NES Classic Edition, Spotting A Fake

With the NES Classic Edition discontinued at the beginning of the year, and people still clambering to get their hands on one, there are people taking advantage of the situation. You might say they are filling a hole in the market left by Nintendo.

I am a game collector and unfortunately was unable to get my hands on the NES Classic Edition in the short time it was for sale. For the last few months, I have been scouring the internet to find one and thought that my luck had changed. Unfortunately, I fell victim to a knockoff and a good one at that. Scammers are now flooding the market with some very convincing looking, cheap fakes that are selling for well over the original MSRP of $60. In reality, these fakes are probably worth $20 if that and there doesn’t seem to be much information on the internet about what to look for.

I found some sure fire ways to know if that coveted NES you’re hoping to buy is real or not, and I will share them with you so you don’t get scammed…

Unfortunately, just looking at the boxes, it is quite difficult to tell the difference. As you can see from the following pictures, the boxes are nearly identical, aside from some small differences on the front. Both box designs were official releases; however, I have yet to see a fake use the design on the right. Another small difference is the colors on the fake are slightly faded but again, unless you are holding a real and fake box side by side, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference. The fake boxes even contain the same packing material, posters, manual, cabling, etc…

Once you compare the actual units, some differences start to show. There are slight variations in the colors of plastic and paint used for the real and fake NES’s. Again, the scammers have gone to great lengths to match every detail. There is even a serial sticker on the bottom of the fake unit.

Once you get to the controllers, it will be much easier to tell which one is fake. They still tried to match small details like the labeling on the back and even the small Nintendo branding on the end of the cable.

Up to this point, have you been able to tell which one is real and which one is fake? The quickest way to tell is in the details. The fakes are manufactured in China for the lowest cost possible. Notice how the printing on the logo isn’t quite straight or how “reset” isn’t centered on the button. The controller numbers on the console are also too far apart. On the controller, the printed graphics don’t quite line up and the color of the grey bars is way off.

Once you turn on the console the difference couldn’t be more apparent. The real console turns on almost instantly, while the fake takes anywhere from 5-10 seconds to boot. The scammers attempted to recreate the look of the menu, but as you can see, everything is soft looking, over-scanned and the colors aren’t right. The menu is slow and the sound is as if someone recorded it from their phone.

Go back and take another look at the pictures from the beginning of the post. Now that you know what to look for, can you spot the fake?

In conclusion, some people might not care that they have a fake. They do after all play classic games. The fact of the matter is you are paying way too much for an inferior product that is playing pirated games and will likely stop working after very little use. Don’t get scammed, save your money for the upcoming SNES Classic Edition.

The importance of branding

What is a brand

The dictionary defines it as “a kind or variety of something distinguished by some distinctive characteristic.” Put more simply a brand is everything that someone sees, hears, smells, touches, etc…

A brand is much more than a well-defined logo. Good branding increases its value and helps to find motivation and Direction. It represents people’s perception of the brand it represents, its advertising and Logo. All of this must work together in a cohesive manner in order to ensure a brands health and longevity.

You may be able to think of a strong brand but perhaps the customer service was not on par and caused the brand to fail. This stresses the importance of all elements of a brand.

Brand creates recognition

A strong brand is instantly recognizable. You don’t need to be told that the golden arches represent McDonald’s because this is instantly recognizable brand. Likewise there is no confusion between the brands of McDonald’s and Burger King even though they offer comparable services.

Branding creates trust 

A strong professional brand creates credibility and is easier for people to trust. You would be less likely to believe in a brand that looks as though an amateur created it. This is human nature.

Branding create advertising

A good brand helps define the advertising market, likewise demographics help to define the brand. If your advertising focuses is too narrow, you lose the ability to expand into new markets. In addition, to brad a focus and you will fail to create a memorable impression in the minds of your audience.

Branding builds value

The value of a brand goes well beyond the physical assets it holds. A strong brand helps to pave the road for the future of the business.

