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Fake Cartridges

Why worry about fakes?

It is well known among Nintendo Game Boy enthusiasts that the market for Game Boy Advance games cartridges is flooded with counterfeit products. Fake cartridges are unreliable, often failing to save game progress, assuming they work at all. Selling counterfeit products is illegal. Further, buying & selling fake products makes it harder for genuine games creators & developers to survive and bring new, exciting products to the market.

How does Gamerascal protect me?

Here at Gamerascal we do our utmost to ensure that all Nintendo and associated products we stock are genuine: any suspected counterfeits supplied to us are rejected. As well as verifying that each game loads and saves correctly, we carry out a detailed visual inspection of the cartridge and (if present) its packaging. If necessary we will open up the cartridge and look inside. Tell-tale signs such as inferior print quality and poorly applied labels help to root out many fakes. The cartridge's origin and target market can also yield clues as to its validity. A key sign of a genuine Nintendo Game Boy Advance cartridge is the presence of the copyright notice on the circuit-board, as described below.

If you have reason to believe that any cartridge we have supplied to you may be a fake, please return it to us for replacement (if available) or a full refund.

How can I tell if my cartridge is fake?

While many tests are subjective (especially if you don't happen to possess a known genuine article for comparison) perhaps the strongest evidence that your cartridge is genuine can be determined as follows: shine a torch or other bright light into the open edge of the cartridge so that you can clearly see the gold-coloured contacts. By carefully tilting the cartridge you should be able to make out Nintendo's copyright notice printed on the circuit-board just beyond the contacts, as shown below. Fake cartridges almost never have the Nintendo logo printed.

Genuine and fake cartridges

Wanna see inside?

We've removed the lids from four Game Boy Advance cartridges to compare the genuine and suspected counterfeit products.

Super Mario Circuit Board 1

This cartridge is a genuine Nintendo Game Boy Advance Super Mario. Notice the white lettering (including the copyright notice) and, at least from a visual inspection, the high standard of manufacture.

Super Mario Circuit Board 2

This cartridge (also a Super Mario) has no copyright notice and the standard of manufacture appears to fall well short of what one might expect from a company of Nintendo's standing. The balance of probability, therefore, is that this is a counterfeit product.

Pokemon Emerald Circuit Board 1

This cartridge is a genuine Nintendo Game Boy Advance Pokemon Emerald. Once again the copyright notice is present and the high quality of manufacture is apparent.

Pokemon Emerald Circuit Board 2

This Pokemon emerald Game Boy Advance cartridge lacks the copyright notice and again the standard of manufacture is questionable. It is probably a fake.


If you're thinking of opening-up your own Game Boy Advance cartridges to peek inside, please bear in mind that in doing so you will invalidate any warranty that came with the product, and of course you risk damaging the electronic components. If you still want to have a go then you'll need a special ‘tri-wing’ screw-driver to open the case, and remember to avoid touching the electronic components as they can be sensitive to static.

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