Filed under things-I-absolutely-did-not-know-before-this-moment:
Yesterday, writer Bob Mackey dispelled the myth that EarthBound is twee, cutesy, and lovable. Oh, no. It is not. If you wrong the game, it will string you along, waiting for the exact moment to mete out its terrible, cruel justice.
Mackey discovered this in an article at Edge Online, which explains:
Perhaps the most prominent example of cartridge-based DRM was in the SNES classic Earthbound. Those that had Super Nintendo disc copiers would find that their illegal copy of Earthbound seemed to play fine. What they didn’t know was that the game was spawning way more enemies than normal, making the entire game an endless annoyance. And to those intrepid pirates who slogged their way through anyway, Earthbound had a special treat for them—the game would freeze in the middle of the battle with the final boss, taking the time to instead delete whatever saved games it could find.
Because this truly gut-wrenching moment happens in the endgame, the video depicting said horror contains big spoilers I regret having seen, even though everyone said, “Hey! Spoilers!” If you’re still curious, there’s a YouTube video of the final boss battle, complete with the game pausing to systematically delete all of the saved games, here. Skip to 1:33 if you want a spoiler-free experience.