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Tips for Buying EarthBound

April 19th, 2010 | EarthBound, Images, Uncommon Knowledge

Not too long ago we discovered thanks to Jesse that the EarthBound box was probably originally meant to remain the small size and feature a very different front cover. For more info on that, see here.

Anyway, Jesse and some other folks since discovered this old Electronics Boutique advertisement.

I don’t have a date on it, so it’s hard to tell when they made the switch from this box to the box we know (and the idea to include the guide). I also don’t have a larger-sized scan available, which is a downer. But it’s still cool to see the old box art pop up in more than one place.

It’d be cool if Jesse could get the slide professionally scanned so we can get a clearer image of the art. Even if it is just that simple at-some-point-discarded logo we all know, it’d be great to have. And it’d be easier to make a clean version of the logo from it that people could use in other stuff 😀


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47 Comments to Early EarthBound Box Art Again

Commander said on Apr. 19, 2010

Wow, it cost the same thing, then and now.

MG said on Apr. 19, 2010

But isn’t a cart by itself over $100 now?

Mato said on Apr. 19, 2010

Games were real expensive for a one or two year period there, I forget why. I think it was some production issue. I remember buying Mortal Kombat 2 from Electronics Boutique for like $70 or $80. So when people often cite the guide causing the game to be more expensive for consumers, I don’t understand where that’s coming from.

JoeShmoe said on Apr. 19, 2010

Hot jeez, those be some crazy prices… No wonder my parents always hushed me when it came to buying those older things. XD
Neat stuff.

Captain Bozo said on Apr. 19, 2010

Anyone else notice the Star Fox 2?


Keiji Dragon / OKei said on Apr. 19, 2010

I noticed Star Fox 2. It think it’s the SNES’s best 3D game in that console.

SmaMan said on Apr. 19, 2010

Me too. It’s sort of like the Earthbound Zero of the Super Nintendo, since a couple of protos got leaked.

Also notice FX Fighter for the SNES… that would’ve been awesome too

Pigmask Private said on Apr. 19, 2010

btw, Mato, I found this. 😉 But hey, I’m about to make this boxart into an actual box.

KingDarian said on Apr. 20, 2010

“Earth Bound breaks the traditional mold of role playing games with a huge cast of characters with a challenging and entertaining storyline. Packed with plot twists, humor, sci-fi and adventure.”

Interesting. Glad to see someone saved their fifteen year old ads ;D

New Age Retro Hippy said on Apr. 20, 2010

Interesting stuff.

I’m sure people have noticed that the name is in two words Earth and Bound, like the NES Mother 1 prototype was to be called.

Clearly the official name became the single word “Earthbound” some time before release, but it gets me wondering why they made that change.

The logo looks the same, looking like a single word, maybe the final single word name evolved from that particular logo design.

KingDarian said on Apr. 20, 2010

It’s also interesting to note that only the HAL-developed games on that page ever saw the light of day.

SmaMan said on Apr. 20, 2010

Actually, come to think of it, Comanche is another unreleased SNES game isn’t it?

Someone Else said on Apr. 20, 2010

That old EarthBound logo looks similar to the logo for Opoona. I know that doesn’t really mean anything, though.

Me said on Apr. 20, 2010

Thats cool but star fox 2 was so close to coming out I wish it was made.

JohnB said on Apr. 20, 2010

After some Google research, I have determined that these scans are not from the spring 1993 catalog. That’s all I can find, so far. 🙂 Good stuff, though, never seen this before…

Nintenario said on Apr. 20, 2010

What a combo. Only half of those games saw release, and one had a different box than the final. Like I said, I like the only logo, but the final box is more appropriate since it’s reminiscent of those old NES classic box arts with a mock-up of blown in-game graphics. Quite nostalgic, really.

Trivia: Comanche and FX Fighter are unreleased on SNES, though FX Fighter later saw a PC release and even had an update called FX Fighter Turbo. Of course, we all know about the hapless Star Fox 2, the game that was virtually finished but never saw official release for whatever reason… Kind of like NES Earth Bound and Jelly Boy 2 (among countless others).

