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Introducing: Wata Games Certification All things Wata and Video Game Certification

Mar 27 at 7:55:30 PM
Ray Bot (82)
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Originally posted by: AirVillain

What happens if I want to play a game after it becomes "graded"?

"Tamper Evident. The contents can be accessed safely, but only through visibly destroying the holder itself. The holder will break and discolor."

What? Does that sound stupid to anyone else?

So, I can "safely access" my game... but only by breaking the holder? Then it discolours?

Despite the obvious flaw of misspelling "discolour", I find this to be quite odd.

So... you CAN'T access your game safely??? Breaking the case open, I don't think contitutes "safely". So what am I missing here?

First of all, grading loose games is confusing to me... now they are encased in a plastic housing that can never be opened without breaking?

 

Sorry to be a negative Nancy, but I think I'm with Pegboy on this one.

by safely, they mean it wont damage the cart. like, you dont have to take a saw to the case in order to get the cart out. but once you pop the seal, it becomes clearly evident that it's been tampered with.
 

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Super Nintendo Sega Genesis, when i was dead broke man i couldn't picture this.

 

Mar 27 at 8:07:39 PM
superNESman (102)
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(Deniz "Alpo The Great" Kahn) < Bowser >
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Originally posted by: DefaultGen

It is great to see community members address a need like this, and hopefully make something less opaque than what's currently on the market. CIB games and even loose Nintendo tapes too, I think you guys are going to clean up   You've got a least a few Steel Battalion games (game only) coming at you soon because VGA never responded to my emails asking them if they'd grade the first game without the big box.

I'm sure my questions will be answered in a few days, but in my impatience, will you have a published grading scale with information on how specific flaws achieve specific grades?

As long as it is a standard game size, we will accept it (if not now, eventually!). One of the reasons we are limiting the submissions to standard game sizes is to create a standardized process, and therefore a standardized product. All four game cases have the same width and depth with varying heights, and all games are placed in “blisters” or “inner-wells” to ensure they’re centered within the case and displayed aesthetically.
 
We will indeed have a published grading scale. After much thought, we concluded that verbal descriptions confuse more than clarify—“Mint” to someone means one thing and something completely different to someone else. To some people, “mint” is a flavor. Rather than using antiquated terms that have been in collecting forever, we are letting the numbers do the talking, and we’re also providing a visual guide on our website for every game. That means you will be able to scroll through and click on any one of the grades and have an actual example of that grade as a loose game, box, and manual. Additionally, for sealed games, we are grading the seal separately than the box. Seals receive one of 7 letter grades: A++, A+. A, B+, B, C+, or C. In addition to receiving the same visual guide for each of these games, there will be a verbal description for each grade. For example, a B+ grade is described as:
 
B+ Average condition - A seal that shows standard signs of wear including medium to large scuffs and small holes. Very small holes usually seen as the corner edges, or 1-2 larger holes may be seen. Scuffs are medium and covering a majority of the front and/or back.
 
In creating standards that are objective, it is important to be transparent about way the games receive the grade they do, and more importantly, this is the foundation for creating a consistent system. Consistency is the name of the game. While grading is and will still never be a science, we created our system to provide as much clarity in information so that anybody can understand, regardless of their collecting experience.
 

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Edited: 03/27/2018 at 09:17 PM by superNESman

Mar 27 at 8:08:06 PM
superNESman (102)
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(Deniz "Alpo The Great" Kahn) < Bowser >
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Originally posted by: rlh

I have no clue who you are, but I do know your board members. I really am glad to hear about this. I'm probably not going to get much graded because I'm not a guy who tends to like these items but I definitely get it. Plus, competition is a good thing and it sounds like you guys are going to do it "right" by starting from a place of passion.

One quick question, you had a short list of over-sized games that you currently won't grade. Considering Pokemon Stadium is on the list, should Star Fox (with Rumble Pak) be on the list too?

Thanks for the kind words! And thanks for pointing that out--you inferred correctly. As I mentioned above, we are sticking to regular-sized games to help with standardizing the product and services. However, we are planning on eventually growing our services to meet the demand of a new system or new type of game, should it exist. We want to provide the best service we can to collectors within our capabilities. I am certain that one day in the future we will be able to grade non-standard game sizes in a way that makes sense for everyone!

