View Full Version : Boot or No Boot FAQ

05-25-2009, 07:43 PM
I wrote this because it seems there are many common misconceptions around as to what constitutes a bootleg cartridge. Seeing as there now seems to be some demand for this to be definitive, I'll be working daily to update this list

Good signs:
Original label (though obviously, someone could have put bootleg boards in a legit case)

Things that mean nothing (or could be a good sign)
scratched or partially scratched serials

Signs you should open a cart to look at chips/boards:
fake label (does not mean the cartridge can't be legit)

*note* I have seen a few SVC labels on fake cartridges that seem to be legitimate labels; one was black/grey instead of the standard blue; the other looked exactly like an original as far as I could tell

Things that mean nothing:
Boards are from different years
SNK-stamped boards

Bad signs:
boards are not SNK boards

Signs a cart must be legit:
Toshiba chips

Good signs:
No EPROMS (windowed chips)

Bad signs:
EPROMS (though they are common in original copies of Puzzle Bobble, and are found occasionally in some other carts including many early-mid 90s titles including but not necessarily limited to Samurai Shodown and Fatal Fury 2)

Signs a cartridge is a bootleg:
Flash memory
Mini boards soldered into spaces where chips would normally be

Toshiba chips are a good indicator of a legitimate cartridge, but not having Toshiba chips are not an indicator that signifies a cartridge is a boot.
If we make the logical argument "Toshiba chips implies a cartridge is not a bootleg," we can also make the converse argument "a bootleg cartridge does not have Toshiba chips."
We cannot, however, make the contrapositive or inverse arguments of "not having Toshiba chips implies a cartridge is a bootleg" or "if a cartrige is not a bootleg then it has Toshiba chips." Hopefully that makes sense to everyone reading.

Good sign:
NGH number on chips matches master list

Bad sign:
Does not match master list

ODDITIES (As originally posted by Ely13, updated by myself)
--Games that are not bootlegs with known oddities--
Power Spikes II - Blue Capacitor
Quest of Jongmaster - Blue Capacitor
SVC Chaos - Small daughterboard on top of chip
Samurai Shodown 5 - Small daughterboard on top of chip
Puzzle Bobble / Bust-A-Move - NGH # from PB and Power Spikes 2, several EPROM
Metal Slug 3 - Some carts may have a daughterboard thing (looks like a neo-geo pocket cart soldered to a normal mvs board?)

Ely13 http://www.neo-geo.com/forums/showthread.php?t=120255

05-25-2009, 07:56 PM
A FAQ is a good idea, but this one is kind of half-assed, no offense. Official SNK boards/chips should be in the "mean nothing" category. There are tons of boots that use sac SNK boards. Labels often mean nothing either as people who are confused about boots or not may not have an idea about the authenticity of a label.

If we want to address this, a website with photos is the best method.

05-25-2009, 07:57 PM
This is a great idea, although it's a little skimpy so far. If we could add pictures to it that would be even better.

IIRC, MX ROMs are a guaranteed boot.

EDIT: Madman beat me to the punch :mad:

If we want to address this, a website with photos is the best method.

I agree.

Actually, this would be perfect for the wiki...

05-25-2009, 08:06 PM
Can't believe that there is no mention of the NGH number...

05-25-2009, 08:11 PM
I didn't mean for this to be definitive; I wrote it to clear up some current, common misconceptions. Also, I was bored, and although I enjoy boot or no boot and seeing a bunch of different carts to try to figure out in here, it seem that there are occasionally stupid questions asked.

However, I have no opposition whatsoever to editing the first post to make it a more definitive guide. I'm sure if I think about it I can add a few more myself, and I bet there are dozens of ways that you all know that I've never even heard of. Feel free to tell me what to add. :)

Madman - point taken; I hadn't planned that out too well. I may change the legit boards to "means nothing."

Lochlan - You're right about the MX roms, though I thought they were a type of flash memory (but I don't know a whole helluva lot about chips, so I could be off on that one.) I'll add that one. Oh, also, I'd be up for collaborating on the wiki, or letting you post this there once it's finished if you're one of the people who works on it.

Phyeir - very good one! I completely overlooked posting that at first, but added it, as per your suggestion. Thanks! :)

Also, I'll start saving/uploading picture of boots and non-boots to my photobucket. Feel free to post/PM any picture or links to pictures of boot carts, or legit cart oddities (such as the mini-board on a chip on SSV carts, etc)

Additionally, I'd like to throw in a short list of other resources, such as the sites with all of the MVS cart labels, and the one archive available online with about 5 pages of bootleg boards.

Bring on the list of ways to tell a boot from a legit cart!

05-25-2009, 08:22 PM
You can only edit your first post for 30 days.

If you do this on the Neo Geo Wiki (http://www.neo-geo.com/wiki/) you and other people will be able to edit it to perfection collectively. Additionally you can upload images there instead of a photobucket, for added permanence.

This is exactly the type of thing the Wiki was created for, I strongly urge you to edit it there.

(AND, as another bonus, you could edit your first post to link to the page, so it would never be out of date, and just use this thread as a place for discussion.)

05-25-2009, 08:26 PM
Lochlan, I'll post what the original post is so far there. Once it gets down to the end of that 30 day period for this thread, I'll update it one final time with any info from the Wiki that isn't there so far.

I went there, but don't know how to make a new section about bootleg carts; I've never edited a wiki before. If you could tell me how, or could create the basic section, I'd be more than happy to transfer this over there, add anything else I can, add pictures, etc.

05-25-2009, 09:33 PM
Stu's site is a good reference with many pics of legit boards. Really, only a handful of boot picures would be necessary. Non SNK boards ALWAYS equals bootleg. I also believe any time SMT ROMs are used, the cart is a bootleg, all (AFAIK) legit releases had ROMs in DIP packages. I just tossed a bunch of bootlegs w/non-SNK boards but I think there are plenty of pictures on this forum that can be used.

The cartridge case thing is probably not worth mentioning as carts can easily be transferred into new cases. IMO, bothering to discuss them or labels is pointless as neither are definite indicators in determining authenticity of a cart.

05-28-2009, 12:49 AM
Something to add that I learned first hand... Kizuna Encounter can share chips with Savage Reign. It was SNK recycling unsold Savage Reign carts

07-18-2009, 10:56 AM
Thank you very much. I will now pay VERY close attention when I buy stuff online to make sure everything is legit. I DO NOT want pirated copies of games. I collect Originals!

07-19-2009, 10:52 AM
One good thing to add to the oddities section may be that some runs of Samurai Shodown 3 and KOF95 and Last Blade (and maybe others) come with four windowed eproms on the prog board. They usually have crayon marks on them, one color for each chip. This is likely to be for the technician to not lose track of which chip is supposed to go where. These carts are real. Usually believed to be an after-production fix.

Pencil writing on chips usually means boot. Real chips have printed marks on them to see which one goes where, while MX flash and others too may come with said writing as they all look the same.

I have seen Sharp chips instead of Toshiba in real carts. Some are no-name too. May come mixed in the same cart. As long as they come with printed NGH-numbers on them, all is fine. I THINK I may have seen a surface mounted P1 chip in a real KOF98 cart once, but my memory is getting fuzzy here. I remember it being odd, but if it indeed was surface mounted it still had the correct NGH number on it. It was in that case an AES cart.

Korean carts may have voices edited out, but there is a wiki that covers that here: http://www.neo-geo.com/wiki/index.php?title=NEO%E2%80%A2GEO_Korean_Cartridges

Good luck with the wiki.