Final Trivia: Kirby’s Dream Course was also made by HAL around the same time as EarthBound. It even shares some of the same sound effects! So that might explain the unused Kirby sprite in EarthBound. Also, KDC was originally a non-Kirby minigolf game called Special Tee Shot, but after it was decided to bring Kirby on board and it drastically changed in incorporate the new gameplay. The non-Kirby version was eventually finished and released exclusively for the Satellaview, and it really ended up as a totally separate but similar game.

Breeman said on Apr. 20, 2010

A clean version of that alternate logo is already available. In fact I google image searched earthbound logo and it was the first result.


lampi said on Apr. 20, 2010

Funny the asteroid is behind the letters in that one!

Breeman said on Apr. 20, 2010

Yeah, I noticed that too. It has slight differences from the actual art, but overall is a nice clean rendition of the logo.

slate_hazuki said on Apr. 20, 2010

I actually forgot that games were that expensive back then. I had a sudden rush of memory after seeing those prices though, I remember when I was a kid I walking into Babbage’s at the time (Could’ve been EB games too) and paying $80 for Chrono Trigger. I forgot I payed that much for it until I saw this ad. It was like finding a sanctuary location in Earthbound for me lol.

Mato said on Apr. 20, 2010

Breeman: I believe that version was actually made by Jonk and isn’t official.

Nintenario said on Apr. 20, 2010

Hmm, now that I take another look, were there ever any normal-sized EarthBound game boxes? I think all copies of EarthBound game with the player’s guide in those huge boxes. In the ad, it doesn’t look like it really stands out among the others. So my theory is, this was going to be the box you got if you got it normally at retail, but the bigger one (with the jazzy Starman?) would’ve had a limited supply. Maybe some executive decision axed the normal box art in favor of making the “limited edition” one the norm, overestimating its financial success? Just a theory.

Mato said on Apr. 20, 2010

I think what happened was that they were going to release it like any other game, but then realized they wanted to give it an extra marketing boost. They’d probably already been working on the guide by then, originally meant to be sold separately, so they decided they’d bundle it to make it a better value and more attractive.

neonix said on Apr. 20, 2010

Yeah, the logo Breeman posted was vectorized by Jonk. I’d love to have a nice professional scan of the slide Jesse got. If he ever decides to sell/trade those to me, I’ll scan ’em for sure 😛

@Nintenario: All EB copies came in the huge box with the guide. Your theory isn’t a bad guess; who knows?

On the ad itself, it’s just so interesting. Three FX games that never got released. Two games that have received much praise and are revered as some of the best SNES games even though they are ignored by Nintendo today (EarthBound and Starfox 2). And as someone pointed out, only the HAL games ever got released. Plus we see the old EB a boxart. Even more coincidental, the abbreviation for both Electronics Boutique and EarthBoudn is EB! 😛
It makes me wish it wouldn’t be so impossible to find a copy of this old catalog and see what else was in it.

And I don’t know why people sad-face about SF2, there’s a perfectly well-done finished up rom online with a nicer logo than it would have had officially! 🙂

neonix said on Apr. 20, 2010

Didn’t EB end up being $75? Which would be supportive of the idea that they decided to bundle in the guide later in production and jacked up the price just enough to break even on them.

Mato said on Apr. 20, 2010

I think it was $69.95, that’s just off the top of my head though.

Staarf said on Apr. 20, 2010

Woah, I like this boxart way more than the Starman with Ness’ reflection. It just looks cleaner and more professional. (Though it still conveys the idea of a science-fiction kind of game. They were trying to go in so many directions with Earthbound’s advertizing, weren’t they? XD)

neonix said on Apr. 20, 2010

Alright then, thanks Mato for that refresher. So who knows, maybe Nintendo took the extra hit on the guide anyway, expecting huge sales (which they did).

My guess is that the official boxart hadn’t been selected yet and this one was placeholder. It’s a logo on a solid color; that is definitely something that was quickly put together.

EB Games probably received some of the slides that Jesse/Adler_O got last week, including that pre-production boxart and used it in their preview ad here.

