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Tips for Buying EarthBound

April 26th, 2009 | MOTHER 1, Uncommon Knowledge, Videos

Came across this very recent video of someone opening up bootleg EarthBound Zero and California Raisins NES cartridges.

All the ethical/moral/legal stuff aside, these bootleg EarthBound Zero carts (which I often see on eBay for $100-$150) can have this happen to them at certain parts of the game. usually at events near the end of the game, so it’s not obvious right away if it’s going to happen or not:

It’s happened in the past to people who didn’t know better, so be watch out.


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52 Comments to Opening Up EarthBound Zero

Deiphobus said on Apr. 26, 2009

i thought the earthbound zero carts were never made.

(“so be watch out” is gone!)

Mato said on Apr. 26, 2009

To the best of my knowledge, there exist two legitimate prototypes out in the wild, and at least one other is known to exist inside NOA still. I expect more than one exists at NOA, but we know of one for certain.

All the other versions you see on ebay and elsewhere are fake, bootleg carts put together by profiteers who take the EB0 ROM and put them on existing NES carts.

So be watch out!

Poe said on Apr. 26, 2009

Augh, that dude whines too much.

Tweder said on Apr. 26, 2009

What does this whiner expect for a game that was never released? Whoever is selling the game is offering it for sentimental or fan reasons, not to be produced exactly as Nintendo would have. Wires soldered to the circuits are exactly the same as the leads on the circuit board. Hah.

I’m going to be watch out to avoid this guy’s whiny videos.

Still interesting to see what was inside.

kevinchai said on Apr. 26, 2009

When you buy bootlegs/repros, this is what you expect. It’s his own fault.

Raian said on Apr. 26, 2009

The guy is looking a gift horse in the mouth. I think that cart is great! … his rhetorical questioning proves he’s not the most technically saavy person around.

Lothis said on Apr. 26, 2009

I’d probably get one for $50 for sentimental/fan reasons if I could be guaranteed of not getting the pirate message and that you didn’t have to send in your own existing NES game to be overwritten as well as pay $50, so I’m going to be watch out for this kind of piracy. On a side note, the label they put on it does look really nice.

Anonymous said on Apr. 26, 2009

This video is seriously cracking me up. Not only is his whiny, possibly high voice hilarious, but what the hell did he expect if he bought a super-rare game that was never released for “like 50 or 60 dollars”? Of course it’s going to be a hacked-together reproduction. It’s not like you can just conjure new NES carts out of the aether.

Although maybe I should thank him for reminding me of the NES reproductions site? I’ve always wanted an EB cart.

O-Suchin said on Apr. 26, 2009

We should break into NOA’s vault and steal EB0. :U

Deiphobus said on Apr. 27, 2009

yeah, just like we should have stolen the demo of earthbound 64 from spaceworld.

TBird said on Apr. 27, 2009

“We should break into NOA’s vault and steal EB0. :U”

That would give PK Siege a whole new meaning.

Who is dumb enough to think they’re getting an actual EB0 cart!? It’s funny to see an antipiracy measure from 20 years ago actually stop a pirate. Then again the original pirate still got his money. I want to go on a rant about current anti-piracy measures, but I’ll leave it at, Screw you SecuROM, Steam etc.!

Mato said on Apr. 27, 2009

I dunno, I get the feeling that lots of people (most?) don’t really know much about this sort of stuff and don’t really think about it, which is why he seemed so surprised.

Among everything else though, from the video and his comments it sounds like he’s learned his lesson, and it’s rare to see someone on the internet openly admit their mistakes and then learn from it. So that’s cool.

Kumatora said on Apr. 27, 2009

Where did the Demiforce copy of Zero go?

R7038XX said on Apr. 27, 2009

Screw you TBird, Steam is great.

Mato said on Apr. 27, 2009

Here’s as much as I know about that particular one

– it got auctioned off
– some dude bought it
– demi and others find out about it, contact dude
– they convince dude to send it to demi, they pay a few hundred dollars
– demi dumps the rom, send the cart back to dude
– at some point in 2000/2001, dude auctions off the cart on ebay, here’s his page on archive.org

After that, I don’t know where it went. I’m pretty sure I heard it went on to another person or two since then.

