What is your opinion on the cardboard repro boxes and manuals that are sold online?

Hey all,

I’m curious to know what everyone thinks about buying/using cardboard repro boxes and manuals (the ones that look EXACTLY like the originals) for your existing authentic GB, NES, SNES etc. cartridges. I’ve got a few loose GB and SNES cartridges that I’d love to house in their respective boxes but I’m always on the fence about getting reproduction boxes because they are not authentic and therefore make the game technically not CIB. Figured I could just buy some universal game cases and print out the covers but that’s just unnecessary to me. The other option would be to buy an authentic box from ebay but usually they’d be overpriced and hard to come by. So another option would be to just buy a CIB game and sell the spare cart…but let’s be honest, that’s not a financially feasible option. So the last option would be simply to just be happy and content with what you have and move on with life :smiley:

Putting the legal aspect of cardboard repro boxes aside (and how difficult it is to check if they are authentic since some repro manufacturers purposely don’t label their product as a repro), is it just me or it just simply doesn’t feel right to have an authentic pre-2000s cartridge in a prestine cardboard repro box made in 2018?

So yeah, quite a dilemma for collectors I suppose. Thoughts?

I’m honestly not a fan. In general I’d rather have something incomplete or poor condition that is genuine over something pristine that isn’t.

If I bought something like that myself sure it’d look nice on the shelf but I’d just know it wasn’t genuine that would annoy me.

I also don’t like the idea that later down the track it could be mistaken for a genuine item… some people make repro boxes that are wildly different to avoid this but really I think if you’re that serious about not putting fake stuff into the wild it’s really not that hard to make it look the same on the shelf and also have something subtle but obviously marking it as a repro (like say, replacing the barcode with a clear repro message, so it doesn’t interfere with the overall artwork and design but is still obvious for anyone looking).

I’m not gonna berate anyone who does it or purchases them but I’m not personally a fan for these reasons.


So the last option would be simply to just be happy and content with what you have and move on with life

This is what I’d vote for. :slight_smile:

Several years ago I bought a few plastic replacement cases for SNES games, but quickly it was taking up way too much space and adding almost no value to my life. So for games that originally came in cardboard, I just live with the few that I’ve owned from the start and buy loose carts for everything else. With games that came in plastic cases, though, I still buy CIB, mostly for the extra protection they offer disc-based systems.


I’m in the same boat as @Peagles. Buying a repro box/manual (that looks exactly like the original) just so it looks great on a shelf seems strange to me too. It definitely doesn’t bring any financial value whatsoever. If its all authentic then it makes sense and if you are buying a case to protect your game then why bother with cardboard when a universal game case is more robust and sturdy.

@fester, Yeah, I’m the same as you when it comes to disc-based systems mostly because loose CD/DVD/BR discs will definitely not last as long if they weren’t in their box. And thankfully, just like genesis/master system games, there are a lot more of their original plastic boxes in the second-hand jungle than NES/GB/SNES/N64.

In general I’d rather have something incomplete or poor condition that is genuine over something pristine that isn’t.

Totally with you on that Peagles :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t buy them, but that’s because I hate cardboard boxes. I’m also on the market for nice clamshell boxes with custom art.

It’s completely about display. Cartridges are ugly and difficult to store on a shelf, having a box makes for a pretty way to organise your stuff. I’d rather have something in a fake box than loose.

Because I don’t do cardboard, I’m less concerned about fakes. I saw a few reproduction shell artworks but it’s immediately obvious it’s fake.

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Same place I am in regards to repros in general; as long as they have something, anything, that distinguishes them from the original or they are just for personal use go for it. The only problem I have is when people try to sell them as something they arn’t. If that isn’t in play then it is just people doing what they can to make them feel happy about what they own, and I’m not going to judge.

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I’m not a fan of repro boxes. I think it was one of the dumbest things to come out of the retro gaming craze of the last decade. I don’t need a fake box sitting on my shelf just so I can show it off to a YouTube audience.

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As long as you arent selling them as the real thing then who cares? It’s your collection,its whatever makes you happy to look at on your shelf.


This reminds me of an article I was reading the other day about how we could learn to love damaged boxes: http://www.retrocollect.com/Articles/damaged-goods-why-retro-gamers-should-learn-to-love-worn-cardboard-boxes-a-poor-condition-classics.html

Reproduction boxes and manuals aren’t the best answer - though I can see why some collectors might seek them out. The problem is, as mentioned already, they are bound to find their way back in to the market and sellers are inevitably going to misclassify some of them as originals in good condition. That’s not fair for those people who want their games to be the originals, in great condition.

Personally I wouldn’t want a repro - it’s not the real thing and I can often tell the difference almost immediately in how the cardboard and materials might feel, or in the dpi and colour reproduction of the print.

