Opening a cart is the best way to verify a cart. However, you can verify that a game is genuine or fake without opening carts. Pokemon games can differ, so there is a separate section especially.
Verifying GBC games
- Cart label art will not be the same as the box art. What's the best way to find your game's proper label art? Google.
Label should have a factory imprint on it, like two numbers or a number and a letter. These fade over time though but labels can easily be replaced,however a die stamp kit can be used to recreate these. YMMV.
- GBC carts are relative oddballs. There are two types:
- GBC with black (or yellow) DMG cases to show that they are backwards compatible with the DMG.
- GBC games with translucent grey cart cases.
- GBC games with black DMG cases (or special colors like the Western Pokemon releases) follow the same rules as the DMG games stated above.
- GBC games with translucent cases are guaranteed to be the real deal. Not many (if any) bootlegs have ever replicated translucent cases at all.
- The closest bootleg translucent case around is Krikzz's Everdrive. Even with the Everdrives, it states "GAME" at the top of the cart, likely intentional to differentiate.
- Authentic translucent grey carts should say "GAME BOY COLOR".
- Some bootlegs of the games with translucent carts either use black carts or custom colored carts. The only way to tell if a specific game is supposed to be in a black cart or a translucent cart is to Google it.
- When it comes to grey translucent GBC, identifying whether the board is authentic or not should be very easy even without opening the cart. Is there a battery visible at the upper right? If so, it's likely to be legitimate - so counterfeiters have reproduced this.
- Some carts have the battery oriented diagonally and others have them oriented horizontally. The cart would still be legitimate.
Verifying Pokemon games
Pokemon games have noticeable differences compared to other Game Boy games, hence the different section.
Generation 2 - Crystal
- The labels for Gen 2 games should have a metallic effect, not glossy. Think hollow/foil trading cards.
- Label should have a factory imprint on it, like two numbers or a number and a letter. These can fade over time though.
Cart Colours and Translucency
- Crystal should be translucent blue and glittery as well.
- The Japanese variant of Crystal should be similar to the western versions but it should have a crystal printed on the back of the board visible from the outside.
- Given the translucency of Crystal's cart, identifying whether the board is authentic or not should be very easy even without opening the cart.
- You should still be following the DMG information for Gold and Silver.
- You should still be following the GBC information for Crystal.
- It's very difficult to falsify the cart for Pokemon Crystal. Dead giveaway if it's fake or not.
- Be suspicious of seller listings for full sets or cheap items. Pokemon carts are amongst the most pirated games due to their popularity.
- Special thanks to SeanOrtiz for writing this guide, and giving us permission to use.