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Komaru recently sent in this scan from the UK magazine Retro Gamer that talks about anti-piracy measures in video games. EarthBound’s anti-piracy measures are almost infamous by now, as you can see:
(click for full image)
There are a few tiny facts off in the article, but I can understand why they were made – in my original article here I didn’t mention that each start-up check will keep the game from functioning, and the other, more interesting things only happen if a pirate were clever enough to peel away the earlier checks.
I think some more stuff might’ve been found since I first posted that info a few years ago, but I can’t recall any of it right now. Probably just some more simple checks though. Anyway, if you haven’t seen it already, here’s what happens if a super-duper pirate managed to break through all the anti-piracy protection and played through to the end.
Keep in mind that this particular piracy stuff was mostly meant to hinder people making bootleg cartridges and selling them in the early and mid 90s. Emulators won’t set any of the checks off, unless they’re really cruddy emulators. It was also very unlikely that anyone got this Giygas save game deletion thing to happen to them back then – most of the other checks would’ve kicked in beforehand, and we only discovered that these checks were in place because one of the two common EarthBound ROM files out since the 90s had all the anti-piracy stuff specifically removed. So the pirates knew what they were doing 😛
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