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Tips for Buying EarthBound

July 2nd, 2013 | Auctions, EarthBound, Merchandise, Uncommon Knowledge

Very recently a pre-release version of EarthBound hit eBay – you can check it out here. Here are some excerpts from the description:

This is a pre-production prototype of Earthbound for the SNES. There are very, very few of these known, and one hasn’t sold publicly on Ebay in recent history (personally, I’ve never seen one listed). When it comes to Earthbound collectibles, this is the grail of all grails! Do not miss your chance to snatch this up as you may never have the chance again!

If you are unfamiliar with who I am, my brother and I have the single largest NES prototype collection publicly for sale. Of all the rare and collectible games we have owned over the years, this very well may be the most desirable!

Click for more info & pics

A couple folks have asked me if this is real. There HAVE been a few known copies of EarthBound that look like this (in fact I have a quick thing about them here, but as they’re pretty easy to duplicate it’s always been tough to know if these protos are legit or not. Assuming the VGA actually has experience with these things, this might be a legitimate EarthBound prototype.

Actually, despite being called prototypes, as far as I know the known EarthBound cartridges that have looked like this have all been the exact same as the versions that were sold in stores, so they were most likely just review copies sent to various companies/organizations back in the day. Although it WOULD be really cool if one of these turns out to be non-final!

Also, although the listing is set at $15,000, the seller also says:

I am EXTREMELY motivated to sell this game. As much as I love it, I could really use the cash for other things right now. PLEASE do no hesitate to make an offer!

Guess the final price of the EarthBound prototype sounds like a new Price is Right game!


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40 Comments to Buy This Copy of EarthBound for $15,000

Gaming Center CX said on Jul. 2, 2013

the face it’s in a VGA case kills it for me. VGA is a scam

September said on Jul. 2, 2013

brb buying

… I wish. 😛

Onion said on Jul. 2, 2013


I would be willing to make a serious go at a Mother 2 cart but I’ll have to pass on an Earthbound cart.

EXCELLENT find though.

Pigmask said on Jul. 2, 2013

I call shenanigans.

Asok said on Jul. 2, 2013

Gaming Center CX said it all, really. You toss the VGA a few bucks, they’ll grade your “mint condition” copy of whatever as being 85-90, then you can throw it on eBay for a mint. Considering they’re involved, it wouldn’t surprise me if nothing about this was legitimate.

SamWibatt said on Jul. 2, 2013

How can you pass this up? FREE SHIPPING!

earthbounder said on Jul. 2, 2013

The seller says that the game cant b taken out of the case. Well its useless then

PSIpunky said on Jul. 2, 2013

I’ll be buying the $8 version on the Wii U in a few months, thank you very much.

earthbounder said on Jul. 2, 2013

Did nintendo say for sure when it will b released?

Stevesesy said on Jul. 2, 2013

I know the real story about this. Tomato, tweet me :v

I’ll get you in contact with some people and the story behind this.

Mato said on Jul. 2, 2013

Haha, for some reason I knew you’d have some info to add 😛 I feel like there’s some secret swirling vortex of a story behind this that collectors are in on. Please don’t tell me it’s another thoseguys.tv prank 😯

Stevesesy said on Jul. 2, 2013

No, I gave up on the pranks when I got into grad school and stopped having free time to mess with the media.

It actually is a pretty cool story~

PSIpunky said on Jul. 2, 2013


Not yet. The only news came from the Nintendo direct where Iwata mentioned it would be by the end of the year at least.

I’m thinking somewhere during the last three months of this year if anything. I’m sure they’ll make more announcements as it gets closer.

Covarr said on Jul. 2, 2013

Seeing as the cart label says “FINAL” on it, I find it highly unlikely this is anything but.

KingMike said on Jul. 2, 2013

Where can I request The Price Is Right offer a EarthBound cart as a prize? 😀

(I know, unless Nintendo paid them for a plug, they’d just call it “a retro video game”.)

