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How to spot counterfeit games!

Welcome to the third installment of my guide to classic video games. Now this week we’re going to learn how to identify fraudulently packed games, as well as illegitimate games. Now this is quite a problem in the old school video game market. Because there are a lot of fakes out there. We will explore this through out PS1, Gameboy Color, NES/SNES, for a few examples.

Now we will start with an easy one first. Game Boy Color games when they actually have their original sealing you will be able to notice a seam that is on the top and bottom of the case horizontally. There will also be a vertical seam going up the middle of the case. Very easy to distinguish from non legitimate sealing, as a resealed game will not have any of these seams. As for faked Game Boy Color cartridges, the legitimate cartridges will have the Nintendo seal of approval on the front, and on the backside, they will also the made in Japan, and under that pat. Pending etched in at the top. Fake cartridges will not have these things typically. You can also look out for the original serial numbers that are sometimes written on the left side of the artwork. So plenty of things to look out for when shopping for Game Boy Color games.

Left: real Right: fake

Playstation games, and other disc based games are usually very easy to tell the difference in resealed games and fake games. A legitimately factory sealed Playstation will have on the top a sticker going horizontally inside the plastic wrapping on the case. This sticker will contain the Playstation logo on the left side, title, in the middle, underneath that will be the company that made it, number of disc, and a serial number. To the far right will be two things, a bar code, and the original UPC. And will also have a silver a vertical facing silver sticker with the Playstion logo, right by the bar code. As far as fakes go of the actual disc, there are not many ways people can replicate the black surface of the bottom of the disc. So fakes will usually be on a silver bottomed disc, not to be confused with PS2 games.

Example of legit factory sealing

Fake SNES/NES games will often have off colored font. For example, Earthbound (as pictured below) will have a solid bold green titling on the top of the cartridge, as to were the fake would have thin font, with off coloring. The cartridges and art labels, when faked will also be very new looking, like suspiciously new looking, for games that came out 25 years ago. Unless you have a legitimate factory sealed game, it won’t look that new. They will show some signs of wear and tear. Another thing to note is, that on fakes the USRB rating will be smaller than ones that are legitimate copies, and typically same goes for the the Nintendo seal. Everything on the original cartridge artwork, will be clear and defined. Ones on fakes will also have a tendency to be out of focus.

Side by side comparison of a real and fake copy of Earthbound for SNES

If you were to open up the game via taking out the screws, (and I don’t suggest this if you are new to this) you would find that the motherboard will have a copy write by Nintendo written on it on the left hand side by the battery. Fakes will not have printing of words on them at all. The original board will be much bigger than a fake. The top picture blow this text is a real snes board, while the picture below it is a fake. 

Thanks again for tuning in to my blog post. Next week, I will talk about a fourth price for games, the graded sealed price. Since there is a lot of speculation around this, I will dedicate a full blog post about it.

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