The 10 Best Bootleg Games

  • August 23, 2017
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Within the greater gaming community there exists a subculture of people obsessed with bootleg games. That is, games that infringe on copyrights in one way or another. Sometimes it's a “so bad it's good” thing, but in a few rare cases a bootleg game is genuinely entertaining. Here's a list of the best ten.

“#8 and #9 almost predicted the future.


Final Fantasy VII (Famicom)

This Chinese de-make of the PlayStation classic manages to reproduce the original game with a few omissions, notably in the available equipment and side-quests. Developed to capitalize on the Advent Children movie, the game is unique among unauthorized ports in that it maintains a high-level of quality throughout, even with the strict hardware limitations of the Famicom. That said, the value is in the technical achievement more than the game play, which becomes quite difficult at times.


Somari (Famicom)

A long-loved tradition of bootleg games is to take one well known character and haphazardly smash them into another intellectual property. Though not the only bootleg to crossover Sonic and Mario, Somari is perhaps the most famous. It's a decent representation of the original Sonic the Hedgehog (missing only one zone) but the real charm lies in the poor physics programming, often leading to Mario getting stuck inexplicably on the top of loops or coming to a dead stop as he's about to jump.


Pokemon Sapphire Version (GameBoy Color)

Released under a slew of names, Pokemon Sapphire Version isn't a de-make of the GBA title. Rather it's a strategy RPG set in the first two generations of Pokemon games. A mixture of original and ripped assets, the engine itself is unlike the usual Pokemon platformer bootleg, though not without programming bugs. It's also in (broken) English, making it easily accessible for the curious.


Bio Hazard (Famicom)

This one's odd because it's a de-make of a port of an unreleased Resident Evil title, in this case Resident Evil Gaiden. It captures a lot of the original Resident Evil narrative, going so far as to recreate cut scenes from the PlayStation original, but suffers in the audio department: the sound and music are annoying. That said, it does have a cool feature: interactivity with the light gun during battles.