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Tips for Buying EarthBound

October 12th, 2009 | EarthBound, Merchandise

ebboxFor the past two weeks, I’ve noticed that prices of EarthBound carts on eBay have had some outrageously high buy-it-now prices. Sometimes people don’t have to use the buy-it-now option, but many times it’s the only option allowed. Seriously, look at some of the cart-only listings here. $120 for just the cart? Usually you can get the cart and the guide together for around that much.

Anyway, I don’t know why so many expensive carts have been showing up lately, but I was curious to see what the average price is on eBay. Luckily the eBay API also has a sister API for market research stuff. It’s pretty limited and gets really expensive if you want to use it extensively (as in like $10,000 per year), but I used the limited free version to get some basic info about how EarthBound’s been doing on eBay.

Basically, EarthBound carts with nothing else currently sell for an average of $75.05. The highest anyone’s paid in the last month or so is $94.99. So the people selling these carts for $120 are going to have a pretty tough time trying to rip fans off. And Toys R Us buying them for $.50 is a huge, huge scam.

I also checked what complete sets have been selling for. The current average price for a complete EarthBound with box/guide/etc. is $231.99. The most that’s been paid for one in the past while is $329.99. Of course that brand-new unopened version a few months back sold for over $1000, but that wasn’t included in these stats.

Anyway, this kind of stuff always interests me, so I might check things from time to time and report the info here. Like I mentioned a long while back, I’m planning to make an EarthBound merchandise pricing guide so people don’t wind up getting ripped off. It’s actually partly underway already, it’ll be pretty cool when it’s done 😀


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32 Comments to EarthBound Cart Prices

Churly said on Oct. 12, 2009

I’ll bet Nintendo is so jealous of the people who sell the game for great profit.

*Hint-hint* Nintendo. You can cash in on it too.

JoeShmoe said on Oct. 12, 2009

You should see the handheld Pokemon games.

Psi-Rockin said on Oct. 12, 2009

I paid a high end collector $400 for my copy of EB, it was only opened once according to him to prove it was not full of bricks! Well worth every penny, I have everything sealed in plastic in the box and the box under glass!

resetsurvivor said on Oct. 12, 2009

…and to think, I thought $25 for the Display Box, Players Guide and Cart was too much back in ’99!

Glad I got mine when I did.

Sisto said on Oct. 12, 2009

That EarthBound merchandise pricing guide will really come in handy.

Someone Else said on Oct. 12, 2009

My EarthBound cartridge came in a very good deal, I think… On eBay, I got the cartridge and guide (no scratch ‘n’ sniff stuff, though), as well as a PAL SNES that had been modded to be able to accept all cartridges. Two SNES controllers, and four other SNES games (all PAL carts) which were Kirby, Mario World, Mario Allstars and Donkey Kong Country.

This was all for £140…Yes, that’s in pounds, there.

Userofdoom said on Oct. 12, 2009

If I’m lucky, I can get the cart for about $5. This guy is selling a ton of SNES games at a flea market, and he said he’d have more soon. I hope he has EB ~_~

Mr. Crosser said on Oct. 12, 2009

Oh god starting as of now, I am saving up for a complete copy. Or just buying each piece separately

LucasTizma said on Oct. 12, 2009

“…so people don’t wind up getting ripped off.” You mean the $500 I paid for the Windows XP version of EarthBound wasn’t a good idea? 😀

zohar said on Oct. 12, 2009

What also might be interesting (though perhaps more difficult) would be to compare the condition versus the price. (Maybe check for keywords like “mint,” “good,” etc.)

I recently paid ~$70 for just the strategy guide (the only thing that’s really important to me), but it was in *mint* condition. I would have never paid $70 for a guide in any other condition, “good” or not.

-S- said on Oct. 13, 2009

The game launched at $89.99* if that means anything to anyone… and the fact that a new wave of systems existed in the same year of it’s release probably did not help the game get enough copies off of shelves to make it more common for resale years later.

*(In Canada, anyways.)

Ryoff said on Oct. 13, 2009

I remember buying that huge boxed game for 70 dollars plus tax when it first came out. The guide has been destroyed, the box, I don’t know where that went, but the cart is pristine with a replacement battery installed. I love my copy.

Naja said on Oct. 13, 2009

I have Mother 2 boxed with manual and inserts and paid around $15. Feels good.

