While video games certainly haven't been around for as long as vinyl records, enough time that has passed for some oldies to gain in value. Especially famous titles in mint condition or copies of very rare games, or ones that have some alteration or even defect that has caused them to be limited edition. It's a burgeoning market, and where there's money to be made, there is often also, unfortunately, crime.
A game collector and glamour photographer named Enrico Ricciardi was accused of defrauding multiple other collectors (via Polygon). The amount transacted involves an estimated €200,000 ($204,254) worth of forged games.
Ricciardi has parried the accusations, stating that he has simply been a victim of forgery as well and only passed along the counterfeit games. He claims that a major chunk of the games came from a trader he has referred to only as "Mister X".
The collectors who were affected by the forgeries say several details piqued their concerns. These include printed materials that had imperfections that look like they were printed on, stickers that weren't perfectly round, and packaging with tiny signs of being homemade. However, for years, some of these forgeries went unnoticed or not commented on, since the games that were being traded were very rare and thus original copies were hard to compare with. These include Akalabeth, which was the first game released by Ultimata creator Richard Garriott, in 1980, and a Japanese copy of Mystery House (pictured above) by Sierra On-Line.
The forgeries were reported by Ars Technica last month as causing a ripple effect among the rare PC game community of collectors. "It's not certain at this time how many forgeries are out there," the founder of Big Box PC Game Collectors (BBPCGC) told Polygon. "Just one or two forgers operating for a long period of time can flood the market with forgeries".
For those trying to preserve old copies for the sake of game preservation, Brenda Romero suggested through her Twitter account that developers who were active in the late 1970s and 1980s should consider donating their materials to chartered museums, such as The Strong Museum of Play, or to academic collections, found at Stanford University or the University of Texas at Austin, for example, instead of selling to private collectors. Romero made the statement after news circulated of the forgeries.
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