It's funny what can become valuable over time. Back when home video gaming started back in the early 1980s, we doubt anyone thought the 8-bit games would be worth much money one day. But lo and behold, the rarity and disposability of those cheap plastic cartridges have made them quite valuable. Nintendo was possibly the biggest name in video games from then too, so it's no surprise that their games draw the most cash. We've rounded up just a few of the titles to keep a lookout for the next time you go garage sale hunting.
But it's not just the games themselves which draw big bucks. Nintendo and other companies produced numerous accessories and add-ons to go with the games. Some of these were useful, some of them were just bizarre. Most of them only barely worked though and just ended up collecting dust in toybins around the world. That fact is what makes them worth so much money today. The older it is and the fewer games it worked with, the more money people have been able to get for them. Anything slapped with the Nintendo seal of approval can make a tidy profit.
So if you're a classic video game collector, here's the stuff to keep your eye out for. Be warned, these are rare and hard to find. But that's why they're worth the big bucks. Here are 20 Crazy Rare Nintendo Games That Are Worth A Fortune (And 10 Extra Rare Accessories.)
29 Games: Yoshi's Story: International Version ($1125)
Yoshi's Story is already rare as one of the few games starring Mario's green dinosaur friend. But there's one version of the classic N64 game that's of even greater rarity. Before it was released in the West, Nintendo sent stores demo copies to show it off. The English translation wasn't ready though, so the demo still had all Japanese text.
Yep, a Japanese language game that only works on US systems.
This version of Yoshi's Story was dubbed "The International Version" and these demo cartridges found their way onto the collector's market. Because only stores had copies, they can go for up $1125.
28 Games: Cheetahmen ($1300)
Nintendo was pretty strict with licensing back in the day, but knock-off games and cartridges weren't uncommon. Of all the unlicensed NES games, Cheetahmen is among the more notorious. The centerpiece of the Action 52 multi-game pack, Cheetahmen was an attempt to launch a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles style franchise.
Needless to say, it didn't work.
But because of that, the Cheetahmen games are sought-after collector's items. Cheetahmen 2 was never actually released but the cartridges were made. Copies of it now go for around $1300. Ironically, the Cheetahmen are probably worth more money now than when their franchise fizzled out.
27 Accessories: Family Fun Fitness Pad ($600)
The Nintendo Power Pad is pretty common as accessories go. A precursor to something like Dance Dance Revolution, it was a floor mat with twelve buttons you stomped on to control games. One of them will run you about $60. But the Nintendo Power Pad isn't the original. It's actually a rebrand. The floor mat controller was created by Bandai for a series of fitness games they released on NES. Nintendo struck a deal with Bandai and the original versions of the games and floor mat were pulled from shelves. Today, the original Family Fun Fitness pad is worth upwards of $600.
26 Games: Ducktales Gold Cartridge ($1300)
The usual wisdom is that games based on TV shows suck. This wasn't always true though. Many of Capcom's Disney cartoon games from the 90s are considered classics. The Ducktales game, in particular, is beloved. In 2013, Capcom released a remastered version of Ducktales. To promote it, they sent journalists gold NES cartridges which actually worked on the old systems. Only 150 of the gold cartridges were created, instantly making it one of the rarest NES games on the market. Because there are so few, they can go for up to $1300. Probably more now with the success of the Ducktales reboot.
25 Games: Virtual Bowling ($1825)
The Virtual Boy console is one of Nintendo's most infamous failures. A very early attempt at 3D gaming, it was mostly a red-tinted mess that hurt to wear. It actually sold less than a million units. Because it flopped so quickly, most of the games for the system are worth a bit on the secondary market. The rarest of all the Virtual Boy games is Virtual Bowling. It was the last game made for the system and never released outside of Japan. With its console already dead, nobody bought it at the time. Now, it runs for $1825.
24 Accessories: The Roll N' Rocker ($300)
There was a lot of weird experimenting with control schemes in the early days of console gaming. Many bizarre peripherals changed up how players interacted with games, often not for the better. Take the Roll N' Rocker for instance.
It was basically like a square skateboard on a big ball.
