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Thread: Potentially another "why is this n00b even asking?" legitimacy check. Learning the ropes.

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    Potentially another "why is this n00b even asking?" legitimacy check. Learning the ropes.

    Hi, guys. I just bought my first MVS (actually, two) and the lot included a suspect copy of Samurai Shodown. I'm usually pretty good at detecting counterfeits and bootlegs in the rest of my collecting endeavors, but I'm new to the Neo and my understanding is that the counterfeiters in this market are on a whole other level.

    I see absolutely nothing to be suspicious of when comparing it to MVS-scans.com. I wouldn't even start to be suspicious except that the seller seemed pretty darn sure that it was. He described it as "maybe bootleg" in the description and "almost definitely bootleg" in our text conversation. Most sellers aren't inclined to shortchange themselves and he obviously had more experience than me in MVS/NEO-GEO stuff (well, I've had NGPC stuff for almost 20 years but that's not applicable), so I'm actually more inclined to trust his opinion than my own.

    I understand that it's just a $30 game and not worth too much scrutiny, but I figure that if he's right and I'm wrong I definitely want to know before I dive deeper into MVS collecting. I've been reading and lurking to learn more about boots, but whatever the previous owner knows about this cartridge that makes it fishy, I just ain't seein' it.

    I also received a non-functional Samurai Shodown II that I haven't looked inside of yet but he tossed that in at the end with no mention of whether or not he thinks it's a boot. I'll ask if he thinks it's real so I can familiarize myself with a known-genuine MVS cart, but I'm not seeing any significant differences.

    I apologize in advance if anyone thinks I'm wasting your time here. I know I get annoyed when people in other forums cluelessly ask about the authenticity of worthless mainstream games* and I feel like I'm committing the same sin here, but the contrast between my impression and the previous owner's insistence to the contrary tells me that it is either a prime learning experience or an opportunity to validate my views before I actively expand the collection with confidence.

    *"is this copy of Operation Wolf for NES legit? What about Othello NES? Confidentially, I just want to be part of the group so I mimic the concerns of higher-profile games/collectors."

    I've looked at MVS-Scans.com and the boards look identical right down to where the traces align with the silk screen. The soldering looks factory wave-soldered. The chips are Toshiba and they are all mask ROMs like the first example on MVS-Scans.com. The date codes are only weeks later than that example too. The label does not look reproduced and the serial number is in-line with others I've seen online. The case color is correct. The card edge connectors are both beveled on all four sides. The serial number doesn't get any relevant results on Google. I see absolutely nothing suspect, but this is obviously the first time I've ever handled an MVS cart. Only thing making it suspect to me is the previous owner's insistence that it's probably a boot.

    Samurai Shodown II is not in a clear case but what I can see externally checks out (good label, good serial, beveled card edges, correct case color, etc). Only thing suspect so far is that it supposedly doesn't work (not setup for testing myself yet) and the reliability of boots is a common problem.

    INSTA-UPDATE
    I composed most of this post while waiting for my forum account to be approved and I have since taken both games apart and taken pictures/more notes. Rather than re-write, I'll just add my observations here at the end.

    I do hear people refer to "correct screws" and "incorrect screws," but I don't know what to look for in either case. I can say that my two screw sets were a little different from each other.

    Both of my carts had dome-headed Phillips #2 screws with a flange around the base of the head. IIRC, they both had a notch at the tip of the threads... the Samurai Shodown ones certainly did. The Samurai Shodown screws also did not stick to my #2 Phillips screwdriver. The Samurai Shodown II screws were brass/copper color and did stick securely to my driver. I'm not sure if my driver was magnetic or if they were sticking due to surface tension and a perfect fit, but it felt more like the latter.

    The screws in Samurai Shodown had that "snap" that you feel when backing them out for the first time, so I suspect that no one has been inside before.







    Gallery link has better resolution:
    https://imgur.com/a/5iY8b

    Like the MVS-scans example, many ROMs in the Samurai Shodown II cart seem to have a hazed/glazed corner. Is this normal? Not saying that I think they were re-marked chips, but perhaps it's evidence that some anomalous power event overloaded/fried them and it's common enough to have happened to their MVS-scans copy too... I dunno. I guess that's really a topic for another thread anyway.
    Last edited by CZroe; 02-06-2017 at 03:13 PM. Reason: Forum software really doesn't like iOS' bullet between NEO and GEO.

