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Here's How To Spot Fake Sega Genesis Cartridges

Retro collectors beware! You may be shocked to learn that the internet isn't an entirely truthful place. Crazy, right? One particularly popular plague of online deception is selling counterfeit goods. From bootlegs of popular clothing brands, to rip-offs of the latest Disney creations, almost nothing is safe from forgery. Video games are no exception — especially when those games are older and harder to get ahold of.


The Sega Genesis, originally released in 1988 (feeling old yet?), is an easy target for creators of fake game cartridges. Not only is a large amount of its catalog missing from modern consoles and PC storefronts, but there's a strong sense of nostalgia tied to the Genesis. If you happen to be a retro gaming enthusiast with a soft spot for Sega's earlier days, then we've got some tips and tricks to help you make sure your Sega Genesis game purchases are always legit.

Keep Your Eyes Peeled

The feeling of acquiring a fake Genesis game when you were expecting the real thing would be devastating. It would feel even worse if it happened to you after hunting online for hours or even days for the right game. Luckily, as chronicled by Retro vGames, there are some ways to know if that cartridge you've got your eye on is the real deal before it ends up in your hands (and before the potentially dishonest seller absconds with your cash).


For starters, just because a game cartridge is being sold with a box doesn't mean that it's automatically legit — those boxes can be fakes too. However, both cartridges and boxes ought to be crisply printed. Text that's blurry or smeared is typically found on a fake, and you may even spot fuzzy images or inkjet lines. If the small text on a cartridge or box is especially hard to read, you're likely looking at a fake.

Seller Reputation is King

One of the biggest signs that a Sega Genesis cartridge might be a phony is how it's held together. If the cartridge you're planning to purchase has photos of its backside, look for signs that the plastic is being held together by metal screws. Of course, forgeries can try to replicate this look with plastic screws, but metal is typically an easy thing to notice. Additionally, you should feel free to message the seller and ask if they're willing to open the game and send you photos. If they're legit, they shouldn't have any problems with this.


Ultimately, the best way to make sure you're getting a legit product is to check out the reputation of your seller. These cartridges aren't available everywhere, so if you manage to find a well-reviewed seller with a longstanding reputation, you've likely found a good source for legit retro game cartridges.