Anti-Piracy Measures:

Like many other games of the modern and classic era, various methods of the theft prevention have been implemented into a game’s coding, which is meant to prevent the act of playing said game if it is recognized to be either copied or fake by completely immobilizing it. This can be accomplished either by showing a screen that indicates its status as stolen or through much more creative means, such as the modification of the game to prevent it from being completed or the destruction of all previously saved games, both of which famously utilized in Mother 1’s sequel, Earthbound, also known as Mother 2.

While meant to ensure profits from the game’s circulation, such measures have proven to be near insurmountable hurdles to those who choose to modify a game for a practical purpose, an issue which prominently presented itself after the retrieval of the original, prototype English ROM of Mother 1, now officially referred to as Earthbound Beginnings. The feat served as a milestone in the gaming community, made possible by the translation team Demiforce, who negotiated a temporary ownership of the cartridge from its then owner, Kenny Brooks, who had purchased it online for one hundred dollars. After receiving the cartridge, the ROM was dumped, but was unable to be run on the then best equipped emulator, known as Nesticle, due to a bug present in the program. A user by the name Xodnizel was able to quickly find a remedy to the issue, however, accomplished by a simple modification to one byte of the ROM’s data. It was then that it was released, with seemingly no issues what-so-ever.

However, as people progressed through the game, an issue arose: the Anti-Piracy measures. At certain points through the game, many people experienced the screen signifying the game’s counterfeit nature, halting all progress. As an investigation commenced, it was found that the simple modification had compromised and altered the checksum, resulting in the malignant error. After a short time revisiting the game’s coding, Xodnizel (and what some believe to be several unnamed parties) fixed the issue and released the third and final version of the ROM, now a staple to those who wish to experience the game in its entirety.

While it is very unlikely to experience the screen in the third or first version of the ROM, it is most likely to occur at various points throughout the second version, at designated point that the game preforms check to confirm its legitimacy. Four of these points are widely recognized to be the dancing scenes in both the Live Show and on Mt. Itoi, as well as entering Magicant for the first time and performing a CHECK on the XX Stone that sits atop Mt. Itoi.

As for how to identify each version of the ROM, the user only has to examine the title screen to find out! The first, unmodified version of the ROM showcases the standard “Earth Bound” text, with only a Trademark ( TM ) and copyright information present. The second version of the ROM displays a solid white “Zero” under the logo alongside all other information, while the third version showcases a frosted “Zero”, decorated with blue at the top and white across the bottom of each letter. For both, an image can be seen below.

In more recent years, one more feat was accomplished by forum user, wyatt8740, who managed to generate a method of modification that is able to remedy an already defective ROM, which can be found here.



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