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Sir VG: 2011-10-15 12:29:21 am
Sir VG: 2011-10-15 12:29:18 am
Sir VG: 2011-10-15 12:29:16 am
Sir VG: 2011-04-02 04:04:02 am
Sir VG: 2010-04-05 05:25:08 am
Fucking Weeaboo
I've seen a few posts on here asking how to identify a game's version.  There are ways on Nintendo games to identify (with very good accuracy) what version of the game you have.  The actual guaranteed way is to open up the cartridge and look on the PCB, but I'm sure most of you probably don't have the special screw drivers needed (NES, SNES, GB/GBC, and N64 use one size screw, GBA uses triwing, NDS doesn't need to be opened).  The biggest issue (generally) to identifying the version is how warn the cartridge is.

The way to identify cartridge based games (except the DS) is to look for an imprint.  Where they are located will depend on the game system.

NES: Located on the back of the cartridge, on the Caution label.  (Note: Ignore the REV-A text on there, that does NOT apply to the game.)
SNES: Located on the back of the cartridge, on the IMPORTANT label.
N64: Located on the back of the cartridge, on the Caution label.
GB/GBC: Located on the front of the label.
GBA: Located on the front of the label.
NDS: Text describing the version info is on the back.

The imprint will be 2 numbers, at minimum.  If that's all there is, then it's a v1.0.
However, if there's a letter after it, then it'll be an alternate version.  If there's an A, then it's a v1.1.  B is a v1.2.  C is v1.3, etc.

NDS games follow a slightly different rule.  What you're looking for here is not an imprint, but typed black text on the back of the cartridge.  The first 4 letters are the serial (which match the middle 4 letters on the front of the cart - the ones right after NTR).  After that you'll see something like N0.  If it's a 0, it's v1.0.  1 is v1.1, 2 is v1.2, etc.

Nintendo Disc based games are a little different.  With both the GCN and Wii, you're looking for a serial listed on the back side of the disc, on the inner ring.  Get them in some good light to see them better.

The disc labels go DOL/RVL (depends on the system) - Serial - version revision.  There's a slight difference in how the imprints go based upon system:

GCN - #-##.  The ## indicates version.
Wii - #A-#.  I haven't seen which one indicates what a version revision is.  I know Zelda and SSBB both have version updates.  0A-0 is generally a v1.0.  I assume that the -# is what changes on a version update.

Unfortunately, I haven't seen anything for non-Nintendo systems to see about version updates.  If I come across any way to identify them, I'll update this thread.  If anybody has any information from anywhere, please let me know.

Mind you, that with the cartridge based games, most games follow the "rules" on indicating version revision, but some have some odd circumstances.  But most do a good job in following the rules.  Also, sorry for the lack of pictures, but imprints just don't show up on a scanner.  I do have information files on older systems that can tell me if there's a known revision for those systems, so you can always ask me if something has had a version revision.  (Mind you, my DATs are for console games, I don't have anything for almost all disc systems.)  If you do ask, please indicate the full game title and region.

Hopefully that covers the basics!  Hope this was all helpful to you.
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Edit history:
Sir VG: 2012-06-25 01:18:48 pm
Sir VG: 2011-06-03 04:58:31 am
Sir VG: 2011-04-02 04:06:45 am
Sir VG: 2010-07-10 05:30:48 am
Fucking Weeaboo
I thought I'd update this with a new section - how to identify legitimate GBA carts.  It should provide you with some interesting information.

Now, before I begin, don't get the idea that I think anybody on SDA is a thief or a cheater or whatever.  This is simply an information thread that I hope is helpful to people who purchase from here or from anywhere else.

The GBA has, in my experience, received the most counterfit carts in the history of any gaming console, I swear.  Having studied and handled a ton of GBA carts, I've encountered quite a few myself.  Fortunately, there are some very easy methods to identify them and I'll provide this info to you.  You don't need any tools to generally identify a fake cart, though if you do have a triwing screwdriver (you can pick these up pretty cheap on the internet, usually for just a few bucks) you can identify them much easier.

Here's some scans of fake carts I received, and ways to identify that they're fake.

First I'll start with this one.  Now, who would pirate a kids game, after all?  Well, too bad.  It's fake.  The first and most blatant method of telling?  There's no serial.  All GBA games, regardless of region, have a serial printed on there.  All games begin with AGB (Advance Game Boy), followed by a dash, then 4 letters, then a dash, then 3 more letters.  The lack of it on here is a dead giveaway that it's fake.  However, there are OTHER things missing.  First, no company logo.  Second, no Licensed by Nintendo on there either.

