It’s 2018, and a lot of the classic video games you grew up with are entering the purview of vintage collectors. We’ll allow you a moment or two to weep for your childhood.
All finished? Well, here’s the good news. If you managed to hold onto any of those nostalgia bombs in mint condition, you may find yourself a very wealthy person indeed. The value of your 90s era cartridges and discs have skyrocketed in the past few years, with the downside being that complete, factory-sealed packaging has a tendency to make or break the whole deal.
And let’s not forget some of the wonky, strange peripherals that sometimes accompanied these gems onto their home consoles. Is anyone truly immune to the immortal retro charm of the Power Glove? Ranging from bizarre marketing gimmickry to truly innovative, they may not pack the clout that the games did, but they’re still iconic and valuable in their own right.
Anywho, how about a gander at just how much some of these oldies are worth today? Keep an eye open as you browse, as some of them are a little more recent than you’d think. Not that we’re trying to make you feel old, or anything. Or maybe we are. That’s a definite possibility.
Also, keep in mind that these prices opt for VGA graded copies where possible. If you wanna know more about how that works, check ‘em out here. Now, let’s get into it.
30 VALUABLE GAME: Marvel Vs. Capcom (Dreamcast): $190
Though this arcade title also made it to the PS1, the Dreamcast version scores more points in terms of rarity. It's a Dreamcast game, after all. Strangely enough, the whole Dreamcast lineup is one of the more budget-friendly options if you’re looking to collect an entire catalog.
A well kept and sealed copy of this well-respected crossover fighter is worth a respectable sum at just under $200, which may almost seem reasonable. But don’t worry. We’re just getting started here.
29 VALUABLE GAME: DOOM (GBA): $290
You can run DOOM on a calculator. So sure, there’s a port of it for the Game Boy Advance. There’s probably a port of it for your toaster oven. Is there really any further introduction necessary here? It’s DOOM. You know what it does.
What’s of note here is that as the Game Boy Advance continues to fall into obsolescence, its cartridges continue to rack up value. If you happen to have this particular beauty laying around in pristine condition, why not sell it to pay a bill or two and install a replacement copy on your wristwatch, dishwasher or curling iron?
28 RARE ACCESSORY: XBAND (SNES)
The XBAND was an external dial-up modem that took the form of a cartridge for the Super Nintendo or Sega Genesis, allowing matchmaking, email and online multiplayer functionality for the consoles.
In short, yes, it was totally possible to play Mario Kart online with the SNES.
But there were some pretty hefty fees associated with using the service, and it was riddled with exploits. Couple that with the relatively limited catalog of games it was compatible with, and you have a pretty sound explanation for why the service had shut down in 1997, after a short three-year run.
27 VALUABLE GAME: Final Fantasy VII (PS1): $380
Cloud, Tifa and the gang captured the hearts and minds of a generation when they hit the scene, riding in on what some would call the high point among a catalog of gaming’s best in class RPG adventures.
The collector’s market would seem to agree, though keep in mind that this is for the factory sealed original, black label release of the game, as is the case with most any PS1 entry on this list. Collectors sure are a picky lot, but given the amount of money involved, can you really blame them?
26 VALUABLE GAME: The Legend Of Dragoon (PS1): $390
Alas Lavitz, we knew you well, and Albert just wasn’t as cool. This priceless relic from the age of epic, four-disc long PlayStation RPG’s will either dent your wallet or fatten it significantly, depending on what end of the deal you’re on.
Luckily, you never had the chance to lose one of the discs if you never opened the package, so there’s a plus. Those of you who did play and loaned it to a friend who may or may not have returned it incomplete, we know your struggle.
25 RARE ACCESSORY: Power Glove (NES)
We love the Power Glove. It's so bad. No, really though, it was pretty bad.
Clunky, unwieldy and absolutely weird, the Power Glove was an "alternative controller" worn on the forearm. It was an early and ill-fated foray into the realm of VR gaming, as the games it purported the most functionality with didn't sell too well.
