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Tips for Buying EarthBound

February 18th, 2009 | Auctions, EarthBound, Merchandise

andonuts_ebc-2I noticed something interesting yesterday. Because my EarthBound merchandise on eBay finder page updates about once an hour, I get to watch EarthBound stuff show up and get sold all the time. It’s pretty interesting, seeing what sells and what doesn’t, and how cheap or expensive a single item can go for.

But yesterday, because of all this recent stuff about no EarthBound on Virtual Console, I noticed a sudden drop in the number of items listed. Wondering what was up, I checked and saw that probably half of the EarthBound carts were suddenly gone, and all the Buy-It-Now EarthBound carts under $90 were sold off. Even some really expensive sets $250 and over were selling more than usual.

I’m wondering if this is because people are thinking “ugh, better get a real copy if it’s not coming to VC” or if people are hoarding them now so they can sell them for higher prices later on. Supply will always continue to go down, and demand is probably going to slowly increase over time, so these things are going to get more expensive over time unless the game is miraculously re-released in some fashion. The only economics stuff I learned was in my senior year of high school though, so my analysis of the situation can’t go much further than that, sadly.

But I’m still curious about this effect. Chrono Trigger SNES carts sometimes went for insane prices, but now that the DS port is out, have the SNES cart prices gone down? Or are they even more of a collector’s item now?

This kind of fusion of games and economics really interests me. I’d like to learn more about it somehow. Anybody know of any resources or information or other examples out there?

POLL: If EarthBound isn't released on Virtual Console, would you get a Super NES cart of the game?

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61 Comments to EarthBound Cart Economics

Chant said on Feb. 18, 2009

I did just get a copy of mother 2 for Super famicom yesterday. Not because of the Latest earthbound not coming to virtual console thing I just wanted a copy of the Japanese game. 🙂

Mato said on Feb. 18, 2009

Yeah, that reminds me I oughtta re-get a copy of Mother 2 for myself too. Something about that cart is really cool. It’s also really nice that Mother 2 carts go for really cheap, unlike crazy EarthBound carts.

IWontGetOvertheDam said on Feb. 18, 2009

…I don’t have an SNES. Emulation is fine with me, thanks.

Darien said on Feb. 18, 2009

Yeah, I picked up a copy of Mother 2 a few weeks ago myself. I’ve always wanted to compare it to Earthbound firsthand, and see the unedited Runaway Five and everything. Since, as I say, I was way into the M2EB stuff. 😉

And, hey, it’s hard to beat eight bucks. 😮

YumeMaxx said on Feb. 18, 2009

I’m still in the market for an EarthBound cart. I’ve been searching for about a year now and everytime I see one within my price range, I’m outbid at the last second.

I have a new job and more money now, so I’m hoping I have one soon! =D

KaoruArika said on Feb. 18, 2009

I will still be going for emulation… but it’s something… I don’t know… I will buy myself a cartridge until I have more money. Time will tell.

Pankraz said on Feb. 18, 2009

hmmm it’s pay day

yeah i know what i’m gonna do *loads up ebay*

(screw you, wife)

Briianz said on Feb. 18, 2009

I have the Emulation vers. But I want the Console Vers. D:

The Pig King said on Feb. 18, 2009

I have a cart, but it’s in such terrible condition that I couldn’t make it past Scaraba before the files got deleted. I’ve never made it through the game. I’m wondering if I should buy another cart, or just emulate.

Dr Shlub said on Feb. 18, 2009

I don’t need a cart, I’ve got MOTHER 1+2! (And MOTHER 3…)

Mister Spook said on Feb. 18, 2009

Whew! Glad I got mine. Not just the cart, but the box and the guide, too. I expect the price on ebay to skyrocket in light of this news.

ZombiePaul said on Feb. 18, 2009

I’ve had mine since release, but the box went missing during a move a few years back. It’s kind of lame but since I never intend on selling it I’m not too choked up about it *lip tremble*.

madammina said on Feb. 18, 2009

I ended up emulating after fighting it all this time.