While we're on the subject of serials, take a look at this cart.  Yep, you've got it - a fake.  The serial is lacking a letter in the middle part of the serial.  Not to mention that the label itself (it's hard to tell from the pic, but trust me) looks very VERY cheap - like it was made in a copy machine.

Back on the serial, what is the importance of the serial?  Well, the first three letters on Nintendo carts is the system.  AGB for Game Boy Advance, NTR for Nintendo DS (NiTRo), RVL for Wii (ReVoLution), etc.  The last 3 have to deal with the region.  Though frankly, given how the rules of the 4 letter center make the last part actually redundant!  Most of the Nintendo systems have had a 4 character center (I believe just the NES and SNES didn't).  The 4th letter has to deal with the region.  E for US, P for PAL regions, J for Japan, I for Italy, etc. (This is why the last 3 letters are redundant.)  The first letter will indicate what type of game - like if it has a special feature.  Like the Boktai games have a serial beginning with "U" (probably chosen for UV Sensor).  Warioware Twisted has a serial beginning with "R" (Rotate the system?).  Most games generally start with taking the A/B slots, but some of them (like the DS) can go to a lot of different letters), but special carts always have a special letter.  Granted, without knowing the rules, it's hard to know.  Then last, the middle two is the actual cart identification serial.  For instance, Metroid Fusion (USA) is AMTE, so all regions of Metroid Fusion will have MT in the center (so Japan is AMTJ, Europe is AMTP, etc).

Handled that block of text?  Good, here's your test.

W.I.T.C.H. - looks pretty good, right?  For most people looking at it, they would suspect it's legit.  Everything is in the right place, serial is a legit type serial.  Well, guess what?  I'm sorry, but this game was never released in the states!  It was indeed announced, but unfortunately never came to being.  So if that cart serial follows all of the rules...

Well, a little research finds out that the serial "BHXE" is actually the serial for "Hot Wheels - All Out".  No, I'm not kidding.  The actual serial for W.I.T.C.H. for Europe is "BWTP".  A lot of games receive the center 2 serials that attempts to match up somehow with the game itself.  Now, it's not always true and should never be used as an indicator.  But a quick search at the site Pocketheaven turned up this tidbit of info.  You can search up most any GBA, NDS, or PSP release there.

A couple more quick ones that don't need much explanation.

Again, wrong serial (this serial is for Hot Wheels - All Out, real one is BAW*), no company name or Licensed by Nintendo.  ESRB rating in the wrong place (should be lower left) and the serial is too (should be lower right, regardless of region).

Much like the previous one, serial is in the wrong place.  It's also the wrong font and coloring (should be black or white, not with red frills around it).  No Licensed by Nintendo on the front.  And if you saw the manual I got for this, MAN it was CHEAP - it was about 1/3 the size of the usual manual.

Now, the last picture I have for you:

Contra Advance.  Ok, let's take a look at this.  ESRB and Serial in the right place.  Has Licensed by Nintendo and the Konami logo (yes they were still using the old logo at the time of release).  Serial matches the Pocketheaven database.  Everything seems to line up.  Looks pretty real, right?

This is, by far, the best fake cart I've EVER received.  Yes, this is a very quality fake.  It fooled me for a while.  But once you look at the innards, you'll see the true sign of a fake cart.

Now, you can see just how poorly done this cart is.  First off, Contra never had any save features.  A battery should NEVER exist in a game with no save features, and even still most games that did have saves didn't use batteries.  Early SRAM games (the first two Castlevania games, Kirby Nightmare in Dream Land for examples) used them.  All Pokemon games with Real Time Clock used them too for the purposes of that previously mentioned RTC.  The main chip also looks pretty horrible too.  It's hard to explain what a real cart looks like in words, so some pictures will have to suffice: GBA Save Types Album

NEW! This one came from GBATemp.  I'm posting it here as another reference.

A fake copy of Final Fantasy VI.  Identified as a fake due to the lack of the Nintendo logo, Square Enix logo, Seal of Quality, the addition of Edward, Rosa, and Rydia characters on the front (pulled from FF IV carts), and the serial matches Bookworm.

NEW! Pulled from GBATemp.

