Business & InvestmentEducationEntertainmentGamesHealthLifestyleMotivationScience & TechnologySports

Meet the game reviewer who guides retro collectors through a fake world

Last year there was an issue with Reddit user tosamyng. After seeing a game post on the subreddit collecting convincing fakes of popular Pokémon games, they began to wonder if their Pokémon collection was riddled with bootlegs as well. Luckily they knew where to go: r/gameverifying, Game Verification subreddit.

Tosamine Posted We’ve published an in-depth gallery of Pokémon games to the community, complete with front and back boxes and photos for each game. In total, this haul represents thousands of dollars’ worth of retro goodness, with each of the “complete box” GBA games trading between $200 and $500 on the open market alone. It’s no exaggeration to say that if even a fraction of these copies turn out to be pirated, the owners could lose hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

Fortunately, tosamyng’s story has a happy ending. All of their games passed the test. But they are the lucky ones he is the one. For nearly three years, the Game Verification subreddit has acted as a bulwark against the waves of fake retro games that have washed ashore on eBay, Etsy, and other digital storefronts. But as community co-creator Frontzie says, the outflow of fake and pirated retro games has only gotten worse since COVID.

“Piracy numbers have increased over time, especially during the pandemic,” says Frontzie. “However, the production of bootlegs seems to have shifted to better and more improved fakes, albeit in small numbers. I’ve noticed we’re getting close to duplicating :1…”

On paper, r/gameverifying is a small community. It has around 14,000 subscribers, which pales in comparison to similar boards like r/gamecollecting, which boasts over 210,000. Nonetheless, the subreddit receives dozens (sometimes hundreds) of posts a day from aspiring collectors who want to know if the amazing deals they find on eBay are really too good. (Usually it is.)

In fact, Frontzie and friends first set up the subreddit due to an onslaught of verified posts on r/gamecollecting that led to complaints from some users. There are now 19 “trusted verifiers” of her in the community, judging the large number of photos that users post from their collection. However, most of his Redditors are smart enough to read the forum rules before joining, but omit all seller information, don’t ask for ratings or ratings, and remember to post back and forth. Some simply throw away muddy, low-resolution auction images. Anyway, hope the validators do their best. This is a great way to avoid taking advice.

“I think retro games are exploding in popularity because gamers who grew up with Pokémon are now 25-45 years old and actually have ‘grown-up money’ to buy stuff. “My main tip is that if it sounds too good to be true, 99% of the time it’s fake or a scam.”

Two of these games are real. two are fake. See the difference? (Credit u/ChaosEvaUnit)

As seasoned collectors know, fake and unauthorized games have been around for almost as long as the video game industry itself. For example, Atari’s original his Pong was heavily “influenced” by the Magnavox Odyssey ping-pong game, possibly leading to complete infringement, which eventually led to a lawsuit. When it comes to more overt counterfeits, there are some notorious Famicom carts from the 80’s and his 90’s, including porn games with misleading titles. super marioSomali basically drops Mario in Sonic the Hedgehog 1.

Due to the fraudulent nature of fake games, it is very difficult to pinpoint changes in fake games in recent years. However, based on the experience of our reviewers, the amount of fake games has only increased over time. ), the most popular games posted on r/gameverifying all belong to the same franchise, Pokémon. In fact, some verifiers say they first joined the community when they discovered that their Pokémon cartridges were fake.

“For me, it was a copy of HeartGold,” says trusted verifier Mutty. “I decided to join the community to train them to recognize fake games and make sure others didn’t have to go through what I went through. DS and GBA cartridges is the most common, so most .

“I think the main reason we see so many bootleg Pokémon cartridges is because the value of legitimate Pokémon games is maintained,” said GameFrank, another trusted verifier. . “Many gamers would love to play the original version for themselves, but they may not be able to afford to pay over $100 for a Nintendo DS or Game Boy cart. Unfortunately, these games are affordable to play. Piracy is a cheaper alternative for those who want to.”

A further surge in piracy and increased demand from buyers has led reviewers to create illustrated guides for console games from the Atari 2600 to the Nintendo Switch.These guides are now hosted on the subreddit Wiki, but community staff are in the process of moving them to an external website. If you don’t have time to wait for a validator to respond to a post, buyers looking to put their hard-earned cash into the real thing should check out her wiki on the subreddit to find out more about her list of legitimacy online. You have to decide for yourself.

Some verification methods are easier than others. If you’re in the market for 3DS or Switch games, you can rest easy most of the time. Modern copy protection methods make it very difficult (if not impossible) for would-be bootleggers to create their own versions of these modern cartridge-based systems. However, if you question the legitimacy of a Switch game, you can lick it. It should taste quite bitter.this is How Nintendo actually uses it To keep toddlers from chewing on copies of Super Mario Odyssey.

