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Tips for Buying EarthBound

June 24th, 2009 | Auctions, MOTHER 1, Uncommon Knowledge

“Totally Not a Cat” alerted me to the fact that an EarthBound Zero prototype cartridge is currently up for auction. After some quick fact-checking and cross-checking, it looks pretty likely that this is legit.

(click to see auction)

I think there are only three known prototypes circulating in the public, and there’s at least one inside NOA that we know about. I really should write some kind of article or reference page listing all known legitimate proto cartridges, info about them, info about fakes, etc. I think it’d be interesting and useful. If anyone has any useful info/links concerning that, let me know.

Anyway, it’s probably for certain that some crazed rare-game collector will end up snatching this prototype, but it should be fun to watch the bidding war that’s set to ensue in those last 20 seconds 😛 The auction ends on the 28th of this month, so this should be a neat show to watch.


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23 Comments to EarthBound Zero Prototype for Sale

IWontGetOvertheDam said on Jun. 24, 2009

How are these carts able to be verified as real?

Mato said on Jun. 24, 2009

Usually by the circuit boards and other official things associated with prototypes. This specific one has turned up before and sometimes we can follow ownership of them over time.

Anonymous said on Jun. 24, 2009

WHOLLY CARP!!! I never thought another one would pop up!

Joshua Johnson said on Jun. 24, 2009

wow, I cant believe anyone would think of selling this. If I had this in my posestion, I would keep it in my arms for eternity, I would take it to my grave

SmaMan said on Jun. 24, 2009

So how do we know what the circuit board on the inside looks like? Or is it known by that specific sticker on the cartridge?

Mato said on Jun. 24, 2009

The person who had it last is reputable (the same guy mentioned in this auction) and the proto he had looked exactly like that. I actually didn’t pay much attention the last time this proto was put up for auction, but other people on the sm.net staff recognize it and did some checking up on it. I don’t know the details, but it sounds pretty legit from what they say. I say “pretty” because even though the info matches and the label matches and everything else matches, there’s no way to know for super sure.

The last time this was put up for auction was a year or two ago so the imageshack pics don’t work anymore, but Google does have thumbnails left. See here. This jollerancher guy that’s mentioned was a prototype collector but sold off most of his collection a while back. I guess this current auction guy couldn’t sell it for $2000 last year and is trying again.

Teddy said on Jun. 24, 2009

Action Adventure? XD

… This is an honest, curious question… NO burn on legitimacy intended… how did a NOA proto cart wind up in the Netherlands? That just where the last buyer is?

Also, where are all these proto carts coming from? How many usually get shipped around for one game? I only knew of the one being sent up here to Canada for our bilingual shenanigans.

Flit said on Jun. 24, 2009

I love the “rare!!”

Spitball Sparky said on Jun. 24, 2009

Hmm…I saw this a few days back and dismissed it. I could be wrong, but it doesn’t seem to have any internal address labels or anything, and the title “EARTHBound” seems a bit odd, unless whoever got it added it after the fact. I dunno, I don’t fallow it too close.

I may be mistaken, but doesn’t the prototype make the game unable to be completed due to a copy-protection mechanism? If so, I think I’ll stick to the ROM. A prototype would be cool to have, but if you can’t play with, then the fun value goes down.

Ice Sage said on Jun. 24, 2009

Yeah I can’t wait to see what’ll happen in those last few seconds of bidding. Especially for something like this.

This brings back to mind that whiny, high-pitched video of that guy dismantling his pirated EB0 cartridge. 😛 Let the buyer beware…

3minutepizza said on Jun. 24, 2009

I doubt that it’s legit. The guy just probably moded the Earthbound Zero hack/translation to make it seem real. Alot of people are doing this. And why would you want to pay zillions of dollars for something that you can download off the net for free?

Claus said on Jun. 24, 2009

I don’t know. The fact that it has EarthBound written in sharpie on makes me think “fake”.

Mato said on Jun. 24, 2009

Spitball Sparky: No, the protos are fully playable. The copy protection stuff only happens when the game realizes that game’s data has been modified. One of the owners of the first known cart played through the entire thing, see here.

Pimpshi said on Jun. 24, 2009

Well, without having done research or tried to track where that particular cart has been, it’s kind of hard to pass judgement based on a label that could have been added once it was purchased by someone and verified as a legit leaked cart, no?

I’d go off of what Mato’s seen, he generally has a good background with EB stuff and has seen this before. Maybe someone else who saw the cart when its last owner sold it could verify its legitimacy based on what had been seen of it before?

(Haha, like it matters to me, I don’t have 2000 smackeroos for this. 😛 )

Mato said on Jun. 24, 2009

Yeah, if someone’s seriously going to spend that much money, they shouldn’t rely on me and vague memory and such, they should ask the seller tons of questions first.

santiagoff said on Jun. 24, 2009

Oh god. I think this will get further than 1000 dollars XD

Mr. Nosy said on Jun. 24, 2009

I should take note of that site…

zedrein said on Jun. 24, 2009

If I were the seller I would go to greater lengths to prove that this cart was 100% authentic right on the ebay page.

muchocolmillo said on Jun. 25, 2009

To me it looks legit – he has over 700 reputation points. I doubt someone with such a high score would ruin that reputation.

Mr. Jupiter said on Jun. 25, 2009

I wouldn’t buy it even if I had the money, no SNES, or Super Famicom for that matter.

Kurowoof said on Jun. 25, 2009

I’m putting my money on Bidder Four. He’s got balls.

Mato said on Jun. 27, 2009

For those who haven’t been watching, he did post pics of the inside circuit board.

Mikey said on Jun. 29, 2009

It sold for £860/$1000+. A new bidder came in and won it right at the end.


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