 

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Mar 27 at 8:08:38 PM
superNESman (102)
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(Deniz "Alpo The Great" Kahn) < Bowser >
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Originally posted by: Gloves

Grats on the soft launch, really looking forward to seeing the services in action! Question: Are there plans or anything in the works to offer your services internationally, potentially in some cost-effective way? Shipping costs (and customs) have always made services in the States very cost-prohibitive to us up North.
We are absolutely planning on providing our services to international collectors in a way that makes sense. Right now, we are focusing on getting off the ground and establishing the services. Unfortunately shipping costs have always made collecting in general a much bigger hassle for you guys and other international collectors, but we’re doing everything we can to mitigate the costs in any way possible. We have looked into various ways of creating a seamless international shipping process – the nature of it is that it will take some time for it to be implemented as effectively as we want it. But I can assure you that we are working on it!


 

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Mar 27 at 8:08:54 PM
superNESman (102)
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(Deniz "Alpo The Great" Kahn) < Bowser >
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Originally posted by: hybrid

What about misprints
How much does it cost?
Could you please clarify your question? Are you referring to errors on Wata’s part, or games that have misprints?

 

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Mar 27 at 8:10:23 PM
superNESman (102)
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(Deniz "Alpo The Great" Kahn) < Bowser >
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Originally posted by: KHAN Games

Stoked to send you some KHAN Games. Excited to see how the graded games will look.

Stoked to receive your games, Kev! We have already received some homebrews, and with the scannable technology that is built into our case, there is a lot of awesome information that we can provide and tie directly to that copy of the game to celebrate the work that the programmers put into these...well, pieces of history. History isn’t just about the past! 

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Mar 27 at 8:10:44 PM
superNESman (102)
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(Deniz "Alpo The Great" Kahn) < Bowser >
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Originally posted by: 1upped

Exciting stuff! Out of curiosity, and maybe I missed it, but has WATA considered Pedigree collections? I have always enjoyed seeing certain pedigrees such as "mile high" etc. because of the history. Anyhow, good luck...you certainly have addressed some gaping holes in the grading aspect of this wonderful hobby.

You bring up a great point! Since we are all about creating an appreciation of art and history in video games, recognizing pedigrees goes hand-in-hand with that. Due to the youth of this hobby, there are not nearly as many recognized pedigrees as there are in comic collecting, for example. If certification were around when Edgar Church’s books were discovered, I’m not sure that the Mile High books would get certified. But certification helped bring them out of the woodworks and into the public light, allowing the entire community to appreciate this amazing collection and preservation of history. One of my biggest hopes is that Wata can help uncover and unearth pieces of history that would otherwise be buried in attics, or worse, thrown away. We are collectors and preservationists first. While we have to be careful about identifying true pedigrees and distinguishing between historically significant collections and very nice condition items, we are absolutely looking to note and recognize this aspect of collecting in a way that hasn’t been done in video games before.

 

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Mar 27 at 8:19:35 PM
superNESman (102)
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(Deniz "Alpo The Great" Kahn) < Bowser >
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Originally posted by: Dr. Morbis

I understand the idea of having a sealed game as sort of a "trophy" that sits on your shelf that you can't play, but what on earth is the point of owning a loose cartridge of a game that you literally cannot play?!?

Regardless, I do wish you the best of luck with your endeavor...
Basil, cominng from someone who has been around for as long as you have, I greatly appreciate you commenting – and it’s great to see you around!
 
This is one of the most fundamental discussion points surrounding certification, and has existed throughout hobbies as long as certification has existed. And it will continue to exist! I want to preface in my answer that certification is not for everybody, and it is not for every game. I am a collector first. Personally, if I were certifying my own games (note: no Wata employees may certify their own games, as this is a recognized conflict of interest), I would not certify my entire collection. In fact, I would only certify a small portion of it. That’s my personal preference, and that’s also because I collect just about everything – and not everything is meant to be certified. Some individuals may only collect items that shouldn’t be certified, and some may only collect items that should be certified. The key here is that what defines “should” and “shouldn’t” is that collector themselves, period. It is not an objective concept—it is personal. No single title or single condition of a game “should” be certified. Perhaps the game you want certified is a worthless copy of a game that you remember playing with your beloved family member, and you want a way to preserve it aesthetically and freeze it in time.
 