24 VALUABLE GAME: Diablo (PS1): $400
It’s a little-known fact that the first chapter of Blizzard’s trendsetting hack n’ slash RPG series made its way onto the PS1. The UI changes and capped frame rate were a pain, but it did pack in a unique multiplayer mode for some couch-bound cooperative dungeon crawling.
Though it was a critically acclaimed smash hit on PC, this console port went largely unnoticed.
Naturally, this makes for a rare find in today’s collector’s market. But as we all know, rarity often correlates with value, and this title is no exception to the rule.
23 VALUABLE GAME: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2): $500
Though Grand Theft Auto is hardly a stranger to controversy, San Andreas took things to a whole new level when a bit of cut content that was just a little too “adult” for its rating survived onto its initial release.
Naturally, avid gamers found ways to get into it.
This prompted a recall and re-release of the game with the content entirely removed. However, the rare first edition releases of San Andreas have racked up an immense amount of value as a result.
22 RARE ACCESSORY: Konami LaserScope (NES)
And you thought your fancy Turtle Beach headset was cool. You've clearly never experienced the power of the LaserScope.
In reality, though, the LaserScope was pretty hilarious.
This awkward, head-mounted light gun was a disaster. The gimmick was voice activated operation, with you yelling "Fire!" into the microphone to, well, fire. But really, all you had to do was make some sort of noise, or stand too close to a noisy air conditioner. Needless to say, this could get just a little frustrating.
21 VALUABLE GAME: Ghouls N' Ghosts (Genesis): $690
This charmingly rendered side-scrolling adventure is well appreciated among its cult fanbase and renowned for its difficulty. Before Dark Souls, we had Ghouls N’ Ghosts.
Originally released as an arcade title, it would soon cast a wide net and invade living rooms on a generous spread of consoles. We obviously opted for the Sega Genesis port for this one, but you can safely bet that it's just as valuable if you can find a good copy on any older platform it originally released on.
20 VALUABLE GAME: Sonic The Hedgehog 2 (Genesis): $700
He’s going fast. He’s always gone fast. But he may not be going as fast as the bids tend to go on eBay listings for his old school Genesis cartridge adventures.
This continuation of our spiky blue friend’s struggle against Dr. Robotnik saw the introduction of fan favorite Tails, and is likely fondly remembered by those that played it. You may find yourself wishing you’d shrugged it off and forgotten about it for a couple of decades after seeing the price, though.
19 RARE ACCESSORY: Voice Recognition Unit (N64)
The VRU served the sole purpose of allowing you to communicate with your favorite electrified yellow mouse, Pikachu, with the game "Hey You, Pikachu!" It had absolutely no official functionality outside of that.
As with most early attempts at voice integration into game controls, it was a bit buggy and could be difficult to work with. There's probably a good reason there were no further developments on this for the N64. But hey, at least it was a step up from the LaserScope on the NES!
18 VALUABLE GAME: Halo: Combat Evolved (Xbox): $830
If you bought an original Xbox, Halo was probably the reason you did it. Despite it being released as recently as 2001, high quality, sealed copies of this title have racked up a considerable amount interest for collectors.
And why not? It truly was a landmark release for the first person shooter genre on consoles. And really, seventeen years have come and gone since the Master Chief started taking the fight to the Covenant. Yeah, we know. It’s hard to believe.
17 VALUABLE GAME: Worms Armageddon (N64): $950
Worms was always a decidedly “different” take on turn-based strategy gaming. They’re earthworms with access to conventional firearms and explosives, anyway. You can’t get much more different than that, unless you wanna talk about weaponized sheep. But it’s got those covered too. You really have to hand it to them in the originality department.
As a note, while it’s worth a considerable pile of change, this N64 port is also the last entry we’ve got that rings in under $1,000, so it’s all high rollers from here on in.
16 RARE ACCESSORY: Game Boy Printer
This little guy allowed you to turn your gaming handheld into a home office! Okay, not really. It was a strange little add-on that performed some neat functions with a handful of games, like printing off passwords, high scores or other little extra bits.
