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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2018 5:43 pm 
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I'm an old school Nintendo fan. I'm trying to make sure I'm buying real, authentic games for the NES etc and have watched multiple videos online and am dissatisfied with the quality and extent of content on the subject. They definitely help with the obvious basics, but I still find myself feeling doubtful about a lot of purchases. I can look at my own childhood games for games that I get extra copies of, but I find checking the PCB's online to be disconcerting for the games that I haven't owned yet. The only place I've found is the bootgod site for NES games, and I don't see a discord or a means of contacting almost anyone on the site at all that seems to be fitting so I'm trying to hopefully reach someone that happens to be very knowledgeable here. I don't know if the database on bootgod is considered complete or comprehensive or just has what has been submitted so far.

I have a Blaster Master game with a different SLROM (it's an SLROM2) board type than even listed on the entire bootgod site, but the game, box & manual look so legit compared to the board itself that I have a hard time convincing myself if the cart PCB is fake or not. The U2 board also has a completely different chip identifier, too. I have similar issues with a lot of games. Half+ of the chip identifiers are legit seeming, but one or two of the major ones (usually the U2) tends to vary a lot from typical listings for said chips on the sites out there.

Also, I was wondering if the PCB has a K or YB or a similar country identifier in a small circle on part of the NES/SNES PCB board, are any of those red flags to watch for? I don't know if Korea (which is what I'd expect the K in a circle to mean) was quite making PCB's for Nintendo back in the early NES and/or SNES era or not. These kinds of boards tend to look brand new a lot of the time, but a lot of people do take good care of their games.

Thanks in advance to anyone that can shed some light on all these concerns or can inform me of the most expert fake-spotting techniques out there. I really want to become as much of an expert as possible on these things so I can buy and sell comfortably. Any links to more in-depth expertise available in useful sites or resources that I'm not finding in basic online searches would also be extremely appreciated.


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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2018 6:24 pm 
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People don't tend to make fakes of $8 games.

If I were going to make a fake, I would make a simple NROM game that is over $20, like Donkey Kong, or better yet, Donkey Kong Jr, Math.

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nesdoug.com -- blog/tutorial on programming for the NES


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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2018 6:28 pm 
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NEScartDB is a comprehensive list of all licensed games released in the US (and most of the licensed Japanese games)( ... but it's not a comprehensive list of all releases of all licensed games.

If the date codes line up, and there's no PROMs, you're probably ok. Cart reproductions don't seem to be the same sort of thing that invite conspicuous IC fakery unless it's claiming to be a prototype.

... and yeah, what DougEff says. Counterfeits are ultimately about monetary fraud.


Last edited by lidnariq on Sun May 27, 2018 6:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2018 6:29 pm 
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Sure nesdoug, but I need the various questions answered for the more valuable games as well


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PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2018 8:56 pm 
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Though it's a theoretical possibility, I've never heard of anyone making counterfeit PCBs. If the board looks normal and unmodified, looks like other Nintendo boards you've seen, and the ROM doesn't look like an EPROM, you've probably got something authentic.

In general I don't think bootleggers are trying to fool people who will look inside the cart and know what a Nintendo PCB should look like. They make enough money from those who don't.


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 2:37 am 
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rainwarrior wrote:
Though it's a theoretical possibility, I've never heard of anyone making counterfeit PCBs. If the board looks normal and unmodified, looks like other Nintendo boards you've seen, and the ROM doesn't look like an EPROM, you've probably got something authentic.


I wouldn't be so sure. Extremely convincing fakes are actually starting to show up, and I've seen examples of some where the only real giveaway was the printing on the ROM ICs (I think I linked them here in another thread recently)

That kind of stuff is only gonna happen with really rare/expensive titles though. No one is gonna fake a Blaster Master, one of the most common games on the system - especially not with both a box and manual included.
If you find a fake Blaster Master, it's not something made to earn money on ignorant collectors, but just a cheap crappy chinese bottleg or something like that, and it will be extremely obvious that it's a fake.

But when buying some of the rare stuff, especially if you're getting it cart-only, I'd always open the cart to check the PCB. And if you can't match it perfectly with anything on bootgod's database, post pictures of your PCB either here or on NintendoAge or similar, there will definitely be people who are able to help. I'm not sure why you'd want a Discord for that stuff, when forums are here.


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 6:32 am 
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Probably because Discord has better integration with notifications on desktop or mobile operating systems than phpBB has.


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 9:42 am 
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Thanks for all the input everyone!

Yeah I'm kinda new to exploring these avenues and I've had more luck on Discord with game information and such, so coming to forums is something that's new to me even though I know it's been the norm for people for over a decade on the net (yeah I'm used to the notifications etc too there)

I was just surprised to see Korean and other originating countries for NES circuit boards. I know Korea's been big since around somewhere in the SNES era from the carts I've opened, but information on what was produced where would be really useful to know as part of the history of cart manufacturing to more readily determine what's authentic or not. I guess it's ancient undocumented history for the most part though, from how there's next to no information out there on it all.


