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20 mei 2024 , door Consolevariations The Hunt and Story of the DS Lite GTA Chinatown Consoles Based on Huang Lee and Ling Shan from GTA Chinatown

The Hunt and Story of the DS Lite GTA Chinatown Consoles

This story was written by our member SODAKING Follow him or join our discord :)

Hey console collectors! I have created this post to share my recent experience of collecting an ultra rare Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars DS Lite.

Nintendo DS Lite Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars Huang Lee Console

Collectible informatie

Zeldzaamheid
Legendary
User Score
Good

Nintendo DS Lite Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars Ling Shan Console

Collectible informatie

Zeldzaamheid
Legendary
User Score
Good

I have researched these variants quite extensively and have come to the conclusion that not only did these consoles come from the Nintendo World Launch Party on Monday, March 16th 2009. I have also concluded that only 5 were given away at that event (Augustin, 2009). So this leaves us with some questions, what is the true origin to these consoles and how many were made?

GTA Chinatown Release Party
GTA Chinatown Release Party

To start, we know that more than 5 exist due to collectors owning multiples as well as by comparing and contrasting varying online images of said consoles. I don't think we will know exactly how many units were produced. Nothing online states the exact amount. No promotions, no giveaways/competitions, no corporate letters. However, their origin story becomes a bit more interesting.

In May of 24, a Huang Lee Chinatown Wars DS Lite popped up on eBay. The one I purchased. The serial started with "UG128." Now, being a promo collector, (For example, owning several grails like: Advance Wars DS, Urawa Reds DS, Corocoro 30th Anniversary DS Lite)  the ability to track and verify serial numbers is crucial to assuring legitimacy of rare consoles. This is important to know because after research and contacting multiple collectors. The "standard" run of serials starts with "UG522." I confirmed 5 consoles to have this serial run. At this point I was sceptical about the legitimacy of the eBay DS.

Auction of the DS Lite Chinatown Console from Huang Lee
Auction of the DS Lite Chinatown Console from Huang Lee

So, I decided to try and track down the sources of the known Chinatown Wars consoles to find some clarity on where exactly these consoles have originated and to research more serials. I have reached out to 5 or 6 different collectors (I lost track). Only a few have responded. 

One collector on Instagram got back to me (he will remain anonymous). I found him through an old Instagram post from 2017 of a Huang Lee Chinatown Wars DS. I asked him where he had gotten the console and if he was willing to share his serial for research purposes.

Nintendo DS Lite Huang Lee Chinat
Nintendo DS Lite Huang Lee Chinat

His Serial started with "UG157," and he had acquired it as a GameStop Manager back in 2009 for having the most Chinatown Wars preorders in the company. His Michigan based store got about 5 or 6 consoles. Both Huang Lee and Ling Shan versions. This is new! The serial is not your "typical run" and it's closer to the eBay one.

Nintendo DS Lite Hang Lee and Ling Shan
Nintendo DS Lite Hang Lee and Ling Shan

Speaking of the eBay DS. The seller, shared how he obtained his Chinatown Wars DS as well. He stated, "The story behind it - I put up flyers around my area looking for games and collectibles. A girl reached out, we met up. After a successful deal for games, she went on to tell me she worked for GameStop in NYC Times Square. She had a DS she was given as a staff member. This was the one. "

Promotion of the GTA Chinatown Launch
Promotion of the GTA Chinatown Launch

So now, 2 consoles are confirmed to be from a GameStop employee promotion - with no correlation and not previously documented - and both had a serial starting with "UG1" as opposed to the more common "UG522." At this point, it's safe to say that the origin of the Chinatown Wars DS Lite's is the Nintendo World Launch Party and a GameStop employee promotion. This was enough info for me to pull the plug and add the eBay console to my collection. 

Nintendo DS Lite Ling Shan Console
Nintendo DS Lite Ling Shan Console

With that being said, if anyone comes across a Chinatown Wars DS Lite for sale. Take a look at the serial. If it starts with "UG522." Immediately buy it. If it starts with "UG1." Also buy it. However, always do your research and take an extra look at the graphics on the front. The consoles have a clear overlay on top giving them a smooth appearance. Both serial runs can be authentic. As for the exact amount of consoles produced, again, I don't believe we will ever find out the exact amount. One collector states that 15 of each variant were made (excluding the red interior version). I believe between 10-15 is a realistic estimation. Thanks for reading! 

-Sodaking

Citations:

Augustin, A. (2009, March 17). GTA Chinatown Wars Release Party. bifuteki. 

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great article

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