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Tips for Buying EarthBound

December 31st, 2010 | EarthBound, Images, Uncommon Knowledge

Komaru recently sent in this scan from the UK magazine Retro Gamer that talks about anti-piracy measures in video games. EarthBound’s anti-piracy measures are almost infamous by now, as you can see:

(click for full image)

There are a few tiny facts off in the article, but I can understand why they were made – in my original article here I didn’t mention that each start-up check will keep the game from functioning, and the other, more interesting things only happen if a pirate were clever enough to peel away the earlier checks.

I think some more stuff might’ve been found since I first posted that info a few years ago, but I can’t recall any of it right now. Probably just some more simple checks though. Anyway, if you haven’t seen it already, here’s what happens if a super-duper pirate managed to break through all the anti-piracy protection and played through to the end.

Keep in mind that this particular piracy stuff was mostly meant to hinder people making bootleg cartridges and selling them in the early and mid 90s. Emulators won’t set any of the checks off, unless they’re really cruddy emulators. It was also very unlikely that anyone got this Giygas save game deletion thing to happen to them back then – most of the other checks would’ve kicked in beforehand, and we only discovered that these checks were in place because one of the two common EarthBound ROM files out since the 90s had all the anti-piracy stuff specifically removed. So the pirates knew what they were doing 😛


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22 Comments to EB’s Anti-Piracy Stuff is Showcased

Andy said on Dec. 31, 2010

Will this stuff happen on clone systems like FC Twin or Retro Duo?

Mato said on Dec. 31, 2010

It should be fine in those cases, the anti-piracy checks basically check to make sure the cartridge is legit, not the system.

Andy said on Dec. 31, 2010


StarFan said on Jan. 1, 2011

happy new year!!!!!!!

JamesBond007 said on Jan. 1, 2011

You forgot the Hard Mode, with much more enemies on the screen (although maybe it was already posted before). If you want to try this “Second Quest”, you can turn it on by using both of these codes:

Random Guardian said on Jan. 1, 2011

Where is the whole page from the magazine? I want to see if the not so known “By the way, if you like this game, buy it or die.” speach from fire red and leaf green are in it.

Floridian said on Jan. 1, 2011

Happy New Years, Mato!

Komaru said on Jan. 2, 2011

Random Guardian, there are multiple pages to the article, but that particular instance wasn’t mentioned.
Most of the article was focused on when games came on Floppies and Tapes.

EB_Master said on Jan. 2, 2011

I still think that this is the best copy-protection ever.

Well, except for maybe Michael Jackson’s vuvuzelas. That one is pretty awesome too.

Random Guardian said on Jan. 2, 2011

Oh I remember when the floppies were actualy floppy. 🙂 I also remember that time and they had those stupid code charts in the instructions as anti-piracy. Ok never mind then.

tintinophile691 said on Jan. 4, 2011

Those magazines mispelled names AGAIN. When are they ever going to get them right? First, we have the ‘Tess’ syndrome, and now we have ‘Gygas’.

Still, I like it when MOTHER ever gets mentioned by other people and when the fanbase hasn’t brought it up.

BTW, you know the article to the left of the image? I could have sworn that it came from the LucasArts adventure game Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Mac version)!

PK_Love_Omega said on Aug. 12, 2011

And THIS is what happens when you just get a random copy off of ebay. I played through once perfectly, even through Giygas and the end credits. The second time my game crashed and deleted all my saves in Threed. I’m getting to that part again, so I’m kinda scared it’ll happen again. There aren’t insane amounts of enemies at a time, usually about 2 or 3. So…Is my game pirated? I was able to play through once perfectly…

RandomGuardian said on Aug. 12, 2011

Could have been the internal battery or something like it dryed out early? Idk if the SNES even has an internal battery… To the Internet!

PK_Love_Omega said on Aug. 14, 2011

Thanks. 😀 I made it past past the graveyard in Threed yesterday, so I’m pretty sure my copy is real.

Anyway, it would be terrible to have a pirated copy and not know it. You get all the way Giygas…

*Game freezes*
“Crap.” *RESET*
“I’ve grasped the true form of Giygas’ attack…HE BROKE THE FOURTH WALL AND DELETED ALL MY SAVE FILES!”

Zoom! said on Aug. 14, 2011


Schlupi said on Aug. 14, 2011

Yeah, just about every SNES game with save features has an internal battery; which can be replaced via the soldering or tape method. IIRC it’s a XX2032 battery (XX being any letters, CR are rechargeable). My copy of Earthbound, before I had to part with it =(, had to have it’s battery replaced (these things ARE old, you know). I got aaaaalllll the way to fighting Chompys for the Frying Pan, and it crapped out on me… after it being my first playthrough to EVER get the Sword of Kings and Broken Antenna. I was trying to get all the best items and was at like, level 99 at that point. I was so sad. ='(

Zoom! said on Aug. 20, 2011

must..get…cruddy emulator…:)

emobook101 said on Dec. 13, 2011

is there a way to tell if the battery needs replacing?

wyatt8740 said on Jul. 28, 2012

^Yes. If you lost your save data and it wasnt due to anti piracy, then it needs replaced.

Kaabii said on Apr. 17, 2013

or if the game says your file data was lost http://earthboundcentral.com/2009/01/ness-used-the-save-eraser/


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