Beyond adventure lies... forgery?
Enlarge / Beyond adventure lies... forgery?

Prior to last month, Enrico Ricciardi was one of the most respected members of a niche community of classic PC game collectors, with a collection of rare items that he bragged about on social media. He is the central figure in a forgery scandal that has changed the way many people view their hobby.

Several PC game collectors have publicly or privately identified dozens of suspected forgeries that Ricciardi traded or sold as far back as 2015. If the games were authentic, they would be worth over $100,000 on the open market.

Ricciardi told Ars that he is a victim of the same thing as well. The trust that the community has in rare PC games has been shattered by the evidence that there are many forgeries.

It's like finding a double agent in an intelligence organization. He knows how damaging fake copies of classics can be.

A rift in the community

The world of PC game collecting has yet to attract the kind of eye-popping, seven-figure-dollar sales seen with some rare Nintendo games. Still, a committed collecting community has developed around older PC titles, with some people paying thousands of dollars for intact disks, packaging, and materials of computer games from the '70s, '80s, and '90s. Collector Stephane Racle told Ars that games that used to sell for tens of dollars now routinely go for "hundreds" on sites like eBay.

The founder of the 6,000-member strong Big Box PC Game Collectors Facebook group said that PC game collecting is growing because console collectors are finishing their collections. There are only a few old PC games left.

"You kind of assume that everything you get is legitimate."PC game collector Stephane Racle

Racle said that the members of the group are generally friends and that they are happy to share their big finds and arrange trades with fellow members. When buying from random eBay sellers, Racle said, you form relationships with people that aren't possible. There are people who agree on a trade and no money changes hands. You think that everything you receive is legit.

This used to be the center pieces of my collection. Rare and expensive old games.

Now it turns out I‘ve been scammed and sold forgeries by a well known figure in the Ultima and tetrogames community. Along with many others#ultima #akalabeth @RichardGarriott