As I said, I’m a collector first, and an avid retro gamer as well. I have thousands of games, and I can tell you that unlike in 2007, I haven’t placed a single one of those games in an NES or SNES in years. Once I bought a Powerpak/Everdrive, I was able to carry every single one of the games I wanted to play on one cartridge, wherever I went! Thanks to technology, we can have the exact same experience that we would by owning the original hardware…in fact, we can experience more by playing games that we don’t physically own or that were never even released, and have the exact same experience as if we owned them. When people were spending over $500 on an NES cartridge, they were labeled as nuts. When Stadium Events sold for $800, all hell broke loose. As more collectors enter the market, prices increase – it’s in inevitable symptom that we have seen over the years, far more than I’m sure we could have anticipated. While many collectors want to purchase and collect the games to actually play them, many also want to purchase them to, well, collect them. The hobby evolved to where it was no  longer about playing it. It’s about…well, it’s about something that many of us have tried to describe for years but just haven’t been able to, and that’s what defines collecting to me. It stirs something inside of us that none of us can really describe, and that something has nothing to do with playing the game. Otherwise, items in great condition would sell for just as much as trashed ones. Call me materialistic!
 
With other collectibles, the same argument has been made once an item is certified: you can’t spend the coin, you can’t read the comic, you can’t play with the toy, etc etc - you can’t use the item. Yet nbody is spending millions of dollars on an Action Comics #1 to read it. In fact, many, if not most, comic collectors don’t even read comics much. And with comics, even if you did want to read an Action Comics #1 and bought a cheap reprint for a few dollars, you won’t have the same experience. The page quality will be different. The old-book smell won’t be there. You may, but likely won’t, be brought back to that time years ago when you sat and read the old books. The great thing about technology and video games is that if you emulate with something like a Powerpak, you not only get to play the games, but the software doesn’t change – it’s the exact same experience. Many will disagree till the cows come home and the argument will ALWAYS exist. But as hardcore collectors, we feel that you no longer need to own a game to play it, and that games are not only valued for their utility. They are so much, much more, to us.
Further, in certifying loose carts, many of them are not even games that are really played. Take a MACS cartridge for the SNES, or any test cartridge, or a Not-For-Resale demo…all these are collected for their history, obscurity, rarity – whatever drives the collector to spend hundreds or even thousands on these items. But in most instances, the driving factor has nothing to do with playng the game.

At the end of the day, I want to stress again that certifying games is not for everyone or every game. The value that we attempt to provide with our services is so much deeper than putting a game in a case and assigning a number to it. Our services are with the collector in mind, and we tried to create something for every type of collector, no matter your experience or preference. We've made significant investments to make a holder that is secure to give the seller peace of mind, that is aesthetic to give the collector a beautiful centerpiece, and the information/history/variant data and provenance (through our detailed label and technology) to allow the preservationist to dive even deeper into the dynamic hobby. We want to freeze your game in time and allow it to be appreciated for the peice of art and history that we see it as. Pleasing everyone is an impossible feat, but we want to do our best. That's also why we want to listen to the community and why we've created a thread like this. Your feedback is not just important to us, it is integral. 

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Edited: 03/27/2018 at 08:23 PM by superNESman

Mar 27 at 8:22:42 PM
hybrid (43)
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(jeff .) < Lolo Lord >
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Originally posted by: superNESman

Originally posted by: hybrid

What about misprints
How much does it cost?
Could you please clarify your question? Are you referring to errors on Wata's part, or games that have misprints?

 





Games with misprints or other manufacturing errors like if I were to send you this

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Mar 27 at 9:39:24 PM
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Bronty (65)
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Originally posted by: Maertens29
 
Originally posted by: AirVillain

What happens if I want to play a game after it becomes "graded"?

"Tamper Evident. The contents can be accessed safely, but only through visibly destroying the holder itself. The holder will break and discolor."

What? Does that sound stupid to anyone else?

So, I can "safely access" my game... but only by breaking the holder? Then it discolours?

Despite the obvious flaw of misspelling "discolour", I find this to be quite odd.

So... you CAN'T access your game safely??? Breaking the case open, I don't think contitutes "safely". So what am I missing here?

First of all, grading loose games is confusing to me... now they are encased in a plastic housing that can never be opened without breaking?

