Spotting fake GameBoy games

April 29, 2023

This post is part of the Game Boy series (#5).

TLDR: Real or fake? Sometimes it is difficult to spot fake Game Boy games. See the complete guide here:

I started collecting Game Boy games around 3 years ago, when I got into old Game Boy games (and later also into refurbishing old Game Boys).

After buying a game and finding out pretty quickly that it was fake, I did quite some research and found some helpful videos and blog posts, with a lot of information. I started to collect and aggregate information, until I realized that only with good example images I would be able to actually use and remember it in the future (and maybe it could be even helpful for others?)

That was the point I decided to put together a guide myself, with as many examples with images I could possibly find.

I wrote to all the people I bought Game Boy games from in the last year, and immediately got replies coming in, and some days and weeks later also post packages. I ended up with a big box of fake games, reproductions, counterfeits and cheap copies.

With everything available, I started to make photos, and collecting and creating categories for possible signs when a game is real or not. I ended up with the following categories:

  • Label
  • Plastic
  • PCB
  • Box

There were also two special cases, China releases (which turned out to be real after all!) and label replacements, with authentic game cartridges but label reproductions.

Zoomable images

I put some effort into making the images zoomable. There are two types of zoomable images:

single zoom

Single zoom images: Zoom in on a single image, within a fixed "frame" (original embedded size of the image).

double zoom

Parallel zoomable images: These are especially helpful when I had both the fake and the original it intended to copy, so you can see exactly what the difference is.

Overall it was a nice experience writing some pure JS/HTML again, as opposed to most of the Angular/TypeScript stuff I'm doing nowadays :-)

Please see the complete guide here:

Thanks for reading and good luck spotting fake games!