If you’ve been around the site these past few days, we’ve been following the story of David Garret, a supposed ex-employee of SNK. After posting his original story, some accusations and questions came to light. This was followed by a response by David himself.
Of course one of the underlying issues is the legitimacy of the infamous Aerofighter 3 cartridge which sold for a whopping $30,000 a few months back. One of the buyers of that game has come forward with a startling accusation: the game is a fake. He’s done an in depth analysis of the cartridge, the label, instruction manual, and insert. With the events of the past few days and now this bombshell, the case for David Garret isn’t looking good. If true, this could blow the lid on one of the biggest video game hoaxes of all time.
As always we’ll let you be the judge and make up your own mind.
Editors note: We have made a few changes to the original text. The author of the analysis is French and some of his verbiage makes it difficult to understand at times. For example the word “ligne”, meaning “line” in French, was changed for better readability and proper syntax. Again thanks to neo-geo.com forums for creating a platform to make this kind of information available.
Aerofighters 3 US: An In Depth Analysis:
OVERALL: The manual is not original and had been printed less than a year ago.
FACT 1: The global shininess of the paper is not correct. It is too shiny. When looked at the natural light, the shine is not correct at all. It is too shiny.
FACT 2: The paper of the EPILEPSY WARNING is not right. it’s not salmon but orange. All the neo geo game have the same color of epilepsy warning card, except 2 of these. Guess what, the KOF 2000 US(red), and the AF3 US(orange):fake.
FACT 3: The black issue on solid black. All the manuals printed by SNK had been printed by what we call an offset with lead. This means the black is totally black, dark. On the Aerofighters 3 US, the black is not black but grey. A dark gray, but not as black as more than 100 manuals we looked at with Fred’s collection. As Geddon said it’s darker on the Japanese home card, I would love ot have been sent the US CD manual which looks exactly like the US AES manual. Actually, the two copies we have in our possession share the same deep black than the other releases of SNK since ages. Cheesy.
FACT 4: The Aerofighters logo on the first page is not vector but raster. Let me explain, on the NEO GEO CD release, for example, all the whites are a clean crisp line. On the Aerofighters 3 US AES cartridge, the white line is fuzzy with the red overlapping. This was caused by the process of scanning. It loose purity. This is easily seen even under ten times magnifications.
FACT 5: The third cover, the two characters. This is one of the most noticeable flaws. On the three original manuals (CD US, CD JAP, HC JAP), the details are spot on. Like the orange on the yellow circle, and various details of colors. Unfortunately, on the Aerofighter 3 US AES cart, these color details are missing.
FACT 6: The two characters issue. On all the black and white drawings. This issue, is by essence, the same on all the interior pages of the manual. It’s is less noticeable, but it is obvious that on all the characters. The black is not black, so the dots that create the characters are less presents. Lack of definition = scan from an original. If you look carefully at the airplanes on the American Neo Geo CD cover, Japanese Neo Geo CD Cover, Japanese Neo Geo home cart, and the American Neo Geo home cart, it’s just ridiculous. The first three are the same, while the American Neo Geo home cart is not as deep.
Fact 7: The square on the last page of manual is raster. On all the Neo Geo games from the same period, for example the Stakes Winner, there is a square with writing. Starting with “All rights reserved…” and finishing with “SNK corporation”. Usually there are also some stars. When you look at the AF3 US with at four time magnification, the writing is RASTER, not VECTOR. This is again from the scanning process. In the case of Stakes Winners for example, the font used can make think that it’s raster because it’s a very “machine” font, close to the LEICA official font on lenses. Though at ten time magnification, you can clearly see it’s VECTOR.
Fact 8: The square which roll on the number of pages On all the pages of the three Aerofighters 3 manuals (CD JAP, CD US, AES JAP), the black rectangle where the number of the page is there is strictly square. On the US AF3, it’s a square with a minus radius. Looks not real.
FACT 9: The massive red lack on the front cover.
FACT 10: The lack of detail on the airplanes. The three other original manuals have very detailed airplanes. On the other hand the US AES Aerofighters 3 is not as detailed.
FACT 11: The paper is white. The bootlegers didn’t choose the right paper. On all the Neo Geo games, the last page of the manual is white but with a clear yellow tone due to age, but not only this. Also because it’s the color of the paper itself. Honestly anyone who is comparing, like Geddon did with Pitt’s collection, could see how white the Aeroefighters 3 US AES cart is.
Sticker on the Cartridge:
OVERALL: The sticker on the cartridge is not original compared to 150+ carts.
FACT 1: The sticker is too glossy, like a mirror. The no cellulite effect. The glossyiness of paper is not right compared to an original release. Any release, Japanese or American, when looked at in the sun, looks like a cellulite. When looked at carefully, the Aerofighters 3 US AES cart doesn’t look good. It is too shiny.
FACT 2: The copyright VIDEOSYSTEM on sticker is raster. Compared to all other games, like the ones we looked at, all the copyrights are vector. On the US release of Aero Fighters 3, it’s not vector but raster.
FACT 3: The Aerofighters 3 logo is not vector. Worst of this, the AEROFIGHTERS 3 is very blurry, not a good quality.
FACT 4: The red line of the NEO GEO on spine. The NEO GEO on top of the spine also has a very strange red line. This is not a good sign of course. This is a sign of a bad interprated print after a scan. It mixed the colors and created this line which is present on the other 150+ Neo Geo games.
The Paper Insert:
OVERALL: The insert is not originally from SNK.
The insert is the most crazy fun part of the story. Unlike all the other elements, it’s not always the LACK of quality of detail of the game which pops up, but too much quality. Bootleger David G., to create confusion, redrew some parts with a vector software like Adobe Illustrator. So when you look at it, it looks perfect. But it’s too perfect for 1995/1996 releases.
FACT 1: The meg count on front. If you look carefully at other inserts from the same period, the megs writing always have a white imperfection. This is due to the offsett priting. For example on the game Stakes Winner, there is space bewteen the red and the black. This is not perfect, it’s a little bit of a charming offsett process.
FACT 2: The NEO GEO on front. There is not too much of a difference between the NEO GEO logos. When you look at the mini ‘ADVANCED ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM’, such as the original carts like Stakes Winner, it’s a little bit blurry. Most of this is because of the offset process. On the Aerofighter 3 US AES cart, everything is perfect, but too perfect.
FACT 3: The big number ’3′ issue. Unlike all the other releases, the ’3′ on the cover is blurry. That’s the first thing I asked Tonk about.
FACT 4: The blue line issue. Unlike Neo Geo games, the blue line on spine is going out of the black. this is not present on the other games.
The question is, what do you think? With all the information presented so far, is the infamous cart a fake or is it the real deal?
UPDATE: In light of this information, the seller of these carts has offered a full refund.
Brian is the Managing Director here at Substance TV. He is the host of Substance TV, Game Grief, and co-host of Substance TV LIVE. A graphic designer by trade, his other love of 15 years is the bass guitar. Though he shares his love with his family as well. Luckily he has a wife who supports his video game game addiction, and his two amazing children. You can find him on Google + or via his Twitter @fortressfruit.