bootlegds.jpgAccording to a report by Chinese Nintendo DS fan site YYJoy, the first bootlegged Nintendo DS games have made their way into the black market. And if eBay's history with the Game Boy Advance is an indicator, these things are going to be duping potentially honest gamers very soon.

Unfortunately, eBay has no real safeguards in place for bootlegged games, so the only protection you have is to educate yourself on the tell-tale signs of counterfeit crap. As a public service announcement, and thanks to photos provided by YYJoy, we're here to help!

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First, let's take a look at the front of one of these counterfeits. Now, despite what you may think, Nintendo's manufacturing partners do not use Epson inkjet printers set on "medium" quality to produce DS labels, and they don't apply the labels by hand. So if you see a DS cartridge label that looks like this at your local Gamestop, immediately grab the geek behind the counter by his shirt collar and slam his face into the counter. This will increase his tension meter. If this goes up far enough, you can extort him for money in the name of Don Vito Corleone.

Perhaps the finer points of image reproduction elude you, something typically caused by damage to either the eyes or the brain. In that case, another sure sign of a counterfeit DS game is the numbered code on the bottom of the label. SZGD-20011-A888 is not a Nintendo DS product number. Nintendo DS numbers begin with NTR (a leftover from when the DS was code-named 'Nitro') and end with a region specific acronym, either USA, JAP or EUR. If you come across a Nintendo DS cartridge with a code number like the one pictured, sneak behind the counter and press the O button gently to use CQC and grab the store clerk from behind. Don't press too hard, or you will slice his throat and make a mess.

Not enough? Let's look at the back:

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On the left is a dirty horrible counterfeit videogame that may fund The Terrorists(tm), and on the right is a red-blooded apple pie lovin' American Nintendo DS game. Most noticeable is that the metallic pins on the fake are black. This is because counterfeiters use black magic, and have black hearts. Also take note that the Nintendo copyright text, though reproduced exactly, is perfectly centered vertically. In a true Nintendo DS game, the text is slightly above center. If you see a Nintendo DS game in a store with perfectly centered copyright text, open the command prompt and type /report. This will automatically report your find to Nintendo's anti-piracy ninjas, who will take care of the rest.

In addition to being dirty and awful and taking money away from the industry we love, counterfeit video games have a nasty habit of being defective. Remember, these things are cheaply manufactured and meant to be sold quickly, so if your battery decides to die on the day before you take your Nintendog to the state finals, well, it's your fault for buying a counterfeit. We don't seriously expect to see these things popping up at brick and mortar stores any time soon, but as my genuine "NINTONDO" version of Super Mario 2 will attest to, it could happen, and it probably will.