game. Ninten's personal weapon type is baseball bats, and his PSI abilities are primarily supportive and restorative in nature. As the game progresses, Ana develops feelings for Ninten, which culminates in a scene in which the two dance in a cottage on Mt. Itoi, where the player may choose whether or not he reciprocates. In EarthBound Beginnings and Mother 1 + 2, it is implied that the two maintain a relationship after the events of the game as the final cutscenes show Ana receiving a letter from Ninten.
Ninten is the only character in the series to be asthmatic. When his asthma is acting up, he is unable to take action in combat, somewhat similar to Ness's homesickness. Ninten's exclusive ability is 4th-D Slip, which can be used to flee from any escapable combat engagement with guaranteed success. Ninten's favourite food is Prime Ribs, and his favourite animal is the penguin.
Throughout Mother, Ninten can learn a variety of different Assist- and Recover-type PSI abilities. Among the Assist abilities are 4th-D Slip , DefenseDown, DefenseUp, Hypnosis, OffenseUp, PowerShield, PSI Shield and QuickUp. Among the Other abilities are Telepathy and Teleport. Finally, among the Recover abilities are Healing and LifeUp. Ninten is the only Mother series protagonist that doesn't know any offensive PSI. However, it is interesting to note that in the commercial for the original Mother, Ninten and Ana are seen working together to cast the offensive PK Beam to destroy a robot resembling one of the R•7030 series; a slight departure from Ninten's in-game PSI arsenal.
Ninten appears as a spirit in the Spirits mode. He is a Legend level primary spirit that raises the power of Ness and Lucas's PSI attacks. During his fight, which takes place on Magicant, the player must fight four white Nesses in a stamina battle. His Final Smash meter charges quickly and his PSI attacks have increased power. Ninten is also a profile picture icon in the online features.
Ninten's name is derived from the name Nintendo (only without the "do"), the company that published and developed the Mother series. The name 'Ninten' was used by Nintendo as a placeholder name in guides and suchlike for many games in the 1990's. Among the other generic titles, the characters received in the instruction manual, Ninten himself was referred to as 'Boku', Japanese for "Me", in order to leave his name entirely up to the player. Screenshots and player's guides used "Ninten" as the main character's name, and it has since been adopted as his official name.
- In the live-action commercial for the original Famicom version of Mother, the actor playing Ninten is wearing a white, red, and blue striped t-shirt rather than the blue and yellow stripes shown on his clay model, and a red neckerchief resembling those worn by boy scouts. No other official depictions of Ninten show him wearing that, but fans usually draw him wearing at least the neckerchief to differentiate him from Ness.
- Ninten's sprites were touched up in the Earthbound Beginnings and Mother 1 + 2 versions of the game in order to depict the stripes on his shirt in-game. His sprites in the original Famicom version didn't have the blue stripe.
- Ninten is the only main protagonist of the Mother series to not be playable in the Super Smash Bros. series.
- Ninten has the most known relatives of all the series' lead protagonists, with Ness having three, Lucas having four, and Ninten having either six or seven, depending upon whether or not Giygas (who would be his granduncle by adoption) is to be counted.
- Oddly, in Earthbound Beginnings' Wii U Virtual Console release trailer, the demo player has erroneously entered "Steak" as Ninten's favourite food rather than Prime Ribs; Steak is not Ninten's favorite food, but Ness's.
- Ninten was called "Ken" in the novelization of the game. This is due to Ninten having no official name at the time that it was written. The name Ninten didn't actually get confirmed officially until his sticker in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Because of the novel and the name Ninten taking many years to get confirmed, he is known as "Ken" to some Japanese fans.
- According to Mother Encyclopedia, Ninten is a big fan of baseball and he is a fan of San Francisco Giants. He received his cap as a gift from his father.
- His blood type is A.
- In the release trailer of Earthbound Beginnings, Ninten's figure appears to have no fingers. The same figure is also seen in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.