Getting a SNES and a cart would just be too darn expensive. I will buy it if it comes out in whatever official form. (I can’t tell my family I emulated)

Mr. Munchlax said on Feb. 18, 2009

I have a SNES, but I emulate because I’m just not willing to pay so much for an actual copy. A local gamestore sells them for around $35 when they actually get one but it’s not very often and I don’t expect them to get one in anytime soon.

_oMeGa_ said on Feb. 18, 2009

Hmm, none of the choices fit my circumstances. My brother said that his EB cartridge is somewhere in this house, but he has no clue where it is. I assume he’d let me have it, since he let me have (sort of) all of his cool old junk. So I just picked the last option, because it’s the funniest.

jpeezy said on Feb. 18, 2009

I’ve been searching for a decently-priced cart for over a week. They used to be around 40-50$ on eBay, but have suddenly rocketed up – I’m getting worried! lol

hopefully they’ll go down to a more reasonable price as im getting tired of having to play it eb on my computer

NessRules said on Feb. 18, 2009

Aw, man. I dont have an SNES. Guess i better rely on mother 1+2 and mother 3 on GBA.

Jupiter-x said on Feb. 18, 2009

A friend got me my cart a few years ago off of ebay. it probably went for like 60-75 in spring of 2007? That sound about right?

Olias said on Feb. 18, 2009

I don’t think it’s worth it. Finding mother 2 is so easy

Aerostella said on Feb. 18, 2009

Since cart + SNES = too expensive for a jobless 16 year old, I will stick to emulators.

Cafechan said on Feb. 18, 2009

I just snagged Mother 1+2 from PlayAsia, and M3 from eBay. So I’m as happy as a clam. 🙂 I still have my GameBoy Player attached to my Gamecube, so I get to play them on the TV! It’s just as good as Virtual Console, it’s legal, and it’s awesome~

Assorted Astrology-Related Names said on Feb. 19, 2009

I’m one of the rare PAL Mother fans, so I have absolutely no choice other than to emulate. I’d love to have one, but it seems all I can do is hope that the Mother 1+2 translation is done and then put it on my flashcart (which I only bought to play Mother 3 on the fly, truthfully). Bah, you lucky Americans/Japanese/Those who CAN ACTUALLY PLAY THE GAME LEGITIMATELY.

Big=Sexy said on Feb. 19, 2009

Earthbound on VC really was my one option, as purchasing a cart online would mean purchasing an SNES with it, as I wouldn’t trust my decaying one with such a gem.

As far as Chrono Trigger goes, a local store here has had a copy of the SNES version that was priced at $75 last I checked. If the store is still there, that cart is either gone or priced higher by now, because afaik, the store owner was kind of a jerk.

There’s another store closer to me which has a cart of Ogre Battle 64 for $120. It’s still there.

(Also, since this is my first time posting here though I’ve been watching these sites for some time, I’d like to say thank you for your work on Mother 3. I haven’t gotten around to playing it personally, because I want to replay EB first, but my little brother is loving it)

captain_falcon said on Feb. 19, 2009

I wonder if I could buy my Grandmother’s SNES AND find a copy of EarthBound… I don’t think that’s a good idea on a paperboy’s income.

Poe said on Feb. 19, 2009

This is interesting. To anyone who bought the SNES cart in the last few days – what was your reason for doing so? (besides the obvious of wanting to own a great RPG)

Dumbo said on Feb. 19, 2009

This is impossible for anyone not American or Japanese to get and play because, well, it wasn’t released here. Even if you could get it, there’s still the matter if getting a Japanese/American SNES. Add the fact that every already hefty price is doubled in my country, you’d have to be filthy rich to get it. 🙁

Mentalcase said on Feb. 19, 2009

All I can say is try scouring flea markets and yard sales, probably have a higher chance of getting a cart cheaper there then online. I got mine from a flea market for $30 with the manual (also check if they are open to haggling to see if you can get it even lower. He originally wanted $65 for it but I worked him down to $30 *evil laugh* ^^)

Nameless Friend said on Feb. 19, 2009

Mentalcase, you lucky son of a gun!

