How to Spot Bootleg PS2 Games

tl;dr High quality PS2 bootlegs aren't that common. They also require a modded console to play so usually aren't sold to trick you, but they do exist. Some of the discs have designs printed directly on them and might fool you if you're not paying attention.

This post is really just an excuse to show this bootleg PS2 game with “Ploy Stotion 2” printed on it. Almost as funny as the ‘Made in Japam‘ bootleg Nintendo game. I don’t know if it’s deliberate, but it certainly gave me a laugh. You’d need a ploy to get someone to buy this game – for the record I got this disc with a lot of two PS2s and didn’t buy it individually.

Usually when you come across a bootleg PS2 game it’s just a DVD that someone burnt at home and wrote on it with marker pen. These are obvious to spot and we don’t need any examples of those.

The next step up might be a home-made printed sticker that’s pressed onto the disc. Again, these are easy to spot as a legitimate games never use stickers on the disc.

Then there are games that come with covers and the design is printed onto the disc These flat-packed games seem to be the post common.

A bootleg SP2 game cover
A bootleg SP2 game cover

These games come with a printed cover, which is usually folded and then inserted into a plastic cover along with the disc.

A bootleg PS2 game disc
A bootleg PS2 game disc

We all know PS2 games don’t come flat packed in these plastic overs, but this is a big step towards something that might make you pause, especially if the disc was loose.

The interesting thing about these bootlegs discs is that the design is printed directly on onto the disc.

Bootleg PS2 games with designs printed directly onto the disc
Bootleg PS2 games with designs printed directly onto the disc

The Saint Seiya disc has some obvious errors, like the location of the 7+ rating and Bandai logo obscuring the title. The 戦国無双2 (Sengoku Musou 2) disc, on the other hand, looks a lot better.

The crafty thing about these discs is the way that some areas are left un-printed, like the background of the PS logo. This is used on a lot of genuine discs and makes that part of the disc shine when you’re looking at it. It really gives it a genuine feel.

It’s debatable whether or not these bootlegs are made with the purpose of fooling people into buying them. Since you need a modded console for playing them. It’s more likely that the creators of these games were just trying to add some value to their bootlegs. People would be more willing to part with an extra few dollars for a nice print and cover design, as opposed to a Verbatim DVD-R with a marker pen title scrawled on it.

DVD movies on the other hand, don’t have any copy protection – well, DVD players don’t check for copies like a game console would. That means DVD players will play copies without any problems. I know this post is about PS2 games, but I wanted to share this DVD that I bought that was packaged in a similar way to the PS2 game above.

Bootleg Spirited Away DVD cover
Bootleg Spirited Away DVD cover

I saw this copy of the brilliant Spirited Away at exactly the same time I was looking for a Chinese-dub of the movie. I gave the case a good look to try and determine if it was legit or not.

Spirited Away Bootleg DVD
Spirited Away Bootleg DVD

The quality of this cover was far superior to the PS2 game above. This was printed on high quality card. I flipped it over and looked at the back.

The back of the Spirited Away Bootleg DVD
The characters on the back were glossy

The back cover featured the characters Chihiro and No Name, and they felt almost embossed out of the card and had a special glossy finish. At this point I’m starting to think – “Maybe this is some kind of special Taiwanese release”. The quality was that good.

Spirited Away bootleg DVD disc
Spirited Away bootleg DVD disc

One benchmark worth keeping in mind is the way some of the design is obscured by the hole in the DVD. The design on a genuine disc would usually take this hole in account and design around it. Bootlegs just dump the cover design onto the disc without thought as to the position of the design.

I was at a flea market stall so the price of this DVD was really cheap, I remember about $1US ($30NTD). So I just bought it thinking that even if it is a bootleg I’ll still be able to watch it.

It was only after I got home and inspected the cover further I noticed that it said “WIDLSCREEN VERSION” instead of “WIDESCREEN” at the bottom of the back cover. It was otherwise a really high quality copy. I can only imagine the bootlegger kicking themself after seeing this mistake. To put in all this effort and then fail at the last hurdle.

There’s a guy at one of the markets I visit that sells a few games.  He has a CD wallet full of games that reads “genuine game discs” on the front. I’ve flicked through these games in the past and seen this kind of PS2 and Wii bootlegs. I told him these games are bootlegs, but I don’t think he believed me. A few weeks later those discs were still there.

The point is that these games probably won’t fool a collector, but they are of a high enough quality that some people can’t tell the difference.  If you’re buying a lot of loose games, or someone is buying a game for you, one of these could certainly slip in.

 

 

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