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A guide on how to spot fake SNES games >> an ongoing threat to help deter the purchase of fake SNES games <<

Apr 9, 2013 at 10:15:51 AM
dra600n (293)
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With the increasing prices of SNES titles, especially the rare or highly sought after titles, there's a lot of fakes popping up on eBay and other sources (craigslist, kijiji I'm sure, and even on the forums of various websites like NintendoAge).

The first thing to be on the lookout for is the label. While this isn't always a sure fire way to determine if the cart is legit or fake (some people replace labels from badly damaged ones, as well as bootleggers scuffing them up to show age and wear), this will at least get you to open the game up.



(full size pic: http://i191.photobucket.com/album... )

The spacing between the edge of the label and the bevel should be even all the way around, with very little spacing in between the edges (about 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch). There should also be a semi gloss look to it and feel to it, though this isn't always the case. Some Majesco labels aren't semi glossy and feel rather cheap, and I believe there are some other titles that are like that as well (ones released from Japan). Now, if there's an alternative artwork, chances are, it's a fake label.

Fake labels aren't necessarily a bad thing - there could be numerous reasons for a fake label, though it's not common in practice.

Next up is the PCB of the game:

Back side of the pcb
(full size pic: http://i191.photobucket.com/album... )

You'll notice there aren't any wires and the solder joints are perfectly machined. This isn't always a sure fire way to determine a fake or not, as there are plenty of games that people have had to resolder a joint or 2. Also notice there aren't any wires. No wires is a good thing, though there are several methods to reproducing a SNES cart.

The biggest sign of a fake cart is this:

The front side of a PCB
(full size pic: http://i191.photobucket.com/album... )

See that bottom chip there? That's called a mask rom. All commercially released games use these. If these are not present, the game is 100% fake.


(image from TobyManhattans thread. TobyManhattan, if you don't want me using your pic, please let me know)
This is a TSOP chip and adapter board. Seeing this means it's 100% fake.


The eproms: If you see one of these (they will generally have a sticker over the window there), it's also a fake.

Now, there's one other method a person can use, and that's by using an EEPROM. These look like mask roms. If you have *any* doubt, punch the numbers you find on the chip into google. If the numbers don't come up, chances are it's a legit cartridge (though there should be a complete list with mask rom numbers). If it's an EEPROM, the part number will come up on various websites that sell them.

If anyone has anything else to add, post it here and I'll update the thread

ETA:
nes_pimps how to determine a fake thread: http://www.nintendoage.com/forum/...

As Faltain1 suggested: Check the persons selling history to see how many copies of the rare titles they've sold recently. If they've sold quite a few amounts of the same title, it's highly possibly they're repro'ing them and you will most likely want to take a much closer inspection of the pictures, ask for pics of the boards, and if you're still unsure, grab a pic and ask the community.

ETA: Byuu added some great info:
Originally posted by: byuu

Your guide is spot-on for US games. I'll add what I can.

The following games are in fact EEPROM games, on SHVC-*P** boards:
* Kunio-Kun no Dodgeball da yo! Zen'in Shuugou - Tournament Special
* From TV Animation - Slam Dunk! Shueisha Limited
Both of these will have phillips screws, and the EEPROMs will *not* be socketed.

Any other prototype game will be EEPROM (look for a serial stamp of SHVC-*P**-**, make sure there are no wires or obvious resoldering spots.)

Every other limited edition game (500 or less copies) are always MaskROM.

The following games have golden clamshells:
* Kunio-Kun no Dodgeball da yo! Zen'in Shuugou - Tournament Special
* Super Tetris 2 + Bombliss (there is a gray normal one too)
* Super Bomberman 2 - Caravan
* Super Bomberman 5 - Corocoro Comic
All four of these have only the *outer* shell spray painted gold. If you open the cart up, the insides will be gray, and it's usually a pretty bad job of painting so the gold to gray lines are uneven. This is just how these are, and it's perfectly legit. I've had six different gold carts from six sellers, all the same way. Others have confirmed the same thing. They were cheap in making these, because they were all limited 200 or less run games.
Kunio, Bomberman 2 and Bomberman 5 have custom ROM data and custom label art, so these are hard to fake.
Tetris 2 is much easier to fake, it's identical to the retail game. Be very careful buying this one.
Best I can tell you is to get the other gold carts to compare, and make sure the gold is inside the screw holes too. Sometimes shoddy fakes won't get the paint in the screw holes and you'll see gray there. (Like that Yam-Yam fake. Speaking of that, any Yam-Yam gold cart you ever see is fake. Only one exists, inside Mandarake-Japan, and they won't sell it to anyone.)

