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Tips for Buying EarthBound

December 7th, 2009 | Auctions, EarthBound, Merchandise, Uncommon Knowledge

A sample cart/possible prototype cart of EarthBound is up for sale on eBay right now.

From the auction page:

The time has come for me to sell some of the gems in my collection, and this is probably the biggest of them.

For sale i have a prototype version of the great Earthbound, an RPG never released in Europe. It’s the NTSC version.

It comes in a official EPROM board, it was tested recently on a US SNES and works well.

I’m not sure if this is the complete game, or if it has any differences from the retail version, i’ve had it for some years but only for collection, never really played it much, perhaps 30, 40 minutes.

I own the retail version of the game, but never completed it, and also never played it much, so all i can say is that it doesn’t seem to be any differences.


Generally, sample cartridges would be sent out to companies for review/preview purposes, and flash carts like this were often used for testing purposes too. So that’s why things like this exist. There’s at least one other known sample/prototype cart of EarthBound out there (reference) but I don’t think it was ever confirmed if that one was different from the final version or not.

Any interested buyers should do more detailed research and ask lots of questions before bidding, of course.

Thanks to BottleRocket for the news!


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34 Comments to SNES EarthBound Prototype for Sale

Person said on Dec. 7, 2009


sticktendo said on Dec. 7, 2009

Woah. I thought this would be that EB proto, but this is still cool. I wish I had thousands of dollars to spare…

BottleRocket said on Dec. 7, 2009

Cool, it got posted! I was really surprised to see one appear on eBay. Wonder what it’ll end up selling for…

UltimaLink said on Dec. 7, 2009

I hope whoever gets it dumps a rom onto the internet.

I wonder if it will work on emulators.

Earthbound_X said on Dec. 7, 2009

I didn’t know Earthbound was never released in Europe, that’s too bad.

Steve! said on Dec. 7, 2009

Maybe it will be like that first EBZ prototype that got dumped onto the internet by demiforce. It would be great if others can see the differences. oh and @UltimaLink: I suspect it would work on an emulator since the seller said it worked on the actual system.

blahmoomoo said on Dec. 7, 2009

It would probably work on an emulator after disabling the copy protection part, if the dump causes extra bits to be on the end (causing the ton of enemies + crash during the final battle thing).

Mister Crosser said on Dec. 7, 2009


Jeez, prototypes are popping up all over the place on ebay…

santiagoff said on Dec. 8, 2009

Holy…! I want someone to play it and show us any of the differences it might have =D

Hendricks266 said on Dec. 8, 2009

Since this is the US version, there only differences will be relating to localization. A MOTHER 2 prototype would be much more interesting.

BeatleNess said on Dec. 8, 2009

Some people have all the luck. Too bad I could never findsomething like thsi at my local flea market 🙁 Well at least I have a complete copy of EB 🙂

LucasTizma said on Dec. 8, 2009

UGH. I happen to be poor at the moment. I want all these damn prototypes. LOL

Duster said on Dec. 8, 2009


Ninji said on Dec. 8, 2009

F***********!!!! God D**n it! I’m currently bidding on Starfox 2 and the Mach Pizza Air Freshener, I highly doubt I’ll get this by Christmas 🙁 (sigh) *jumps out of window* LOL

Userofdoom said on Dec. 8, 2009

Damn, I spent all my money on an Xbox. I have a capture card for recording the differences too D:

Ninji said on Dec. 8, 2009


Mister Crosser said on Dec. 9, 2009

Forget starfox 2, it’s just a fake. Just take the air freshener

Xi said on Dec. 9, 2009


You can still bid in Dollars; Paypal takes care of such menial tasks as currency exchange.

Karma said on Dec. 9, 2009

I’d have to laugh if this actually turns out to be just a standard Earthbound cart that someone cracked open, removed the chip and said it was a prototype just to ensure a higher price than normal for it.

Karma said on Dec. 9, 2009

Seriously though. Why does no one even assume that this kind of a scam is, at all, possible?

Because no one can believe that anyone would crack open an Earthbound cart just for that?

Well… think about this. If someone is selling it, they likely would not care, would they? Especially if they can raise the price just for doing so?

I’m not saying this is a fake or even that I’m suspicious of this in particular. I’m just saying that how come the possibility never even enters anyone’s mind?

Carl said on Dec. 9, 2009


The auction is for an EPROM board. It’s not the same kind of “chip” found in commercial SNES games. The “E” stands for “erasable,” and EPROMS were frequently used for prototype or review copies of games because they could later be erased and re-used.

Whatever this is, it’s definitely not just a standard Earthbound game with the cartridge casing removed.

Mato said on Dec. 9, 2009

Not only that, this is what EarthBound looks like if you take the case off:

LucasTizma said on Dec. 9, 2009

Let’s all chip in to buy it…and leave it with a neutral, third-party individual..like me. 😀

UltimaLink said on Dec. 9, 2009

I’d chip in like 50$ for it.

We should though. It would be cool.

Starwolf_UK said on Dec. 9, 2009

The main lure of US prototype for game released in Japan is the script. US translations tend to go through a few rough drafts and sometimes the differences are rather interesting or explain translation issues*.

The Earthbound guide pretty much reveals all of the graphical differences (and it basically is compare Japanese and US version anyway).

*-For instance in Phantasy Star 4 (6 US prototypes appeared about a year ago) a boss saying “Fo…. rn…. stop!” should say “Wr…. en…. stop!” and the problem arose due to Forn being renamed to Wren and that line being missed somehow.

LucasTizma said on Dec. 9, 2009

Well, I totally would contribute to a collective ownership of this. Obviously, the issue is “who gets to hold on to it?”

pooppoop said on Dec. 9, 2009

“Obviously, the issue is ‘who gets to hold on to it?'”

sounds like the next episode in your earthbound central sitcom. hilarity abounds as you argue who gets it monday wednesday and friday

VideoGameExplorers said on Dec. 10, 2009

Who knows how much data was taken out from the proto to the game. It has secrets!

Mister Crosser said on Dec. 12, 2009

Geez, the auction is almost over, and it’s just over 330 dollars O_O

Mister Crosser said on Dec. 13, 2009

Hmm… the auction ended at $584.37…. not too bad

neonix said on Dec. 23, 2009

That’s awesome. I hope the winner dumps it so we can find some more secret beta stuff.

Ricardo said on Dec. 30, 2009

I say we should buy it.
Tomato or Jeffman can hold it. Or me

Blues said on Feb. 5, 2011


Onett's ness said on Mar. 8, 2012

That’s cool I wish I could play that


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