Reproduction Pokemon Emerald, Sapphire, and Ruby Gameboy Advance Games

Being a curious person, I one day decided to search AliExpress and see all the Chinese junk for sale… only to discover that Chinese manufacturers have been making reproductions of Pokemon Gameboy and Gameboy Advance games!

So I ordered three just to see what they were like and also because I miss the artwork on the cases… The artwork is a major nostalgia trip. I ended up ordering the Pokemon Ruby Version, Sapphire Version, and Emerald Version.

Shipping went smoothly and my package cleared customs in like an hour. Which is definitely not everyone’s experience with AliExpress shipping and US customs. But hey now you know you can in fact get lucky!

Upon receipt the very first thing I noticed is that they put stickers directly over the very artwork I bought them for. Thank you Zhengzhou Miaobang Trading Co. Ltd. for that! As you can see I tried removing a sticker from the Emerald case but apparently it’s the kind of sticker that has such sticky glue you can’t peel it off.

The backs of the cases are nice though! No stickers and just like I remember!

It should be noted that the manuals for these games are not included.

Here’s the actual cartridges for Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald. The colors seem to be almost exactly the same as the originals. Maybe a shade or two off but it’s nothing that makes you go “wow look Chinese crap”.

Now let’s talk about real and not real…

So the cartridge on the left is real and on the right is the reproduction. There are differences in color, sticker design, and there’s a 00 imprint visible on the real one. 

When examining the innards of these things, you find that the real cartridge has no visible text printed on the circuit board above the contacts. The fake one has “2002 Nintendo” printed on it. No idea what that’s about. Why on earth would you print that on a PCB when the original never had it?

The fake cartridge does not have holograms on its sticker while the real one does. If you’re buying a Ruby, Sapphire, or Emerald Pokemon game off of ebay or somewhere similar check that label for shiny-ness and holograms. The real Gameboy Advance cartridge has a more intricate sticker design, holograms, and a unique shiny nature. The fake cartridge is just downright shiny in general, is less intricate, and has no holograms. If it doesn’t match up with the original games sticker send that sucker back because you’ve been sold a Chinese reproduction.

Another way to tell these Chinese Gameboy Advance reproductions apart from the real one is the back of the board. The board is visible through these cases and is completely different. You can see the fake cartridge on top and the real one on the bottom… very different and distinctive. Again, if you get a Gameboy Advance Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, or Emerald cartridge off of ebay check the back! If it looks like the cartridge on top send it back!

Now to check if these cartridges actually work… and… they do!

Pokemon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald all work and all could save! Which is of course exactly what you want if you’re buying these cartridges to play. I guess we can label these not as “Chinese Junk” but as “Chinese Quality” or something like that.

At the end of the day it comes down to this, if you want Pokemon Ruby, Emerald, or Sapphire Gameboy Advance games to play you can absolutely try importing them from China. They work and actually look good. If you’re buying Gameboy Advance games off of ebay or Facebook absolutely check to see if what you’re buying is the real thing because scammers can get convincing fakes from China for a few dollars.

Do keep playing Pokemon and don’t get scammed!

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Update: Counterfeits / reproductions can be weighed! The original games weigh around 12.56 grams while the fakes weigh between 10.43 and 10.75 grams.

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