Friday, April 18, 2014

Two Rare EarthBound Keychains Located

EarthBound is one of the biggest cult classic video games in existence. Originally released in 1995, the game is a sequel to a Japanese-only game, MOTHER, but localization of MOTHER never made it past the prototype stage meaning that Nintendo was forced to launch a series in the middle of the story. They hoped a unique and unorthodox marketing strategy would help promote the game and so they came up with the "This Game Stinks" ad campaign targeted at grossing out and enticing boys and teens. They took a lot of inspiration from what was popular and on the air during the time like much of Nickelodeon's lineup (Aaahh!!! Real Monsters, Ren & Stimpy, and Rocko's Modern Life). Their ads often employed scratch-n-sniff cards and some even included some pretty gross smells, like mushroom.
Someone was paid to design this.
Even the strategy guide smelled.
They pushed this game hard and even sent out special press releases in the form of pizza boxes based off the in-game pizzeria, Mach Pizza, because nothing is more radical and mid-90's than pizza. Inside these pizza releases were a few items: a copy of the game, the strategy guide, a fact sheet, an actual press release, a fake newspaper clipping, a ruler (this is an obscure reference to a rare in-game item), and a tiny keychain. You can read more about this at the EarthBound Central article on it but I'm more focused on one piece, the keychain.

The box itself has never been photographed or sold at auction but some of the items in it have been. The keychains were rumored to be included in the box but also just plain given away by Nintendo representatives to game store employees. Back in 2012, the first keychain went up for sale on eBay and sold for $535. The crazy thing was that the keychain itself was scratch-n-sniff and smelled like pizza.
Earthbound Pizza Scratch and Sniff Keychain Promo
It is also tiny.
More recently two other keychains have turned up in the hands of a private collector. The story behind them is that the original owner's mother owned a video game retail outlet and a Nintendo representative came by and gave her two keychains as promotional material. What is special about this is that only one of the keychains is scratch-n-sniff while the other one isn't. The owner claims that it came like that despite the back still stating "A Scratch & Sniff Game Take a Big Whiff".

 photo IMG_4706.jpg
 photo IMG_4707.jpg

Very interesting stuff and very rare memorabilia. Collectors have already shown that they are willing to shell out $500+ and I'm interested to see if any more of these keychains will come out the woodwork anytime soon. However, the keychains are just small fry compared to the pizza box. Lots of speculation takes place on that item and I have no idea what it would fetch on an open market but I'd assume it'd be upward of a grand. EarthBound is a good game with a rich and neglected history and I can't wait for these collectors to add more to it.


Anonymous said...

Aw, so that's what $535 gets you nowadays.

Evan Butler said...

Yep, a tiny piece of plastic.

SoulDreamX said...

LOL, the keychain may be tiny compared to, say, a person, but I think it's a pretty average-sized keychain. :)

And, to clarify, my mother has never owned a game store, she just happened to work at a department store that sold games when I was a kid. Also, I've been the owner of those keychains for about 19 years now. To this date, they haven't changed hands. It's stuff like this that got me into collecting in the first place. :)

Post a Comment



Login | Create Account