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Tips for Buying EarthBound

May 4th, 2014 | Images, Merchandise, MOTHER 1

A number of prototype EarthBound Zero cartridges have been floating around for years (details here) but recently the authenticity of some of them has come into question. So Sith, Stevesesy, and others have been doing some detective work over the past few months.

I’m still not caught up with all the details about this, but most recently they got in contact with Andrew DeRouin, the owner of the original leaked prototype cartridge, and convinced him to open it up for the first time to see what it looks like on the inside. And here are the pics!

A little more info and some posts by Andrew (zeldaboy) himself can be seen here.

I haven’t had much time lately to focus on EarthBound stuff, so I’m still not caught up with the issue that some of the prototype cartridges might be fake. It sounds like Sith and Stevesesy might still be compiling info about this, though, so I’ll let them do their thing for now. If anyone has any extra info, though, please share it in the comments!


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26 Comments to A Look Inside the Original NES Earth Bound Prototype Cartridge

Chivi-chivik said on May. 4, 2014

It’s completely normal that something this valuable could have fake imitations as well.

Skulryk said on May. 4, 2014

Interesting to see the insides of the original proto. It looks like something that could be duplicated with a decent engineering background, if you had a generic proto cart (from any game) and reprogrammed the EEPROM chips with the Earthbound cart data. Not 100% sure on how one could do that, and you’d need some strange hardware (to reprogram the EEPROM chips for one), but it wouldn’t be impossible for someone to make their own ‘proto’ cart exactly like this one.

Sith said on May. 4, 2014

Hmm… Interesting. I’d love to get in touch with you at some point to talk about stuff (I can give contact through SMnet PMs, maybe?) Let me know!

Anonymous said on May. 4, 2014

I’d personally love to hear how the current older got ahold of the game.

Erikku8 said on May. 5, 2014

Is Phil Sandhop’s fingerprint still in the casing? Hyork!

vince94 said on May. 5, 2014

It’s gotta be real. Mr. Sandhop remembered writing the text, and there’s the whole thing with elements of the prototype carts being found in the GBA re-release’s code.

Pirate199X said on May. 5, 2014

strange how it’s dated 2/18/94 when the game was suppose to be released in 91

Sith said on May. 5, 2014

Oh yeah, this is totally 100% real. My detective work is on a actually totally different path, but I’ll save that for a rainy day~

Anonymous said on May. 5, 2014

Theres no information being shared besides “Oh it’s real” and “detective” work of seeing if they’re legit.

Ness Polestar said on May. 5, 2014

Does Phil Sandhop still alive?

Ness Polestar said on May. 5, 2014

What about eb64 cartridges?Are they real?…Boing!

Mac said on May. 5, 2014

Wwwsghhiijbde CDC that means its real

Anonymous said on May. 6, 2014

Stupid useless unfunny posts as far as the eye can see. Another comment section not going anywhere where nothing even gets discussed. The owner won’t even talk about where the game came from but yet we’re supposed to determin if its real or not.

zeldaboy said on May. 6, 2014

This is the same proto that was dumped in 1998 by Neo Demiforce, then sold on eBay. Not a whole lot of mystery behind it other than the fact it had never been opened up for fears of damaging the label.

Mato said on May. 6, 2014

Yes, as I linked to in the “details here” link and mentioned in the post itself, this is the very original, leaked cartridge from which the ROM was dumped back in 1998. This isn’t about a suddenly new prototype, and this particular cart’s authenticity isn’t in question.


Sith said on May. 6, 2014

Nobody’s determining anything is real here, guys. That’s something totally different I’m working on and I haven’t fully explained to Tomato what’s going on. This cart is a resource, not mystery to solve.

Opinionated Vector Chimera said on May. 6, 2014

The confirmation that the prototype is real for me is that GBA Mother 1 is similar to EarthBound Zero (so as far as to botch up the Check command descriptions). Not much else to say really.

FireflyMelody said on May. 6, 2014

Cool! Awesome stuff, yay!
I love seeing stuff like this all the time.
For something as old as EarthBound, we sure don’t need much to stay a busy fanbase, huh?

Confused said on May. 7, 2014

Don’t understand why looking at the insides is of interest but to each his own.

Anonymous said on May. 7, 2014

Well, I think it has to do with programming and stuff?
I don’t know the details, I’m just easily impressed. XD
I love-love-love stuff, and I’m just really happy today, so I wanna go home and play EarthBound!
Not Mother 3 today, though. Nothing is gonna make me cry today!

FireflyMelody said on May. 7, 2014

Umm… That was me, sorry, different computer than usual. ^.^

Jdaster64 said on May. 7, 2014

Roo from the Clan of the Grey Wolf did a 2-part series on the guts of his prototype a while back; it’s pretty informative:


Robfozz said on May. 9, 2014

Why is the stuff dated ’94?

Opinionated Vector Chimera said on May. 10, 2014

It was gonna be sold along with the ’94 NES games like Wario’s Woods, but then Mother 2 came and they localized it into EarthBound. Or something along these lines.

Anonymous said on May. 10, 2014

I seen an Earthbound SNES prototype on eBay the other day for 10,000 dollars.

Anonymous said on May. 11, 2014

I would love to play that game


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