EarthBound and Literary Inspirations
A few weeks ago, segaboy/Corey posted on the forums about an EarthBound cart he bought that seemed odd:
Hi all, I’ve recently got a Earthbound cart for my birthday back in November. I went to open the cartridge to clean it, like i do all my snes games but this cart just wont open, the screws seem to be extremely striped. Now i do use a security bit to open my games and this is the only one I have ever had problems with.
(You can read the full thread here.)
Anyway, some of us suggested he find a way to take it apart so we can compare it with an official cart. For reference, here’s what an official cart looks like on the inside:
And here’s the pic Corey took:
As you can see, the big black chip in the bottom right is completely different and looks soldered on, which is extremely suspicious. Just to make sure, I asked byuu, author of bsnes and all-around SNES hardware expert and here’s what he had to say:
That guy’s cart has an adapter board soldered on that interfaces a NAND flash ROM with the original mask ROM pinout.
Someone took a real(ly cheap) game, like a basketball title, and replaced the ROM and cart sticker. The tiny black chip on top with the really tiny pins is your NAND ROM. Poor guy. That cart won’t even function in a decade.
Apparently there’s a new flood of the above customizable PCB (byuu shared a link but I don’t know if it’d be wise to include it here), so I guess that means we can expect more of this sort of thing in the future.
While I was at it, I asked byuu about another unusual cart we’ve been curious about for a long time:
Another counterfeit cart
To this, byuu said:
As for your other link, the second cart pictured is also a fake. But that one wasn’t made off of an existing cart, that one was made from scratch.
These aren’t the only fakes that’ve been found, there was this hilarious one a few months back:
And then there was this one with a description that was at least honest:
This auction is for a Reproduction Cartridge of “EarthBound” for Super Nintendo. It plays in Japanese, but works on a NTSC system.
To sum up, if you’re looking to buy an official copy of EarthBound, you’ll want to be careful before buying first. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you’re buying from someone reputable, and follow some of the tips here.
It’s stuff like this that makes me wish Nintendo would just re-release the game in some form – even if it’s modified to take out certain songs or whatever. I’d be A-OK with that, personally.
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