A Perfect Example Of Why You Shouldn’t Buy Used Games Online

A Perfect Example Of Why You Shouldn’t Buy Used Games Online

Redditor Vernm51’s parents couldn’t find a copy of Pokemon HeartGold for the DS locally for Christmas, so they ordered it online from GameStop — and received a bootleg copy that didn’t work.

The cheap Flash card-based bootlegs that plagued the original DS don’t work anymore due to 3DS firmware upgrades — they register as THQ’s Alex Rider Stormbreaker game and then fail to load — but there are still many in circulation, like this one that unfortunately ended up under Vernm51’s Christmas tree.

Several awsome Redditors offered to get Vernm51 a real copy of the game, and eventually a local GameStop (featuring the guy with the tattoos and Darth Vader shirt) got him a copy of Pokemon SoulSilver. Still, what a disappointing thing to happen on Christmas, both for Vernm51 and his parents, who remembered how much he loved playing Pokemon Gold as a kid and wanted to bring that joy back.

This is not joyful.

If used is the only way you can find your favourite old game, then by all means grab it. Just try and grab it locally, where it can be tested and easily returned. It’s not just DS carts — it’s easy enough to print up a fake Blu-ray disc label if you’ve got the right tools.

There’s only so much checking a game retailer can do. The warehouses of a major US chain like GameStop have been sitting on inventory so long that the fake copy of Pokemon HeartGold they shipped out might have worked at the time it was traded in.

If you must buy used and must buy online, look for eBayers with good feedback. Their reputation depends on making sure their games work. Otherwise you’ll never know when you’re going to accidentally ruin Christmas.

Images via Vern51 on imgur.


  • No it isn’t. No one example of anything appropriately represents the whole. Kotaku spends every second article examining this.

    Why would you just model prejudice for everyone?

    • Gee you think if he had just called up Gamestop and said “You sent us a bootlegged copy that doesn’t work, we’d like a replacement or refund please” instead of posting to reddit and then none of this happens?

      It’s hardly the end of the world if you don’t get to replay the game on Christmas Morning, chalk it up as these things happen and move on. He can still play it whenever the replacement arrives.

      • This is what I can’t work out its not like they bought from some random eBay user – its GameStop – demand a refund

        • In the end the replacement (Of not quite the same product) wasn’t from a kind reddit Samaritan… It was a different Game Stop employee showing some initiative and doing an exchange, just in a strange forum.

          Of course it may just be that American’s really don’t seem to understand consumer rights…

          Or maybe I’m being judgemental after the article where Fahey claimed he could pass as Aussie and it took all my willpower not to call BS =P. Now there was a badly localised story.

    • Exactly. Fahey, you published an article about a family purchasing a graffiti’d block of wood inside of a PS4 box from their local Target just a few hours before you published this one. If I were to take this article and that article as examples proving why I shouldn’t do things, then I wouldn’t be able to buy games online or locally. I’m sure if I go back through the archives it wouldn’t take me very long to find an article suggesting that I avoid eBay for similar reasons either.

  • What’s up with the commenters here saying this is a stupid thing to report on? A dude got a bootleg game for Christmas and strangers offered to find and buy him a genuine copy. Is it such a bad thing to report on that? What’s actually being exaggerated here?

    But on the topic of bootleg games, I’ve busted a couple of people over the years trying to trade in bootleg DS games. Whether they knew what they were doing or not, it’s pretty damaging to retailers when they go on to sell them to other customers. GameStop could have been slapped with a lawsuit for copyright infringement over this.

    • Retailers get lazy checking stuff like this because it costs them money to do so. Perhaps if we started holding them to account, rather than making excuses for them, praising them for their clean-up efforts or just giving up, then we’d see some change.

      Unfortunately this article doesn’t really seek to do that. It focuses on one specific example that popped up on Reddit (like most Kotaku stories, it seems) and suggests that we all buy from local stores or Ebay sellers with good reputations. Which is weird, considering that Fahey wrote this story on exactly the same day: http://www.kotaku.com.au/2015/12/boy-opens-christmas-playstation-4-finds-a-block-of-wood-with-a-dick-on-it/

      This stuff should be reported on, but it should be done properly. More facts, more research, less “Christmas is ruined” emotional appeals.

    • Less the content of the article and more the title of the article.

      On one side it’s a nice gesture; on another it’s completely the wrong moral of the story to be taking away. It’s like taking an article about someone being hit by a bus and titling that; this is why buses should be outlawed across the world. Typical US Kotaku; I need to stop clicking on these articles and just stick to the ones from AU.

  • Stormbreaker is what the R4 shows up as when you put it in. so its probably an R4 with firmware so out of date that it doesn’t work on your current 3ds. will still work on a 3ds with older firmware or a standard DS.

    • Man I thought that if you used an R4 in a 3DS it could potentially brick the system!!?

      God knows every time I turn it on there seems to be a firmware update

      • No risk of bricking unless nintendo decide to add a feature where it bricks the 3ds when detected. They will still work on latest firmware aslong as you remember to flash your r4/supercard before you update your 3ds firmware. If you wanna play actual 3ds games tho the SKY3DS+ and its older variants have been immune to nintendos firmware updates for best part of 2 years. Seem to be indistinguishable from a real cartridge with the downside of having to change games via hitting a button on the top of the cartridge.

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