- "I'm calling out to you who I've never met... I'm calling our friend who we've never met...Jeff! Jeff! We need your help! I am Paula and I am with another friend, Ness... We are trying to contact you..."
- — Paula
Paula Jones (Japanese: ポーラ・ジョーンズ Paula Jones) is one of the playable characters in EarthBound. She is the first to join Ness, and the only female member of Ness's team. She usually uses frying pans as her primary weapon, along with many powerful PSI powers. Her HP and defense are rather low, but she has high PP and is the fastest of the playable characters. She has a Pray ability, which calls forth one of many possible random effects in battle.
Paula is a resident of Twoson in the country of Eagleland, and the daughter of the owners of the local Polestar Preschool, when she joins the adventure. Ness is made aware of her existence when he goes to sleep at any location after visiting the "Your Sanctuary" location at Giant Step, when she contacts him through her telepathy in a dream. She was kidnapped by a masked boy and Pokey Minch, and brought to Peaceful Rest Valley to become the high priestess for Happy Happyism (although Everdred claims she was kidnapped to be a human sacrifice). She gifts the Franklin Badge to Ness so he may challenge and defeat Carpainter, get the key to where she is imprisoned, and free her. After she is freed, she joins Ness's party. She is later kidnapped by Geldegarde Monotoli, but as before, Ness rescues her, this time with the help of Jeff. Paula's Pray command is ultimately a key part of the game, as she must use it nine times to defeat Giygas in the final battle.
Paula is portrayed as a kind, fairly weak and cutesy girl in the original release, to the point where she states she almost cried when she was locked up. However, Marcus Lindblom had stated that he revised Paula's character during localization to be a more forceful, capable and "willing to destroy" character.
Paula is a young girl with blonde hair with a red bow in the back and teal eyes. She wears a pink dress, with a white collar white socks a white belt, and dark pink sneakers and resembles Ness’s younger sister Tracy.
Paula appears as a trophy in Super Smash Bros. Melee, with the text,
Paula is a PSI master who used her incredible psychic abilities to call Ness from afar. Ness rescued Paula from the blue-stained clutches of the Happy Happyist cult, and she became integral to his EarthBound adventure. Originally, Ness didn't know either PK Thunder or PK Fire, so Paula probably taught him these techniques.
- EarthBound 6/95
- Marcus Lindblom wanted to change Paula's weapon during localization to a "blowgun or something cool like that," but the job was too complex due to having to change graphics.
- Using the Don't Care naming option, the possible names for Paula are "Paula", "Marie", "Jane", "Holly", "Paige", "Skye", and "Nancy". In Japan, the possible names for Paula are "ポーラ (Paula)", "リボン (Ribbon)", "ごろこ (Goroko)", "ヨーコ (Yoko)", "リラ (Rilla)", "ピーチ (Peach)", and "おて (Ote)".
- In America and Europe:
- Nancy is named after EarthBound Beginnings enemy Nancy.
- Jane is name after the same enemy's Japanese name.
- In Japan:
- Goroko may be named after Goro Inagaki, a Japanese musician.
- Yoko is named after Yoko Ono, a Japanese songwriter and peace-activist.
- Peach is named after Princess Peach.
- In America and Europe:
- Paula is the only PSI user in the EarthBound series that never learns Healing and Lifeup.
- During the end sequence of the game, Ness does not have to escort Paula home. It is possible to bring her to his house to meet his mother, although Paula will question it at first, before going inside with Ness.
- Paula appears to be fond of Teddy Bears, considering that while she is imprisoned by Carpainter, she has a Teddy Bear in the cell with her, and in her room at her house there is a present containing a Teddy Bear.
- Paula is the only member of the Chosen Four who is never controlled as the only party member within the story. (Ness is prior to rescuing Paula and during the Magicant sequence, Jeff after being telepathically called, and Poo during the Magic Cake sequence.) Should Ness fall in battle, however, she will become the party leader.
- If you say no to Paula when she asks to escort her she'll say "Then I'll escort you", but Ness will still be the leader.
- Paula's clay model shows that she has a form of briefcase, but she never actually holds one in the game.
- A common joke in the fan community is that Paula has all of the useful PSI powers, despite Ness being the main character. This leads to a common strategy of Paula being the main offensive PSI user, hardly ever using the Frying Pan except when she is out of PP.
- If the player goes to talk to Paula's dad when everyone but Paula is unconscious or diamondized, he'll call her a tomboy.
- The North American clay figure of Paula is missing her bow. The reason for this change is unknown.