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2018 11:47 am 
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Sumez wrote:
I wouldn't be so sure. Extremely convincing fakes are actually starting to show up, and I've seen examples of some where the only real giveaway was the printing on the ROM ICs (I think I linked them here in another thread recently)

Could you be more specific about what you're referring to?

Like, what I'm saying is that I've never seen any bootleg go so far as to forge the Nintendo name on a PCB, or really any indication that the inside of a bootleg was deliberately prepared to look like the original. You could in theory remake the PCB, silkscreen your ICs, etc. but that's a lot of extra work/cost for a bootlegger, and I strongly suspect that they don't really care about fooling the high-scrutiny niche. Making the outside look good is already an effective con.

Also, if we widen the scope from NES licensed games to also unlicensed ones, and especially Famicom games, or other systems which weren't so restrictively licensed as Nintendo's, the standards really break down. You'd need a lot more data to spot a fake Famicom PCB from more obscure third party publishers. Licensed NES games though are really very consistent, aren't they? The exceptions seem to be fairly few.

(...and it would be really interesting to see a counterexample. I'm just saying that I've yet to see or hear of one, and I kinda assume it wouldn't be worthwhile in general.)


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 1:14 am 
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A whole bunch of NES carts are reaching the price point where there's actually a sizeable advantage to going through the work of replicating that stuff. I wouldn't be surprised if they scalped cheap games just for the PCB either. The difference between a cheap NES cart and a super expensive one is enormous.

Went digging for my post, and obviously it was in the other recent thread about bootleg carts here: viewtopic.php?p=218116#p218116

The Stadium Events bootleg looks like an original PCB, while the Magical Pop'n seems to be an incredibly well made copy, both with a Nintendo logo printed on. If it weren't for the labels on the ROM ICs, I would never have been able to conclude with 100% certainty that these are bootlegs.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 4:32 am 
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yamimike wrote:
These kinds of boards tend to look brand new a lot of the time

Please, don't take the board state as a measurement of how good care a game had taken.
I personally have got some originals that smelled like a corpse, had their labels all torn and the shells stained yet still their PCBs looked like brand new.
Looks like the original PCBs are kind of die hard and a little difficult to damage. :-)


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 10:03 am 
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Sumez wrote:
A whole bunch of NES carts are reaching the price point where there's actually a sizeable advantage to going through the work of replicating that stuff. I wouldn't be surprised if they scalped cheap games just for the PCB either. The difference between a cheap NES cart and a super expensive one is enormous.

Yeah for games that are in the thousands a lot of work is justified, as is a lot of extra scrutiny for buyers. I would agree that at some price point nearly anything is in-scope for forgers.

Thanks for the two examples.

Sumez wrote:
The Stadium Events bootleg looks like an original PCB

At least from that photograph I would assume it is an original PCB, and not forged? A transplant rather than a total recreation. Stadium Events also has the advantage of having ROMs small enough that standard OTP EPROMs will fit without rewiring.

Sumez wrote:
Magical Pop'n seems to be an incredibly well made copy

I don't really know what Super Famicom PCBs are supposed to look like, but comparing with the sparse PCB photos available here it doesn't seem to match. So... are we looking at a fake board, not designed to duplicate the original exactly, but with a forged Nintendo name and other markings?


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2018 10:56 am 
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rainwarrior wrote:
I don't really know what Super Famicom PCBs are supposed to look like,
As far as I can tell, the same PCBs were used in all markets for the Super NES/Famicom.


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 1:04 am 
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rainwarrior wrote:
At least from that photograph I would assume it is an original PCB, and not forged?
(...)
So... are we looking at a fake board, not designed to duplicate the original exactly, but with a forged Nintendo name and other markings?


Well those two conclusions were exactly what I was getting at (although I'm absolutely not an expert), however, I'd assume the goal of the Magical Pop'n -is- to duplicate the original one, but they probably had some limitations in how they could produce them. Some people pointed out that the edge connectors were different from how all SNES games are, but it's difficult for me to see it. When the guy first posted the picture on the NintendoAge board most people immediately confirmed that the game was legit, so it definitely managed to fool several experts.

Worth noting that although Magical Pop'n is getting expensive, it's not really a super rare game (I got one for ~$80 just a couple of years ago, but it's crawled into the +$100 area since), and I think even going to this extend for a cart-only bootleg surprised me a lot.


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2018 4:57 am 
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But have eBay sellers stooped so low as to sell a pirated Pirates! and call it ULTRA RARE? (Which it would be.)


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