 

Sorry to be a negative Nancy, but I think I'm with Pegboy on this one.


Using "ou" instead of simply "o" on certain words is a Canada thing, not a misspelling on their part.  C'mon, man. (and frankly, looks stupid, and I'm saying that as a Canadian).  

here is a short list:
 
  • colour vs color
  • flavour vs flavor
  • behaviour vs behavior
  • humour vs humor
  • rumour vs rumor
  • honour vs honor
  • armour vs armor


Yep!  Them 'mericans spell those words wroung  

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WTB Cdn sealed black boxes, sealed Cdn first party titles.    I.e. the "mattel" Cdn boxes with both french and english.   Mainly black boxes, zelda, link, and tyson, but let me know what you have.    I am interested in anything I don't already have!


Mar 27 at 11:07:31 PM
broncofantd793 (34)
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Best of luck! Even as a staunch opener of most sealed games, I think this is great for the hobby. Competition and transparency should better the hobby as a whole.

Mar 28 at 12:37:26 AM
Dr. Morbis (30)
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SuperNESman, thanks for the detailed response. What you wrote makes a lot of sense, it's just hard to wrap my head around as an old school collector. You're right, most "rare" prize collectable games are not purchased for their amazing play value, exceptions like Little Samson aside. Since I'm both a collector and a gamer who plays his library of games on their original hardware, sealing up a cartridge is acrylic would be, shall we say, counterproductive for me. Even my rare stuff, protos, high value games and the like, are cool to pop into a system every now and again to experience them or just show the game play to friends. But perhaps I am the exception, and a lot of people are, as you said, using powerpaks and emulation at this point. And that's cool with me - different strokes for different folks. As I said in my last post, I wish you the best of luck on this journey...

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My mantra, as worded by SamSpade on 06/12/12:
I don't resell to fund my collection, I don't treat this hobby like a second job, I don't care if my collection is worth ten bucks or ten thousand because I never plan on selling it. Seriously, what does the value have to do with anything if you never plan on selling? Speculation doesn't mean jack shit to me at this point, I just want to play my nes games...

Mar 28 at 10:26:32 AM
Nert (55)
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Originally posted by: Bronty

Originally posted by: Maertens29
 
Originally posted by: AirVillain

What happens if I want to play a game after it becomes "graded"?

"Tamper Evident. The contents can be accessed safely, but only through visibly destroying the holder itself. The holder will break and discolor."

What? Does that sound stupid to anyone else?

So, I can "safely access" my game... but only by breaking the holder? Then it discolours?

Despite the obvious flaw of misspelling "discolour", I find this to be quite odd.

So... you CAN'T access your game safely??? Breaking the case open, I don't think contitutes "safely". So what am I missing here?

First of all, grading loose games is confusing to me... now they are encased in a plastic housing that can never be opened without breaking?

 

Sorry to be a negative Nancy, but I think I'm with Pegboy on this one.


Using "ou" instead of simply "o" on certain words is a Canada thing, not a misspelling on their part.  C'mon, man. (and frankly, looks stupid, and I'm saying that as a Canadian).  

here is a short list:
 
  • colour vs color
  • flavour vs flavor
  • behaviour vs behavior
  • humour vs humor
  • rumour vs rumor
  • honour vs honor
  • armour vs armor


Yep!  Them 'mericans spell those words wroung  



yeah they should cheque their spelling

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Switch Friend Code: SW-3306-9533-2032

Mar 28 at 11:19:29 AM
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coffeewithmrsaturn (350)
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Originally posted by: superNESman

What we don’t grade
-All video game systems
-All video game accessories
-Video Game Epherma (magazines, paperwork, etc.)
-Video game trophies & miscellanea
Well, since we're on the subject of spelling, this one caught my eye.  If you're putting this same text up on your website, I figured this is free editing instead of unsolicited pickiness    I think the word is "ephemera."

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Have any GBA NFR games with back stickers for sale or trade?  See my want list below :)
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Mar 28 at 11:53:31 AM
superNESman (102)
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(Deniz "Alpo The Great" Kahn) < Bowser >
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Originally posted by: Pat the NES Punk

Transparency. Accountability. Actual experts. Standards. Good stuff!

Grading and slabbing cartridges - ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh not thrilled by the prospect.

Either way, on paper this already appears tons better than VGA.

