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Tips for Buying EarthBound

April 2nd, 2012 | EarthBound, Images, Merchandise

A couple days ago I posted about counterfeit EarthBound cartridges being sold. I thought it’d be interesting and possibly helpful if I posted good photos of the insides of a legit cartridge, so I took mine apart for reference:

Also, I noticed that on the back of my cartridge the number “40” or “4D” is imprinted. At least that’s what I think it says.

(click for bigger)

Anyone else with an EarthBound cartridge – can you check the back of your cart to see what’s imprinted on the back?

It might be that that has some significance, maybe it’ll even help us find out if there are multiple revisions of the game out there. So let me know if you can!


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41 Comments to Inside an EarthBound Cartridge

MattG said on Apr. 2, 2012

You… you took your cartridge apart??? What have you done?! Dude, you’re supposed to lead by example! πŸ˜‰

man said on Apr. 2, 2012

How strange, I never noticed those numbers before. Mine says ’40’ or 4D’ as well.

Looks like they’re on the back of PAL SNES and SFC carts too. I wonder what the number on the back of the SFC Mother 2 is? Can anyone check?

SoulSlappy said on Apr. 2, 2012

And to think, one of the most memorable gaming experiences ever is stored on such a small, thin piece of technology.

V-King said on Apr. 2, 2012

My cartridge clearly says “40” (Four Zero).

It’s probably some kind of identifying code. Other cartridges (US-NTSC ones) say 12 (Gradius III), 19 (Super Mario RPG), “07 A” (Final Fantasy III) and 28 (Final Fantasy II).

Also, Illusion of Gaia and Super Mario World both have 09.

PAL cartridges have these two (in the upper right corner of the label on the back).
For example, Batman Returns has 00, Donkey Kong Country has 11 and Secret of Mana has 31.

As I said, it’s probably some kind of identifying code.

16bitKaiju said on Apr. 2, 2012

Mine says 40 on the back aswell. I wonder if the counterfeit carts have anything stamped on the back….

NorthofOnett said on Apr. 2, 2012

I do not own an EB cart, but I do know that they stamp [most] cartridges with an ID code somewhere on the label. I have a Mother 1+2, and you can distinctly see a ’22’ near the bottom-right of the sticker. Just another example of these stamped numbers on carts besides SNES ones.

But @V-King is right. Different carts have different numbers. I looked at a picture of the back of Corey/segaboy7’s bootlegged EB cart from a while back, and I noticed his cart had a ‘2’ on it, from what I could see. The picture was not high-quality, but I’m fairly certain I saw a distinct ‘2’ there. There was probably another number there, but that’s all I could see.


Nat said on Apr. 2, 2012

My guess (and this is only a guess) is that the “40” code on the cartridge is the code for the factory where the cartridge was manufactured.


-I have several cartridges marked with a “40,” and all of them say “Made in Mexico” on the back. I also have several cartridges that do NOT say “40” on the back, and none of them say “Made in Mexico” (they mostly say “Made in Japan”).
-I have a copy of Super Mario RPG that has a “40” on the back, but V-King has one with a “19.” Therefore, the code probably has little to do with the identity of the actual game in question and more with a factor that could change even for a single game; i.e., where (or perhaps when) it was manufactured.

SporeGoar said on Apr. 2, 2012

The Earthbound fan-base contains the biggest nerds ever.
Only WE would want to know what’s inside the Earthbound cartridge. X3

Starlight36 said on Apr. 2, 2012

Hmm… Mine’s distinctly marked “22”.
And a counterfeit cart would probably have the same marking as the base cart, I’d think, unless they made the casing completely from scratch somehow.

RaveFury said on Apr. 2, 2012

I’ve got “40” on the back on my cart as well; I got it right when the game was first released.

pk_stan said on Apr. 2, 2012


I just checked my Mother 2 SFC cartridges and I have two that have “11” imprinted on the back and one that has a “09”.

Also, I checked my original Mother FC carts and they have “00” imprinted on the back… that is all but one, which has no imprint, that also has a different sticker on the back… hmm….

Adam said on Apr. 2, 2012

To beat a dead horse, mine says “40” as well.

Gabriel said on Apr. 2, 2012

“The Earthbound fan-base contains the biggest nerds ever.
Only WE would want to know what’s inside the Earthbound cartridge. X3”

@SporeGoar: You’re half-right. We are the biggest nerds ever. Not because we want to know what’s in the cart though, I’m sure there are computer nerds who find all those chips and things interesting. What other fanbase, however, would crack off an investigation involving a barely visible number embossed on the back of a decades-old cart???

I feel proud now UuU

Anonymous said on Apr. 2, 2012

Mine says 40 TOO!!
: :
: O O :
: :
: Ο‰ :
: :

Darius K. said on Apr. 2, 2012

Mine says 40 too.

