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bluejay

Are those eBay repro carts any good?

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Zelda games are expensive. A totally trashed, original copy of OoT is selling for $30, and stuff like the Minish Cap seems to go for nearly $50. However eBay seems to be littered with cheap reproduction carts that are about half as cheap as the real thing. But do they suffer from any quality issues such as cheap and brittle plastic/label, or in some way worse than the original? Should I just save up for an original cartridge? Are there any other ways they are different from the original?

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There's really no way to know how good they are unless you buy one and disassemble it to inspect it. I do not trust any repros at all unless they are made by a legitimate company that has legally acquired the license to produce said repros, like Retro-Bit. If you're going to get a non-legit repro, might as well get a ROM cart from a reputable manufacturer, since it will do the same thing, be just as fake, and probably have higher quality.

 

If you do not want to have a ROM cart, might as well get the real thing, but there are plenty of fakes out there, so be careful.

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I'm not into carts so never bought a repro, but I guess it's the same like with everything on ebay - if the seller has some good feedback for this particular product, then it's most likely okay.

 

The original ones are not more expensive because they are of better quality (thought they might be of course) but because they are, well, original. As in "old" -  so having the added bonus of authenticity, nostalgia, etc.

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I've always been a fan of buying original cartridges, and I've never bought a reproduction. However I think some game prices have gone a little overboard, and buying them for proper prices on ebay is just ludicrous. I'll most likely invest in an original copy of OoT but I might buy repros on the Gameboy games. Thanks for the advice!

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build quality wise, they're mostly crap.  They should be working and functional, but don't be surprised if the label peels off, the cartridge is squishy, plastic stinks like a cheap shower curtain or if the pcb barley fits into your console.

Most of those repros are shipped from china, you might as well just buy them off aliexpress.

https://m.aliexpress.com/wholesale/musha md.html

It really depends on what type of collector your are if cheap repros are good for you.  Have you considered a flash cart?

 

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I don't do bootlegs, but I've read stories about people who got duped & ended up with carts that were non-functional or died quickly. Cheap parts means cheap chips & bad soldering too, after all. 

 

I'm sure some are decent enough, but personally I'd try to get the real thing. If you've got any reputable retro stores in your area, let them know what you're after- Zelda's a popular franchise, they're gonna get copies in. Just be timely if they give you a call, since they're also popular enough to sell quick too!

 

I'm amused you brought up Minish Cap... I've debated for awhile if I want to find another copy of that. I have it- bought it new at Kmart to use up a Christmas gift card my mom couldn't spend... thing is, I never got around to opening it, & now it's worth enough I'm not sure I want to! 😅

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Having been able to get a hold onto what is not considered the current best effort in GBA bootleg carts within the last about 5 years now, they're disturbingly well done, and in some cases, in specific ways at times better.  A few years back I bought what ended up being a crappy boot online from a UK seller of Alien Hominid, and this one is supposed to use a battery save.  The guy had good images, and even those online, just weren't enough, and wouldn't have been short of some massively zoomed in bit as it was just that close.  The sticker was almost perfect, the difference literally was one dot matrix print pixel of width off on some of the finest text and line printing on those parts over an original label.  The plastic, it did not have the off cut molding or spacing, no sharper edges most have either.  I only knew it was BS because I always clean a game I take in before it goes into my systems.

 

Upon opening it, modern board, modern chips, one glop top because the chips were better than the GBA would be so it had to basically take the data from a more pins to less pins situation to work.  The better part, actual save chip that retains the data without a battery.  That was a shock to me, game worked flawlessly, looked flawless until I really zoomed in on some picture assist from a legit copy to see the fine bits off, and that was years ago now.  It wouldn't be hard to believe someone would have tweaked the print problems on the highest quality fakes because even the sticker itself was the right level of thickness, cut, and shiny laminate like surface too.

 

So yeah, some ebay repros are just that good, and they work as nice if not in weird ways better like with that save data.  I also have had a few original SNK board MVS carts where new or replacement chips were swapped in to have a different game work than the original that was pulled off, and they're absolutely rock solid.  Most often, you'll get worse off, perhaps pure crap given where it came from and if it's more than so many years old, but you can find stuff that is just sadly right (or right enough.)

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I can deal with lackluster quality with Gameboy games since they're small and would most likely be unnoticeable, cosmetic wise. I'll buy repros for the Gameboy carts.

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I've bought a few here and there for various systems,  for games that are just absurdly expensive.  Physically,  they're not as nice as the originals.  The plastic is cheaper,  the labels aren't as nice etc. That being said,  I've never had one that didn't load the rom and wasn't playable. If you go through a site like ali express,  they're usually only a couple bucks. 

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