They already get unwittingly passed on as it is. This is why some subtle marking would be ideal.

This though. It’s weird how different things can feel.

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I think it makes much more sense to get UGC cases and print out your own covers from the database. I personally dont understand repro boxes because they too will break down over time. But again,its your shelf,display it how you want.

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I just leave them loose.

(Old picture)

To me, it’s not worth the expense.

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I print manuals and spine cards all the time for my loose CD games. It is almost as natural as exchanging a cracked Jewel case. I even make some extras, like translating something and editing the original manual. I’ll never pay for it, though.

As Bodine says, as long as you doing it for your personal use and not for profit, its A-OK by me.

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And I respect this too. Do what makes you happy. I’m always a believer in this.

But my concerns are the same as Peagles, What if a person bought repro boxes and manuals (repro boxes that looks 100% exactly like originally) for their personal collection and then later on several years decide to sell their collection not knowing which boxes were repros? Or what if their collection was sold by a family or friend (who isn’t a gaming expert) and started passing off those repro boxes/manuals as authentic CIB? When it comes to art or any kind of music/movie memrobilia with crazy value, there will be experts on standby to check its authenticity. But with video games, I don’t think sellers or buyers will go through that hassle (unless its something worth 4 figures). but still, some 3-figures games are pricy to some…and when it comes to Ebay or expos, it’s a shame that there is this possibility that a loose cart with a repro box/manual can be passed off as a CIB.

But I’m on your side here when it comes to personal use, if you’re buying repro boxes with custom/alternate box art or even repro boxes (which look like original) that clearly mark “this is a repro box” then that’s totally fine. So long it makes the person happy. My blame here goes more towards the manufacturers than the buyers.

Although, I often wonder if its because of buyer’s demand that it enables manufacturers to make them in the first place. Came across a post on a facebook group of a user who was looking to replace the sticker label of a GameBoy game and asked if there were any sellers online that could help him. The original sticker was present but faded and torn at the corners. Is this a thing in other collectible hobbies? Will you have repro labels/boxes for collectible Star Wars toys or repro wrappers for baseball and pokemon trading cards? :sweat_smile:

UGC is definitely a better solution as well. They are sturdy and can be utilised for more than just one type of cart.

It’s a real shame that buyers have to be knowledable to identify the differences based on experience. For me, I often struggle with dpi and colour of repros because they are getting better and better. Coupled with how old some of these original boxes are, its hard to distinguish if a Mint condition NES/SNES has actually been taken care of very well or it was replaced with a repro. It used to be that buying a prestine condition of a CIB was an easy task but it became a lot more harder and dubious ever since repro boxes/manuals started to appear. I usually try to base my decision off the box material and how it feels. And then take a good hard look at the seal of quality logo (which can sometimes be difficult for me to distinguish). It’s just I’m not familiar with NES and SNES game boxes. GBA - on the other hand - is really easy :smiley: They are like day and night to me.

and yeah, unless the repro (game, manual, box) is a decent hack or unlicensed/fan-made game that NEVER got an official release then I - too - will not bother with them as they are not the real thing. That would be like being unable to afford a Picasso (or maybe only affording 1/4 of a torn picasso painting) and then buying a normal print to compensate, framing it and then inviting your friends over to appreciate it (or if you’re a really weird person, try to pass it off as an original) :joy:

I am personally a fan of repros of any gaming media, as long as they are

  • Physically and electronically sound.
  • Are sold at a fair price (less than a full price game max).
  • Have a way to distinguish them from the OG media. This can be totally original box art or more subtle like a small notice or logo on the back of the box.

On the other hand, I simply don’t care enough to have official looking cases for every cart in my collection, or even every CD. I’m not a collector in any sense, and I’m not picky about condition, so it’s not much of a bother to me. Only a few select favorites get the case treatment.

That said, for games I really love it is nice to have them protected, and in that case I always go for plastic cases like UGC or cheap repro Genesis cases. Cardboard just worries me.


Boxes that look like originals with a little watermark on them saying it’s a repro are cool but some of those clamshell cases for SNES games are not for me. For a start they look bugger all like they should look, have wonky art and mostly based on US boxed. Not worth a sausage to the Japanese collector :wink:

I’ll assume autocorrect screwed up your second sentence!
Had to read it twice and I’m still not 100% sure what you wanted to say there. :slight_smile:

Ah all fixed now. Some times auto correct is more trouble than it’s worth.

You guys are spoiled with your nicer packaging in general. Especially during the 8bit and 16bit generations. You should justifiably scoff at our crappy North American boxes where kirby is always angry and console logos take up too much room.