Gaming is an expensive hobby, there’s no doubt about that. When you combine the money we’re all forking out on consoles, brand new games, second-hand titles, ‘cheap’ sale purchases and our online subscriptions, it’s a hefty bill.
If you’re into retro gaming as well, you’re probably spending even more. Thanks to its lucrative nature, more people than ever are cashing in on the retro gaming market but an unfortunate byproduct of that is the increasing presence of fakes. One retro gaming dealer has recently been accused of selling $100,000 worth of fake vintage merchandise. Yikes.
Take a look at this genius gamer who managed to manufacture a wider version of the Game Boy Advance. Very impressive.
Enrico Ricciardi is an active member of the retro gaming community but was recently blocked from the Big Box PC Game Collector’s Group after several members claimed to have been scammed by him. The merchandise in question is mainly linked with the Ultima series and Akalabeth: World of Doom.
As reported by Kotaku, the victims have put together a public document featuring the discrepancies they all noted including irregularities with labels, fonts and logos. One customer of Ricciardi noticed tiny dot-like patterns on his instruction booklet – the same kind that are commonly found on scanned documents. Another victim of the reported scam noted how a floppy disk label was unnaturally long, covering parts of the disk that are typically displayed.
Twitter user Dominus_Exult is one of Ricciardi’s ex-customers. Alongside a picture of the counterfeit merchandise he’d purchased over the years, he wrote, “This used to be the centre pieces of my collection. Rare and expensive old games. Now it turns out I‘ve been scammed and sold forgeries by a well known figure in the Ultima and retro games community along with many others.”
The key piece of evidence is that many of the games Ricciardi sold are in fact blanks, which has gone unnoticed for a number of years. The affected collectors explained, “The goal in getting these games is not to play them, but to collect them […] Testing a 40-year-old disk can risk damaging the disk. Further, some collectors do not have access to the computers which originally ran these games.”
According to the group, a black box copy of Ultima 1 may have even fooled expert grading company WATA. Ricciardi is yet to respond to the allegations and no legal proceedings are yet underway. The group said in their document that “the individuals affected are choosing the best recourse for them and do not wish to discuss this publicly.”