The Japanese modem-based games (JRA PAT, JRA PAT Wide) have FlashROM memory chips inside of them, but are not fake. Their cartridge shells are black.

Nintendo Power games come in white clamshells, and use FlashROM chips.

SA-1, SuperFX and Cx4 games sometimes have very tiny MaskROMs (see the pic above), the reduced pinout gives them more board space for other stuff.

Mega Man X2 is SHVC-2DC0N (two MaskROM chips), and Mega Man X3 is SHVC-1DC0N (one MaskROM chip.)

Any ROM chip that is entirely blank (surface writing removed) is from a fake board.
However, not all boards will have serial numbers and model numbers on the ROM chips.
Majesco is particularly bad here, you will see "FAMILY FEUD" only, stamped onto the ROM on their version of said game.

Most PCBs are dark green. Some from EA/Majesco/Maxi will be blue or really light green. But you'll see EA-, MJSC-, MAXI-, SHVC-, SNS-, SNSP- stamped on the board somewhere in gold letters.

Much more insidious are fake boxes and manuals. Since those triple the cost of loose games, you'll see a lot more fakes here. Usually copies are duller, in "too good to be true" mint condition, blurrier, poorly aligned, etc. But some are amazingly good copies. Your best bet here is to scan at 600DPI and verify that it has the screening effect typical of industrial printers. Someone making small runs of boxes is unlikely to be using the same printing process as Nintendo did in the '90s.


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Proud owner of post #1800 in Inner Circle HQ thread


Edited: 04/30/2013 at 07:13 PM by dra600n

Apr 9, 2013 at 11:37:59 AM
ankermane (49)
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Another great thread, Adam. First google now this. Very prolific indeed. Now hopefully people will find it

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Apr 9, 2013 at 12:00:12 PM
ne$_pimp (56)
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Heres a link to a thread I made awail back that might be of some help http://www.nintendoage.com/forum/...

Apr 9, 2013 at 1:22:00 PM
Informationator (14)
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It's not fake if it has EPROMs and it's a prototype!

Also, I have plenty of legit games where the label is right up to the border on one side (not evenly spaced all around).

Otherwise - nice guide!


Edited: 04/09/2013 at 01:23 PM by Informationator

Apr 9, 2013 at 1:30:33 PM
jrmrbcax (110)
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This helps a lot! Thank you

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N64 CIB Collection: 296/296
Finished April 13, 2015





Apr 9, 2013 at 5:11:45 PM
dra600n (293)
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(Adym \m/) < Bonk >
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Originally posted by: nes_pimp

Heres a link to a thread I made awail back that might be of some help http://www.nintendoage.com/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=8&...
Definitely is. I'll go add that to the first post as well



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Proud owner of post #1800 in Inner Circle HQ thread

Apr 9, 2013 at 5:18:32 PM
jpobrien1980 (25)
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(John O'Brien) < Eggplant Wizard >
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With more and more fake snes games creeping onto the market this is a very good article and hopefully it will help people avoid being scammed, especially seeing as many fakes are of the top-end titles.

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Apr 9, 2013 at 5:21:22 PM
demanufacturedmario (86)
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Good guide (yours and pimps') I always open up my games when I receive them, just to make sure.

Apr 9, 2013 at 5:39:41 PM
Faltain1 (112)
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You may want to mention that any seller that's constantly selling all the rare games over and over is likely producing fake copies.

A guy selling 20 copies of Earthbound within a month's time is obviously making bootlegs for instance.

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To-do manuals: Arabian Knights, Gulliver Boy, Dark Law, Brandish 2, Flying Hero
Finished manuals: Neugier, Wonder Project J, Burning Heroes, Star Ocean, FEDA, Monstania, Chaos Seed

Apr 9, 2013 at 6:36:15 PM
dra600n (293)
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(Adym \m/) < Bonk >
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Originally posted by: Faltain1

You may want to mention that any seller that's constantly selling all the rare games over and over is likely producing fake copies.

A guy selling 20 copies of Earthbound within a month's time is obviously making bootlegs for instance.