Steve! said on Oct. 13, 2009

I recently got a SNES and wanted to get a copy of earthbound to go with it but as you said it rarely goes for under $75 and I don’t have that much money to spend on a single cartridge. Even more insulting is the fact that you can find complete copies of mother 2 for under $30.

Carl said on Oct. 13, 2009

I seem to recall that Earthbound was NOT shrink-wrapped when it was originally sold, ostensibly owing to its unique packaging. Am I misremembering? It’s been fifteen years, so that’s quite possible, but if I am indeed remembering correctly, then how exactly would one distinguish a “brand-new unopened copy” of the game from one that had been used but carefully handled and put back into the box?

LucasTizma said on Oct. 13, 2009

@Carl: You’re correct. It was never shrink-wrapped, so it’s VERY difficult to “prove” that a copy is new, unopened.

Lothis said on Oct. 13, 2009

It’s really cool that you took the time to come up with those things. When you get on eBay looking for something you want, you really don’t know what people are actually paying for these things and when you only find what you’re looking for at high prices, you begin to think that’s the new norm.

Vinny said on Oct. 14, 2009

Interesting, even more interesting that Nintendo still refuses to put in on their Virtual Console business.

pidgezero_one said on Oct. 14, 2009

I recently purchased Mother 2 complete in box for 500 yen on Yahoo Japan. I have no idea what that normally goes for.

@Mr. Crosser, I bought each piece separately. The cartridge was $20, the guide was $50, and the box was $100. Sometimes you can save a bit of money doing that if you don’t care about it being in mint condition.

Carl said on Oct. 14, 2009

@LucasTizma: Thanks for the confirmation. Am I to understand, then, that the fellow who paid a grand for a “brand-new unopened” copy of the game simply had to take the seller’s word for it? Crazy.

Equally crazy is that people will apparently pay $100 for the empty box. Time to dig mine out of the closet and flip it on eBay.

SmaMan said on Oct. 14, 2009

Sounds like EB is becoming a good investment commodity… like gold.

Won’t be long till we start seeing commercials for Cash4Earthbound.com !

Pimpshi said on Oct. 14, 2009

I didn’t know (more like didn’t remember since I bought a copy back when…) that they weren’t shrink-wrapped… makes this article interesting:


conn3r said on Dec. 9, 2009

i just bought earthbound off ebay for christmas it came to £115! (yes i live in europe)but i had to pay most of it for the snes its self , the earthbound cart was $89 (’bout £54) so im gonna be glad this xmas

Lizz said on Mar. 6, 2010

I bought my copy (loose game and guide) for $7 shipped from eBay back in 2003. I was blissfully unaware of the gold I just struck until my friend told me she paid $90 for a loose cart?
“What are you talking about? I got mine and the guide for $7!”

The look of murder in her eyes made me fear for my life.

On the other hand, I plunked down $80 for the Mr. Saturn and art book.

ThatAthiestKid said on May. 31, 2010

I’ve never played Earthbound but I really want to. Thank’s a lot eBay!

ThatAthiestKid said on May. 31, 2010

Do you guys think I should get Mother, Earthbound, Mother 3, or Mother 1+2?

Which of the four choices is the best for a 12 year old? (Which I am)

RchUncleSkeleton said on Aug. 8, 2010

@ThatAthiestKid well seeing that the only game available in english in it’s actual cartridge form is “Earthbound” and the fact that it is the best game in the series I would say Earthbound. All of the other games are available physically only in japanese, with the exception of a probably very rare Mother(Earthbound Zero) Cartridge in english. Though there is always the option of a reproduction cartridge for that game that is playable on the NES, but I’m guessing the repro is around $50 and it’s not an official cart.

JacobyFirox said on May. 23, 2011

Well, I’m sure someone would hate to know that I have two copies. One originally bought on release and one recieved from a friend five years later. both work perfectly and I’m thinking of selling them.

nate said on Apr. 22, 2012

umm… just saying, i bought a CART off of ebay last week for 170… it was the cheapest i could find… they just keep going up.

L. Raptor- Rocker of the Dead said on May. 3, 2012

I got my copy of EarthBound at a used game store full set(Box, Guide, Tray, and Cartridge) for only $218 ^ ^

NES said on Jun. 17, 2012


Wow said on Oct. 10, 2012

It looks like the carts alone are approaching the $200 mark. Unbelievable!!!


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