A fake copy of Pokemon FireRed.  Wrong serial, FireRed should be one word, in caps, cart should be solid red, not translucent (Ruby was translucent, not FireRed).  No "The Pokemon Company" text.  ESRB too low on the cart.  Swirls go the wrong way.

So how is one to identify a fake without tearing open every cart to tell?  There's actually one fairly easy way to do so.  You do need some good light to do this though.  If you hold the cart as if you're reading the label, then tilt the bottom up, you can see the connection part of the cart itself.  If you look above the connection pins and try to look under the plastic, you should see white lettering that looks like a white Nintendo in there.  The save types pictures are good examples, but I'll post another picture below of a close up.

While the design varies a little bit, it will always exist in some shape or form on real carts.  Fake carts will NEVER have them.

So, to those of you that read through all of that wall of text and pictures, congrats.  You've learned a lot of info to protect yourself from fake GBA carts.  A lot of the same principles apply to other Nintendo systems, but generally they've never been prone to the fakes that the GBA got.
from red to blue
I love you, VG. Thankfully I have never been a victim of fake carts, but this is VERY indepth and clear to even people like me who are pretty dumb with this sort of thing.

<3 Sir VG.
Just to add a couple of small points about GBA carts, a number of fake carts will have AGB-004 on the back instead of AGB-002 (the actual model number for carts). has all the model numbers for GBA hardware, AGB-004 is a charger for a battery pack.

Another thing is that real carts sit flush in a GBA (tested on SP and Micro - don't have my original with me to try it out), fake carts will stick out slightly.  It's just enough to notice if you run your finger over the gap.
Claimh Happy
You mention that Nightmare in Dreamland uses SRAM, and the album shows an example of that. My cart, however, uses FeRAM (at least I think it does. I haven't opened it up, but I believe the code AGB-E11-01 indicates that?). Does that mean it's fake, or just that it was made after Nintendo moved away from SRAM?
Fucking Weeaboo
The best thing to do is to look at the bottom of the circuit board and look for the NINTENDO white text.  If it has it, it's gonna be real.

FeRAM is a replacement for SRAM, but Nightmare in Dream Land used SRAM (a picture of it is on the GBA Save Types link).
Claimh Happy
Yes, that's what I looked at, and that's why it seems like my cart doesn't use SRAM. The code in that text on my cart seems to correspond to FeRAM, not SRAM.
Edit history:
Strongfox: 2012-02-27 04:40:49 pm
How to identify legitimate GB/GBC carts

I want to point out that i am not accusing anyone on SDA as a thief or a cheater or whatever, i'm just nearly helping to clear the air on how to spot it yourself.

I have bought and sold so many GB/GBC games over my whole life and have seen my fair share of counterfeit carts. In this guide I will show you some ways to spot a fake cart.

1. Nintendo Logo

First of all as youu all should have noticed on the top of front side of a game boy cartridge u can see clearly the "Nintendo GAME BOY Tm" logo. Well, in the fake cartridges all you can see there is just "GAME BOY" or "GAME" etc. Thats a serious reason to start suspecting that something is wrong with your cart.

2. Printed Sticker

Sticker Comparison ( left - original / right - fake)

There are some cases where the stickers on the fake carts are well made so many times we can be cheated. But in some cases the printed sticker is:
- Blur
- Not fit exactly to the sticker frame
- Wrong colors
- Out of proportion
- The sticker may say that its a Gameboy Advance game although its on a gameboy cart

3. Nintendo Screw

Original / Fake Gameboy Cartridge Screw

On the back of the cart u can see the screw that holds the front n back sides together. In the original carts that screw is a very peculiar one, that needs specific screwdrivers in order to unscrew it. On the other side, the fake carts, use convensional screw that u can find in any hardware store. They cover up those screws with stickers saying things like "dont remove" or something like that, to prevent users from removing it and revealing the fake screw.

4. Bottom Side (Nintendo/Date Printed)

As far as the Gameboy Advance carts there is a very easy way to tell the difference between fake and original ones (if u dont consider things as the not so well printed sticker or the not so well molded logo). If u turn the cart over, u can see the side that actually connects with the Gameboy system in order to function. There are some "golden" stripes (we used to blow them when the cart didnt function right!!!). Right Behind those golden stripes in the original carts u see printed the word "Nintendo" and the release date. Guess what? In the fake ones theres nothing printed there.