While it is suspicious, it could still be highly possible someone has that many copies of those games. I mean, maybe someone had nothing better to spend their $$ on except high priced SNES games. They could be the k3vbot of EB lol

Not saying that probability of that person selling legit copies is higher than 0.01%, but ya never know It is a valid point for suspicion.


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Apr 9, 2013 at 6:38:44 PM
Faltain1 (112)
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Originally posted by: dra600n

Originally posted by: Faltain1

You may want to mention that any seller that's constantly selling all the rare games over and over is likely producing fake copies.

A guy selling 20 copies of Earthbound within a month's time is obviously making bootlegs for instance.

While it is suspicious, it could still be highly possible someone has that many copies of those games. I mean, maybe someone had nothing better to spend their $$ on except high priced SNES games. They could be the k3vbot of EB lol

Not saying that probability of that person selling legit copies is higher than 0.01%, but ya never know It is a valid point for suspicion.
 
Someone selling 2-3 copies of Earthbound, Ninja Gaiden Trilogy, Sunset Riders, Dracula X, Harvest Moon, Demon's Crest, etc. ... every month... is making pirates, I guarantee it.

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To-do manuals: Arabian Knights, Gulliver Boy, Dark Law, Brandish 2, Flying Hero
Finished manuals: Neugier, Wonder Project J, Burning Heroes, Star Ocean, FEDA, Monstania, Chaos Seed

Apr 9, 2013 at 6:43:12 PM
dra600n (293)
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(Adym \m/) < Bonk >
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Originally posted by: Faltain1

Originally posted by: dra600n

Originally posted by: Faltain1

You may want to mention that any seller that's constantly selling all the rare games over and over is likely producing fake copies.

A guy selling 20 copies of Earthbound within a month's time is obviously making bootlegs for instance.

While it is suspicious, it could still be highly possible someone has that many copies of those games. I mean, maybe someone had nothing better to spend their $$ on except high priced SNES games. They could be the k3vbot of EB lol

Not saying that probability of that person selling legit copies is higher than 0.01%, but ya never know It is a valid point for suspicion.
 
Someone selling 2-3 copies of Earthbound, Ninja Gaiden Trilogy, Sunset Riders, Dracula X, Harvest Moon, Demon's Crest, etc. ... every month... is making pirates, I guarantee it.


Oh, I agree with you (I added it to the first post )
There are *some* people who have several copies of each (there's a shop around here that had 6 earthbounds at one time, 2 of them were CIB, as well as a few EVO's). I'm sure that people/shops like that are insanely few and far between, so unless these ebay sellers are known for a shop, I'd chalk it up to be repros of these titles.

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Proud owner of post #1800 in Inner Circle HQ thread

Apr 9, 2013 at 7:49:20 PM
Rooster (113)
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If theyre selling 5 copies of mint condition MMX3 then something is up.

Apr 9, 2013 at 10:43:41 PM
Faltain1 (112)
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It's sort of amusing how they seem to ONLY do the rare games; if they did the common games that had value, like Super Metroid, Link to the Past, Secret of Mana, etc. ... it'd be a ton less conspicuous.

Not drawing attention to yourself should be something these jokers should worry about more often then trying to make the "quick" slightly bigger buck.

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To-do manuals: Arabian Knights, Gulliver Boy, Dark Law, Brandish 2, Flying Hero
Finished manuals: Neugier, Wonder Project J, Burning Heroes, Star Ocean, FEDA, Monstania, Chaos Seed

Apr 9, 2013 at 11:44:32 PM
Rooster (113)
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I'm not sure but I think the parts are too expensive to be profitable counterfeiting "uncommon" $30 titles like super metroid.

Apr 10, 2013 at 12:43:28 AM
Nightmare (0)

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Thanks for this thread, gotta stop this! I know some prefer the term repro even for these scams, but someone down the line could get fleeced by that "repro" like the scam artist who tried to sell it for market value (and got caught, they always will now.)


Edited: 04/10/2013 at 12:46 AM by Nightmare

Apr 10, 2013 at 1:17:50 AM
Faltain1 (112)
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Originally posted by: Rooster

I'm not sure but I think the parts are too expensive to be profitable counterfeiting "uncommon" $30 titles like super metroid.
I know a little bit about it, (have made a few repros myself)... if they have their own programmer, and buy the chips in bulk... doing the 30$ titles in runs of like 50 copies would make them a fortune, and if they spread them out over several places (instead of just dumping them on Ebay like simpletons), they'd likely not raise any eyebrows.

