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September 2nd, 2009 | EarthBound, Uncommon Knowledge, Videos

There’s a somewhat famous glitch in EarthBound that will give you an insane amount of experience… but I’m not sure it’s actually a useful glitch:

Basically, in rare cases where all party members and all enemies die at the same time, the game will get confused and wind up giving you tons of experience but also give you a game over screen with glitchy graphics. It’d be cool if somehow someone could find a way to make this useful, but for now it’s just a neat trick to show people. Maybe it can also be added to future EarthBound Funktastic Gameplays as a challenge for some areas of the game 😛


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33 Comments to Simultaneous Defeat Glitch

Zinco said on Sep. 2, 2009

356 / 0 = 4294940287

Mato said on Sep. 2, 2009

I think you just solved the universe with that equation!

Metroid_maniac said on Sep. 2, 2009

seen this before LOADS of times. kewl.

Omnitarian said on Sep. 2, 2009

Huh, I’ve never known about this before. Interesting the bug testers never would have discovered it what with all the exploding enemies in the game.

santiagoff said on Sep. 2, 2009

Pretty normal glitch. I wonder how this didn’t come up in beta testing…

zelgreywards said on Sep. 2, 2009

Yeah, one would think that it would have happened at least ONCE to the beta testers considering the number of enemies that explode or burst into flames upon defeat.

What would cause the game to spew out such a random number for experience when something like that happens and why is it so darn high?

Darien said on Sep. 2, 2009

Is it always exactly that much XP, or is it a variable amount? That’s perilously close to the magic number 4294967296, but it doesn’t differ by what appears to me to be a meaningful amount. It could potentially be accounted for by random seeding, or possibly by Ness having 27008 total XP when that bug occured.

Wil said on Sep. 2, 2009

Do you retain them thar EXP pts upon continue?

Jeagle101 said on Sep. 2, 2009

Woah, I didn’t know a glitch like that was possible. Then again, there is that one that makes you go through walls and go anywhere in the game so… wow. EarthBound has some freaky glitches.

Tansunn said on Sep. 2, 2009

I’m assuming that Ness didn’t actually get that EXP, because if he had, it would have shown something like 80 level-ups afterward, right?

Ice Sage said on Sep. 2, 2009

Um…if you don’t mind my asking, Darien, what’s wrong with the number 4294967296? I don’t really know about these things. 😛

Darien said on Sep. 2, 2009

There’s nothing “wrong” with it, per se. It’s 2^32, which is an important number computer-wise. Any time you see a “magic number” that’s close to (or a factor of) 2^8 (256), 2^16 (65536), or 2^32 (4294967296), it’s a sign that the problem involves the size of the variables used to store the information, and possibly an over/underflow.

EarthBoundRules said on Sep. 2, 2009

How did I not know about this? This is awesome, thanks for posting.

santiagoff said on Sep. 2, 2009

@Darien: omg, you might be onto something there!

SamWibatt said on Sep. 2, 2009

What Darien said.

It occurs to me that it might be trying to say that Ness *lost* 27009 experience points. If the experience number is being treated as signed (i.e. it can be positive or negative), those high numbers are the negative ones – by convention, the bottom half of the numbers representable by the n-byte container are positive, the rest are negative (see here for details).

But since the program isn’t expecting to print out negative numbers, prints it as a really big positive one.

Just a thought.

Nitrodon said on Sep. 2, 2009

I actually looked into this a while back. The actual number calculated from the division by zero is 0xFFFFFFFF. I can only assume that the largest displayable number was meant to be 0x0098967F (9999999) at one point, but was changed to 0xFFFF967F (4294940287) later for no particular reason. Any number greater than 4294940287 will be displayed as 4294940287 instead.

For those who are interested, this maximum number is defined at C1/0E11.

SamWibatt said on Sep. 2, 2009

Nitrodon – interesting! Thanks for looking into that.

sg_06 said on Sep. 2, 2009

Yeah Nitrodon! Mystery solved!

ZEROGRAVITY-A01! said on Sep. 2, 2009

Hey, I did this during the EBFGP event.

Keiji Dragon said on Sep. 2, 2009

“Ness lost the battle”


Ice Sage said on Sep. 3, 2009

Oh, OK, just wondering. Thanks! 🙂

Caleb, Of Asui said on Sep. 3, 2009

Lol, that happened to me more than once during my first playthrough. XD

FuzzyPicklez said on Sep. 3, 2009

What is up with the really glitchy screen at the beginning?

Mato said on Sep. 3, 2009

It’s just something that happens with lots of videos recorded from SNES emulators.

Sisto said on Sep. 3, 2009

I was testing a hack and this happened.
It was pretty awesome.

Deej said on Sep. 4, 2009


Highest 32 bit integer. Seen this number a LOT on Kingdom of Loathing during the time of Black Sunday, when using a certain item with 0 currency would boost you to this amount due to it trying to take currency from you, and rolling over to the negatives and thus kicking you to approximately this number.

So, not very fun for the coders.

Claus said on Sep. 19, 2009

If he was in Peaceful Rest Valley, then why did he restart at Ness’s house?

Mr. Saturn said on Mar. 10, 2010

The person who did this probably didn’t save. So he went back to the first bit in the game.

gazgabriel said on Apr. 9, 2010

crazy! vc ta lutando e morre e depois vouta! e com 4294940287 exp mas vc não usufrui desses pontos.um glitch inutil mas funny!

Dialga Thunderstar said on Jan. 31, 2012

Odd. Just odd.

Ness1985 said on May. 10, 2012

You received 4294940287 EXP…but no one was alive to get it 🙁

jinxkatty7 said on Jul. 23, 2012

Its like the game is teasing you.
Paula collapsed. The battle was lost (Aww, man!)
You Won! (Sweet! I’ll take it!)
Game over ( D: 🙁 )

Opinionated Vector Chimera said on Nov. 26, 2012

Damn, 4 billion experience…wait a minute, how did an unorganized (literally) pile of code for a 16-bit system manage to use 32-bit numbers? I thought the SNES could only use up to 24-bit numbers.

(As for how this happened, I guess the game tried to divide to amount of received experience BY ZERO (as in zero party members alive) and received a negative number for an answer, which overflowed to 2^32-1. Either way, no one alive is available to get the experience; otherwise they’d be at level 99!)


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