Players were supposed to balance and lean in the direction of the d-pad to move characters. The Problem? It was too difficult to keep your balance on the darn thing. People often fell while trying to use it. It might have been dumb, but now it's worth $300.
23 Games: Hagane: The Final Conflict ($3650)
Hagane is a strange case of a game becoming rare and valuable by accident. A Super Nintendo action-platforming game, it was released near the end of the console's lifespan. It wasn't exactly rare and copies were cheap and easy to find for a long time. But then a rumor started that Hagane was exclusive to Blockbuster rental stores. This rumor, which was untrue, created the idea that the game was rarer than it actually was. It did its work though, and copies of Hagane rocketed up in price. Now, you can find copies still in-box going for $3650.
22 Games: The Legend of Zelda: Oracles of Ages & Seasons Limited Edition ($3970)
The Zelda games released for Game Boy are among the more underrated in the series. Oracle of Ages and Oracle of Seasons are loved by players of a certain age though. The two games were linked but sold separately. Except for this special limited edition that bundled the two together. It also came with pins, skins for the Game Boy, a t-shirt, and a boomerang. Only 500 of these bundles were made though and collectors snatched them up quickly. One hasn't been sold since 2013 and that went for $3970. With its connection to Zelda, it's unlikely another will pop up soon.
21 Accessories: Super Nintendo Mouse ($105)
A home game console, especially a Nintendo one, is the last place you would expect to find a mouse peripheral. That's more of a PC gaming thing. But Nintendo created one for the Super Nintendo. The strangest thing about the Super Nintendo Mouse is that it worked for more games than you might think. Yeah, it was most useful for something like Mario Paint, but it also worked for games like Jurassic Park and T2: The Arcade Game. Without a keyboard, that must have been some awkward play sessions. Weird as it is, the mouse now sells for $105.
20 Games: Exertainment Mountain Bike Rally/Speed Racer ($4800)
Games that are bundled with special controllers are among the more rare and valuable. That's the case for this odd two-pack of racing games. Speed Racer, based on the classic anime, was released first as a stand-alone. It later got bundled with Exertainment Mountain Bike Rally, a game built around the Exertainment Life Cycle. The Life Cycle was an exercise bike that also worked as a Super Nintendo controller. The bike sold poorly though and this two-pack became highly sought after. Copies have sold for up $4800, which is way more than for either game on their own.
19 Games: Nintendo World Championship ($26,600)
This is considered something of a Holy Grail among NES collectors. See back in the day, Nintendo would hold nationwide competitions to help promote their latest games. Special one-off cartridges were made for these competitions and afterward were released into the wild.
They came in two varieties, grey cartridges, and gold cartridges.
The grey are more common, with 90 made, and are valued at around $19,000. But the gold cartridges are worth mucho dinero. With only 26 made, they've been valued at $26,600. Be wary though. There were plenty of NES games with gold cartridges, so fakes are common.
18 Accessories: Nintendo 64 DD ($1000)
The Nintendo 64 was widely criticized for sticking with cartridges when the industry was turning toward discs. It was seen as just another way Nintendo was stuck in the past. Well, the N64 did have a disc drive at one point. The Nintendo 64 DD was an add-on, it attached to the N64's bottom, that could play certain disc games. From the beginning, it was clear the company had little faith in it though. Only ten games were released for the DD, and most ended up rejiggered for GameCube. Only released in Japan, it's valued at $1000 in mint condition.
17 Games: Family Fun Fitness: Stadium Events ($35,100)
Yet another game bundled with a bizarre peripheral. Stadium Events was a game made by Bandai to work with their Family Fun Fitness mat, a floor pad that worked as a controller. Nintendo liked the mat but didn't like the game. They struck up a deal with Bandai to make a new version of the mat and remade Stadium Events as World Class Track Meet. The original game was pulled from shelves when the Nintendo deal went through and copies are hard-to-find because of that. Only 200 units were sold in the United States. Stadium Events in-box is worth $35,100.