It was primarily geared to function with the equally strange Game Boy camera, which we'll be covering as well. All in all it wasn't a terrible device, just a bit of an odd choice. Then again, Nintendo just seems to have a gift for weird gaming peripherals.
15 VALUABLE GAME: Wizardry: Tale Of The Forsaken Land (PS2): $1,000
This was a quirky little RPG title that met with lukewarm reception among Western audiences. The gameplay itself was a strange hybrid, meeting somewhere halfway between Baldur’s Gate and Diablo without quite emulating the experience of either, and then jamming first-person exploration into the mix just for giggles.
Whether or not the core gameplay stood out to you, collectors are obviously out to get this one by any means necessary, even if it means breaking their bank accounts in the process.
14 VALUABLE GAME: Pokémon Blue Version (GBC): $1,200
It may be hard to believe that there were any of these bad boys that didn’t make it out of the packaging, but the evidence is hard to deny, and the fact that we’re struck with that notion helps to explain their value pretty succinctly.
And yes, before you ask, its Red Version cousin is every bit as valuable.
This just so happens to be a stylistic choice. Blue Version was clearly better, after all. It had a Blastoise on it, and that’s the important part. Nevermind the actual Pokémon selection.
13 RARE ACCESSORY: Game Boy Camera
In a nutshell, this is just a tiny digital camera mounted on a Game Boy cartridge. The cartridge itself featured a modest collection of mini-games that utilized the camera functions to impose remarkably creepily rendered images of your face onto various characters.
It was a fun, if slightly horrifying time.
But as a special mention, Nintendo did release a limited edition, gold colored Game Boy Camera alongside Ocarina of Time for a short while, because of... y'know, reasons? Anyway, it came with a few Zelda-themed extras and can sell for nearly $500 today.
12 VALUABLE GAME: Panzer Dragoon Saga (Saturn): $1,300
The Panzer Dragoon series has largely flown under the radar, always seeming to have been eclipsed by strong competition, and spending most of its lifespan restricted to what would be the less competitive side of the console wars.
Saga was Sega's response to the breakthrough success of Final Fantasy VII, but this dragon faring shooter-RPG hybrid fell quite a bit short of the immense expectations it was held to. That said, it was still a unique, inventive title that is the apple of many a Sega fan's eye.
11 VALUABLE GAME: Battletoads (NES): $1,350
Whether or not its status as a legendary meme from the olden days of internet magic have anything to do with it, Battletoads packs a pretty hefty punch in terms of value. You should call your local Gamestop to see if they’ve got it in stock.
Believe it or not, the game really did release to good critical reception. And hey, it was actually pretty fun. Though I always found it really weird that the battling toads themselves were all named after skin conditions. I mean, Rash? Zitz? Pimple? A little off-putting. Anyway, a sealed copy with all the trimmings is worth a solid chunk of cash.
10 RARE ACCESSORY: Sega Activator
Full motion controls are still something the gaming industry is struggling to get right today. Just look at how the Xbox Kinect ended up.
So it should be no surprise that this 1993 effort by Sega never picked up traction.
You arrange the eight segments in an octagon shape on your floor, with each segment emitting an infrared beam that, when interrupted, acts as a button press. The idea was to make interacting with genres like beat 'em ups and fighting games more immersive since you could actually punch or kick in place of button input. In practice, it fell pretty flat.
9 VALUABLE GAME: Metroid Prime / The Legend Of Zelda: Windwaker Dual Disc (GameCube): $1,660
Yep, two of the best reasons to have owned a Gamecube wrapped up into one nice little dual disc package. Talk about convenience! Why didn’t we see more of these?
The short answer is that the bundle saw an incredibly limited release.
This rare, Western exclusive packaged both of the games together with the console and was available only during the 2005 Christmas rush, which would go a long way in helping to explain its astronomical value to collectors.