I went on a nearby flee market one day. They had a SNES and some games (Some Mario I think) for about 40$, but no EB,so I passed. Considering I live in Quebec, I’ll probably never find a EB cart in that flee market… I think I will stick to emulation (and maybe getting Mother 1+2 after the translation patch release)

HossTehMaster said on Feb. 19, 2009

I don’t own a SNES so I have to stick to emulation for now…

a said on Feb. 19, 2009

I’ve wanted a cart ever since I heard about the game, but they were always too expensive or I couldn’t find them, so I eventually just played the game on an emulator. I’d like to get an official copy if I ever have the opportunity.

a said on Feb. 19, 2009

Official English copy, that is. I’d rather not import a game that I can’t understand (lol)

NovaMan XP said on Feb. 19, 2009

I’m emulating EarthBound on my Wii. It plays perfectly, so it’s like having it for the Virtual Console… except there’s save states, and no Home Menu. ._.;

wvlfpvp said on Feb. 19, 2009

Considering that Valkyrie Profile PSX is still going on Ebay for ridiculous prices (250 + 50 bucks shipping NO THANKS) even though they made the PSP port, no. An official release on a new system does not mean that the price for the original will go down.

Izumi said on Feb. 20, 2009

Hehe, we actually have 3 carts in my house…the original one we shared from when it first came out, the one my brother found for $30 at a used game store and bought on a whim, and the one I got on eBay when I realized my siblings could not be trusted not to erase my saves. Oh EarthBound, how you have corrupted my family. <3

Armada said on Feb. 20, 2009

Luckily, The Video Game Exchange is the greatest place to buy classic games like this. I could probably buy an EarthBound cart for maybe $15 or less (assuming it’s there).

teraphony said on Feb. 20, 2009

Actually, i’ve been watching the carts and I’m surprised at some of the prices. I’ve seen some stay pretty steady at about 45-55 bucks for a couple of days. So it might be worth bidding this time

Stuffgamer1 said on Feb. 20, 2009

There sure are a lot of people fluent enough in Japanese to play that version on here…well, they’re the minority, but there are still more of them than I would’ve thought.

Though I’m not trying to be a jerk about it, I had to pick the “I already have a cart, neener-neener” choice for the poll. My dad bought it at launch, and we still have the guide and box (and I know where they all are, too!). I’m EXTREMELY grateful for my dad’s great taste in games, as I was too young to know the difference at the time (I was only six and just getting into gaming, after all).

I also agree that the price won’t go down even if the game does hit VC. But the number of people actually searching for a copy would probably decrease. I’d download it on VC even though I have a cart, partially to show support and partially for convenience (SNES in living room downstairs, Wii in bedroom upstairs).

The retard of epic proportions said on Feb. 28, 2009

Luckily for me, I got an EB cart for christmas!

wants_latios_lots said on Mar. 17, 2009

Looks like that dude from Contact

sunarashi said on Mar. 20, 2009

I play the japanese version,the gameboy advance one, with the orginal mother on it too! mostly because I don’t have a SNES, and the other reason is the prices…

..oh, and I don’t exactly buy things off of ebay (because my parents won’t let me….)

TheEBGuy said on Apr. 6, 2009

I do have it on an emulator but a real cart would be real nice!

Mushrooman said on May. 8, 2009

*laughs at last option* *Closes eyes and sees ness in front of the meteorite in onett* WOAH!