Poe said on Apr. 20, 2010

neonix – people sadface about Star Fox 2 for the same reason we all sadface/cry/nerdrage about MOTHER 3’s ultimate fate ;p Sure there are ROMs, but it’s always nicer to have the actual (readable) product available to us.

Roo said on Apr. 20, 2010

Hmmm, I kinda like the alternate box art better than the real one. It’s just cleaner looking.

As for the price of the games, I generally remember the really big titles going for up to $70, but I don’t really think that was the norm (The norm was more like $50-60, especially for first party games). For example, I remember buying Final Fantasy III for $70 when it first came out, but that seemed excessive even then and I don’t remember doing that for much of anything else. Perhaps it’s just my poor memory. So I’d still say that the player’s guide probably bumped up the price, since EB wasn’t exactly a huge name in America at the time. Granted, without the guide, it may have still been $60 and still wouldn’t have sold, but you know…

Mato said on Apr. 20, 2010

I paid that much for FF3 too back then. Like I said, there was like a one or two year period where cartridge games were more expensive for some reason. I think the fact that the games shown here were $69.99 just reinforces that.

MarioFan3 said on Apr. 20, 2010

Not only did Starfox 2 get cancelled, (and there is a ROM out there and I have beaten it) but I thought it felt a little unfinished in some places eg. the Space Station, no real enemies?
It is worth playing, the closest thing you’ll get is playing it on Snes9xGx on Wii or something to play it on a T.V with the colourful SNES controller, much like how I play EB.

Kyoo said on Apr. 20, 2010

@Tomato wow! that must have been a very old ADD Redmond hasn’t had a 206 area code since 1995. it’s now I believe a 425 number. if you dialed the number on there. if you got anyone it’d probably be somebody that lives in Seattle. 😛

wow, that really dates the game. 😀 (makes me feel old)

neonix said on Apr. 20, 2010

Lmao, Kyoo, that’s the press release for EarthBound, so we already knew it was from 1995… Plus it has the date right on it…

Gaviollieo said on Apr. 20, 2010

Huh.The old Earthbound boxart kind of looks like the Mozilla Firefox symbol.

Roo said on Apr. 21, 2010

Yeah, I wonder if there was some sort of chip shortage at the time or something… it certainly puts a little more perspective on $60 being a “lot” for a game nowadays. I’m actually surprised that inflation hasn’t made $70 the current price for new games.

LakituAl said on Apr. 21, 2010


That would make an even more awesome explorer. PK FIREFOX!!

skysamfreeman said on Apr. 25, 2010

I bet if they chose this box art it would’ve gotten more sales. I seem to like it a lot better.

neonix said on Apr. 25, 2010

^I kind of doubt that actually. Quite the contrary actually. I’ve heard way too many people that “huge glowing box with its bright colors” is what made them buy it.

If Nintendo did anything right when marketing EarthBound, it was choosing a box bigger, brighter, and more colorful than any other box a kid would see on the shelf at the game store.

Mato said on Apr. 25, 2010

I mentioned it before, but many stores couldn’t even put the game on the shelves because the box was so big. They either had to place them somewhere else or you had to ask for it by name and they’d get it from the back storeroom. That was the case for me, even. So the big box had its ups and downs.

starstormer said on Apr. 25, 2010

I remember a lot of people saying that the reason they bought EarthBound was because the big box caught their attention. I think the big box itself was an advertisement.

MotherMACDANCE--- said on May. 3, 2010

Star Fox 2 is there as well. This advertisement wasn’t meant to show things right, is it? (and wasn’t Kirby’s Avalanche canceled for America?)

Mato said on May. 3, 2010

No, I played Kirby’s Avalanche on the SNES in the 90s. I think some other Kirty game might’ve been canceled though.

LakituAl said on May. 3, 2010


Maybe the one you’re talking about is the Japan only Kira Kira Kids.

Petalklunk said on May. 6, 2010

I kinda like it better than the one that was actually on the box, I fits the game a bit better.

Zoom! said on Jul. 9, 2011

Earthbound and Star Fox 2 for $70.00!?


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