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SNES game with copy/anti-piracy protection!?

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I found out today that apparently Earthbound for SNES had built in anti-piracy protection against cartridge copiers back in the day. Apparently this game had Region Protection and many SRAM checks to see if the cartridge had only 8KB of ram.

 

Enemies-EB1.pngM2copyright.png

 

If the SRAM checks fail during game play, the game will increase in difficulty substantially to almost impossible to beat. Quite clever might I say from the developers for almost 20 years ago.

 

Has anyone heard of other SNES games that employed similar measures? I just find all this quite fascinating.

 

http://tcrf.net/Earthbound#Copy_Protection

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Oh there's a number of them, you just don't encounter the issues on emulators like you would on real hardware, and if dumps are fixed then you certainly won't.

 

http://ucon64.sourceforge.net/ucon64/SWC-compatibility.txt for example...1+2 entries, Earthbound being a case of both, number of others in that list, and that's just for the Super Wildcard.

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Oh there's a number of them, you just don't encounter the issues on emulators like you would on real hardware, and if dumps are fixed then you certainly won't.

 

http://ucon64.sourceforge.net/ucon64/SWC-compatibility.txt for example...1+2 entries, Earthbound being a case of both, number of others in that list, and that's just for the Super Wildcard.

 

It's funny seeing Street Fighter Alpha 2 on that list. I can specifically remember for years that game didn't work in any SNES emulator (borked graphics, but had sound). Sounds like this may have been the reason.

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In the case of Street Fighter Alpha 2, the issue was with a very specific graphics compression/handling used by the game, via a custom chip in the cart. Naturally, Dump units had no support for these special chips. It's the same deal with Star Ocean and a few other titles, like Far Eden of the East.

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In the case of Street Fighter Alpha 2, the issue was with a very specific graphics compression/handling used by the game, via a custom chip in the cart. Naturally, Dump units had no support for these special chips. It's the same deal with Star Ocean and a few other titles, like Far Eden of the East.

 

It appears you are completely correct. It also seems the chip may have had a dual purpose to work as copy protection as well. But where were people buying copied SNES games?!?! I've never seen one in my life.

 

The chip Street Fighter Alpha 2 apparently used is the S-DD1, which caused obvious load times in the game to load all the sprites at the "FIGHT" screen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-DD1_chip#S-DD1

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Waay back I remember there was a game genie code for showing you screens that say "We don't support piracy! Call 1-XXX to repeort anyone.".

 

If I'm thinking right the major game that had anti piracy/cheats was Super Metroid. It would also erase your saves if you tried the code.

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That's because that code causes the game to see an SRAM location that shouldn't exist(And even on a legit cart, doesn't, but is still "mapped"), one of the most common copy protection types...such as the one referenced in the OP>

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