Thanks, Pat. We anticipated that many within the community would not be thrilled by the prospect of grading loose cartridges. At the same time, we wanted to create a service that gives all collectors the opportunity to participate, regardless of their personal collecting preferences/needs, which in most cases extend beyond validating just sealed games. As I mentioned above: we've made significant investments to make a holder that is secure to give the seller peace of mind, that is aesthetic to give the collector a beautiful centerpiece, and the information/history/variant data and provenance (through our detailed label and technology) to allow the preservationist to dive even deeper into the dynamic hobby. We tried our best to create value at every level so that should anyone choose to certify their games with Wata, they are going to be satisfied with their decision. The key here again is that they still have that option – I’ve stressed before that not every game should be certified, and it’s always up to the collector himself/herself to make that decision. But should he decide he wants to, we do not want to exclude him.
 
Additionally, as you know, there are a lot of games that were never released in any state other than as loose cartridges, including games that would never be played otherwise (MACS, NFRs, Test Carts, early homebrews, etc). Opening certification to all states at the least gives collectors the choice to certify their cartridges for display purposes, authentication, information access, variance/provenance data, etc. – they can decide what’s important to them if they have the option. Personally, I’m mostly a CIB collector. And as I mentioned in a previous post, I would not by any means get a large portion of my collection certified if I were on the outside looking in. We're not opening our services with the intention of getting people to submit Mario's and Zelda's and Sonic's. Yet if someone wants to take the beat copy of SMB3 that they played with their brother as a kid for hours on end and ‘freeze it in time’ to make a centerpiece on their mantle, we want to allow them do that. People somewhat mysteriously certify worthless comic books, cards, and coins where the cost of certification is even higher than the value of the item. Collecting is a very personal thing, and sometimes the items we collect have personal meaning/significance to us that the rest of us may never understand. We don't feel it's our job to decide for collectors what should and shouldn't be certified, but rather to simply open the possibility and provide the best quality service to any collector, should they decide to certify a video game.

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Mar 28 at 11:54:09 AM
superNESman (102)
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(Deniz "Alpo The Great" Kahn) < Bowser >
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The issue of a conflict of interest was brought up, so I wanted to address these very legitimate concerns.

Once the games hit the grader's table, the graders are grading blindly. This means that nobody grading knows whose game is whose. Grading is a process isolated from the rest – like a vacuum, where the graders are completely removed from the receiving and shipping processes, which make all submissions anonymous. This was done intentionally. Objectivity is paramount, and indeed a fundamental cornerstone of any reliable certification service. As collectors with backgrounds in various collectibles fields, we have seen in the history of certification that even a whiff of nepotism or special treatment is not just detrimental, it is catastrophic. We are not driven by the fear of being perceived as giving special treatment, but rather by the principle that one of the fundamental purposes of certification is to level the playing field in the marketplace. Nobody should receive a higher price or value on a game because of who they are or because they are trusted. Our standards alone will allow Joe Shmo in the middle of nowhere who finds a Stadium Events at a garage sale receive the same price when it sells if that same copy were sold by the most reputable collector around. That prospect alone is exciting and what drives us to provide the most objective and transparent service possible.

Granted, there are a handful of "famous" copies of certain games where the game alone is unique and/or special enough that the graders may know who the owner is based solely on the game. If the graders at one of the comic certification companies don't know who owns the Mile High copy of Action Comics #1, then in all honesty, they are not qualified to be grading. The same logic applies to video games. Will our graders not know who the submitter is? No, but in very few instance they would, because any advanced collector knows the location of certain items. If they didn't know, that would show a lack of expertise and knowledge, something unacceptable for someone grading your games and something incompatible with the quality of service that Wata is aiming to offer.

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Edited: 03/28/2018 at 02:08 PM by superNESman

Mar 28 at 2:34:00 PM
MotherBrian (16)
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Really glad to see a grading service open to regular CIB copies of games. I've always been curious of the idea of graded games, but never wanted to get into it due to cost, restriction to sealed games, and generally I like being able to play the games that the boxes hold.

Still, I think it's wonderful that you've gotten this far with a passion project, and I wish you the best! Maybe eventually there will be a "Show off your Wata graded games" thread on NA.  

