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I previously bought a fake Pokemon Emerald cartridge, so this time I decided to look for a more expensive option as I wanted to have an original one, so I decided to open my wallet and bought Ruby and Emerald for 90€.

They have arrived but there are some suspicious things. Although the Ruby label looks very original, it lacks the "Rated E for Everyone". I have attached images of the cartridges below. On the backside there are some signs of wear and tear, and it is also worth mentioning that the Nintendo Y screws are worn on the outside. It seems the previous owner never opened it as plastic and corroded debris came out when I opened the cartridge. Normally I'd think this would be a bad sign but in this case it tells me it is old and well used. Back of Emerald and Ruby Cartridges, PCB's exposed

Looking at the front of the cartridges, there are several things to notice. The Ruby cartridge had the battery flipped upside down. Both cartridges were dry. Ruby also doesn't have the original battery cell which does not matter to me. However, the flash chips are not the same, as there is a resistor lacking on the left and the label on Ruby doesn't match what was pictured on the website that was mentioned on the previous question.

The physical cartridges feel pretty original, which is also normal for fakes, as the plastic casings are not as difficult to copy. The traces and solder joints show premium quality as they are very rounded. There are also a lot of exposed traces which suggests that they are real because fakes are not going to have to do testing and repair, and exposed traces are an annoyance to do. What is concerning to me is how both cartridges are marked as 2002? This does not make sense to me as Emerald was released in 2004. What is of further note is that the silicon is "white" which is a very unusual choice. The only time I have see this choice is either on low quality PCB's or in industrial settings where the PCB is a prototype.

Front of Emerald and Ruby Cartridges, PCB's exposed

What is also of note is that when I plugged Emerald in the first two times, I got a "corrupted" message, but now every time I load the game there seems to be no issue after blowing the cartridge. I also replaced the battery cells on both games even though one of the cells was working.

So did I managed to grab an original or should I get my money back?

Someone asked me for the video so here it is

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  • I'm currently doing some research into this, could you include a video of the startup sequence of each cartridge? From GameBoy switched off to accessing saves, as there are some distinctions between real and fakes in the startup.
    – Regnegade
    Jul 15, 2021 at 14:58
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    I could and will but unfortunately im not currently at my home, i have the emerald cartridge with me and if i find time i will gladly post the startup video also i have to mention I only have a nintendo DS
    – Imeguras
    Jul 15, 2021 at 22:52
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    The Ruby cart is a UK one (it has the code AGB AXVP EUR for an EU release, rather than the AGB-AXVE-USA code for a US one) so lacking the E for Everyone is as you'd expect; instead, it has the CE mark to show it conforms to European standards. Since you say you have a Nintendo DS, an easy way to check legitimacy is to use a fourth gen game (Pearl, Diamond, Platinum, Heart Gold or Soul Silver) and check that it allows migrating Pokémon from your Ruby and Emerald.
    – Showsni
    Jul 16, 2021 at 20:09
  • @Regnegade i updated the question to provide that answer
    – Imeguras
    Jul 21, 2021 at 14:51
  • also @Showsni i don't have a fourth gen game unfortunately
    – Imeguras
    Jul 21, 2021 at 14:51

1 Answer 1

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For me, there is every sign that both of these are legitimate cartridges. Everything looks exactly as it should in a real cartridge, and I can't believe a faker would go to so much effort to make a fake copy - if these are fakes, they're the best I've ever seen!

With thanks to this website: https://chieftain20.wordpress.com/2014/05/17/complete-guide-to-authentic-gba-pokemon-games/ which has full pictures of legitimate cartridges, and a guide to spotting fakes.

Firstly, the stickers on the front. The Emerald sticker is very worn, but it has all the right elements in the right place for a US cart. Similarly, the Ruby cart has all the right elements in the right place for a UK cart (note the CE mark and lack of an ESRB rating, along with the different Seal of Quality and code, indicating the European release).

Legitimate US Emerald cart: enter image description here

UK Ruby cart:

enter image description here

Stickers of genuine carts will often have an embossed number in them from the factory; lacking this is not a sign of a fake, but having it is almost a certain sign of a genuine copy.

Looking now at the back of the cases, here are the genuine ones: enter image description here enter image description here

The text font and positioning of your carts looks correct, and you can see the right layout on the insides.

Looking at the circuit board, there are a few different styles that it could be, so don't worry that your didn't match that other website - instead, yours seems to match this one:

enter image description here

Your circuit board looks to have all the right components in the right place (albeit with a replaced battery), and the right text and font written on it. The 2002 text on the Emerald cart is also correct, based on this image (note that this particular Emerald cart is using the other style of chip inside):

enter image description here

In short, everything is so close a match that I'd be confident to say they are legitimate. As mentioned in my comment, though, getting hold of a fourth generation DS game and attempting to use the migrate option would provide firm proof (counterfeit games would likely fail Nintendo's anti piracy checks and this be unable to migrate to gen 4).

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