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Don't Trust That eBay EarthBound

EarthBoundIt's time for a reality check, my friends: that rare Earth Bound prototype for the Nintendo Entertainment System you found on eBay is not real.  Nor is the PAL region version of the Super NES sequel.  You see, it's really not possible to buy an authentic item in mass quantities that is either rare or outright nonexistent.  We've been over how easy* it is to create unofficial working reproductions of unreleased games, so it should come as no surprise that some unscrupulous people are selling homemade EarthBound-related cartridges on eBay while passing them off as official Nintendo creations.  EarthBound Central has the warning.

Probably 95% of the [Earth Bound prototype] carts on eBay are reproductions, not the actual prototypes. Only a handful of prototypes are known to exist, and I’ve tried to document their whereabouts in this article, though admittedly it’s not 100% up-to-date.  Also, the prototype carts actually look like prototypes. If you come across an EarthBound zero cart with any sort of label or label art, it’s definitely not one of the prototypes. Reproduction makers tend to use a bunch of the same fake labels for their EB0 carts.  Basically, if a cart has a label, looks like an actually-released game, and isn’t mentioned on any of the big EarthBound sites, it’s almost definitely just a reproduction. If you read the item descriptions carefully, sometimes they’ll even say so. Sometimes they don’t, and pretend that it’s one of the actual prototype carts. Don’t fall for it!

Everybody should play Nintendo's EarthBound at some point, but don't overpay for cartridges that aren't what they claim to be.  Be careful not to fall for fraudulent claims and pay extra for something that someone slapped together at a stupendous markup instead of a real piece of gaming history. 

* for variable values of "easy"