How to Spot Fake Pokemon Games, Nintendo Game Boy Advance Games

Spot-Bootleg-Pokemon-Games

Bootleg Game Boy Advance Pokémon games are getting more & more frequent in the gaming community.  Really, it's not just Pokémon games, it's pretty much all the popular games from the Game Boy Advance library.

This article shows a real vs fake Pokémon Emerald Game Boy Advance game as the example

The same principles can be applied to other GBA games. Below is a list of (7) seven points that have helped thousands of gamers know what a Pokémon emerald real vs fake game boy cartridge looks like.

With large online auction platforms allowing counterfeits to freely be sold. For this article, we are going to examine a fake Pokémon emerald game cartridge and an authentic Pokémon emerald game cartridge.    

Unfortunately, Counterfeit Pokémon Games look Real

Below is our guide to help weed a counterfeit game boy Pokémon game.  If you want to view larger images, you can see them on Pinterest @ TheOSGVault or make sure to go and watch the YouTube Video on the topic

If you enjoyed educating yourself with this type of knowledge, we have several other great reads about spotting bootleg Super Nintendo Games, Fake Nintendo DS Games, and How to Spot Counterfeit N64 games on our site as well.  Not to mention plenty of authentic pokemon games for sale in our store.


The Nintendo Seal / Imprinted Numbering:

The Nintendo logo should always be clear and the Nintendo seal print should be very visible and legible. With the fake label, the Nintendo seal has worn off. The label on the fake Pokémon game does not have a number imprint just above the Nintendo seal. A true Pokémon game will have a number print such as: [11, 08A] etc. 

This is probably the quickest

Way to check for a fake or legit copy is whether there is an Imprinted Number.  95% of all the pirated carts I've encountered don't have the imprinted numbering.  Labels do get worn, so you may need to angle the cartridge to get a good view of the label.

pokemon emerald real vs fake

Pokémon Emerald Real Vs Fake via The Game Cartridge Board

For many game boy games, opening up the game and examining the circuit boards can be a dead giveaway for spotting a bootleg Pokémon game. A real Game Boy Advance game has its internal chips; on the motherboard, marked with the lettering “MX”. Where most bootleg carts do not or have Japanese writing on them. (Refer to the Photo below)

how to tell if pokemon emerald is real

You will also notice in the photo

The font and font size for the lettering “Nintendo” is different on each board.

This photo was taken with a real and a fake Pokémon emerald. A Pokémon emerald always has an internal battery. The battery has been removed, but you can see the solder points for the battery. As you can see, the fake pokemon game, does not have a battery.

The Back of the cartridge shell:

As you can see, the cartridge color for the game is light green. A genuine Nintendo shell, has two square rectangle stamps on the inside of the back cartridge shell. As, if you look closely, the fake cartridge does not.

pokemon emerald authentic vs fake


The inside of the front of the cartridge shell:

On legit Pokémon game boy games, you will see an imprinted rectangle; this is located just behind the label.  Also, to note on the fake Pokémon game cartridge shells, see how the label shows through the shell.


fake pokemon games

Color of the Cartridges:

NTSC Pokémon cartridges have colored cartridge shells, which means Pokémon Leaf Green and Emerald should be green. Pokémon Sapphire has blue cartridge shell, Pokémon Ruby & Pokémon Fire Red both have a reddish cartridge shells.

As you can see from the photo below, based on all the information I’ve presented above, you can clearly see the difference in the legit carts and the counterfeit cartridges. The only versions that are not colored is Pokémon Mystery Dungeon & Pinball for GBA, as they are gray.

bootleg gba games

The Nintendo Font on the Back of the cartridge shell:

Pokémon cartridges will have Nintendo stamped into the back of all Nintendo NTSC cartridges. Look at this and make sure Nintendo is spelled correctly on the back of the cartridge, and do the same on the front of the cartridge. Many of the Pokémon bootleg games will have a spelling mistake.

Watch Out, Fake Pokémon Games Work:

This point is really what got me started with this article.  With bootleg Pokémon games, the game will start up like normal. Except, the save files are not immediately accessible. The game will ask you if you want to load the save file, which is definitely different from the authentic games. 

With authentic Pokémon games the game will load up like normal, and once you press start you have the option to view your save profile.

These are just a few of the points to look for with Pokémon fake games.

Is there any missing here? Do you have any tricks to tell if a Pokémon game is real vs fake? Please use the comment section below to further educate ourselves with any experiences you’ve had dealing with reproduction carts.

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Comments 3

Guest
Guest - Delta Ray Z on Friday, 28 January 2022 17:06

thanks for the emerald comparison

thanks for the emerald comparison :)
Guest
Guest - Delta Ray Z on Friday, 28 January 2022 17:07

there's a lot of repros there ;(

there's a lot of repros there ;(
Guest
Guest - Angela on Saturday, 30 April 2022 16:38

Greetings, I have a mystery about this. I have a Pokemon Sapphire game that I KNOW is genuine as I remember purchasing it 10+ years ago at Wal-Mart when they were popular. It almost looks like a counterfeit based on what you describe here, but it isn't. I have all 3 games, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald. I know that Ruby and Sapphire are legit copies of the game and my Emerald one I'm suspecting is a bootleg but I'm not entirely sure. My Sapphire game never asked "The save file will be loaded. The game can be played". It started to say this after I change the CR1616 battery for the first time. Maybe someone smarter than me can explain why a genuine copy bought from Wal-Mart looks like a counterfeit. I could suspect Wal-Mart was selling counterfeits, but I find this highly unlikely (although not impossible I guess, it is Wal-Mart after all).

----- Reply
You are right it is Walmart, and I'm sure Walmart never trained their employees to look for counterfeit games. Based off the amount of counterfeit GBA games I get in, this doesn't surprise me one bit. Thanks for the info.

Greetings, I have a mystery about this. I have a Pokemon Sapphire game that I KNOW is genuine as I remember purchasing it 10+ years ago at Wal-Mart when they were popular. It almost looks like a counterfeit based on what you describe here, but it isn't. I have all 3 games, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald. I know that Ruby and Sapphire are legit copies of the game and my Emerald one I'm suspecting is a bootleg but I'm not entirely sure. My Sapphire game never asked "The save file will be loaded. The game can be played". It started to say this after I change the CR1616 battery for the first time. Maybe someone smarter than me can explain why a genuine copy bought from Wal-Mart looks like a counterfeit. I could suspect Wal-Mart was selling counterfeits, but I find this highly unlikely (although not impossible I guess, it is Wal-Mart after all). ----- Reply You are right it is Walmart, and I'm sure Walmart never trained their employees to look for counterfeit games. Based off the amount of counterfeit GBA games I get in, this doesn't surprise me one bit. Thanks for the info.
Guest
Wednesday, 08 February 2023