The Bacconeer’s Guide to Spotting Fake Game Boy Games
Since my last excursion into the world of fakes was a success, I thought I’d take another look at my own games and provide a guide of sorts for anyone else buying games online; specifically Game Boy and Game Boy Color this time. Once again, I’m not going to be talking about fan-made games sold as fan-made games, just fakes sold as the real thing. Most of my examples will be of Pokemon games, however, because the majority of the bootleg Game Boy Color and Game Boy games out there are Pokemon games.
Now, unlike Game Boy Advance games, bootleg Game Boy and Game Boy Color games actually aren’t that common. However, there still are fakes around and while some are pretty easy to spot, some are a little more difficult. To my luck, a search on eBay for a number of extremely popular Game Boy and Game Boy Color games only yielded me a few examples of this, and not the ones I preferred. While eBay’s been cracking down on bootlegs of English copies, there are still tons of bootleg foreign copies of popular games out there. And while not everyone is in a huge rush to buy the Japanese version of Tetris, there are some Japanese exclusive games that are popular enough to want to grab. My first example here is going to be one of them, Pokemon Green.
Now, right above this is a picture of a game I found on eBay while searching for a copy of Pokemon Green. It’s a good example of what one of your regular obviously fake Game Boy and Game Boy Color games looks like. Let’s examine it for a minute though. First of all, if you know your Pokemon history, you know Pokemon Green was never released in the United States or translated to English, like the left side’s model number would claim. And while the actual cartridge checks out alright, the game’s rating and the Nintendo logo both appear smashed. Also, the lettering at the bottom “whatever version” didn’t start appearing on the bottom of English Pokemon cartridges until the second generation Pokemon games, so it being on an original Pokemon game doesn’t make sense.
However, I know someone is likely to bring up the fact that there are fan-made cartridges of Pokemon Green in English on Etsy, this is not from Etsy. This is a game that was actually listed on eBay as the real thing for $80. Luckily no one was dumb enough to fall for it.
Above is a picture of the real Pokemon Green which I own. As you can see, the cartridge is a plain light grey with a green label. There’s no big picture of the game’s mascot like the English cartridges, but a small little Venusaur in the middle of the game’s logo. The cartridge itself looks just like any normal Game Boy cartridge, it even has the same writing on the upper back, “Made in Japan” and “Pat Pend.” The other Game Boy Pokemon games all look exactly like this with a similarly organized label that dons the mascot and game’s color.
Here’s a game from the second generation of Pokemon that most of us know and love; Pokemon Gold. However, this is the Japanese one….or so one would think. Now this picture is from someone who wanted to know if it was an actual fake in order to sell it. To someone unfamiliar with the games, this would appear to be a real Japanese copy, I mean, it’s gold right? Well, if the lone engraved “Game” at the top of the cartridge didn’t give it away for you, here’s what my copy of the real Japanese Pokemon Gold looks like.
Dark blue front and a dark grey back, never would’ve guessed huh? Like the last example, this one assumed that the cartridge for both versions was the same color, and none of the Game Boy or Game Boy Color versions were except Pokemon Crystal. Also, remember the engraved “Game” I mentioned before? You can find a number of Pokemon bootlegs out there with that same single word. Most likely, those bootlegs all came from a single source. But once again, a small little detail to watch out for.
Now for your viewing pleasure, I’ve attached a copy of my The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX. The label may be ruined but the USA-1 model number on the side and the Nintendo logo and seal are still visible. If you thought this copy was a fake, it isn’t. Even looking at the cartridge, everything checks out fine. But keep in mind when looking at the next image the model number on the left side.
Now here’s another image of a cartridge for the same game, this time the label is black. Everything’s in English so it can’t be a Japanese copy of course, but don’t automatically assume it’s a fake. Right on the left side you should see the model number which ends with the letters “EUR.” As you may have thought, this means that the above cartridge is actually the European version of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX. If you ever are confused about if the game you’re looking at is real, always make sure to check the version. Sometimes it really is a fake and other times it’s just a different version of the same game.
Now here’s another picture of a The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX cartridge. You should notice that it looks almost exactly like my copy except the label isn’t ripped to hell and there is no Nintendo seal on the right side. However, this version is also not a fake. This version of the cartridge is actually model USA. The one I own is simply a different version label from the same region. Some regions may have multiple labels of a game, like The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX and some may not. Keep in mind what version you’re getting and what the label should look like and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a real copy.
And here’s a fake copy for you. As you can see, grey cartridge, really large text on the sides, and the label itself looks almost as if it was a copy of the box art. A cool guy on the Atari Age forums who goes by A_Locomotive discovered this one. While it’s easy to mistake the Game Boy Link’s Awakening with DX, I have never actually seen another fake copy of any non-Pokemon games.
And this has been another adventure into the world of fake games. Hopefully next time I can find some Game Boy and Game Boy Color games to rip open for everyone’s enjoyment. Until then, be observant, be smart, spend safetly!
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