Start with Earthbound. Although you don't technically need to have played it to understand M3's story, you'll probably find M3 a lot more enjoyable if you have. And as for game length, I think I had around 25 hours of play time when I finished Mother 3 for the first time, and I'm pretty sure Earthbound is at least a couple of hours longer. I wasn't exactly in a hurry though, so the average playtime may be a bit lower. --- And the flesh you so fancifully fry is not succulent, tasty or nice It's death for no reason, and death for no reason is murder
As Earthbound & Mother 3 appear to have totally unrelated storyline (only 1 character tying them together)... You can them in any order you like.
Without going into any details that can spoil the story, there's more than one character tying the games together. Not only that, but there are also quite a few references that you need to have played Earthbound game to understand. But yeah, you'll still be able to understand Mother 3's story even if you haven't played EB. --- And the flesh you so fancifully fry is not succulent, tasty or nice It's death for no reason, and death for no reason is murder
Ok, you don't need to play Earthbound prior, but it'd be a good idea to do so to understand all the EB references in Mother 3 and appreciate all the improvements that were made. --- No need for words, Just cast Luminaire and be done with it.