The Most Punishing Anti-Piracy Measure In A Video Game

Some of the anti-piracy measures for video games are pretty brutal, but none can compare to the classic Super Nintendo RPG Earthbound. For one of the oldest and cutest-looking games, it used surprisingly vicious tactics to not just punish pirates, but also make sure they completely hate themselves afterward.

You don't mess with Ness.

What They Did:
Right off the bat, when you start the game and it detects that you're using a pirated cartridge, you get this warning screen:

"All right, I'll see what the booklet sa- SHIT, I don't have one! BASTARDS!"

Seems like a pretty standard warning, and in fact most pirates would probably assume it's included in every version of the game and ignore it. We believe the creators were counting on that, because what comes afterward is so much worse.

If you've played the game before, you might notice that this time around there seems to be a lot more enemies than you remember. That is fully intentional: The programmers specifically made the game harder in order to mess with your mind. Bear in mind that this is an RPG, so every time run into an enemy you have to go into that stupid "fight" screen.

OK, so it might take you significantly longer to reach the last level, but getting there is by no means impossible. You might even enjoy the challenge if you're an experienced player. Again, that's exactly as the programmers planned it, because after you make your way to the last boss, and just as you're preparing yourself for the final battle ... the screen freezes.

That's right, the game crashes itself entirely out of spite, forcing you to reset the console and reload your saved game in order to- wait a minute, what happened to all your saved games?!

Pictured: 30 to 40 hours down the drain.

Damn. That's cold, Nintendo.