Moonside said on Jul. 2, 2013

I swear, I hate it when games are in VGA cases like this. Games are supposed to be played, not sealed up in a plastic Absolutely Safe Capsule.

But the price… No. There has been others of these found.

FlyingManCourage said on Jul. 2, 2013

I completely agree with Gaming Center CX. VGA is the biggest scam ever. I can’t believe the community supports this garbage. Simply trying to over-inflate video game values so that they can charge people to look at video games and then those people can come back and feel legit about asking for $15,000 for a damn video game.

Two words describe this entire process:

DD said on Jul. 2, 2013

Wowee. Um..That is a lot of money for one game. Makes me wish I had resources to sell “rare” games.

Just watch as the guy who buys that turns around and sells it for twice the price next year.

WallHack said on Jul. 2, 2013

Dying to hear the story behind this. Where did it come from? How did this seller obtain it? If its legit, I bet it was a helluvan interesting journey

Stevesesy said on Jul. 2, 2013

It is an international thriller involving death, luck, and an Austrian business men. I’m not even exaggerating 😛 Tomato, want me to write you the article?

Stevesesy said on Jul. 2, 2013

Oh! And there is a wedding, too :p

Nighty said on Jul. 2, 2013

lol Stevesesy 😀
Never though that my Story would become so legendary 😀
Pretty fun for me to read 🙂

Nighty said on Jul. 2, 2013

Sorry for double posting, thought it didnt work the first time. 😉

Stevesesy said on Jul. 2, 2013

Nighty! I was gonna send Tomato the article I wrote on you!

Prayer For Safety said on Jul. 3, 2013

This isn’t a scam, deception, or joke of any kind. The guy selling it is a nice and honest person. While I’m not at all a fan of the VGA, the prototype is legit.

Vukadin said on Jul. 3, 2013

If anyone buys this I’m commiting suicide…

… Knowing the Mother community, this will happen soon.

Buck said on Jul. 3, 2013

It’s a free world; let him sell it in peace. Not every EB fan is a religious follower of this site, and there may be a legitimate buyer for this.

And once again, no, I am not the seller of this (As was previously claimed in the post about the guy selling copies for 3000 dollars).

JamesBond007 said on Jul. 3, 2013

How to distinguish this “prototype” from the final – easy. This only requires few steps:
1. Obtain the “prototype” cartridge
2. Dump the ROM from it
3. Find the final EarthBound ROM
4. Use a hex editor – those programs often have “compare two files” function
5. Check for differences. If both files have the same hex values everywhere, then both “prototype” and final ROMS are identical.

Crysta said on Jul. 3, 2013

The price is likely entirely from the fact that, quite simply put, Nintendo has actually been pretty successful on keeping test, preview, and prototype copies of their first party games from getting out into the wild, especially back in the early days.

This is almost certainly a review or test copy with no difference from the released english version, but scarcity paired with the cult status of the game makes it the kind of thing collectors would go nuts over.

Hukky said on Jul. 3, 2013

I’m not sure these review copies are as über-rare as he says, this guy has two: http://www.assemblergames.com/forums/showthread.php?45702-Discovered-some-rare-Nintendo-Carts-i-guess-Can-you-guys-help-me-out
He bought them on eBay too.

Vukadin said on Jul. 3, 2013

I find it funny how Buck pops up whenever someone is selling something at an insane price that is EarthBound related…

Nighty said on Jul. 3, 2013

@ Hukky:

You are talking about my Thread on Assemblergames –
I did not bought them on ebay and never mentioned anything like that.
Beside of that – i dont own these two Earthbound Protos anymore.

ejruss25 said on Jul. 3, 2013

Who in their right minds would actually buy this

Hey Yall said on Jul. 3, 2013


Go into a store, pickup a video game, and go to the clerk. Let’s say, they’re selling it for 60 dollars, and it’s been out for a few months. Demand that they lower the price, or mock them publicly for it.