Mato said on Apr. 27, 2009

ps since everyone’s quoting be watch out already, I put it back into the post 😉

HAK2 said on Apr. 27, 2009

i have a reproduced EB0 cartridge, and it works fine, i beat it without any illegal copy screen incident, and it only cost 27 dollars.

wish i could tell you where i got it, but that would bring up some problems for me, wouldn’t it 😉

HAK2 said on Apr. 27, 2009

also, a quote from said place:

“Creating these cart’s that were never released into the US market, are Legal. None of the developer’s, programmers, or company’s are losing money due to this. These are game’s that were never released, and therfore not taking away from any of there profits.”

don’t know if it’s true, but it looks legit to me…

honeymustard said on Apr. 27, 2009

Same here, HAK2. It’s much nicer playing it on actual hardware, rather than on an emulator. Besides, the video tells you the website that sells them. It’s just a shame people exploit this nice guy’s service, by reselling the copies, claiming them to be the real deal. Dude just wants to share the great unreleased games with collectors 🙁

honeymustard said on Apr. 27, 2009

It’s still illegal, but immoral? I don’t think so.

HAK2 said on Apr. 27, 2009

no, i got it somewhere different from the video.

he probably waited for a shorter time to get it, though. i had to wait a month.

also, on the site i got it, your paying for the stuff he does to make a complete cart, not specifically the game.

that why the head of the site said a starfox 2 cart would be $100 or more.

Spitball Sparky said on Apr. 27, 2009

This is what happens when people buy fake games…

Lothis said on Apr. 27, 2009

I have mixed feelings about buying these pirated games. On one hand, I think it’s great that people replicate these so that they can be played on the correct hardware for those people (like myself) who are sticklers for that sort of thing. On the other hand, if they want to deceive people into thinking these things are the real deal, when they are obviously not (like the bad peeps who put them up on ebay for over $100), then that’s bad.

All in all it seems like a fair trade, as long as they make it clear to the buyer that it’s not official Nintendo stuff, from what I’ve seen. With a little research I’ve found websites that don’t require a donor cart like the one in the video does but only charge less than $30 for “normal” games (like EB0) and less than $50 for “special” games (like Final Fantasy III which apparently they have fuse 2 carts together to make a suitable host cart for it.)

I even found one that lets you trade in carts that they need for more popular games like EB0 to go towards paying for what you buy making feel kind of like a GameStop for prototype and fanslated games.

For all the trouble that most of these “reproduction” sites put into make these games look as authentic as possible, perhaps $30 to compensate their effort is a fair price. In the end though, you are buying a pirated game and as long as you know that, you only have yourself to blame if you spend too much, or run into anti-piracy measures, or whatever. Only the person who buys one of these games can say whether or not they feel it is worth it to them. Obviously the guy in the video feels cheated. Obviously some of the posters here think these reproductions are just the greatest.

With legality issues aside, the entire thing, morality included, is subjective.

Mato said on Apr. 27, 2009

HAK2: Yeah, that’s as bogus as the “delete this ROM within 24 hours and it’s legal” claim. It’s illegal. Whether or not it’s ethical is up to each individual person. Just don’t let that justification fool you into thinking it’s legal 😉

_oMeGa_ said on Apr. 27, 2009

So yeah, I searched “So be watch out” on google images, and I got a bunch of pictures of transvestites. Uhm.

Mato said on Apr. 27, 2009

I did a search for secretaries a while back for the seven secretaries of EarthBound update… I’m thinking that almost every word ever has been invaded by porn now.

SoreThumb said on Apr. 27, 2009

It was driving me NUTS for the longest time– this reviewer sounded like somebody else I’ve heard!

And I figured it out– this reviewer sounds like babycakes from Brad Neely’s videos!

Am I wrong? :O

KingMike said on Apr. 27, 2009

I guess what bugs me more than selling prototypes of unreleased old games is that they possibly break a working cart.
I know of one other place that sells repros of unreleased games, but glad they (at least claim to be) using new PCBs instead of donors.

PSInesslove93 said on Apr. 27, 2009

the dude just needs to just shut up and stop whining… it’s what you get for thinking it was legit. maybe he should research more about EB0

i saw this going on sale on ebay, and i just can’t believe a. that people actually bought it and b. that people were trying to sell bootleg copies. wow…

LeonardoGolden said on Apr. 27, 2009

I may not be able to play it on an original SNES, but I still get to play it on my TV :3

Thank you, Wii Homebrew community!

LeonardoGolden said on Apr. 27, 2009

Oops, I meant NES.

Zombie Chad said on Apr. 27, 2009

Wasn’t the anti piracy measures removed so that emulators would be able to play the game? Or, are there some they just can’t get at?

Mato said on Apr. 27, 2009

There are many versions of the ROM out there, some with some of the things fixed, some without.

KingMike said on Apr. 28, 2009

As I remember, the anti-piracy measure was something like:
1. Nesticle, the popular emulator at the time the ROM was dumped, would crash the game due to inaccurate emulation.
2. Somebody hacked the ROM so it would work on Nesticle.
3. The anti-piracy screen occurred because of #2.
AFAIK, the unhacked ROM would work fine on more accurate recent emulators.

