The Earthbound Phenomenon: Is $15,000 Such a High Asking Price?

By: - 7th Jul 2013
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A prototype cart of Earthbound was recently posted on Ebay for the low, low price of US $15,000.  Though the cart was sold yesterday for a lower, undisclosed amount, the question of whether this is an exorbitant asking price must be asked.

Earthbound was first released in the United States in 1995 for the Super Nintendo.  Earthbound is known as Mother 2 in Japan and is the middle game in the Mother trilogy.  This game didn’t achieve much success in the United States, selling less than 150,000 copies when it was originally released.  Also, many people only heard about Earthbound years later thanks to the inclusion of its main character Ness in the Super Smash Bros. lineup.  Nevertheless, on behalf of those who have played the game either in 1995 or in 2013, it is safe to say that Earthbound provides a unique gaming experience.

Earthbound, first released in 1995, has gained a faithful following over the years, serving as the source of several intellectual gaming discussions.  Giygas, the ultimate nemesis for Ness and crew, is still one of the most disturbing and enigmatic end-game bosses I have ever encountered.  Even before the final battle, an Earthbound player is treated to a unique and fulfilling RPG experience set in a modern times featuring quirky characters, a diverse soundtrack and subtle yet profound themes.  Though I am not much of a fan of RPGs, I would strongly recommend at least a single playthrough of Earthbound not just for RPG aficionados but for all gamers.  I have only played Earthbound once, but it was a truly significant experience, and I am very much looking forward to playing through it once again.

I myself am on the hunt for my very own copy of Earthbound.  As such, I have come across copies of the game for over $100.  Though I was taken aback by this, nothing prepared me for seeing Earthbound on sale for $15,000.

In actuality, the seller turned out to be offering a “pre-production prototype” for this amount, which he further described as being extremely rare.  The seller had posted additional details about the item such as it being assessed and confirmed by the Video Game Authority, which ultimately gave the game a “No Grade” label, apparently because it is a one-of-a-kind item and is thus incomparable.  It was encased by the Video Game Authority and has a certificate of authenticity from the organization.

I thought this was where the story ended for this expensive cart.  Interestingly, however, this copy was sold, though it was for an offer that was not disclosed.  The seller accepted a Best Offer bid that is less than his original asking price.  How much lower the final bid was compared to the original request is unknown to me.

Regardless of what amount was ultimately paid to the seller for this cart, I can’t help but wonder about the significance of the price originally set.  My biggest issue with the price is the fact that you would essentially be paying simply to have the cart.  The seller warns that attempting to open the case could possibly damage the cart.  Granted, paying such a hefty price for an item would cause me to be incredibly protective, but I am ultimately curious as to how the pre-production prototype would compare to the final release, if there is even a difference.  Nevertheless, such a saga is ultimately not surprising given the legacy of Earthbound.  Though I don’t have $15,000 in the bank, let alone available to spend for a copy of a game, I am not surprised that such a price was demanded.  As I mentioned before, Earthbound has gathered a strong following since its release, even prompting fans to make translations of other games in the Mother series and successfully calling for the release of Earthbound for the Virtual Console.  Though I have described some of the elements which make Earthbound a unique game, there is simply an indescribable element that makes this game fascinating to new and old fans alike.  To own this pre-production cart is to own a significant bit of gaming history and perhaps this may not be a steep asking price for some of Earthbound’s fans.

Are you willing to pay $15,000 for a chance to own the saga of the war against the elusive Giygas?

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