We store cookies, you can get more info from our privacy policy.
DS

Quick and Easy Ways to Spot a Bootleg Nintendo DS Game

by Richard Cook - February 13, 2011, 8:31 pm PST
Total comments: 11

Don't be fooled by counterfeit imitations when completing your game library.

Bootleg games are illegal copies of legitimate games. There are four quick and easy ways to spot if a Nintendo DS cartridge is a bootleg. If suspicious, check multiple items – not all bootlegs will have the same flaws.

#1 – Cartridge won't boot in a Nintendo DSi unit:

As the newest version of the DS system on the market, the Nintendo DSi includes a newer version of the operating system from the manufacturer that does a better job at detecting bootleg software and rejecting it with an error message. After launching the game, you'll see the message below displayed on the bottom screen.

Non-booting DS screen

Power down the system, remove the cartridge and re-insert it. Power the system back on and try to launch the game. If you receive this error again, it's very likely you have a bootleg game.


#2 – Cartridge Construction is of low quality:

Two things you can quickly check without having a Nintendo DSi handy is the quality of the cartridge's construction. First, with any Nintendo DS cartridge you'll notice a seam down the middle of the side. If you tug on this with a fingernail, the cartridge should not separate at all. If it does, you've got a bootleg.

Back of cartridge

Second, look at the back of the cartridge. Here, you see a bootleg cartridge on the left and a real cartridge on the right. Inside the Nintendo Racetrack logo, you'll notice that outlined in blue, the real cartridge has the registered trademark logo ® after the word "Nintendo". This is missing from the bootleg. Also, above the gold contact points, there are white letters and numbers. While the letters in this picture say "Nintendo", not all cartridges will – but all legitimate cartridges will have white letters above these gold contact points.


#3 - Matching the Serial Numbers:

Each published title has a serial number unique to itself. This serial number can be found on the front of the cartridge and on the back of the game case, next to the UPC. On the cartridge, you''ll find the serial number in the format of NTR-XXXX-YYY, where XXXX is the unique serial number for that game, and YYY represents the region, such as USA.

Serial numbers

On the back of the game case, you''ll find the serial number again, in the format of NTR-P-XXXX, again where XXXX is the unique serial number. These two serial numbers will always match on a legitimate copy of the game. Also, compare this serial number to the string of letters printed in black on the back of the cartridge. The first four letters on the back will always match this serial number as well.


#4 – The Case of the Odd Case:

There are three types of DS Game Cases. The standard US case is black and has a slot for holding Game Boy Advance games that is solid. Newer "eco-friendly" DS cases have no GBA slot and feature a cut-out recycling symbol behind the manual. The Japanese case is black and has a slot for holding Game Boy Advance games that is in three pieces. The European case is clear and thicker, to accommodate game manuals in multiple languages. Games sold in the US are NEVER sold in the European style cases and rarely ever sold in the Japanese style cases. While there are a few exceptions to the Japanese cases, if you spot a US game in a Japanese case, it should draw your attention to look at the game itself more closely.

European vs. US case

Japanese vs. US case

New style US case

In the photo on the left, you'll see a European-style DS case on the left side and a US-style DS case on the right side. In the photo on the right, you'll see a Japanese-style DS case on the left side and a US-style DS case on the right side.

You can find further information about Nintendo's Anti-Piracy program on the official website. There are tips on how to identify counterfeit software for all consoles, not just the DS family, and photos for each category too.

Images

Talkback

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorFebruary 13, 2011

This article goes very well with my new avatar. :D

BlackNMild2k1February 13, 2011

Haven't you made this thread before?


edit: oh, this is a talkback thread.
carry-on.

Yep, we stole it from the message boards.

Where's that legal disclaimer at...

KDR_11kFebruary 14, 2011

However if you spot a US-sized case in Europe that's normal, some games (the ones I remember are some of the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games) have been released in the slim black boxes. I don't think I own any of those so I can't tell you what the GBA cart holder looks like in them.


Also look for the plastic wrap, in Europe it's a foldwrap (not a shrinkwrap) and there's a ripcord running across it. On Nintendo published games that ripcord has the Nintendo logo printed on it, I think some other games may have that too. If those things are missing it's a re-wrapped copy and you should probably look for another one.

TJ SpykeFebruary 14, 2011

I guess I don't have to worry, I don't buy used DS games and I have never bought games online (and would never buy one on eBay). So unless a bootleg DS games winds up at Walmart or Best Buy or something, I shouldn't have a problem.

