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Topic: Avoiding fake/bootleg GBA games

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apowes

1. Posted:

I'm about to start buying Gameboy Advance games for the first time ever, but I have heard in the past that GBA carts are faked pretty frequently.

I was wondering what I should keep in mind when browsing in order to spot red flags. This could apply either on eBay, or in person at second-hand shops.

Thanks!

apowes

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Intrepid

2. Posted:

Most of the time the cartridges should be genuine. Of course, having said that, I actually reported a Zelda: Minish Cap cartridge on ebay the other day because it was an obvious fake.

Some things to look out for:
-The ESRB rating symbol (should you be buying NTSC games) should be bold. The fake I saw had an incredibly thin and slender E.
-The font for the word "Nintendo" that is inside the red bubble may look off. Compare it to photos of genuine carts to see.
-In some instances, the entire sticker label may be different, i.e., a completely different art work altogether.
-Some bootleg game are versions that don't exist in the first place (such as Pokemon Orange, Purple, etc.)
-Misspellings

As long as you use common sense and buy from sellers with a good rating, you won't be cheated. Just look hard at the pictures and description to know what you're buying. Good luck!

BTW, here's the picture of the fake Minish Cap game I was talking about for reference:
http://i1239.photobucket.com/albums/ff506/WaS_Intrepid/T2eC16...

And a real copy for comparison:
http://pics.mobygames.com/images/covers/large/1106395973-00.jpg

Edited on by Intrepid

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theblackdragon

3. Posted:

@apowes: if you're buying on eBay, just keep your eyes open; if the fonts look off or something seems weird (a DS game for NA in a clear EU case for example), don't bite. Try to avoid sellers from Hong Kong or other east asian countries, buy from sellers within your own country. i tend to avoid sellers who don't show images of the actual cartridge and/or case/booklet in question, stock images do nothing to help you discern whether or not a game is legit or counterfeit. If something seems funny about the game as shown or the auction in general, i'd move on to the next seller no matter how good that deal was.

Edited on by theblackdragon

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Moorpheel

4. Posted:

My dad once got me a fake gba game for my brithday.

It said "NINT0NDO" on the back and it was bulkier and hard to put on the system, so if you get to see images of the back or the sides of the cart, check for these details.

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unrandomsam

5. Posted:

There is loads of bootleg DS games. (Nearly all on ebay that are loose carts are likely bootlegs.)

Whether they have good ratings doesn't seem to affect whether they sell fake goods. (The legit ones seem to be on Amazon as well).

Some carts even if they are legit you might have to replace the battery backup yourself.

(Some carts it doesn't matter i.e Warioware Twisted).

unrandomsam

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8BitSamurai

6. Posted:

At least for in-store shopping, take a game that you're positive is real, and when you get done shopping, compare the games. Unless they're really, really good bootlegs, you will be able to tell the difference. The labels will have different feels to them, logos will be off, the shape might be a bit different, etc.

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KingMike

7. Posted:

The only fake GBA game I bought was one Pokemon game from GameStop. I was able to quickly return it and switch it for a real copy. The fake, when I put it in my GBA SP just showed the "GAME BOY" logo with NO Nintendo logo on the BIOS and stopped. A real game may also stop on the GBA startup screen if it's dirty, but, from my experience it will at least show glitch pixels where the Nintendo logo should be, completely blank is a sign it's a pirate.
Some things to look for (though it may not help buying online):

  • The Game Boy Advance logo on the plastic above the label.
  • Again, the Nintendo seal and ESRB logo (in America) should be on there. For a popular game like Pokemon, make sure you know what a real label should look like. The fake Pokemon game I bought had all the logos (though I don't remember it the AGB- product code was correct) but in the wrong places.
  • Watch out for "LICENSED BY NINTENDO" on first-party games (Mario, Pokemon, etc.) Silly pirates, Nintendo doesn't have to license their own games.
  • The back of the cart should have a singe screw with a Y-shaped (aka "tri-wing") hole.
  • All regular games will say PAT. PENDING MODEL AGB-002 on the back of the cart. (the only exceptions are the Boktai games, WarioWare Twisted, Yoshi's Topsy-Turvy and Drill Dozer which have special hardware in the cart, and are bigger as well). AGB-002 is the important thing. I remember the fake Pokemon said AGB-004 (which is incorrect, because that apparently is the part number for a JP-only rechargeable battery charger for the original GBA)
  • Also, when looking at the cartridge connector on the bottom, "Nintendo" should be visible on the bottom of the game circuit board. (I've seen the variations "(c)2001 Nintendo", "(c)2002 Nintendo", and just the Nintendo logo with oval)

KingMike

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the_shpydar

8. Posted:

Rule #1:
Never buy anything from China.
Never.