Leirin said on Apr. 28, 2009

“so be watch out” — do I smell a new Starmen meme? 😛

all.night.raver said on May. 2, 2009

So is Nintendo actually behind this?
Why would the people put that in the game, the sellers I mean? Then their customers won’t come back.

That’s weird though if Nintendo actually does this. What a bitch way to punish someone – destroy the game right before the ending and after all that hard work. Lol. I’d fall over.

Sean said on May. 2, 2009

What did this guy expect? Newly manufactured roms and circuit boards?

EmpoleMew said on May. 2, 2009

I don’t know why, but the last sentence of the anti-piracy screen made me lol.

Matt said on May. 3, 2009

This dude is really annoying. Looks like he deserved to be ripped off, although playing EBZ on a real NES for about $50 doesn’t sound like being ripped off to me…

Though I did it for less than $30. 🙂

nickwashere said on Jun. 22, 2009

um… what is it when it’s a cartridge (with no label) that has a fully functional EarthBound game on it that doesn’t get the counterfeit message?

Nick D said on Jun. 24, 2009

Ok, quit hating on the repro carts claming they dont work. I have made in total probably atleast 20 Eb’s for friends and sold a couple on eBay Aus (Im Australian) and none of them have had problems.

The orginal clean Earthbound rom works fine on any nes without problems.

Its only the hacked versions that give you problems PERIOD!

Also dont winge about the price, While there not hard to make, it still takes atleast a good crappy hour of desoldering, programing & wiping the eproms, soldering, and removing those bastard labels.

I used to charge $80Au so paying around 50us seems pretty fair to me. (although the doners cost around 3x more over here)

To be honest i think the strangest thing about this is that, these douches go through all the trouble just to stick the wrong rom on there… I mean just about every eprom cart guide on the net warns you that most rom hacks dont work on the orginal hardware.

Anyway… sorry my first contribution had to be on a negative note. Its just something thats been bothering me.

Time to end this with something all awesome discrete like….


Piggy Guy said on Jun. 24, 2009

I could barely watch 30 seconds into the video without turning the sound off because the guy had such a nasal whine for a voice xD

But honestly, it seems like common sense to research a game a bit before you pay 50-60 dollars for it. xP

chao said on Jun. 26, 2009

nesREPRODUCTIONS is the name of the site he got it from. What did he expect?

LakituAl said on Aug. 6, 2009

I may sound noobish, nut I don’t understand: When they make a reproduction, they wipe a circuit board out of the nothing or do you give them an already existing cartridge and they overwrite it? If it was the latter, I know of a lot of NES games that should be replaced with EBZ (you know, things like Home Alone, Mc Kids, etc).

I don’t know if anybody is tempted to quote Cd-I when they see the anti-piracy screen, by the way. I am.

LightningLuigi said on Aug. 30, 2009

I have to say I have fallen victim to the conterfeit lock-out screen. I knew very well that the cartridge I was buying was a fake and it was techniqly illegal, but what can I say, I wanted to play the game as it was meant to be played, on an NES. I asked the seller if the game had any issues with saving, and he garenteed it would, but I didn’t think about asking him about the lock-out screen. As he promised, the game worked fine, abit some glitchy exploions (which would go away on their own) and freezing, which was probably the fault of my old NES, and not the cartridge. But sure enough, when I got to the part where you preform at the Live House in Ellay, the screen popped up, and I couldn’t continue any farther. I simply threw the cartridge away. Prehapes I should have contacted the seller about it, because I believe the game came with a garentee, but a lot of time had passed and in the end, I got what I wanted. Though it wasn’t the complete experience, I played EarthBound on the NES, and loved it. The experience is absolutly nothing like playing it on an emulator, it feel so genuein and almost nostagic. Plus, considering how pricy it can get and I was able to play through most of the game, $50 is not a whole lot to loose. I highly recommend everyone who wants to play NES EarthBound due so on an NES, but make sure you can absolutly trust the maker and they can garentee its the clean ROM and you won’t get the lock-out screen.

Mr. Crosser said on Sep. 30, 2009

I knew the guy in this video via youtube… He got taken down by a bunch of trolls….

Mister Crosser said on Dec. 5, 2009
Mato said on Dec. 5, 2009

Cool, thanks.

MArk Green said on Dec. 30, 2009

LightningLuigi, did your cart have the “zero” text on the screen? I’m considering getting a copy I’ve seen for sale to have it on the real thing, but I don’t want to encounter the lockout problem. This one doesn’t have the “zero”.

Zoom! said on Sep. 18, 2011

“so be watch out”

Zoom! said on Sep. 18, 2011

↑That post up there is my new catchphrase. 😀

Angelito said on Nov. 4, 2012

Parecia estar interesante el video, pero lo hicieron privado… 🙁


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