16 Games: 1991 Nintendo Campus Challenge ($20,100)
Made for a series of special competitions on college campuses, this cartridge doesn't even resemble a normal NES cartridge. Its circuit board is actually sticking out. The three games on it; Super Mario Bros. 3, PinBot, and Dr. Mario, aren't exactly special either. But the value comes from the fact that it was supposed to be destroyed. After the competitions, these special cartridges weren't meant to get into collectors' hands. But thanks to some oblivious Nintendo employees, a few have made it out there. The last one, found at an ex-employee's garage sale, sold for $20,100. No others have been seen since.
15 Accessories: Game Boy Pocket Sonar ($500)
Japan seems to get a wider variety of video game experiences than the West does sometimes. The West never got a fishing assistant for Game Boy after all. The Pocket Sonar wasn't even made to go with a game.
It was made to use in actual fishing.
Made by Bandai, this was foam buoy placed in the water that sent out sonar waves. It could reach as deep as 65 feet. It also had a fishing mini-game, but it was really meant as a tool. With the Game Boy discontinued, the Pocket Sonar in-box can sell for up to $500 on eBay.
14 Games: Little Samson ($2100)
Little Samson is a game that's only become more rare over time. A Mega Man clone from 1992, it pushed the graphics limitations of the NES to the limit. But Taito, the developer, didn't have the money to heavily promote it and the NES was on its last legs by 1992.
Many people overlooked it and cartridges abounded.
But when the collector market started up, Little Samson was pretty easy to find and sold cheaply. Because of that, its value has only increased as fewer cartridges remain on the market. While it sold in-box for $200 back in 2012, it goes for $2100 today.
13 Games: Bonk's Adventure ($2000)
Bonk the caveman and his eponymous adventure were the mascot and best-known game on the short-lived TurboGrafx-16 console. Copies of that version and the console itself are rare enough, but the NES port is even harder to find. That's somewhat ironic as the NES version is actually an inferior game. Levels were cut, the graphics weren't as good, and it was overall less challenging. Nevertheless, the limited release has made the strange port more valuable than the original. Copies still in-box can sell for up to $2000. Not bad for a franchise built around a failed system.
12 Accessories: Konami LaserScope ($100)
Light gun games were popular on the NES and their accessories are almost as iconic as the console itself. The Nintendo Zapper and Super Scope both made their way into the Super Smash Bros. series. But one of the more bizarre light guns had to be the Konami LaserScope.
Unlike other light guns, this was a headset.
Players wore it and yelled "Fire!" instead of pulling a trigger. It also had a crosshair to aim. The LaserScope didn't really work though, as it had a shoddy microphone. It was more useful as headphones. Today, it'll run you $100.
11 Games: Aero Fighters ($1450)
Arcade ports usually don't make many waves in the collector market. After all, why buy the home version when the arcade version is more valuable. That isn't the case for Aero Fighters though. The Super Nintendo version of an air combat simulator, its value has been on the rise.
Copies have been selling for $1450.
Which is surprising because the game itself kind of sucks. Reviews at release cited slow graphics, bad sound effects, and boring music. Still, it was the limited Western release that made the Super Nintendo version rare. Aero Fighters was a bigger deal in Japan.
10 Games: Earthbound ($4000)
A cult classic RPG for the Super Nintendo, EarthBound has always had a very passionate following. It's the only game in Nintendo's Mother series to be released outside of Japan. If you've ever wondered where Ness from Smash Bros. comes from, it's this game. But EarthBound was actually a flop when Nintendo released it in 1995, despite a huge advertising push. Part of it was the price. Copies of the game came bundled with a strategy guide, making it more expensive. That just makes it all the more valuable now. EarthBound in-box with the strategy guide can net up to $4000.
9 Accessories: R.O.B. The Robot ($500)
R.O.B. holds a special place in many gamer's hearts. He's part of the reason the NES was as successful as it was. See, R.O.B. came bundled with the NES to ease the minds of retailers wary of a video game console after the Great Crash of '83. By including a robot toy, it was deemed a safer bet. R.O.B. himself only worked with two games, Gyromite and Stack-Up. Neither was very good and R.O.B. himself was superfluous to their gameplay. Nevertheless, they've become collector's items. All three together are worth almost $500.