Follow Rule #1 and you will decrease your likelihood of buying a fake game by approximately 347%.

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Moorpheel

9. Posted:

@kingmike: actually, dirty and old cartridges can stop at the "Game Boy" part without showing anything at all. Happens to me all the time. It goes like nothing>glitched pixels>correct words but not working>works.

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Unca_Lz

10. Posted:

the_shpydar wrote:

Rule #1:
Never buy anything from China.
Never.

Follow Rule #1 and you will decrease your likelihood of buying a fake game by approximately 347%.

This by itself is the end of the thread ;)

In all seriousness, you can Google bootleg games and you can find pics of fakes

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ogo79

11. Posted:

ScroogeMcLz wrote:

the_shpydar wrote:

Rule #1:
Never buy anything from China.
Never.

Follow Rule #1 and you will decrease your likelihood of buying a fake game by approximately 347%.

This by itself is the end of the thread ;)

In all seriousness, you can Google bootleg games and you can find pics of fakes

for real. i was actually gonna put all the technical tips, serial numbers and whatnot, the front label fakes from pics, to inside the carts...i havent ever got a fake gba game or any fake game because the internet is sexy and i already know my stuff.
the internet is sexy because i can guarantee lz, shpy and myself invented the internet. thats what it takes to run it. you pay the internet bill, we provide the sexy that is embedded within it. you pay one price and we provide triple sexy. were getting robbed here
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Untitled

iap-tv.com
the_shpydar wrote:
As @ogo79 said, the SNS-RZ-USA is a prime giveaway that it's not a legit retail cart.
And yes, he is (usually) always right, and he is (almost) the sexiest gamer out there (not counting me) ;)

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Bulbousaur

12. Posted:

I'll tell you right now, 99% of all the used Pokemon GBA games I have ever seen are fake. Good luck finding those if you want them.

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Mk_II

13. Posted:

check the print quality of the label sticker and the box. Fakes often have distorted or fuzzy pictures on them with incorrect colours and the print quality is poor like a cheapish color copy. The label on the cart should be stuck on straight and in the center. Official Nintendo games will have perfectly straight stickers.
bootleg game manuals will be poorly printed and usually contain just a few pages. Official Nintendo manuals are quite bulky, and very well printed.
bootleg game packages never include the health warning and promotional flyers. The health warning flyer is present in every official release.
the model number on the back of the cartridge should read AGB-002. the region code on a fake cartridge usually reads "USA". However, there are "EUR" region fakes as wel

EXAMPLE: note the crappy "Gameboy Advance" logo. Shiny label, weak colours, unreadable seal. Label too small and not properly centered
Badly cropped background image, logo obscured by ESRB rating. catalog number with "USA" region code
Untitled

BACKSIDE: terrible Nintendo logo, wrong in every possible way (note the weird letter T). correct model number AGB-002 but no spacing between the words
Untitled

Edited on by Mk_II

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KingMike

14. Posted:

Mk_II wrote:

bootleg game manuals will be poorly printed and usually contain just a few pages.

