The worst thing I ever bought… Well that’s a pretty easy answer for me.
Before I say what it is, I first want to justify myself, because this is a pretty stupid thing to buy in the first place. I had just gotten my tax return in and I was feeling expensive and impulsive, and I really wanted an item that I could show off and perhaps have to act as a conversation starter. I knew it was going to be a reproduction cart of some sort, but it had to be even better, a repro cart and box, now that would be perfect! I went to the ‘best’ place for repro carts, Etsy, because that’s where all the cool custom stuff was. As I sifted through all of the overpriced junk I found a store atari4you who seemed to be in the business of making reproductions. From the pictures everything looked good, they were a bit far away but I assumed it was just to show off the other stuff he had for sale (RED FLAG #1). After a bit of browsing I found it, a reproduction copy of X-Man, perfect! Then I saw the price (RED FLAG #2)… But I bought it anyway. I had no clue how stupid I was until I got the game about a week later.
This thing is one of the biggest pieces of shit I’ve ever seen. No joke, this is just awful.
I got it in with several other packages that day and my excitement was boiling over, I saved it for last since it was the biggest order, but there was already something wrong. It was shipped in a bubble mailer (RED FLAG #3)… at the price I paid it should have been in a well packed box, at least. I tore open the top and… oh god, what is this thing?!? Just by looking at the top flap, or was it the bottom? It doesn’t matter since X-Man was pasted on it, and the quality of the printing was absolute trash. The edges were fuzzy and pixilated as if it was resized from a much smaller image, but this was nothing compared to the rest of the box. The box art, dear lord the box art, it is an absolute travesty. Everything has a soft fuzzy edge, the colors are off, and the “X-MAN” itself is splotchy and gross looking, this really struck me as odd since all of the text was pretty clear and sharp indicating a fairly high quality printer while all of the images look like they were copied from a 256X256 jpeg. Also there was a strange dark streak across the bottom of the box art, I would quickly learn what that was from, and it wasn’t the printer. I was aghast at how terrible it was, and then I opened the box to see the cartridge nestled inside.
In the sale pictures a Spectravision style cartridge was used, but clearly that is only for show since the cart I got was a standard Atari Style cart with an admittedly high quality printed label, this is blatant false advertising as I was under the impression that I was going to get the cartridge and box that were shown in the picture. Honestly I was surprised that the cartridge actually played X-Man at all, I was expecting it to play Combat with the quality I was receiving.
The manual I got was of similarly low quality to the box, and it was at this point where I figured out why.
To my knowledge there are no high quality scans of X-Man available anywhere. The only scan of any quality is that of a still sealed copy that you can find on Atarimania, but since it’s still shrink wrapped it has a bunch of reflections that would make copying it impossible. As you can guess this guy used the Atarimania scan, and did his best to photoshop all of the reflections out, but he just couldn’t get those large reflections out. The back of the box is completely custom, and until recently I though he did a half decent job until I looked a bit closer and found that he misspelled the word random as ‘ramdom’ twice and somehow let an upside-down question mark ‘¿’ slip in as well as some extraneous capital letters, he also neglected to insert any of the copyright information. I don’t know where he got the Gamex logo but it looks poorly cropped and the silver bar doesn’t even wrap around the sides, despite it being quite easy to do so with photoshop.
This is by far the worst attempt at reproducing a game box I’ve ever seen, and it really brings up the question of “if there weren’t any good scans of the box, why even try to rip it off?” I really should have done my research before buying this thing and now it stands as a testament to my stupidity and why I will never buy from this seller again. I paid 90 dollars for this, making it the most expensive game I’ve ever bought and is most certainly the worst thing I’ve ever bought with my own money, ever.
I’m also very dubious of the seller themselves, as they clearly knew this was a terrible product and tried to cover it up with clever lighting obscuring the most glaring details, like the terrible art. Also the fact that the description says this game “works great & looks great” is a total lie. But the worst thing is that I’m convinced he has used a bot to inflate his 5 star reviews. Every ‘review’ is five stars and all say the same thing “Great item and service. Thanks very much!” all are from the same day from the same person who created their account seven days before they left the reviews. It is feasible that this person created their account and bought eight items, totaling around 600 dollars, all on the same day and received them a week later then just copy/pasted the same feedback eight times, or they are a bot. As far as I’m concerned this Etsy store is a total scam, the cheapest thing they have for sale is a repro of Gauntlet for 35 dollars where the picture of the front is so zoomed out you can’t even make out any concrete details on the label, but the picture of the back of the cartridge is nice and close so you can make out that nice texture on the plastic.
Stay as far away from this fucking shit as possible, and if you want to get your own repro cartridges, you can just use AtariAge’s for 25 bucks you can get any game with any label you want. Don’t be tempted by this sham, I was and it was probably the stupidest mistake I ever made with my money.
Here are a few pictures comparing mine with Atarimania's. See if you can find the similarities and differences.
Some details with the macro mode on my camera. Yes it is that fuzzy in person.
Here is the listing that suckered me in:
How the game and box are shown in the listing:
This shit is positively criminal. Never buy from this guy, ever, you're just wasting money.