8 Games: Super Copa ($6900)
Okay, this story is kind of confusing. Super Copa is the Southern version of a game from the United States. It was called Tony Meola's Sidekicks Soccer and came out on Super Nintendo in the mid-90s. That version isn't particularly rare or valuable. Super Copa on the other hand, is very rare. Copies can sell for up to $6900. Why? Because it was distributed by a company called Playtronic, but a second version came out with different box art without the Playtronic logo. People think this means Super Copa had a release. No one's really sure.
7 Games: Power Blade 2 ($1000)
Power Blade 2 is another so-so game that's benefitted from time. It's the sequel to a Mega Man ripoff set in a generic cyberpunk dystopia. It wasn't very memorable, but it was pretty well-reviewed at the time. Power Blade 2 was more of the same. Nobody really cared about it, which just made it all the more valuable to collectors. Another game that came out in the NES' dying days, unsold copies were easy to find. Today they can go for up to $1000. Interestingly enough, Power Blade 2 was released in the West before a Japan, a rarity in those days.
6 Accessories: NES Miracle Piano ($400)
Miracle Piano Teaching System had versions on many different gaming systems, including NES and Super Nintendo. What they all had in common was included a keyboard peripheral. The Miracle Piano was sold as an educational tool, a way to teach piano through video games. What makes the NES version rare was its expensive price tag and its low sales numbers. They can go for as much as $400 nowadays, plus another $200 if the game is still included. The European model is even more rare. Some of those were converted for use on PC. The Nintendo seal of approval was just covered over.
5 Games: Bubble Bobble 2 ($1200)
Fans of old-school video games are no doubt familiar with the original Bubble Bobble. The puzzle game featuring bubble-blowing dinosaurs was a NES classic. Despite that pedigree, the sequel didn't really take off. This was due to a couple of factors. One, it was a NES game released two years after Super Nintendo came out.
It came too late to make an impact.
The puzzle genre was becoming a niche as well, and without an arcade version, Bubble Bobble 2 sold poorly. But the loss of the early 90s is the gain of today's collectors. Bubble Bobble 2 copies in-box have sold for $1200.
4 Games: The Flintstones: The Surprise At Dinosaur Peak ($1325)
Even in the last few years of its lifespan, game companies were still making new content for the NES. One way they could still turn a profit this way was by making certain games rental exclusives. Such was the case with The Flintstones: The Surprise at Dinosaur Peak. Developer Taito released it exclusively to Blockbuster Video stores as rental games. Because of that, very few copies made their way into collectors hands until the rental giant collapsed. It also made finding one in good condition even harder. Its rarity, combined with its connection to the classic cartoon, value it at $1325.
3 Accessories: Sharp Nintendo Television ($1000)
Given how many cords were involved with older consoles, wouldn't it have been more convenient to have the console built into the TV? Nintendo must have thought so, because they made one with the NES. Teaming with the Sharp Corporation, they made C1 NES TV. It was wicked expensive, but the picture quality was better than a regular NES was capable of. Gaming magazines used them for taking screenshots. Though released in the West, it was sold to only a few retailers and motels. That rarity, along with limited production run, make it so expensive nowadays. You won't find it for under $1000.
2 Games: M.A.C.S. Multipurpose Arcade Combat Simulator ($3000)
Not many people know that the United States Military have used video games in the training of soldiers. Not like Call of Duty, but specially made games for regular consoles. Consoles like the Super Nintendo. M.A.C.S. was a shooting simulator that worked with a light-gun rifle the military used on the system.
Duck Hunt, this wasn't.
The rifle was weighted like a real weapon, and included a scope. Because of its use as a military teaching tool, M.A.C.S was never released to the public and few copies made it out of military hands. The few that did have sold for up to $3000.
1 Accessories: NES Hands-Free Controller ($600)
Mass appeal has always been part of Nintendo's marketing strategy. Their games are for everyone and that includes the disabled. That inclusivity goes back a long time. Back in the NES days, Nintendo made the Hands-Free, a controller setup for quadriplegics. Strapped to the player's chest, it substituted blowing and sipping from a tube for the A & B buttons. The D-pad was a stick moved by the chin. The Hands-Free was expensive and only available through Nintendo's customer service, leading to its rarity. It was $180 at the time, but today collectors have found it for as much $600.