Milkdee72 said on Jun. 6, 2009

While I do have an SNES, which works great (ish), I got it when I was, like, 5. I have been looking for a cart for 3 years, but then again, I’m 15 and work at a skating rink for minimum wage. I’m emulating Earthbound right now, and I’m 20 bucks away from Mother 1+2 (thank god for play-asia!). I would have it on my Wii, but I upgraded my operating system to high to hack it, and Nintendo is nothing but disapointment.

superneku said on Jun. 18, 2009

I would get a cart, but I only have a PAL SNES & I don’t really wanna mod it & Action replays plus other cables are either rare or just really expenisive (not to mention that most of the carts themselves are expensive)

Nick D said on Jun. 26, 2009

I do have the cart and it works on my old Aus snes i modded… except i need to play it with either the top half of my snes off or play the game with the cart case off… and the end result is it looks like ass on my Lcd tv. I just hook my pc up to the tv with my Snes controller and play it that way, so it isn’t one giant blurry mess.

wessdance said on Jul. 17, 2009

I dont have an snes…boo hoo.
I don’t mind emulation, though.

Pyroguy42 said on Jul. 19, 2009

I got one and it feels awesome, it will be one and only SNES game =D

Charley Feher said on Jul. 27, 2009

I bought mine brand new from a Toys-R-Us for $30 when it was still in stores… my guess was they marked it down for not selling well.

Leirin said on Jul. 27, 2009

No, but I ought to get my *friend* a cart (he owns an SNES) so I can GO OVER TO HIS HOUSE and maybe PLAY IT sometimes. Or a lot. Hehe…

souliscool101 said on Nov. 1, 2009

I played it and loved it but I don’t remember where I put it. I just hope I didn’t lose it because then I would have to buy another one.

Steve! said on Nov. 14, 2009

I would actually get a copy if it weren’t the most expensive standard US released snes game.

Steve! said on Dec. 6, 2009

Never mind I just got a copy off ebay. That kinda contradicts my last comment but in a good way.

Mister Crosser said on Dec. 27, 2009

Well I have the japanese version. Even though I can read Japanese, I don’t understand much of the sentence… yet.

Ricardo said on Jan. 6, 2010

I only use emulators for playing Jonbound. I had my EB Cart since release (whit box, guide, and scratch & sniff cards), just got my Mother 2 Cart, Mother 3 Cart, and Mother 1+2 for my DS. But, i can’t find a original Mother cart. I got an Earthbound Zero one from Nesreproductions.com

Antman said on Feb. 7, 2010

Back in 95 my neighbors had the whole kit new. We used it so much that the battery needed to be replaced and the guide had pages missing (because we were 11 and 13). Then I bought a cart at funco land for $25 around ’98 when I learned about EB0. I still remember that day. I Looked up the phone number online, asked them if they had one and if they could hold it till the end of the week, and mom took me there and I bought it with some of my saved up allowances.

PS they had 3 copies.

UndefinedPersona said on Feb. 17, 2010

My older brother’s friend gave us his copy a while back (I am forever grateful to you, Pete). However, I guess he either kept the box and inserts or threw them away. In either case, all I have (and have ever had) is an EarthBound cartridge for my American SNES. I’ve actually played it quite a bit, so its quality suffers when you play it using an SNES connected to your TV via coaxial. I tried using my N64 A/V jacks with my SNES, and the cartridge was restored to its original quality.

mr.yoshiboy64 said on Mar. 2, 2010

LOL i want to see the people who bought it to turn around and sell it end up not because of the vc relese it there is one

maskedsaturn said on May. 18, 2011

LOL just get one off Amazon, 100 bucks FREE 2 DAY SHIPPING = 😀

NatX2 said on Jul. 31, 2011

Um, why is there a cat on the chalkboard? 0_0

Dal said on Oct. 25, 2011

I don’t have a SNES nor do I have a cart, so I get ZSNES and a rom off the net. I feel like a tightwad.

Rex Thunder said on Feb. 1, 2014

There’s nothing wrong with emulating a game that is no longer being supported. Think about it. Why do you want to buy an expensive cartrage that would take days to get to you, when you can just emulate now?


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