The retro PC game collecting scene was rocked by an unexpected scandal last week when a prominent member of the community, who was also a moderator of a large Facebook group, was accused of selling fake copies of classic games to people.
Enrico Ricciardi, who for years has been an active member of the community as a buyer, seller and source of advice, has been fired from Big Box PC Game Collectors after several members provided evidence they say prove that many of the boxes, floppy disks and artifacts he was selling to people were not what they appeared to be. .
The group members collected all their evidence and accusations in public documentsaying that after a member received a suspicious game – a supposed copy of Akalbeth 1979: The Realm of Deathwhich was developed by Richard Garriott before he started in Ultima series and it’s one of the first RPGs ever produced – they started to stick around with other titles sold by Ricciardi, finding that many of them were a bit off as well.
Comparing Ricciardi’s toys with original toys owned by other members, the group quickly found a number of inconsistencies with the previous one, such as toy posters being cut by hand rather than shaped, markings on supposedly decades-old posters that could only have been made using modern printers, and slight differences In things like fonts and logo placement. You can see these examples for yourself over here And the over here.
However, the most incriminating evidence that has been presented is that in many cases the discs that Ricciardi sold were empty, something many buyers now discover only after they have been asked to check. If you’re thinking to yourself “Why didn’t these people check this out before?” We’re talking about discs and tapes that are in some cases over 40 years old, which means as explained by members of Big Box PC Game Collectors that doing so isn’t always the best idea:
These discs are 40 years old, and the software is widely available online via emulators at this point. The point of getting these is not to play with them, but to collect them (people who collect baseball trading cards don’t trade them often either). “Testing” a 40-year-old disk can risk damaging the disk. Furthermore, some collectors do not have access to the computers that were originally running these games.
With many members now comparing the games they received from Ricciardi with other legitimate copies, it’s becoming clear that he’s been selling these complex replicas for years (since at least 2015, they judge), covering everything from old Sierra and Origin games” Multiple copies of Ultima: Escape from Mount DrachAnd the akalabeth And the mysterious house. “
It is widely believed that while most of the fake Ricciardi products were sold directly to buyers, the group says “there is at least one black box”. Ultima 1 which we believe may be fakes have been labeled by WATA.”
It is estimated that Ricciardi has been involved in “at least €100,000 in transactions for suspected counterfeit game items”, which at press time amount to approximately US$107,300. This is … a lot of money, as you would expect for old games and this mission, Although the group explains In the Frequently Asked Questions accompanying their postsIt is not clear if any legal proceedings are underway, or if they will ever take place, because they say “affected individuals choose their best remedy and do not wish to discuss this publicly”.
If you’re a collector and this is a little intimidating, or you’re just an outside observer curious about how this all works, The Big Box PC Game Collectors has a “Guide to Anti Crooks” which is fun to read.