The more discreet your console is, the less likely you’ll come across a pirated copy. If you’re looking to collect WonderSwan games, you probably don’t need to worry about an army of scammers tricking you with fake carts. However, some of the more popular titles for lesser-known consoles are still in danger zone, with the Sega Saturn usually reserved for true enthusiasts only, but the classic Panzer Dragoon saga. There are so many duplicates that there is only one user of him. I made my own guide to distinguish the real thing.

When it comes to collectible games in general, there are some rules of thumb that can help you guess a fake using minimal tools in a matter of seconds. tend to be more rounded than Did you notice that the dot on his I in the “Nintendo” on the N64 cart is square?If it’s a circle it’s definitely a bootleg. (Go ahead and check your collection, I did.) Even the shape of the screws on the back of the cartridge assembly can help determine the legitimacy of a copy. While the real N64 cart has rounded edges, most counterfeits tend to have hexagonal screws.

However, some of these “rules of thumb” have become obsolete over time. Fake DS games were once rare, but many reproductions have “M8” etched near the top of the prongs, which collectors used as a landmark for years. Some bootleg versions replace this with “MB”. This could indicate a genuine or fake cart.

In fact, perhaps the most famous such “rule of thumb” is no longer quite reliable. A victim of its own success. For years, Pokemon fans have said,4 gold rectanglesAs a quick validation technique for the highly desirable Gameboy Advance Kart for 3rd generation games such as Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald. If he can see the four rectangles through the translucent plastic on the back of the cart, make sure your copy is legal.

Unfortunately, this factoid has become so popular on video game forums and social media that counterfeiters have taken the lead and verifiers no longer consider it a reliable indicator of anything. One cheater even tried to disguise a copy of his game, Generation 3 Pokémon, by inserting a piece of drawn paper into the cart to “clone” the characteristic rectangular appearance. At least they tried.

Of course, aside from these easy methods, there is no other way than to open the cartridge and look at the circuit board inside. However, it is easier said than done. With a little googling, you can find authentic reference images of the insides of popular games. The Game Verification wiki links to several repositories. Most carts for collectible consoles come with a small screw that requires a special set of electronics such as the iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit. Some consoles are better suited for hacking than others. Opening a Game Boy Color game is pretty easy, but it’s almost impossible to undo the DS cart once it’s open, so stick to the external method.

These particular verification methods are useful in certain situations, but if you want to avoid piracy altogether, use some logic instead of getting “a lot” in a nostalgia-filled haze. Mutty suggests buyers check the site price chart To determine whether the prices of online listings are within normal ranges. Others say to avoid sketchy online auctions entirely, especially on his Etsy. “Collecting retro games is expensive,” he says Mutty. “I need to learn how to find good deals.”

The four golden rectangles, once considered an easy verification method, are no longer secure.
The four golden rectangles, once considered an easy verification method, are no longer secure.

“If you’re a first-time collector, you need to make sure you’re buying from a trusted source,” says GameFrank. “There are options for retro games on popular market sites like eBay and Mercari, but I recommend building a network of collectors. I found a gamer who sells and trades games.”

Fraud in collecting video games goes beyond selling pirated copies as genuine. There’s an argument that the popularity of aftermarket consoles made by boutique companies like Analogue also helped push the market into overheating. But not all collectors actually play the games they buy. In recent years, game collecting as a community has moved toward “valuing” the quality and value of individual copies of games. There is nothing wrong with trying to standardize tastes, but some observers believe that collectors buy “advanced” sealed copies of popular (but common) games like Super Mario 64. We describe the current state of the retro game market as a bubble because we are selling. seemingly inflated price.

These high-profile auctions may raise eyebrows, but whether or not they will make an impact beyond the top of the market remains to be seen. seems interested in devouring factory-sealed copies of the game. It often sells for 5 to 10 times his price for the “complete in a box” version. Unscrupulous sellers can reap far more profits simply by “resealing” a legitimate copy of the game in shrink wrap. It’s often difficult to distinguish between real and fake based on low-quality photos, but verifiers do their best.

Overall, the world of collecting games is bigger than ever, but it’s also dangerous for collectors who don’t research. If you’re going to spend a fortune on your favorite childhood game, ask the game’s reviewers before you hit the buy button. Also, validators are unlikely to lose their jobs anytime soon. As young gamers continue to age and spend money and nostalgia, a brave new world of video game fraud will emerge.Disc games, for example, have always been easier to pirate than cartridge-based games. increase. This extends to the piracy scene as well.

“It will be interesting to see how Blu-Ray is affected,” says Frontzie. “The barrier to entry for making your own counterfeit PS1 disc is $100. Horrible.”

The products featured here have been independently selected by the editors. GameSpot may receive a portion of the proceeds from purchases featured on our site. Meet the game reviewer who guides retro collectors through a fake world

Back to top button