Is there room for repro games?

The term “Repro” in the retro gaming community is pretty divisive. Honestly, the term alone is a little cringy.

When I first started collecting video games many years ago, I knew already that there were some games I would likely never own. Such as the Nintendo World Championship Cartridge or exclusive Japan-only releases such as “Sweet Home”, and I had accepted that. Until the rise of the reproduction cart.

Now, I have a handful of absolutely fantastic games including the aforementioned survival horror game “Sweet Home” and the elusive NWC. Sure, I could have easily just emulated them, but having them in a physical form not only feels cool, it feels like the games were always available. Plus, we get to play them on original hardware. That said, when it comes to repro games, I have a serious problem with fakes of titles that are readily available to the average collector. We really don’t need reproductions of Chrono Trigger or Harvest Moon flooding the market.

I have no problem at all with buying a game like “Jesus: The terrifying Bio Monster” as a reproduction. It’s a title that very few people have even heard about, which is unfortunate because it’s actually a pretty fun game, although it is very Japanese.

Still, many collectors swear against the option of buying bootleg translated versions of games and opt to instead just not play them. If that’s you, you’re doing yourself a serious disservice. How else are you going to play such awful great titles as “A week of Garfield”?

This is by no means an advertisement, and I won’t be linking out to any sellers. However, there are some out there that will even make an English box, include an English-translated manual, and allow you to open a sealed game with the same feeling you may have gotten in the ’80s and 90s. Somehow, they even smell the same way. As we know, olfactory nostalgia is some of the strongest. So what’s so wrong with that?

What’s wrong is that many companies pop up out of the woodwork to sell you copies of expensive games such as Earthbound. Making the carts and boxes nearly indistinguishable to the untrained eye. Thus reducing the value of the official versions over time. Moreover, many of these companies flood auction sites like eBay with their wares and sometimes claim they are real versions. That’s a dangerous business.

In my opinion, as long as the game is well known to be a repro, be it a sticker, special box label, or colored cartridge then there can be no problem. Especially when the game was never released Stateside.

So, what do you think of the repro game business? Do you have room for repros in your collection? let us know in the comments!

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