How to Spot Fake Pokémon Nintendo DS Games!

Bootleg-Pokemon-Games

I was playing my Nintendo DS, and the Pokémon game cartridge I was using wouldn't load. I thought that was strange, the pin on the game looked clean. My Nintendo DS played every other game cartridge I inserted. Furthermore, I tried the Pokémon game on a different DS, the game started up, but would then freeze.

This got me thinking that something must be wrong with this game. Then I compared the Pokémon game, with a few other Nintendo DS games. I noticed some big differences that lead me to determine I had some bootleg video games.
So let's discuss the differences I found with the fake game. And how you can avoid buying counterfeit versions, of Pokémon Nintendo DS games. If you want to view larger images, you can see them on pinterest @  TheOSGVault

Counterfeit Pokemon Nintendo DS Gamespokemon heartgold fake vs real 

Step 1: The Serial Code / Region Code Must Match

The biggest factor I found to determine counterfeit cartridges is the serial number. If you look on the bottom of the front label you will see some numbers such as [NTR-IPKE-USA]. The middle group of numbers [IPKE] needs to be a part of the serial number on the back of the cartridge. As you can see from the photo, this group of lettering is not a part of the serial numbers.
Upon inspecting approximately 12 other games. Each game had the second group of lettering, clearly part of the serial number, on the backside.  This is by far the quickest and easiest way to identifying fake cartridges.

How to Spot Counterfeit Pokémon Nintendo DS Games

Step 2: The Font

The main noticeable difference is the font on the back of the cartridge. The Nintendo on the back of the cartridge is in a larger font than a "genuine Nintendo DS game". Then if you look at the font for the model number & the [Pat. Pend.], it is the same similar larger font as the "Nintendo Lettering". Refer to the photo below.
 
The font above the letter “E” on the front of the cartridge. When compared to an authentic game. The wording “everyone” is much more legible on an authentic game. This also goes for the basic font on the front of the label. On the Legitimate game the font is much clearer and pronounced as you can see in the photo.

 

Step 2b: The Cartridge Color

When you look closer game to game, "BELOW" you'll notice the games are different color's.  You can notice a different in colors between the two games.  The color of the shell the on the Pokémon HeartGold Version in the photo is grayish. As the color should be black like the Authentic Pokémon Soul Silver cartridge in the photo.

Genuine and Fake Pokemon DS Front Label Scan

Step 3: The Front Label

When you examine counterfeit copies & genuine games like the two games in the photo above. You can see that the bottom left corner of Soul Silver has a very distinct angle to it.  When you examine reproduction copies like the Pokémon HeartGold Version. You can see the bottom left corner of the label is rounded.
 
As I continue to do some research about the fake Pokémon Nintendo DS games. I thought the game label would stand out, much like a counterfeit GBA game would. This doesn't seem to be the case. The label on the front of the Pokémon game appears to have all the similar markings as a genuine Nintendo DS game. Except for the rounded bottom left corner on the Pokémon Heart Gold Version shown above.
 
Make sure to check out our other articles about the growing problem. And how to spot bootleg video  games on other systems. Here are the other articles, hopefully you can find them useful. How to spot Fake Pokemon GBA Games, How to spot bootleg SNES Games & How to spot Fake N64 games.

 

The Conclusion:

These points above are the best way to identify real games vs a fake Pokémon game. Also, to note, bootleg Pokémon games won’t connect to a Pokewalker. The points mentioned above would also work to identify other counterfeit DS games.  Do you have any suggestions that I may have missed?  Please list any questions or comments below.

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Comments 3

Guest
Guest - Guest on Monday, 24 February 2020 11:49

The most obvious is the card colour, as Pokemon HeartGold-Black 2/White 2 have IR functionality.

The most obvious is the card colour, as Pokemon HeartGold-Black 2/White 2 have IR functionality.
Guest
Guest - Dave on Wednesday, 22 September 2021 01:10

I watched a video online that discussed the "tells" of a counterfeit based on the cases themselves in a situation where you can't inspect the cartridge. For the games with holographic sparkles, authentic games only have sparkles on the front cover art, where counterfeits cover the entire insert in sparkly holographics. Its clear once you see it.

I watched a video online that discussed the "tells" of a counterfeit based on the cases themselves in a situation where you can't inspect the cartridge. For the games with holographic sparkles, authentic games only have sparkles on the front cover art, where counterfeits cover the entire insert in sparkly holographics. Its clear once you see it.
Guest
Guest - Klaxynd on Thursday, 28 April 2022 20:19

I just (accidentally) bought a counterfeit Pokémon Soul Silver cart. One more thing to note is the bottom left corner of counterfeits seem to have a more rounded edge to the sticker than real ones.

I just (accidentally) bought a counterfeit Pokémon Soul Silver cart. One more thing to note is the bottom left corner of counterfeits seem to have a more rounded edge to the sticker than real ones.
Guest
Sunday, 25 September 2022