I'm strangely fascinated by counterfeit video game cartridges. I've never bought one, nor do I desire to do so, but I am intrigued by the workmanship and generally cutting of corners that goes into producing a shabby, fake copy of a major video game. Today's example of being taken for a ride comes to us from The Games Shed in which a writer identified only as Jamie describes the experience of buying what turned out to be a counterfeit copy of Pokémon Ruby for the Game Boy Advance from an eBay seller.
A couple of days later and our Pokémon GBA pack arrives all the way from the midlands. I instantly knew something was off with these games. They rattled. They shouldn’t rattle. Them being the Pokémon collection they are all different colour translucent carts, which, for the record, we do already own. The colours were all slightly wrong. Rather odd, but there could be any reason for that right? Sunlight exposure… err… hmm, possibly exposure to gamma rays?
The first warning sign that something was wrong with this eBay auction is that the seller was shipping from China. For cryin' out loud, never ever purchase media from China no matter how good a deal you think you'll get. With the rare exception that might as well be a margin of error calculation, the item in question is fake. Count on it. [Note: I inadvertantly mixed Jamie's experience which involved a shipment from the Midlands in England with a comment posted to Jamie's article which described a similar experience which did ship from China. I apologize for the confusion. Still, my point stands.] What really struck me with this story is that the scammer came sort of clean when called on the poor quality of the fake and claimed that the Pokémon game was merely refurbished. I like that. That takes some chutzpah, as if one could refurbish a hunk of plastic the same way that one could restuff a cushion or replace the power supply on a television.