(All photos included in this article are reproduction games.)
As a retro gamer, I like having a hard copy of my games. To me, it is just part of the experience of hunting down a copy of (place name of game here), purchasing, and holding it in my hands. It used to be so simple, but things have changed. The waters are becoming muddled. I have become cautious in my purchases. I am somewhat concerned.
I first ran across fake games years ago, as I made an attempt to purchase a copy of a GBA game as a gift. I loved Astroboy for the GBA and wanted to give it to someone. As I received it from an ebay auction, I noticed a weight difference and the cart shell felt thinner. Yes it was that big of a difference and it was one of those awkward moments. Opening it up I found a glop in the middle of the PC board. I got scammed?!! I paid very little for it so I kept the game because it fascinated me.
Technology has presently advanced so much that it has become easy, and commonplace, to manufacture carts of retro games from the 80’s and 90’s. And they are getting so good at manufacturing the cart that it is getting very difficult to discern authentic from fake. These things are starting to pop up on eBay at an alarming rate. Words used to describe the game in the auction are names like “new parts version,” “reproduction,” or “custom.” I have occasionally seen some that do not acknowledge it as a reproduction, but you can tell by looking at the cart. Or at least you can tell that some carts are not the real thing. It is getting to the point that if you want the real thing, you had better ask the Seller to post a photo of the PC board so that you can see for yourself. So many are starting to look so authentic, labels, plastic shell, that you cannot tell from outward appearance. The PC board have chips, which means a lot has went into designing and manufacturing the game. The only thing you have left to tell? Well, a real Nintendo PC board will have the name Nintendo written on it. So far, the fake Sega Genesis cart have a glop on the PC board. I have not had a chance to purchase a N64 game yet. Even the boxes and manual are being reproduced. Only a matter of time as people purchase, then comes that day in which they will want to resell….? And that is really my point. Most retro gamers want to collect, usually the real thing. If I paid $80 for a rare sought after game, it had better be the real thing. On eBay many of these reproduction games are starting to demand a high price, especially if the game title is a rare collector item. I have difficulty with digesting that and wrapping my head around it. I understand the value of the real thing but not the reproduction. And I have noticed that a lot of Sellers with the real thing are starting to show the PC board in the auctions. Interesting……………. isn’t it?
I guess most people, or gamers, may have, either, mixed feelings, or no thought, about a reproduction game. Some out right refuse to even own one. Those gamers oppose the idea. I personally, as a budget gamer, have purchased some reproductions of rare high priced collector item games because I just cannot afford the real thing. The real game cart is just out of my reach financially. But I have purchased the reproduction games knowing what they are. And I have not paid over $20 for one. Anything over that, I find myself in the ballpark of considering the real thing.
As a kid, I would go out to the driveway the next day after a Summer rain. I would look down into the puddles of water. It would be crystal clear. You could see everything at the bottom. I would take a stick and begin to poke it in the bottom of the puddles. After continuously doing this, the water would become cloudy and muddy. No longer would the water be clear. Somehow I see all this in the same way when it comes to reproduction games.