Most of teh pirates I see are using the adapter boards, and those are 100x easier to utilize then the self-programming technique... but do eat into "profit", that's true.

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To-do manuals: Arabian Knights, Gulliver Boy, Dark Law, Brandish 2, Flying Hero
Finished manuals: Neugier, Wonder Project J, Burning Heroes, Star Ocean, FEDA, Monstania, Chaos Seed

Apr 10, 2013 at 1:19:47 AM
Faltain1 (112)
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Originally posted by: ZestyLemon

Thanks for this thread, gotta stop this! I know some prefer the term repro even for these scams, but someone down the line could get fleeced by that "repro" like the scam artist who tried to sell it for market value (and got caught, they always will now.)
Pirate isn't the same as a reproduction, although a reproduction could be a pirate.

I'm actually a strong believer that if someone ADVERTISES what they are selling is a reproduction/pirate up front, and doesn't try passing it off as something legit, then that's a bit of pass for me... because they aren't trying to scam anyone in that case.

It's the people that purposefully try to take advantage of others that are true ass-hats.

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To-do manuals: Arabian Knights, Gulliver Boy, Dark Law, Brandish 2, Flying Hero
Finished manuals: Neugier, Wonder Project J, Burning Heroes, Star Ocean, FEDA, Monstania, Chaos Seed

Apr 10, 2013 at 1:34:34 AM
Nightmare (0)

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Originally posted by: Faltain1

Originally posted by: ZestyLemon

Thanks for this thread, gotta stop this! I know some prefer the term repro even for these scams, but someone down the line could get fleeced by that "repro" like the scam artist who tried to sell it for market value (and got caught, they always will now.)
Pirate isn't the same as a reproduction, although a reproduction could be a pirate.

I'm actually a strong believer that if someone ADVERTISES what they are selling is a reproduction/pirate up front, and doesn't try passing it off as something legit, then that's a bit of pass for me... because they aren't trying to scam anyone in that case.

It's the people that purposefully try to take advantage of others that are true ass-hats.





Someone down the line could get screwed if that game ever goes back to market and was a offical release in that region. That's a counterfeit. Even if it says repro in the ebay description it's intentionally misleading and someone could still get burned later even if the buyer wanted to pay the same price for a repro (they don't on purpose.)

US version of Terranigma or PAL version of Earthbound? That's a bootleg and while I don't agree with them they can't be confused or passed off as the real deal (they can't really anyway.) I know people who do that here as do you and it's different.

If there's no distinguishing marks besides the insides of the carts and the label and I can't stand that. Going to get the security bit.


Edited: 04/10/2013 at 01:47 AM by Nightmare

Apr 10, 2013 at 2:06:42 AM
M3CHK1LLA (8)
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wonder if these fakes will play just like the orig?

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Apr 10, 2013 at 2:12:00 AM
JKeefe56 (55)
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How much does an EPROM cost? Just wondering where the cutoff is. Like if a cheap EPROM is $30, they probably wouldn't bother faking a $40 game.

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Apr 10, 2013 at 2:18:17 AM
Joshua (10)
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Thanks for the info. I've been looking at a ton of SNES games on eBay and will be glad to have this thread as a reference

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Apr 10, 2013 at 10:11:02 AM
Faltain1 (112)
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Originally posted by: M3CHK1LLA

wonder if these fakes will play just like the orig?
The only difference between these and the originals is teh labels + the pcb board being modified. Otherwise they'd play just like a "legit" copy.

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To-do manuals: Arabian Knights, Gulliver Boy, Dark Law, Brandish 2, Flying Hero
Finished manuals: Neugier, Wonder Project J, Burning Heroes, Star Ocean, FEDA, Monstania, Chaos Seed

Apr 10, 2013 at 2:24:19 PM
Nick-Speed (18)
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Thanks for creating this guide. As someone who is diligently trying to complete his SNES set, I appreciate this very much.

Apr 10, 2013 at 5:12:58 PM
Gorillazero (51)
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I understand your approach to this guide. But on the other hand I find it sad that we have to entertain people who can't tell the difference. It's not Pre-Calc or Chemistry, people lol. To those who buy, request a refund. You will win, I promise you!!

Good Luck ALL

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Bounty: Neo Geo Pocket and Color Games PAL/UK. Dive Alert, Pocket Reversi, Puzzle Link 1 and 2, Gals Fighters