Everyone loves their portable gaming systems. My personal favorite is the Nintendo Gameboy Advance SP. Since it's small and easily concealed, it goes where I go, including work! Like most video game freaks, I want all the games but want to spend as little as possible. I end up buying most of my GBA games used. Unfortunately, while shopping for the best deals I've been ripped off. Not by high prices, but by pirates and their bootlegs. I'm writing this short article to share some of my experiences and tips to help protect fellow gamers.
Where did I run into bootlegs? Why Ebay of course! So far I have purchased three bootlegs off Ebay, but my mistakes have armed me with knowledge. Some of these tips seem like common sense, but sometimes even the keen bidder can be tricked.
Stay Away From:
- Sellers that have negative feedback claiming game is a bootleg, pirated, or not an original (Duh!)
- Sellers from crazy pirating areas of the world (Hong Kong, Taiwan etc)
- Sellers who don't post pictures of the game, box, manual (stock pictures don't count)
- Sellers who seem to be big game "dealers" but only sell GBA games
- Sellers who offer the full packaging, but the boxes have been disassembled for shipping purposes (counterfiet boxes)
- If it gives you that funny feeling in your stomach, then no doubt it's a bootleg.
The first two are a dead give away, the others may apply to some auctions but not others. Not all bootlegs offer the box and manual, and some will offer pictures of their pirated items (sometimes you'll even notice the stickers on the games are wrong!). I've seen bootleg sellers claiming to be from England and even some from the USA. You're never really safe buying GBA games on Ebay, I stay away from the big dealers unless they sell PS2 and Xbox games as well.
How to tell if you have a bootleg:
- Label on game is unusually glossy and/or has no numbers imprinted on label
- Font for "Gameboy Advance" on front of cartridge looks different from other GBA games you own
- "Nintendo" on the back is spelled wrong (Duh!) I've seen "NIntendo" and "NIntondo"
- "Pat. Pend. Made in Japan" missing on the back
- Even that little circle on the back (with the white dot in the middle) will look different
What do you do if you have a bootleg? Can't do too much. Might as well throw it away. It's going to be cheaply made. You can try playing it. I had one that didn't even have the right game on it, another failed after a week of playing. You can try filing a complaint with Ebay or Paypal. Neither could help me as I received the product. They told me it was my responsibillty to take it up with the seller. One seller ignored me, the other told me he'd refund me after I mailed it back to him (yeah right).
If you don't care about the box or manual I recommend buying used GBA games from www.ebgames.com. Their prices may be a little higher than Ebay, but you can use your EB edge card plus other discount codes. And best of all they provide high quality games made by our friends at Nintendo!
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