8 VALUABLE GAME: Mario Kart 64 (N64): $1,800
Do you smell that? That's the smell of the bridges you're burning as you mercilessly crush your closest friends in the most brutal and unforgiving multiplayer arena ever wrought by mortal hands. Rainbow Road.
Or maybe you were the one getting crushed. I know I was.
Rumor has it that collectors will pay a premium if you include a crystal vial full of your fallen opponents' tears. Though no one's been able to confirm that, as it likely doesn't beat the value of an unopened, unplayed, VGA graded copy of this treasure.
7 RARE ACCESSORY: Super Game Boy (SNES)
If you wanted to play your Game Boy on a bigger screen, say your television, you really were shot for luck. Enter the Super Game Boy - essentially a Game Boy condensed into a Super NES cartridge.
It played incredibly well, despite some minor technical issues. It even added some functionality to a few titles, such as enabling local multiplayer, additional coloring options and improved sound. All in all, it was an incredibly worthwhile purchase for gamers that had both systems and wanted a little more out of their Game Boy games.
6 VALUABLE GAME: The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past (SNES): $3,000
After almost two decades in the arena, The Legend of Zelda is still going strong, growing bigger and better with nearly every release. This is one of those titles that almost perfectly fits the definition of “timeless.”
However, one sure indicator of its age is the growing value of its increasingly rare classic releases, such as this one. It’s funny, I can look at that price and still not feel any regret for the fact that I absolutely wore my cartridge out. Okay, well maybe a little bit. That’s an awful lot of money, okay?
5 VALUABLE GAME: Contra Force (NES): $4,700
It's difficult to get more classic than the Contra series. It's another arcade-to-living room love story, with Contra Force coming into play shortly after it cemented its transfer to consoles.
This one's also notable for being the first entry in the series to lack an official Japanese release. It introduced a bevy of new mechanics such as selectable characters with unique boomsticks, and changed the series' tone and setting drastically. Oh, and it's worth a ridiculous amount of money today.
4 RARE ACCESSORY: TV Tuner (Game Gear)
Sega's Game Gear is a largely unsung chapter of the handheld gaming market. It wasn't a bad piece of technology, boasting reasonable specs, a nice library of games, and of course, a decent spread of bizarre add-ons. The TV tuner was one of them.
It's pretty much exactly what it says it is, a small antenna attached to a cartridge that would allow you to tune into local television broadcasts, if you had an insatiable hankering to view them over a tiny screen. It was definitely unique, if it wasn't exactly practical.
3 VALUABLE GAME: Earthbound (SNES): $4,999
Let’s be honest about the fact that no one is surprised to see this one here. Earthbound is practically the poster child for late blooming cult success in gaming, garnering a rabidly dedicated fanbase and maintaining an iconic “must play” status for RPG aficionados.
What may actually surprise you is the lengths some fans will go to in order to personally own a mint condition copy of Ness and company’s surrealist jaunt. And yes, you definitely read that price tag correctly.
2 VALUABLE GAME: Chrono Trigger (SNES): $6,000
There's something truly magical about early Super Nintendo RPGs that compels people to empty their wallets, because they occupy our top two spots by a significant margin. Don’t worry about performing a double take on the price here, it’s perfectly understandable.
Chrono Trigger’s time-traveling epic is certainly one for the ages, no doubt. Even used and worn out copies can be worth hundreds of dollars. But a sealed copy will cover the entirety of your summer vacation, and then some.
1 RARE ACCESSORY: Steel Battalion Controller (Xbox)
This absolute unit of a controller released with mech simulator Steel Battalion, and, well, just look at the thing. The idea was clearly providing an immersive piloting experience, but it's hard to imagine anyone attaining any real mastery over this insane forty-button monstrosity.
We'd make a remark on the $600 price tag that collectors are willing to fulfill to get their hands on this ludicrous contraption, but considering that the base price was a solid $200 at launch, it hardly seems like enough of a hike to raise an eyebrow over.