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The WATA Switcheroo!

In the "Graded" videogame community, trust and authenticity are paramount. A concerning incident involving the game grading company Wata has sparked a wave of skepticism and concern among collectors...



The story begins with a collector, user r/kazuya955 who sent an Italian copy of "Pokemon Colosseum" for GameCube to Wata for grading. What seemed like a routine process turned into a puzzling mystery when the collector received a copy back that was not the one they sent.


For many (including myself), the grading system is sketch to begin with, designed to assess and verify the condition of collectible games. It's a critical service for hard-core collectors, many of whom view their collections as not just hobbies, but they see them as investments and cherished possessions. The integrity of this system is foundational to its value. However, the incident in question challenges this integrity, leaving many to question the reliability of game grading services.



Upon receiving the graded game, the collector noticed several discrepancies between the copy they sent and the one they received. Key identifying features such as the position of the Nintendo red strip seal, the unique SIAE seal (a sticker specific to Italian media), and markings on the back were different. These differences, though subtle, were significant enough to raise alarms and prompt the collector to reach out to the community for help.


The incident sheds light on the logistical and operational challenges facing game grading companies, particularly those involving the handling and tracking of items. In this case, the mix-up led to the collector receiving a higher grade for the game they received than the one they sent, a silver lining to an otherwise frustrating experience. However, the situation raises questions about the potential for accidental damage, loss, or even intentional deception within the grading process. Sending a valuable game away to a company and trusting them to not screw it up is a big part of this "process".


Community reactions have been mixed on Reddit, with some expressing sympathy for the affected collector, while others have used the incident to highlight their broader skepticism of the game grading industry. Some argue that pristine copies of vintage games are becoming valuable antiques in their own right, deserving of careful evaluation and preservation. Others see the grading process as subjective, ripe for mistakes or manipulation.



The incident also once again makes me reevaluate the trust placed in grading companies. Collectors are reminded of the importance of documenting and photographing their items before submission and are encouraged to consider the reputation and reliability of grading services carefully.


This situation highlights the importance of transparency, accountability, and communication between grading services and their clients. For many, the integrity of the grading process is not just about the value assigned to a particular item, but about the trust and confidence that underpin the entire collecting community. For me, the idea of grading games still seems like a running joke that some folks just can't grasp. It's big business though. Selling for thousands upon thousands of dollars in some cases.


...But for how long, especially with mistakes like this?


~Smash

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