  2. #2
    Occult Archmage
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    Tanooki 2.0

    I scanned your essay and notice you mention MVS Scans. Looks good to me.

    Also, these games are extremely common. It's not the same as buying MPE or Ganryu.

    And finally, SS was in a clear case you didnt have to open it.

  3. #3
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    Those are mask roms, plus the fact you are talking about arguably 2 of the most popular releases in the Neo's history, along with their plentiful release - no one is going to waste time bootlegging these 2 titles.

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    Sounds like you've done your homework anyways. Mask roms? Check. Matches MVS-Scans? Check. Factory soldering? Check.

    Legit AF

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    why is this n00b even asking?
    Quote Originally Posted by Sylvie View Post
    Xorthen was on my case for a few days via PM (and then some) offering to pay me $20 just to talk on the phone with me for an hour, but he chickened out or something and then decided to be an asshole in public towards me

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by F4U57 View Post
    Tanooki 2.0

    I scanned your essay and notice you mention MVS Scans. Looks good to me.

    Also, these games are extremely common. It's not the same as buying MPE or Ganryu.

    And finally, SS was in a clear case you didnt have to open it.
    Surely, we aren't talking about the second version of a Japanese Raccoon Dog or a Super Mario Bros 3 suit. I assume Tanooki is someone as notoriously wordy/long-winded as myself?

    Thanks.

    I opened it to hold the boards side by side with the legit Samurai Shodown II, which helped me noticed useless stuff like the strange haze on the mask ROM corners and different screws.

    I'm not satisfied with the ratio of words I used to respond. Let's see what I can do about that:

    Anyway, the "cheap/common" consideration only works where counterfeits were never prevalent when the platform was current. The financial incentives in the aftermarket/collector's market are completely different. While you can discount a USA NES fake that way, it doesn't really apply to MVS. When most MVS boots were made they were sold as a new game for an arcade operator.

    Some bootleggers would try to make it as convincing as possible to dupe their buyer into paying nearly the same price they'd pay SNK while others would target the operators who would easily be enticed to knowingly buy/use cheaper boots. Refresh my memory: what did SNK want for a new copy of Samurai Shodown at launch? Regardless, they had to match or undercut the price of the real game when it was fresh from the factory and this left a ton of room for profit, especially when operations were scaled up.

    Take GBA fakes for example. I've seen the "it's legit because why would anyone counterfeit such a worthless game?" argument in that collector market several times, but they forget that most GBA games that are "worthless" today once retailed for $35, even if it was typical GBA shovelware.

    Back in 2004 I could walk into any GameStop and point out GBA counterfeits in their used racks because pirates were counterfeiting everything from Spy Kids 3D Game Over to Lizzie McGuire 3 Homecoming Havoc. They were selling elsewhere at a slight discount complete with fake boxes and manuals for close to the full retail price (typically $7 off $35). They sold millions, so the smaller profit margins added up. Buyers had no idea. GameStop seemingly had no idea. Sure, the new GBA bootlegs are all Pokemon and the like, but the old boots didn't just cease to exist. Just like old MVS boots, those GBA shovelware bootlegs are obviously still floating around today.

    TL;DR: Thanks, but don't forget about vintage boots.

    Quote Originally Posted by egg_sanwich View Post
    Sounds like you've done your homework anyways. Mask roms? Check. Matches MVS-Scans? Check. Factory soldering? Check.

    Legit AF
    Thanks. Just thought I might be missing something big, like mask ROMs being faked using remarked OTP EPROMs or something (seen it on a fake Stadium Events).

    I'm still wondering what "correct screws" means. I assume that they are always domed with a flange but aren't always the same color?

    Quote Originally Posted by FilthyRear View Post
    why is this n00b even asking?
    Inorite?

    At least now I know I'm not out of my league here.

    Quote Originally Posted by Yodd View Post
    ...and that's what I'll do from now on when you pop up in my subscription feed.

    J/K, man. Keep up the good work.

  8. #8
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    Wow.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by CZroe View Post
    Hi, guys. I just bought my first MVS (actually, two) and the lot included a suspect copy of Samurai Shodown. I'm usually pretty good at detecting counterfeits and bootlegs in the rest of my collecting endeavors, but I'm new to the Neo and my understanding is that the counterfeiters in this market are on a whole other level.