ZUUL said on Apr. 2, 2012

My Earthbound cartridge has 40 imprinted and was manufactured in Mexico. My Mother 2 cartridge has 12 imprinted and was manufactured in Japan.

TheMrSaturnGuy said on Apr. 2, 2012

Earthbound is naked?!?

Posiedien said on Apr. 2, 2012

Hmm, Mine says 28A on the back of my personal cartridge.

Posiedien said on Apr. 2, 2012

(cont) also it was manufactured in Japan.

garooob said on Apr. 2, 2012

Looks like 40 tom e.

ZombiePaul said on Apr. 2, 2012

I’ve got another “40” to report for you, Mato. I got my copy very shortly (within the first week) after release. I still remember falling in love with it after the mandatory “scouting” rental; I bought it before the rental was even due back. When I saved up cash from mowing lawns and other odd jobs a game was a major investment that I didn’t take lightly.

Now that I feel old I’ll be going… stay off my lawn, whippersnappers! πŸ˜‰

名焑し said on Apr. 2, 2012

For what it’s worth, my EarthBound cartridge reads ’40’ as well.

I got it from eBay a few years ago.

Dialga Thunderstar said on Apr. 2, 2012

This is really obvious. 40. I got mine from a store called Game Trade. It had a lot of old stuff in there, such as an Adams Family and Star Wars pinball table and a Donkey Kong poster. And a bunch of SNES games.

Dialga Thunderstar said on Apr. 2, 2012

May I add that it was an actual poster, not something some person drew and laminated. Just thought some random person would like to know.

Pwesty said on Apr. 2, 2012

I have a 40 as well; I got it off ebay just over a year ago.

SSBMaster11 said on Apr. 2, 2012

Wanting to find out what the inside of eb carts/other electronic stuff is geeky, not nerdy. Get it right, SporeGoar!

Feefle said on Apr. 3, 2012

40 on mine too. Opening your cart is a good idea since it’s to confirm if it’s a legitimate copy or not, and to install a battery holer + new battery

Ninji said on Apr. 3, 2012

Yup, it was definitely made it Mexico. And it does say 40 on my cart. According to the box, the game was also only made available to the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Latin America, which may explain all of the Brazilian “EarthBounders”. The only thing that still boggles me is why in the top-right corner of the back of the box it says “SNS P MB”.

Stealthborn said on Apr. 3, 2012

40 as well for me too. I actually was the one who probably inspired this particular blog considering that I had replied to segaboy7’s original post. I was originally frightened because I had bought my game a few years ago from Amazon. But I don’t think I have to worry now. (And yes, there have been numbers on other games I have too).

kamanashi said on Apr. 3, 2012

Mine says 40. I believe it is a manufacturing ID based on country it was made in because my copy of Super Mario RPG also has 40 on the back and both it and Earthbound say made in Mexico. Super Metroid has 00 and was made in Japan. Super Mario AllStars + World has 36 but was also made in Japan.

The difference in numbers for Super Metroid and Mario AllStars leads me to believe that it might also come down to a specific factory in a country. But, I could be wrong about this.

Saturnome said on Apr. 3, 2012

40 for my complete copy. Got a 40 on Chrono Trigger and Secret of Evermore too. All made in Mexico.

Let’s find the factory where the EarthBound carts were made !!! πŸ˜‰

Dogi said on Apr. 3, 2012

Went ahead and checked mine, it also has a 40 imprinted on the back.

Haut D. Forme said on Apr. 3, 2012

This is Snake. I’ve got a 40 to report. Over and Out

rayefrenzy said on Apr. 4, 2012

Another 40. Got it at FuncoLand sometime around when it came out.

Purplehobos said on Apr. 5, 2012

Another 40 on my. Got it on eBay a few years back.

Corey/segaboy7 said on Apr. 5, 2012

Mine (being the dreaded fake cart) does not have the 40 or any little imprinted number on the back. I wonder if this is true for other fakes

Hunniebee said on Apr. 13, 2012

Mine is has 00 imprinted on the back.

Aaron said on Apr. 17, 2012

Mine has a 40.

SkaterFreakboi said on Apr. 24, 2012

40 on mine as well.

GustinGears said on May. 2, 2012

It must be a puzzle that nintendo planed since almost
every virtoral consoal game has a nunber well if it is
a puzzle get the games that has numbers on the back of them 1-?? and take the fitst letter and rearange the letter to make a message i have a 5% chanse this is true but i could be wrong its just my Hypothosis.

Paula Polestar said on May. 22, 2012

My cart has 0 on it. Why? Because I DON’T HAVE ONE!!!!!


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