The Biggest Retro Gaming Scam To Date? $30,000 Neo Geo AES Aero Fighters 3 Is Potentially Fake?

Previously-Undiscovered-Rarest-US-Neo-Geo-AES-Game-Aero-Fighters-3-FoundRemember the incredibly rare US release of Aero Fighters 3 for the Neo Geo AES which surfaced a few months ago? After much debacle and debate over the title which sold for $30,000 many have been left questioning the authenticity of the home cartridge, one which could potentially be the biggest retro gaming scam to date.

Sadly we've hit the point in our retro gaming lives where bootlegs and knock off copies of classic titles are becoming more prevalent. Given how easy it is to acquire an EEPROM programmer, a soldering iron, and guides to reproducing your own cartridges, nearly anyone can create their own video games. Some of us have unfortunately had first hand experience of these dodgy dealings, but luckily enough there are enough experts out there who can help you spot out an unofficial release.

The Neo Geo community is one which has been hit by counterfeits over the last few years. Conversion cartridges - a converted Neo Geo MVS game in an AES shell - have been appearing for sale all too often, confusing many retro games and collectors as to what they're really getting. Whilst these conversion carts do offer the same experience at a lower cost, those wanting to purchase an authentic copy of the game are in trouble. As not all of these conversions are labelled up as being homemade, the only way to truly differentiate between an authentic and unofficial release is by opening up the cartridge case and hoping for the best.

The $30,000 Aero Fighters 3 in question, however, is quite an interesting one. While there doesn't seem to be any reports of the cartridge being unofficial, there is more than enough evidence to suggest this is a bootleg release based upon comparisons between the game's box and other Neo Geo titles. This detailed analysis, however, is shrouded in a huge mystery regarding the Neo Geo community, the buyers, the seller (who claims to be an ex-SNK employee), and so much more. Knowing this our stance remains neutral as we await more information.

But before we link you to this unnerving development and discussion, we want to remind you all to keep your wits about you when trading online. Be sure to do your research, speak to other retro gamers if in doubt, and be prepared for the worst. But more importantly, don't let the work of several pirates put you off the hobby we all love.

Link: The Final Chapter of the Fake Aerofighters 3 at

Last Updated ( 06 August 2012 )  


Better known as Adam offline, Cauterize is one of RetroCollect's final bosses with an unhealthy addiction to pixels. When he's not out searching the web for the latest retro gaming news or creating content for RetroCollect, he'll will most likely be found working on his Sensible Soccer skills.

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(Link to this comment) Collz69 2012-08-06 20:37
Reminds me of that saying about a fool & his money :-*
(Link to this comment) Wizbiscuit 2012-08-07 08:00
I always have to doubt games where there is only 3 released or something, being rare because nobody brought it, or only a few thousand where made, thats one thing, Nintendo prizes etc, ok, story holds up, but why would SNK only make 3 of a game that already is out on MVS, you don't get 3 labels printed, and 3 instructions made, business just does not work like that, it always pays to make X bulk..
(Link to this comment) MRCL 2012-08-07 12:38
I remember that thread. Yeah its a tad suspicious, but what can you say. Only three existing can quite possibly be true. Maybe a bulk of 1000 games has been produced, and thenr ecalled or whatever, and a certain number made it to stores anyway, and three survived to this date? Or they were planned as prices for a comptetition or something, like NWC? Or this, or that, or something completely different. Who knows? If its a scam, its a good one.
(Link to this comment) chocklo 2012-08-09 10:50
This really typifies the point that I made to Cauterize and Mainvein over the weekend. With this high end AES stuff (and it doesn't get much higher than this at that price!), it's difficult to spot a fake from a real. To a lesser (price impact) but a greater (circulation numbers) degree, this is more prominent with the likes of Metal Slug, Pulstar and Blazing Star. There are tons of fakes of those titles floating around. Unfortunately, often the only way to check if it's the real deal is to take the cart apart. Alas, by doing this, you can't put it back together perfectly and a huge chunk of the value is wiped off.

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