The beginning of EarthBound is set in the town of Onett. One night, a meteorite crashes in the hills to the north. The local police force cause a commotion, while Pokey Minch leaves his younger brother at home to pursue a patrol car to the site. Minutes later, Ness arrives at the roadblock to investigate what has happened, but Pokey tells Ness to head home and that he will tell him everything the next day. Ness returns home, the police recede in order to deal with the local gang, the Sharks, and Pokey takes Picky north to see the meteorite.
Shortly after Ness returns home, Pokey arrives at his doorstep asking him to help find Picky before his parents arrive home. After a short conversation with his mother, Ness changes out of his pajamas and leaves with Pokey to find Picky. Ness defeats some unusually violent animals as the two head up to the meteorite site to find Picky. When they arrive, they awaken the sleeping Picky, who explains that Pokey was afraid and fled, leaving Picky behind.
Before they leave, the gang are stopped by a buzzing noise. A bright light emits from the meteorite and a bee emerges. The bee introduces himself as Buzz Buzz, and claims he came from ten years in the past. Buzz Buzz explains that the world is in danger and that Ness is prophesied that three boys and a girl to vanquish the impending alien force, one of the boys being him. After Buzz Buzz finishes his story, the group descends from the hills and heads to the Minch residence, only to be confronted by Starman Junior, an alien machine from the past, who traveled forward in time to track down Buzz Buzz. A battle ensues, resulting in Buzz Buzz protecting the squad and helping to defeat the Starman Junior with his PSI powers. Afterward, the group arrives at Pokey's home, only for Pokey and Picky to be punished by their parents for being out so late. Aloysius Minch, their father, then rambles to Ness about his problems with Ness's father. Before Ness and Buzz Buzz leave, Lardna Minch, the Minch boys's mother, mistakes the bee for a dung beetle and swats him, causing him mortal damage. Before he dies, Buzz Buzz tells Ness he needs to visit the eight Your Sanctuaries to defeat Giygas and gives him a Sound Stone, ending the prologue of the game.
Ness leaves the Minch's at sunrise and begins his journey, heading into town to research the Giant Step. He learns that the Traveling Entertainer's Shack, the only formal access to the Giant Step, has been locked by order of the town's mayor, B.H. Pirkle, as the Sharks' leader, Frank Fly, has trashed the shack. Ness also learns that the Sharks have been causing trouble in Onett, and so he heads to the town's arcade to confront the Sharks and their stubborn leader. Ness fights his way through the arcade and soon comes upon an exit leading to its closed off backyard, where he encounters and defeats Frank, along with his malfunctioning robot, the Frankystein Mark II. He disbands the Sharks, and he tells Ness that Giant Step contains a mysterious power. After changing his ways, Frank heals Ness whenever spoken to.
Ness heads to the City Hall where he is given a hero's welcome by the mayor. The mayor also gives Ness the key to the Traveling Entertainer's Shack, making Ness promise that the Mayor will not be responsible for any incidents that ensue. Ness passes through the shack, and into a large cave containing more violent animals. At the end of the cave, he encounters the first Sanctuary Guardian, Titanic Ant. He defeats Titanic Ant and walks out of the cave into Giant Step. There, a mysterious power in the form of a melodies is recorded by Ness's Sound Stone.
When Ness heads back through the Traveling Entertainer's shack, a police officer reprimands him for ignoring the shack's No Trespassing sign, and he is asked to meet him at the local police station later on. If the player decides to have Ness stay at a hotel, he will receive his first telepathic message from Paula Polestar, a girl from Twoson asking for help. When Ness arrives at the police station, Captain Strong sends his five best officers to attack him for misreading the sign. Strong promises that if Ness defeats them, he will let him go trouble-free and will even call off the roadblock between Onett and Twoson. Ness defeats the first four officers, and the fifth flees, prompting Captain Strong to fill in for that officer instead. Ness defeats him as well, and as promised, Strong opens the roadblock, allowing Ness to continue to Twoson.
Although Onett is mainly for beginner Earthbound players, it continues to play a role in the story. Much later in EarthBound, Ness, Paula, Jeff Andonuts, and Poo need to go to the Onett Library to check out the book Overcoming Shyness, which is needed to cure the shyness of the Tenda tribesmen and get to the seventh Your Sanctuary.
Near the end of the game, Ness and friends must return once again to retrieve a piece of the meteorite, a material known as Zexonyte, which is needed to complete the development of the second Phase Distorter. When they arrive, the town is shrouded in darkness and the north part is under siege by Giygas's elite
forces. However, visiting Onett before talking to Dr. Andonuts about him needing Zexonyte shows that Onett is still peaceful at this point and not under siege.
Setting of Onett and area
The Onett area is laden with trees, hills, and very bright grass. Most of surrounding the area consists of thick forests. To the west is the ocean, which can be seen from the scenic Beak Point, an area with high cliffs where a run-down house can be purchased by Ness. South of Onett is a forest that stretches to Twoson, aside from the clearing where a dirt road spanning the two towns lies. The east is completely forest until it borders the hills in the north. The north has a few scattered forests that separate the main portion of town from the hills. The hills are divided into two parts: A larger portion on the east is home to Ness's family, the Minch family, Lier X. Agerate, and the meteorite. The smaller portion on the west consists entirely of the caves and passageways leading up to Giant Step. Onett is the only of the major municipalities in Eagleland that is not connected to the others via a paved road and a bus route.
- Coil Snake
- Runaway Dog
- Spiteful Crow
- Pogo Punk
- Skate Punk
- Yes Man Junior
- Starman Junior (Boss)
- Frank (Boss)
- Frankystein Mark II (Boss)
- Cops (Boss)
- Captain Strong (Boss)
- Ghost of Starman (during siege of Onett)
- Evil Eye (during siege of Onett)
- Mechanical Octobot (during siege of Onett)
- Cracked bat for $18
- Tee ball bat for $48
- Yo-yo for $29
- Baseball cap for $19
- Cheap bracelet for $98
- Cold Remedy for $22
- In Super Smash Bros. Melee, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, Onett is a playable stage.
- The beginning of the name is the word "one" and the second is ett, which is Swedish for one, which is a reference to the fact that Onett is the first town in the game.
- In one of the pictures for EarthBound 64, a destroyed Onett sign appears.
- The Onett Times has a headline at one point saying "Local survey shows most popular career among kids in Onett is adventurer".
- The equivalent of Onett in EarthBound Beginnings is said to be Podunk because they are both the hometown of the protagonists and feature a similar appearance
- There is a Mr. Saturn hidden in Onett.
- Earthbound is referenced in Onett more times than anywhere else with a total of 4.
- Before getting the Town Map from the Library, the girl in front of the Library mentions the Library has all the maps of Earthbound.
- In one of the houses, a girl with a hat asks when Earthbound comes out.
- Before defeating the Sharks, the shark guarding the door asked Ness if he wished the join the Sharks. If Ness says Yes, then the shark will reply Ness must beat Earthbound first.
- If Captain Strong is talked to following his defeat, he'll state that he's busy playing EarthBound, yet is currently having a tough time.