For several years now Pokemon distributions for the Gen 3 GameBoy Advance games have been turning up on sites like Ebay.
With that in mind you might think it’s controversial I have recently shared how these official GBA development flash carts these are been sold on can easily be re-flashed: Flash / Write Official GBA Development Flash Carts With An Nintendo DS
This means GBA prototypes and Pokemon Distributions can now easily be duplicated, with replicas sold on as the real thing for significant amounts of money on Ebay.
Although not talked about, the sad reality of the situation is method of re flashing GBA devcarts has been exploited in certain circles to keep selling clones of rare Pokémon event distributions for many €1000’s on Ebay, passing them off as originals.
Myself and others in the Pokemon community have long since suspected this was been done, however no conclusive proof has ever been obtained on how this was been done. Even asking on communities such as Assmebler Games which deal with obscure development hardware revealed little to suggest it was easy to clone these distributions, or the official GBA development hardware was readily available to purchase.
With that in mind people have been happy to purchase these distribution replicas, sometimes for as much as €2000 on Ebay, believing their genuine and were used at past Nintendo events.
When certain Pokemon distributions have been dumped it been possible to see remnants of what was previously flashed to the card, as these Official GBA Development Flash Carts are much larger than the actual Pokemon event distribution software.
In one such example we can see Mortal Kombat Advance had simply been overwrote on this particular cart.
This was always suspicious as we very much doubted Game Freak has been using second hand development cartridges obtained from Midway Games, although not impossible.
What is somewhat ironic is myself and others had basically worked out how GBA devcarts were been re flashed a long time ago, it was just never possible to test the theory.
It's possible to Flash / Write Official GBA Development Flash Carts With An Nintendo DS using the FAS1 homebrew application, as shown in the video below:
I’d personally been using FAS1 to flash my old Flash2Advance flashcard for years, using an Nintendo DS Lite. I knew later versions of FAS1 were supposed to have support for GBA development flashcards, although at the time I had no compiled binaries of newer versions of FAS1 or even a GBA development flashcard to test this theory with.
That all changed earlier this year when a compiled version of FAS1 was was obtained and two different GBA development carts were purchased for testing.
Needless to say re flashing a official GBA development flash cart now took less time than it did to make a good cuppa tea.
Genuine Pokemon Generation 3 Distributions:
Now you might be thinking real distributions must have been on the market at some point for the distributions out there today to be dumped. You’d be correct, some of these sold in 2012 on Nintendo Age, these were of course sealed in a GBA.
To assist you with potentially identifying these in the future here are images of original GBA Pokemon Gen 3 distributions that we know of, sealed in their respective units:
BFG Shiny Zigzagoon:
US Aurora Ticket:
EU Eon Ticket: (Probably dumped, however not dumped / released that I know of):
Where is the conclusive proof?
You'd be right in thinking I've made a lot of claims and not posted much proof, I honestly don't have any interest in all the drama that comes with that. If you wan't to believe me thats great, if not that's cool, I'd sooner people just know how easy it is to clone Gen 3 Pokemon distributions that are on development hardware and have as much information as possible to enable them to make an informed purchasing decision in the future.
Myself and various people in the Pokemon event community have seen said proof of such activities earlier in the year, so its out there and if you ask around i'm sure you will also find it.
I think I've shared enough information on how its been done to bring widespread awareness to the practice, which will hopefully make people think twice before spending a lot of money on a distribution which has already been dumped and released just to "own something original".
In the event something genuine does surface you have a good idea of what it might look like from the above images, certainly i'd be a lot more inclined to believe its an original if it was sealed in a GBA.
So at least now the information is out there people can make an informed decision before purchasing a Pokemon Distribution in the future. If it’s a standalone devcart please think twice before purchasing it, hopefully meaning theirs less chance of a replica getting passed off as the genuine thing on Ebay.
Approximately 5 or less sealed units of each GBA event should theoretically exist, other than clearly not accounting for as many that have been sold over the years, no one with the original unit in their right mind would destroy the seal to dump the rom when there are ways to do it via the link port if they did some research.
In addition anyone wants to develop homebrew for the GBA and has an official GBA development card can now make use of it and easily write their own homebrew to it, just as developers did all those years ago.
@Deoxyz and @YoshiMoshi significantly contributed with a lot of the information / research in this post.