Don’t be fooled by a Grinch: Be on the lookout for counterfeit game consoles

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — For Jeff Thomas, playing video games is a trip down memory lane.

“I guess the feeling is just a sense of nostalgia,” Thomas said. “I was born on the same day that Super Marios Bros. 2 was released, so that’s probably one of my favorite games.”

One of his favorite consoles to play is the Nintendo NES Classic Edition.

“It looks great on new TVs,” he said. “It has 30 built-in games, so you can take it with you.”

But Thomas is upset after learning hundreds of counterfeit consoles replicating his system were found across North Carolina.

“Ultimately, it ends up in someone’s hands who maybe really wants to play the new console that came out, really wants to play a game that they loved growing up, and they get something and it’s a knockoff,” Thomas said.

North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall said more than 340 counterfeit NES Classic Edition systems were surrendered at shopping centers in Wake and Pitt counties. When asked by CBS 17, Marshall couldn’t say which shopping centers the consoles were found at due to being an ongoing investigation.

Marshall added arrests have been made related to this case, and there could be more.

“They were in kiosks that had been engaged for the holiday season,” Marshall said. “I guess you could call this the classic case of the Grinch that’s about to steal Christmas.”

Unlike the real consoles which include 30 pre-installed games, Marshall said the counterfeit systems claim they come with 620 games, or in some cases, more than 800 games.

“Somebody is using either 3-D printing, or some type of computer graphics, that allow them to re-engineer a product to go ahead and make their own version of this,” Marshall said.

Marshall believes these items can be bad for manufacturers, retailers and buyers.

“Somebody is wasting their money,” she said.

Both Marshall and Thomas believe research is important. Marshall said if the quality is inferior, it may be a fake.

If you have questions or believe you may have bought a counterfeit item, the Secretary of State’s office encourages you to contact them.

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