Meet The Game Verifiers Guiding Retro Collectors Through A World of Fakes

Last year, Reddit user tosamyng had a problem. After seeing a post on a game collecting subreddit with several convincing fakes of popular Pokemon games, they began to wonder if their Pokemon collection was riddled with bootlegs, too. Luckily, they knew just where to go: r/gameverifying, the Game Verification subreddit.

Tosamyng posted a detailed gallery of their Pokemon games to the community, complete with boxes and photos of each individual game, front and back. In total, the haul represents thousands of dollars worth of retro goodness, with each of the “complete-in-box” GBA games fetching between $200 and $500 on the open market alone. It’s no exaggeration to say that if even a fraction of these copies had turned out to be bootlegs, it would represent a loss of hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars to the owner.

Fortunately, tosamyng’s story has a happy ending: All of their games passed the test. However, they’re one of the lucky ones. For almost three years now, the Game Verification subreddit has served as a bulwark against the waves of fake retro games that crest against the shores of eBay, Etsy, and other digital storefronts. But as the community’s co-creator, Frontzie puts it, the outpouring of fake and bootleg retro games has only gotten worse since COVID–and he expects it to stay that way.

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Author: Steven T. Wright