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Beware Of Fake Retro Games

While fake retro games are certainly not new, now is a good a time as any for a reminder to watch out when shopping.

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In the past few years, more and more retro games have been sold in Japan via e-commerce sites Mercari and Yahoo! Auctions. Twitter user Jabberlooper cautioned that many phony versions of rare games are being sold this way and that quality of the fakes is getting better and better.

Below is Magical Pop’n.

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Kotaku previously found a real version of this rare game in Akihabara that was priced around $1,200.

More of the fake Magical Pop’n in the reply tweet:

Here, the tells are the positioning of some of the text on the printed circuit boards. The back sticker is wrong. Also, the soldering isn’t as carefully done.

Another giveaway I’ve seen among some Magical Pop’n fakes, the pcb reads “N1ntendo” with the number 1.

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In Japan, Super Famicom Games and Famicom games, in particular, seem to be susceptible to forgery.

For example, here are two copies of the Famicom game 4 Nin Uchi Mahjong. Just looking at the photo, can you tell which one is fake?

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The top one is fake. The clear giveaway is how the kanji for mahjong (麻雀) appears. According to this Twitter user, the feel of the plastic is different and the cart is rather heavy.

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Since game collecting is global, this problem isn’t unique to Japan. Some of these fakes appear to have spread internationally. There are threads like “Is my copy of Magical Pop’n fake?” on Nintendoage.com and “Magical Pop’n: Real or Repro?” on Reddit.

Beware if you are buying online or even in person! Be sure to check out Kotaku’s video game collecting tips.

Originally from Texas, Ashcraft has called Osaka home since 2001. He has authored six books, including most recently, The Japanese Sake Bible.

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DISCUSSION

I hate scummy sellers that try to pass of repros as the genuine article. I’ve come across more and more instances of this online and in brick and mortar retro game stores in the last couple of years. Always ask to see the PCB and compare it to images on NesCartDB. Once, I almost spent $100 on a copy of Panic Restaurant (NES) online that was surely a fake. I was temporarily blinded by the prospect of finding one in the wild until I decided to check the seller’s history and feedback. Even though the seller had 100% positive feedback, there were some giant red flags, 12 of them in fact. As in he had recently sold 12 copies of the game. I asked the seller point blank if this was real or a reproduction. He assured me that it was real. I asked to see a picture of the PCB and he never responded.