    I see absolutely nothing to be suspicious of when comparing it to MVS-scans.com. I wouldn't even start to be suspicious except that the seller seemed pretty darn sure that it was. He described it as "maybe bootleg" in the description and "almost definitely bootleg" in our text conversation. Most sellers aren't inclined to shortchange themselves and he obviously had more experience than me in MVS/NEO-GEO stuff (well, I've had NGPC stuff for almost 20 years but that's not applicable), so I'm actually more inclined to trust his opinion than my own.

    I understand that it's just a $30 game and not worth too much scrutiny, but I figure that if he's right and I'm wrong I definitely want to know before I dive deeper into MVS collecting. I've been reading and lurking to learn more about boots, but whatever the previous owner knows about this cartridge that makes it fishy, I just ain't seein' it.

    I also received a non-functional Samurai Shodown II that I haven't looked inside of yet but he tossed that in at the end with no mention of whether or not he thinks it's a boot. I'll ask if he thinks it's real so I can familiarize myself with a known-genuine MVS cart, but I'm not seeing any significant differences.

    I apologize in advance if anyone thinks I'm wasting your time here. I know I get annoyed when people in other forums cluelessly ask about the authenticity of worthless mainstream games* and I feel like I'm committing the same sin here, but the contrast between my impression and the previous owner's insistence to the contrary tells me that it is either a prime learning experience or an opportunity to validate my views before I actively expand the collection with confidence.

    *"is this copy of Operation Wolf for NES legit? What about Othello NES? Confidentially, I just want to be part of the group so I mimic the concerns of higher-profile games/collectors."

    I've looked at MVS-Scans.com and the boards look identical right down to where the traces align with the silk screen. The soldering looks factory wave-soldered. The chips are Toshiba and they are all mask ROMs like the first example on MVS-Scans.com. The date codes are only weeks later than that example too. The label does not look reproduced and the serial number is in-line with others I've seen online. The case color is correct. The card edge connectors are both beveled on all four sides. The serial number doesn't get any relevant results on Google. I see absolutely nothing suspect, but this is obviously the first time I've ever handled an MVS cart. Only thing making it suspect to me is the previous owner's insistence that it's probably a boot.

    Samurai Shodown II is not in a clear case but what I can see externally checks out (good label, good serial, beveled card edges, correct case color, etc). Only thing suspect so far is that it supposedly doesn't work (not setup for testing myself yet) and the reliability of boots is a common problem.

    INSTA-UPDATE
    I composed most of this post while waiting for my forum account to be approved and I have since taken both games apart and taken pictures/more notes. Rather than re-write, I'll just add my observations here at the end.

    I do hear people refer to "correct screws" and "incorrect screws," but I don't know what to look for in either case. I can say that my two screw sets were a little different from each other.

    Both of my carts had dome-headed Phillips #2 screws with a flange around the base of the head. IIRC, they both had a notch at the tip of the threads... the Samurai Shodown ones certainly did. The Samurai Shodown screws also did not stick to my #2 Phillips screwdriver. The Samurai Shodown II screws were brass/copper color and did stick securely to my driver. I'm not sure if my driver was magnetic or if they were sticking due to surface tension and a perfect fit, but it felt more like the latter.

    The screws in Samurai Shodown had that "snap" that you feel when backing them out for the first time, so I suspect that no one has been inside before.







    Gallery link has better resolution:
    https://imgur.com/a/5iY8b

    Like the MVS-scans example, many ROMs in the Samurai Shodown II cart seem to have a hazed/glazed corner. Is this normal? Not saying that I think they were re-marked chips, but perhaps it's evidence that some anomalous power event overloaded/fried them and it's common enough to have happened to their MVS-scans copy too... I dunno. I guess that's really a topic for another thread anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by CZroe View Post
    Surely, we aren't talking about the second version of a Japanese Raccoon Dog or a Super Mario Bros 3 suit. I assume Tanooki is someone as notoriously wordy/long-winded as myself?
    Y
    Thanks.

    I opened it to hold the boards side by side with the legit Samurai Shodown II, which helped me noticed useless stuff like the strange haze on the mask ROM corners and different screws.