I got a bootleg of that Wizard of Oz RPG for the DS.
The "manual" was just copy-pasted from the Wikipedia article on the game as well as reviews from GamePro and one other source.
I knew it was a fake as soon as I saw this "USA" game had a non-USA (13-digit) UPC and was copyrighted to HAL Laboratory (I quickly realized the pirates used the Kirby Super Star Ultra back cover as a base, but why they bothered to change the UPC...)
The fake Oz manual also had Nintendo's contact information on the back (though the game was published by XSeed), including the hours to call them, "Pacific Timce". :P (it only applies to DS, but the back of those game cards should have a printed code on the back where the first four characters match the middle of the NDS-???? product code on the front. This Oz had the product code for Mario Party EU.)
I got a fake Tetris DS as well, but that wasn't easy to tell because it wasn't suspiciously underpriced (like all those Super Princess Peach games that were priced at like $8 new while real games were going at least $30 used) and it came from a US seller. I suspected when the case was a bit crushed in the middle (didn't feel right), the manual stapling was a bit off-center (and I noticed it said both "INSTRUCTION BOOKLET" and "MODE D'EMPLOI"(sp?) on the cover, whereas the PDF version I downloaded years ago on Nintendo's site only says the former. I don't know if Canadian print copies were different.) and no save data (though those aren't sure signs of a fake) so I bought a second used copy that stated genuine in the listing. It was only then I could tell the first was indeed a fake by comparing the print quality of the cover art (I would say the bootleg art was pretty convincing if you don't have a genuine to compare to). (though the genuine I got was missing the manual)
And again, checking the back of the DS cards. The real copy had the right product code ID while the fake had the code for Cars (as I remember), which I found by Googling "NDS-(the first four characters)-USA".

KingMike

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unrandomsam

15. Posted:

apowes wrote:

I'm about to start buying Gameboy Advance games for the first time ever, but I have heard in the past that GBA carts are faked pretty frequently.

I was wondering what I should keep in mind when browsing in order to spot red flags. This could apply either on eBay, or in person at second-hand shops.

Thanks!

If you look from the bottom of the cart it should say Nintendo above the pins.

unrandomsam

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GuSilverFlame

16. Posted:

for GBA, never pick one with darker(really black instead of dark gray) plastic and avoid Pokémon if the game's not in a colored special plastic. and try to see if you can take a peek inside, usually even the battery looks fake(I opened some GBA games when I was younger)


and if you see it's fake try to get it for an extremely cheap price! it really is great to learn a little more of electronics by opening those up and seeing what each component does in the circuit! I think there's no problem buying fake pirate stuff to tear apart and see how it works ^^

Edited on by GuSilverFlame

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8BitSamurai

17. Posted:

Another pro tip from everybody's favorite samurai: Bootlegs of 1st party games will very often say "Licensed by Nintendo", like on @Mk_II 's fake cart. Real 1st party games will just have the Nintendo logo, since it really doesn't make sense that they need to license it to themselves.

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apowes

18. Posted:

Thank you all for the replies!
It AMAZES me what's on eBay when you shop for Pokemon GBA games. Carts are listed as Brand New (yet loose), but with buy-it-now prices of only like $10-20. It's obvious they're fake, yet these sellers aren't getting flagged or down-rated?

Anyway, I have a question:

Authentic cartridges have a tiny number imprinted, or stamped, into the label, such that you have to turn the cart just right so the light reflects on the label and you can see the number. My question is, has anyone ever known a Fake cart to have one of these stamped numbers?

So far that seems like the one characteristic that is not being copied by bootleggers, and therefore one of the best things to look for. But I wanted to ask you guys before relying on it too heavily.

Edited on by apowes

apowes

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rhyno601

19. Posted:

Hey everyone,
Long time reader first time poster on these forums!

I bought a series of gba games off ebay and I think they are all bootlegs. I've gotten in touch with the seller just now but I haven't heard back. Does anyone know what I should do?

Should he be refunding and paying for postage back? Also, should I report it to ebay? I don't want him to sell these to someone not looking for fake copies...

rhyno601

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8BitSamurai

20. Posted:

rhyno601 wrote:

Hey everyone,
Long time reader first time poster on these forums!

I bought a series of gba games off ebay and I think they are all bootlegs. I've gotten in touch with the seller just now but I haven't heard back. Does anyone know what I should do?

Should he be refunding and paying for postage back? Also, should I report it to ebay? I don't want him to sell these to someone not looking for fake copies...

Just a few questions, how many did you get, how do you know they're fake, and are they all from the same seller? If you got a whole bunch from one seller that are fake, I would probably contact eBay.

Edited on by 8BitSamurai

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