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Mar 28 at 7:42:51 PM
TheBiRD (74)
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Very excited to see the website on April! 3 questions here :
1. About grading homebrew/ repro that are still "sealed". Will it be opened and graded as Cib or you will grade it as sealed?
2. Will the database of all the graded game will be available? Just curious if I may wanna compare my grade anking with the other submission..
3. Can you grade a CIb without the cartridge? I mean only grade the box, manual, poster?

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Looking for SNeS : NHLPA 93, NHL 95-96 all 3 sealed mint. Trade or $$ !

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Edited: 03/29/2018 at 05:03 PM by TheBiRD

Mar 29 at 12:32:40 AM
theirontoupee (51)
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How would different versions of games be handled, like the prototype-style run of Exertainment MBR or my Singer Izek proto-type-ish cart?

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WTB Thread (Always looking for Exertainment related items)

FO/FT Thread - Xbox, PS1, Gamecube, and more!

NintendoAge Official Exertainment Thread!!!

Mar 29 at 5:49:45 AM
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Krunch (143)
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Question: Will it ever be possible to grade instruction manuals using your service? What about posters (that came packed in with the game)? Or do these items fall under the epherma (sp) category?

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Mar 29 at 11:33:06 AM
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neodolphino (175)
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One thing you guys may want to consider as a service (or at least advertise) is converting VGA graded (and whatever that European grading service is) games to your service...

It might help people who have VGA graded games that like the idea of your service more, jump ship. It makes for a cleaner collection to have everything graded by the same service, and in uniform containers (instead of a hodgepodge).

Mar 29 at 1:25:50 PM
Benihana (154)
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From a collector who does not have a single sealed game (and there fore not a single VGA graded game) I can safely say I am going to send in a couple of my high end loose carts. And maybe even next year when I move to Colorado I will drop off SE for funzies. It has been in a frame for 10 years now, why not get it professionally cleaned and packaged up. Not like I am ever going to play it again  

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My Biggest Fear is...She Sells my Games for the Amount I told her I paid for them.

 

Mar 30 at 5:34:31 PM
AirVillain (15)
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Originally posted by: BreaKBeatZ
You can't let people access their games and place them back in the casing without any sign of it.  If you did, they could swap out the game for a worse condition copy.
Right. Of course.
 
Originally posted by: Ray Bot

by safely, they mean it wont damage the cart. like, you dont have to take a saw to the case in order to get the cart out. but once you pop the seal, it becomes clearly evident that it's been tampered with.
Right. Haha. Silly me. I honestly thought it referred to the case, haha.
 
Originally posted by: Maertens29

Using "ou" instead of simply "o" on certain words is a Canada thing, not a misspelling on their part.  C'mon, man. (and frankly, looks stupid, and I'm saying that as a Canadian).  

here is a short list:
 
  • colour vs color
  • flavour vs flavor
  • behaviour vs behavior
  • humour vs humor
  • rumour vs rumor
  • honour vs honor
  • armour vs armor

I was being facetious.
 
Originally posted by: MrWunderful

Emulate. 

Yeah, no doubt. I'm just not the target market, I suppose.
 
Originally posted by: Bronty

Yep!  Them 'mericans spell those words wroung  

Tootally! Haha... At least someone got my joke.

Anyways... To each their own. Not sure carts need to be encased in plastic but hey, do your thing, man. I don't have an NWC or Little Sampson to worry about. Life's troubles.

Also, how long does it take to grade a comic book? If someone has graded over 1,000,000 comics, how many years have they been doing it? I hope it takes longer to grade an NES game....? That's a lot of comics.

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AirVillain    
"Way cool, dude!"


Edited: 03/30/2018 at 05:47 PM by AirVillain

Mar 30 at 6:31:56 PM
GPX (1)

< Eggplant Wizard >
Posts: 318 - Joined: 05/17/2017
Profile
Just curious to know if there will be markings to differentiate a score of 9+ between a MIB and a New but opened game?
I think this is an important aspect of this new service, where likely there will be plenty of mint CIBs sent in amongst the "Qualified" ones.

Mar 31 at 6:36:52 AM
DarkTone (2)
avatar
(GameCube Boss) < Bowser >
Posts: 6514 - Joined: 01/15/2013
United Kingdom
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Congrats. Good luck.

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"Vacations are dangerous! They give you too much time to realize you work too hard." - Dain

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