It’s so easy to obtain a fake Pokémon game. There are loads on Ebay, and most people can’t tell the difference between a real game and a fake. Since the older games are less common, and can only be purchased second hand from sellers, it’s very easy to purchase a fake.
Fake Pokémon games have been in circulation since the games were released, I’ve owned a fake Leaf Green game for over ten years. I noticed my Leaf Green game was a fake when I was younger, the big give-away was the black casing, instead of the see-through green it should have been. I didn’t understand why Leaf Green had a black casing when Fire Red, Emerald and Sapphire had a coloured casing.
Another giveaway was that the game itself was in both Japanese and English at the same time. Pokémon names and moves, the main menu and start menu were all in English whereas everything else was in Japanese. My save file would also be wiped after several hours of gameplay, meaning it was impossible for me to get past the Elite Four unless I played the game non-stop.
Leaf Green was originally my older brother’s, and he had received this game second hand. My little brother has also fallen into the trap of purchasing a fake game, as he now owns a fake Ruby game.
To avoid this, only purchase a game from an online seller that has a picture of the game. This way you can see what it looks like. It’s also safer if you look up what the real game should look like, since some fake games can easily pass as real due to a coloured-casing, but they seem to lack a shiny sticker (this only applies to GBA games).
It’s also a good idea to research what titles are official Pokémon games and what platform they were released on. (All remakes have a different name, such as Heart Gold being the remake for Gold).
It‘s a lot harder to spot fake DS games. I’ve never owned one due to only purchasing them brand new, but I am aware that fake DS games exist. One way to tell what a genuine DS game looks like is to look at the sticker. I have a feeling these are a lot less common compared to GBA games, and most can be purchased from any game shops so it’s very easy to avoid purchasing a fake.
Another way to spot a fake DS game is the casing, if you compare it to a genuine DS game you already own, you should probably notice a difference if it’s fake.
If you are purchasing a game online, it’s best to avoid sellers from China. You should even be cautious of those selling in your country as well, since they could be selling a fake without realising it. If you’re unsure, avoid stock photos, do a lot of research and only purchase when you’re certain it isn’t fake.