JDEFebruary 14, 2011

I've experienced this.  It really sucks.  I tried to get Metroid Prime:Hunters off of Ebay about a year ago, and got a cartridge that was obviously bootlegged.  What REALLY makes me angry is that when I filed my complaint, Paypal ruled in favor of the seller.  So, I'm out $20 and, to top it off, it came back to me in the mail after I sent it back like they told me to, so I'm stuck with it.


Anyway, great article!

ControlerFleXFebruary 14, 2011

Also if you purchased the cartridge from a dude in a trench coat/a middle eastern desert flea-market/a shop that says "R4 cards sold here" are all also good indications of the bootleg mafia............

Glad to be of some help.

If you buy it in a shop along Los Angeles' Gold District...it's a bootleg.

UncleBobRichard Cook, Guest ContributorFebruary 14, 2011

Quote from: JDE

I've experienced this.  It really sucks.  I tried to get Metroid Prime:Hunters off of Ebay about a year ago, and got a cartridge that was obviously bootlegged.  What REALLY makes me angry is that when I filed my complaint, Paypal ruled in favor of the seller.  So, I'm out $20 and, to top it off, it came back to me in the mail after I sent it back like they told me to, so I'm stuck with it.


Anyway, great article!

How long ago was this?

Here's a great tip for when you get screwed with a bootleg online - First things first, file a complaint at your local Post Office (assuming the item shipped via USPS).  The seller may be liable for Postal Fraud.  Do this even if the item did not ship from within the US - as enough complaints may potentially flag incoming packages at customs.

Next, contact the seller for a refund.  Explain that the item is counterfeit.  If they ask for the item to be returned, only send it back under two conditions:
1.) They must reimburse you the full cost of the item, plus your shipping cost to mail it back to them - upfront.
2.) They must pay for you to ship the item non-USPS - as sending counterfeit items via USPS does, in theory, put you at risk of being investigated for Postal Fraud.

If that fails, then contact PayPal.  More than likely, PayPal will *not* side with you.  Likely, they'll require that you mail the item back before they'll refund you.  This is not acceptable, as the seller has already shown that they are not trustworthy - you require reimbursement up front before you will send out the item (still not via USPS and still at the seller's cost).

Again, likely, you'll get no satisfaction through Paypal.  When this happens, contact your credit card company and file a chargeback.  Explain the situation (counterfeit merchandise, postal fraud, etc.).  They'll attempt to tell you that you have to return the merchandise first - make sure you explain that you attempted to make arrangements to return the merchandise, but that the seller would not work with you to make arrangements (again, no USPS - because you don't want to partake in postal fraud!).  You may have to escalate to a supervisor, but you'll win, 100% of the time.  Paypal won't be a fan, so don't have your bank account tied to Paypal (which you shouldn't anyway), and don't leave a balance in the account).  If PayPal or your credit card company questions the postal fraud part of the complaint, offer them a copy of your fraud complaint that you already filed.

*Absolutely* do not send the counterfeit items back to the seller via USPS.  Again, you put yourself at risk of being accused of mail fraud.  Once everything is complete, either destroy the counterfeit or contact Nintendo with your story and see if they'd like the item.  In theory, you could keep it, but that seems a little dishonest and - supposedly - can damage your system.

Most importantly, don't give up.  The idea is to A.) Get 100% of your money back so you suffer no losses and B.) Cause a loss to the counterfeiter.  Ultimately, they risk being out the cost of the product, the various eBay/Paypal fees, the bad seller rep with eBay and PayPal and/or the cost to ship the item back via non-USPS courier.  Bonus if customs start confiscating incoming packages from them, but that's a long shot.

Mop it upFebruary 14, 2011

I ran into this issue back when I had a DS, it was very difficult to find a copy of Mario Hoops 3-on-3 that wasn't counterfeit.

JDEFebruary 14, 2011

Quote from: UncleBob

How long ago was this?

Summer of '09.  The package was returned to me in November, I think, three months after I had sent it.

Quote from: UncleBob

More than likely, PayPal will *not* side with you.

Yeah....I wish I had known that before I even bothered.  I thought SURELY they'd bring me justice, but noooo....They screwed me.  They said that I didn't provide accurate tracking information, and immediately closed the case without giving me a chance to try entering the tracking information again.  Also, I sent several e-mails to the seller through PayPal, and I don't remember him replying ONCE after I filed the complaint.

Quote from: UncleBob

*Absolutely* do not send the counterfeit items back to the seller via USPS.  Again, you put yourself at risk of being accused of mail fraud.

I didn't know that.  I got lucky, it seems!

Oh, and I have not touched Ebay or PayPal since.  It's kinda lost the appeal.  I may use it again someday, but not anytime soon.

Share + Bookmark





Related Content

Got a news tip? Send it in!
Advertisement
Advertisement