Now i am going to show you the many different colors and to tell if it is fake just by color

Official Gameboy Games


Just your normal cart. most of the games have this one.
here featured: kirbey's block ball. Nothing special here.


Black carts where used for gameboy colour games that also could be played on the DMG. examples: zelda DX, Tetris DX.
Black carts where also used for the pokemon trading card game. (as well as a lot more japanese games, I came to find out later)


Used for pokemon red.


Used for pokemon blue


Used for pokemon yellow, 3 donkey kong land games and the Tamagotchi yellow game.

Silver (grey with sprinkles)

Used for pokemon silver. Is a grey cart with some glitters


Used for... you guessed it, Pokemon gold! It's gold coloured with gold coloured golden sparkles.*

Grey & Blue

The japanese versions of pokemon Gold & Silver where both half blue, half grey. both slightly darker than the normal grey and the pokemo blue cart. (pokemon silver has a grey front and a blue back, pokemon gold vice versa)


The white cart was used for the white edition of the tamagotchi game, and also as a blank memory cart, GBメモリ. These carts could be loaded with games at special stores.


OMG! it's like.. Pink! (and it has a tamagotchi game on it). On the right is a 'power rangers the movie' game, also in a pink cart. Probably the same pink as the tamagotchi one, but not 100% sure.

The pink carts where used by Bandai, and might be used for more games than these two..

Light blue

This is a tamagotchi game with added sound module. The sound thingy wakes you up in the middle of the night when your tamagotchi is hungry, even if your gameboy is turned off...

Black with Rumblepack

Pokemon pinball has a rumblepack on top of the gamecart. It vibrates and stuff.

Gameboy Camera

Came in Yellow, Blue , Green and Red. Japanese version also had a transparent purple one.

The Japanese versions had different software (including Trippy-H, a musical game) and a different name. They where called Pocket Camera.

Front of a Japanese Camera

Front of a American / European / anywhere else camera.
Notice the different name on the stickers.

Gameboy color games that'll fit into a DMG

Transparent Pink

Kirby Tilt n Tumble game.. although it's a gameboy colour game, it does have a notch for DMGs.

Dark Blue

Dark blue normal DMG cart with Action Man game. Will fit in a DMG but only displays a note saying you can only play it on the GBC. The shade of blue might be the same as the dark blue from the japanese pokemon gold/silver, but i've got no way of checking that now.


Same story as the Action Man game. This time it's Super Mario Bros. Deluxe in a green DMG game casing. Also a color game. It's kinda hard to see what shade of green it is, but it's green, and that's what counts.

Transparent with Rumblepack

Star Wars racinggame with rublepack. Will fit into a DMG but is a GBC game

[u]Unofficial / bootleg / etc

Dark green

Bootleg edition of pokemon green.


Bootleg games, doesn't say nintendo gameboy on the cart, just GAME, which is kinda funny.

Grey, XL

Big Ass gamecart. With 150 games on it. Some bootleg carts where a bit bigger to put more games on it, I guess... Looks silly.
This one also has a reset button, which comes in handy when switching games.

Black with a yellow top

Smart Com cart. Contains all kinds of useful programs like calender and phonebook etc... Also has a way of communicating with Infra Red (can also be used as tv-remote, says website)


Gameboy Radio. Not realy a game. Basically a radio that uses the gameboy's power to run. The screen of the gameboy only displays a logo-bar.


Cleaning cart for the gameboy. It cleans the contacts and keeps it fresh. Probably would work on a GBC as well...

Now to show some more examples of fakes

These are rip off chinese carts. The english used for the boxes is pure poetry. Theres no plastic protection or booklet, sadly. Ok here, the games:

First one I saw, Doraemon. The box was in english so I expected some sort of lame translation and being able to almost play it.



Game play

Bang! It is in japanese. So I wont play it. It sucks, cause seemed cool, some sort of action rpg with your best fat cat. In case you have more than two fav fat cats.

The other game is this:

The box featured mechs as you see, so I expected some kind of Macross clone, or even a Macross. Or maybe some strategic shit I can guess the menus. There was no screenshots on the back, but a text " The war of a year ended, The Earth colonized the satellite to all suffered to attack seriously. Because of trough suffer..." blah blah.
I just had to pick it.

I opened it and saw that Star wars logo... and laughed. I just thought it was some way of misunderstading.

What what?


HAHAHA, its a frikin Star wars steal!I dont know wich one is this, you start with Luke on a cave... I only had Empire Strikes back when I was little, so I got no idea. But seems your typical DIFFICULT plattformer.

