A Message From Lucas and Claus
A really common e-mail I get is something like this:
Hey, I found this on eBay, I think it’s one of the EarthBound Zero prototypes! Can you tell me if it’s legit or not?
I get this question so often that I thought it’d be a good idea to make a post about it for people to reference.
Generally, if it hasn’t been posted about here or on the front page of Starmen.Net, then it’s almost definitely not one of the actual prototype cartridges. They’re that rare. Probably 95% of the EB0 carts on eBay are reproductions, not the actual prototypes. Only a handful of prototypes are known to exist, and I’ve tried to document their whereabouts in this article, though admittedly it’s not 100% up-to-date (don’t worry Roo, I’ll update it sometime 😛 )
Also, the prototype carts actually look like prototypes. If you come across an EarthBound zero cart with any sort of label or label art, it’s definitely not one of the prototypes. Reproduction makers tend to use a bunch of the same fake labels for their EB0 carts, here are two of the most common:
These are fake
The first one gets it wrong – the game is called “Earth Bound”. The second one uses artwork stolen from our good friend emilio, which you can see here. Never mind the fact that that Ness, Paula, Jeff, and Poo aren’t in the game whatsoever.
Basically, if a cart has a label, looks like an actually-released game, and isn’t mentioned on any of the big EarthBound sites, it’s almost definitely just a reproduction. If you read the item descriptions carefully, sometimes they’ll even say so. Sometimes they don’t, and pretend that it’s one of the actual prototype carts. Don’t fall for it!
Believe it or not, EarthBound Zero isn’t the only game that’s been getting this treatment lately, either. Fake/pirated Super NES EarthBound carts have been on the rise. Here’s one a PAL version of EarthBound that sold recently:
The problem in this case is that the game was never released outside of North America. Whoever bought this, they spent over $400 on a cart that’s been tampered with. Reproduction carts can go faulty very easily and will suffer from bit rot in as little as five years, making the games unplayable and completely worthless before long.
I won’t argue about the legality of selling these reproduction carts here, just know what you’re getting into if you’re thinking of buying a reproduction on eBay. Especially if someone’s asking for a lot of money.
Other Related Posts:
73 Comments to EarthBound Carts: Official or Not?
- Lochy: This looks awesome. Hopefully I can buy it as an after christmas present for myself. What an absolute treat!
- Jeff Shot First: Can I just say wow. This is incredible. I loved the first book on Zelda, and this is something even more special. I cannot wait to...
- SaturnValley: Amazing! I love the 90’s aesthetic. This is perfect timing since I was planning on getting this for Christmas, really hope it...
- Kasumi: Or maybe it’s wordplay. EARTHBOUND FAN-atic rather than Earthbound Fanatic
- James: Not to be that guy, buuuuuut–“fan-uh-t ic.” I guess someone over at Fangamer had a little brain fart. THAT SAID, I’m...