The truth about the free market is that it’s a free market. If you have a rare item, especially in an area where there are few “experts” like in others (Like guns or G.I. Joe collectors), then you name the price. If people don’t pay for it, you either keep the product or you lower the price. If someone buys this, it’s THEIR business, and if the buyer eventually lowers the price, it’s THEIR business.

You know, I really appreciate this site and Mato for their contributions to the series, especially considering that the community on this site and Starmen raised awareness and caught Nintendo’s attention. What I can’t appreciate is that Mato wants to control the market on Earthbound copies

KingMike said on Jul. 3, 2013

I don’t see Mato trying to “control the market.”

Yes, if someone wants to pay $15k for a copy of EarthBound, they’re allowed to do that.
And the rest of us are allowed to think that person is crazy if we want to.

Vukadin said on Jul. 3, 2013

Buck, you could have used your name… Or is that a different person?

About the ‘Mato conspiracy’ theory, you said the EXACT same thing last time. You even got into an argument with someone. Or shall I say Buck did.

I think Mato is really just merely posting EarthBound related news. He’s not mocking anyone or trying to control the EarthBound cart market. Let’s use an example. A man sold his pants for $100 000. You think he wouldn’t pop up on the news (because they have nothing better to inform you of despite their job being about THEM bringing you actual NEWS *cough*foxnewsandcnn*cough*)? Of course you’re gonna see Mato posting about this stuff: it’s because there’s not much EarthBound related things going on. For reference see all ‘Itoi random stuff’ posts. So he does have an excuse at least. And if Mato had malicious intentions, which I doubt, we would have all noticed it by now. In truth, Mato and the folks at Starmen are good people. Some would argue that due to the merging of Fangamer and Starmen that they got greedy by selling unofficial fan merchandise, but I disgress.

I do agree that people should mind their own business. You shouldn’t insult someone just because they’re dirty rich and can freely spend $15 000 on a ‘prototype’ (VGA is bullcra*, by the way) version of a cult game that came out in the 90s for the Super Nintendo system and remains still largely unpopular or shall I say ‘infamous’ to this day.

Anyway, this was all nice and dandy now if you’ll excuse me I’ll go back to playing Final Fantasy Dissidia Duodecim 012 thank you very much.

Vukadin said on Jul. 3, 2013


Unless Mato is getting bribed to advertise specific EarthBound carts on eBay, which is absurd, there is absolutely NO profit for him. Why would he want to control the EarthBound cart market if he gets nothing from it?

FlyingManCourage said on Jul. 3, 2013

People are allowed to think whatever they want and no one is trying to affect the auction in any way. Hey Buck, it IS a free world so we can all think and say what we want. Sure, you can sell things for whatever price you want, but in the FREE WORLD that means people can have thoughts about it also. If I try to sell a leftover piece of pizza for $100,000 people are going to have something to think about it so GET OVER IT. Seriously, when the heck are you guys gonna realize that eBay is a PUBLIC AUCTION and therefore the PUBLIC is going to talk about things that are sold on eBay. Grow up and get over it. There are frequently articles in the paper about rare items that sell for ridiculous prices on eBay, do you write into the paper ever ytime and ask them to “let them sell it in peace”. GROW UP AND GET OVER IT.

As for the scam thing, I don’t think anyone was suggesting that this seller is deceptive or that this cart is a fake. Scam is probably a poor word to use but it does accurately convey the message of what is being felt about VGA. However, the process of VGA and the act of sending a video game to them in order to try and over-inflate the price (which is EXACTLY why these people do this) is a dastardly process. I don’t respect it.

Hukky said on Jul. 4, 2013

@Nighty: Sorry, misread “got my hand on today” as “got my hand on eBay” 😛

Sat said on Jul. 5, 2013

Hey! I want to know the story behind this sale you guys are talking about!


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