Branding help inspire

People invested in the brand need to have a clear direction and when they understand your mission, they are likely to feel pride in your brand and what it represents.

Branding creates followers

Good branding will help create followers. Remember how a good brand creates recognition? If you have a brand you like but can’t remember what the brand is, you’re unable to share your experience with others. The most important and easiest way to grow your brand is word of mouth. Likewise, word of mouth can easily destroy a brand. Typically when someone has a positive impression of your brand they will share with a couple of their closest friends; however, a negative impression and they are likely to share with 10 or more people.

The most successful brands will be the ones that established themselves as leaders of their respective markets and will take all aspects of the brand seriously to build the strongest brand possible.

$2 DIY Raspberry Pi Enclosure

img_0199Background

Recently I decided to take on the little side project of building an arcade cabinet; partially because I enjoy video games and partially because I want my son to experience classic gaming as it was meant to be. There are many choices when it comes to hardware and software for custom arcade cabinets, but I went with ease of use and chose the Raspberry Pi. piThe Raspberry Pi is a wonderful computing platform with an extensive community supporting it. Wikipedia describes the Pi as a credit card sized single-board computer developed to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and for developing countries. As such the Pi is an extremely cost effective computing solution with virtually endless possibilities when it comes to hardware and software integration. Best of all is the cost to entry, at $35 the Pi fits even my tight budget.

The Pi, however, doesn’t come with an enclosure because that would raise the cost. There are thousands of enclosures to choose from online, and you could easily 3D print an enclosure; however, no option I found came close to the $2 price tag or the sense of accomplishment you get from making something yourself. So, being the thrifty type I decided to build a rather than buying a ready-made one.

The Build

Let’s get started by gathering the materials and tools needed to complete the project.

The only materials that you will need to purchase are a 1-gang 8 cu. in. flanged shallow old work box for $1.24 and a 1-gang new work handy box blank cover for 64¢, both of which can be picked up at your local Home Depot.
boxcover

You’ll also need
-Drill & 7/64 bit
-Rotary tool
-Utility knife
-Screwdriver
-Long nose pliers
-Case screws from a computer

tools

The first thing we need to do is transfer measurements to the old work box. You could use the design drawing of the Pi; however, I found it easier to simply line up the Pi and use the utility knife to score were I wanted to make cuts. I started with the Ethernet and USB port side because they slightly stick off the board, and once our cuts are complete they will recess 1/8 of an inch into the enclosure. If you make all your measurements at once, be sure to account for this measurement.

Next, we will need to use the utility knife, rotary tool, and long nose pliers to make our cuts. There is no right or wrong here but it is important to be patient and take your time. It’s better to cut too little and have to go back then to cut too much. Periodically check the fit with your Pi and make adjustments as necessary.

First Cuts

Once we have finished with our first set of cuts, go back and transfer your next set of measurements for the audio, video, and power jacks and begin cutting again. For the audio jack, I used a 1/4-inch drill bit. Remember to take your time, double check measurements and periodically check your fit. The last cuts we need are to make room for the micro SD card and display DSI.

Second Cuts

Third Cut

Now that all the cuts have been made we can fit the Pi into its new enclosure. It is a snug fit but is quite secure. One step that is optional is drilling some ventilation holes. Most of the enclosures available online have little to no ventilation so it probably is not necessary; however, I chose to drill holes above the two main chips. You may also find it useful to drill holes to make the LEDs visible.

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The last step is to attach the cover for the enclosure. To accomplish this, line up your enclosure and cover, then use the 7/64-inch drill bit to carefully drill through the flanges of the box to the cover. After you have drilled your holes simply screw the enclosure and cover together with your reclaimed computer case screws. The screws will likely stick through the cover to make little feet.

Conclusion

Well, there you have it. You now have a custom DIY enclosure for you Pi and best of all it only cost you $2! I can’t think of any way to improve the design but if you can leave your suggestions in the comments below. For the next part of my arcade cabinet, I’ll be tackling the controls. Look for that post in the near future.

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