    I'm not satisfied with the ratio of words I used to respond. Let's see what I can do about that:

    Anyway, the "cheap/common" consideration only works where counterfeits were never prevalent when the platform was current. The financial incentives in the aftermarket/collector's market are completely different. While you can discount a USA NES fake that way, it doesn't really apply to MVS. When most MVS boots were made they were sold as a new game for an arcade operator.

    Some bootleggers would try to make it as convincing as possible to dupe their buyer into paying nearly the same price they'd pay SNK while others would target the operators who would easily be enticed to knowingly buy/use cheaper boots. Refresh my memory: what did SNK want for a new copy of Samurai Shodown at launch? Regardless, they had to match or undercut the price of the real game when it was fresh from the factory and this left a ton of room for profit, especially when operations were scaled up.

    Take GBA fakes for example. I've seen the "it's legit because why would anyone counterfeit such a worthless game?" argument in that collector market several times, but they forget that most GBA games that are "worthless" today once retailed for $35, even if it was typical GBA shovelware.

    Back in 2004 I could walk into any GameStop and point out GBA counterfeits in their used racks because pirates were counterfeiting everything from Spy Kids 3D Game Over to Lizzie McGuire 3 Homecoming Havoc. They were selling elsewhere at a slight discount complete with fake boxes and manuals for close to the full retail price (typically $7 off $35). They sold millions, so the smaller profit margins added up. Buyers had no idea. GameStop seemingly had no idea. Sure, the new GBA bootlegs are all Pokemon and the like, but the old boots didn't just cease to exist. Just like old MVS boots, those GBA shovelware bootlegs are obviously still floating around today.

    TL;DR: Thanks, but don't forget about vintage boots.


    Thanks. Just thought I might be missing something big, like mask ROMs being faked using remarked OTP EPROMs or something (seen it on a fake Stadium Events).

    I'm still wondering what "correct screws" means. I assume that they are always domed with a flange but aren't always the same color?


    Inorite?

    At least now I know I'm not out of my league here.


    ...and that's what I'll do from now on when you pop up in my subscription feed.

    J/K, man. Keep up the good work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CZroe View Post
    Surely, we aren't talking about the second version of a Japanese Raccoon Dog or a Super Mario Bros 3 suit. I assume Tanooki is someone as notoriously wordy/long-winded as myself?
    Yeah, then he goes on other forums and cries because no seems to like him.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sylvie View Post
    Xorthen was on my case for a few days via PM (and then some) offering to pay me $20 just to talk on the phone with me for an hour, but he chickened out or something and then decided to be an asshole in public towards me

  13. #13
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    Hey Gaiz!!! I need halpz! I think my Samurai Showdown carts are fake...they must be bootlegs, I dunno...it's a big concern, part of me has a pretty heavy suspicion due to the spelling on the labelz...could it be?!!!

    Thanks in advance gang!

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    Well, I guess it's better to get all the stupid questions out in the open in one topic. Gotta learn somehow right? God knows I've been abusing the boot or no boot room.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Uhrr MaAH GUDDD!!! N64 is the greatest system evah! Let's change topic to that fact, Gaiz!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElectricGrave View Post
    Uhrr MaAH GUDDD!!! N64 is the greatest system evah! Let's change topic to that fact, Gaiz!
    Sure. I'll just make another thread asking about what makes "correct screws."

    Start taking bets on the expected word count.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by c0nn0r View Post
    Superb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GohanX View Post
    Superb.
    ...and, unfortunately, I'll never learn from it:

  20. #20
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    This is why I dont do drugs...

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dandan View Post
    This is why I dont do drugs...
    So you're so impressed you want to emulate me? I'm flattered.

    Maybe they'd help...
    Last edited by CZroe; 02-11-2017 at 09:14 AM.

  22. #22
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    Everyone here is fucking with you hard, those are bootlegs.



    For the tunes lovers!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by c0nn0r View Post
    this thread is worth it because of this. the neo geo logo is a very nice touch.


    //EDIT: stealing it for the next WOT.
    Last edited by xsq; 02-14-2017 at 09:27 AM.

  24. #24
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by c0nn0r View Post
    Couldn't see this during my probationary period. Let me just say:

    It really ties the desk together.

    Quote Originally Posted by lachlan View Post
    Everyone here is fucking with you hard, those are bootlegs.
    D:
    -El Duderino (not into the whole "brevity" thing)

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