Here you got the Starwars from the inside:

Back side

A green game to show you guys that is fake

Kind of funny to put a VOID sticker on a pirated game tho Cheesy

Also: found these pics on a trading site.


Looks like the same type as the green one. Just "game" on the front. bright colours..

Examples of cartridge miscolours and Multi-in-ones.

And here is a bonus of 4 fake SNES carts

I hope this helps you in your search for legit non fake GB/GBC carts.

P.S If anyone else knows of some carts by color that i have not listed then please share below
Edit history:
ZenicReverie: 2012-02-18 06:25:41 pm
Waiting hurts my soul...
I believe there's already a thread for this. Why did you make another one? Edit: Here it is:

Maybe an admin will be nice and move all this valuable information there.
Edit history:
Strongfox: 2012-02-18 07:22:58 pm
Strongfox: 2012-02-18 06:35:33 pm
Quote from ZenicReverie:
I believe there's already a thread for this. Why did you make another one? Edit: Here it is:

Maybe an admin will be nice and move all this valuable information there.

If you read the information on that thread you linked it's for GBA's not GB/GBC carts and if you read the information on this thread you would see that it refers to GB/GBC carts
Waiting hurts my soul...
Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see a point in having multiple threads about identifying fake games.
Fucking Weeaboo
I do cover aspects of how to identify ANY Nintendo cart pretty much, since a lot of the same principles apply.  However, I will say DAMN that's some research on just GB/GBC games.  Good job.
Waiting hurts my soul...
how do you tell that the SNES carts are fakes?
Edit history:
Strongfox: 2012-02-19 04:43:27 am
Quote from ZenicReverie:
Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see a point in having multiple threads about identifying fake games.

True, but i cant do anything about that unless a mod creates a thread and moves both threads there. But for now a sticky would be nice lol.

Quote from Sir VG:
I do cover aspects of how to identify ANY Nintendo cart pretty much, since a lot of the same principles apply.  However, I will say DAMN that's some research on just GB/GBC games.  Good job.
Why thank you Sir VG
The Pokemon Green in there ( is not fake.

The Addams Family SFC one is fake (label, and back panel), but I don't see anything suspect about the SNES carts at the bottom (though the detail is not great).
Edit history:
Strongfox: 2012-02-27 04:39:47 pm
Quote from rockmanchan:
The Pokemon Green in there ( is not fake.

The Addams Family SFC one is fake (label, and back panel), but I don't see anything suspect about the SNES carts at the bottom (though the detail is not great).

Yes that is fake because it only came out in gameboy color not gameboy
Formerly known as Skullboy
Green came out in Japan for the Game Boy though.
Quote from Skullboy:
Green came out in Japan for the Game Boy though.

Oh right on that one its my bad that i made a mistake i will remove it from the list
Moo! Flap! Hug!
Quote from Sir VG:
The imprint will be 2 numbers, at minimum.  If that's all there is, then it's a v1.0.
However, if there's a letter after it, then it'll be an alternate version.  If there's an A, then it's a v1.1.  B is a v1.2.  C is v1.3, etc.

Sorry to revive an old thread, but I had a question about this.  What does it mean if two copies of the same game have a different two-number imprint?  (E.g., for a fixed Gameboy game, one copy has an imprint of 22, the other copy of the game has an imprint of 23.)
Fucking Weeaboo
The actual numbers have no meaning, as far as I can tell.  Only the letter (or lack of) matters in determining version.
i collect bootleg pokeon games would love to get my hands on some of these
Faster than the speed of love
I'm a little confused-- you showed a cartridge with a label that says AGB-BHXE-USA but then mentioned BHZE and the European release of the game. You also said the BHZE one was for a certain game, and then the next label had the same serial (BHXE) on it and you said it's for a different game.
Fucking Weeaboo
Minor typo.  Fixed.

I also just realized looking at the WITCH and Alex Rider fake cart images that it's the same fake serial!
Stand: Devil's Call in your Heart
the super mario bros DX game in that list is fake. that game came in a GBC cart precisely because it is GBC only.

I have a cartridge of the GBA game Megaman Battlenetwork 6 Cybeast Gregar here, and it seems legit, but I am confused about the serial number. Number is AGB-BR5P-UKV and I am confused about the P-UKV, as I can't seem to find it on

So what stands the P-UKV for? I think it's always on the european/german games.