When you think of coveted rare gaming scores, you tend to think of old Atari 2600, NES, or Genesis cartridges. Yet, the N64 tends to be a bit overlooked and underrated when it comes to rare and valuable games for collectors. This is peculiar considering the relative durability of these more modern game carts, and the fact that there are a number of obscure, underproduced titles to grace the console during the mid to late 90s.
While you won't find a ton of cases akin to the likes of NES' Stadium Events in terms of absurdly valuable, rare carts, this console does host some surprisingly expensive, uncommon gems.
So let's dive right in and examine the 10 rarest games that can be found on this charming 64-bit console.
10 Mario Party 3
Yes, believe it or not, one of the N64's rarer cartridges comes in the form of a Mario Party game, a series that's been a massive local multiplayer hit for decades now. The relative obscurity of this gem is even more surprising given it's arguably one of the strongest entries in this vast series.
The main reason for MP3's rarity can be attributed to Nintendo's lack of confidence in its sales, given that it was churned out during the latter days of N64's life. The Big N and fans alike were gearing up for the upcoming GameCube, which was to release just months after the game's launch. Not only were fewer carts produced, but it doesn't help that this gets a bit overlooked by the more successful MP1 and 2.
9 Bomberman 64: The Second Attack
Like many N64 games not made by Nintendo, this sequel to Bomberman 64 had the misfortune of being relatively unknown, facing stiff competition, and having to coexist with more successful counterparts on other platforms.
In the case of The Second Attack, it was sort of the perfect storm of these factors, in addition to poor marketing, a late release, and the lesser-known publisher Vatical Entertainment contributing to its scarcity. Some of the few carts in existence have sold for prices north of $50 and even $100.
8 Ogre Battle 64: Person Of Lordly Caliber
You could somewhat gather the limited appeal of this underrated tactical adventure just by the odd, convoluted title itself. This is the type of game you'd tend to find on the Playstation or GBA, not the N64; and the JRPG-strategy thing wasn't too popular with Nintendo fans during the late 90s.
While Ogre Battle 64 proved fun to those with the patience to get acquainted with its tough learning curve, its lack of mainstream draw and its late release in the N64's life quickly relegated this to "collector's item" status, especially in the West.
7 Sin And Punishment: Successor Of The Earth
While this intense on-rails shooter was fairly common in its birthplace of Japan, it never received an international release by developer Treasure, essentially banishing it to obscurity right out the gate. This is still the case even today when it comes to the physical release - though it had eventually received a Virtual Console release in 2007, along with a Wii sequel 2 years later.
Couple its limited, localized launch with the fact that this came out in late-2000 in Japan, when the GameCube hype machine was in full swing, and it's easy to see why this obscure shooter isn't too abundant.
6 Worms: Armageddon
Ironically, one of the biggest reasons for the relative failure of this underrated N64 third party romp is its superior PC counterpart. The game's crisper visuals and sharper, more intuitive controls thanks to keyboard and mouse support made playing this console version feel awkward and slow. Thus, the demand wasn't exactly groundbreaking when this game launched onto the N64 scene.
With a relatively small userbase and a far stronger version elsewhere, this port was essentially doomed to fail. This, of course, led to few carts being manufactured, and the game's high value, which has climbed all the way near the $150 mark.
5 StarCraft 64
Similar to our previous entry, this port was actually solid enough in its own right, but was absolutely crushed in both quality and popularity by its older brother on PC. Ultimately, trying to micromanage dozens of units and structures just wasn't ideal with the N64's clunky controller, vs a keyboard and mouse.
Add this to the fact that this port was quietly released two years after the original game, when both the N64 and StarCraft had somewhat become old news, and you've got the recipe for an astronomically rare cart.
4 Snowboard Kids 2
Similar to the likes of the relatively obscure Taito in relation to the NES library, Atlus has had its share of limited releases and rare carts, particularly with the N64.
Not only did this title have the misfortune of being a largely unknown third party title on the N64, it also had a predecessor that shared plenty of similarities, which had already been released 2 years before this tepid sequel. Thus, Snowboard Kids 2 recieved a pretty brief and limited printing and was quickly forgotten.
3 Super Bowling
The fact that this writer, a massive fan of the N64, had not even heard of this game prior to doing research for this piece should clue you into just how obscure it is.
There's not a ton to say about the gameplay itself - it's a pretty straightforward bowling experience, with a superior predecessor on the SNES. Yet its rarity and value prove anything but ordinary, as this sucker can fetch up to $500 even without its box! This sky-high value can be attributed to the fact that this uninspiring game was met with such a tepid response, and came out in the US the same year as the GameCube.
2 Stunt Racers 64
Like many on our list, you've got the common case of this obscure racer being pretty late to the N64 party - which was never really that bumping to begin with. But we're also dealing with a particularly restricted, limited release when it comes to Stunt Racers 64.
Not only was this title only released in North America - its launch was handled exclusively through the now-nearly-defunct rental chain, Blockbuster. If you somehow manage to get your hands on this rare gaming artifact with its box and manual, you could be looking at close to a cool $600!
1 ClayFighter: Sculptor's Cut
The original N64 fighter from which this is based - the cheekily named ClayFighter 63 1/3 - stands as a relatively rare game as it is. Thus, it's easy to see why this even lesser-known updated version, which was initially only available as a rental through Blockbuster, came in very rare quantities when it launched in late '97.
This zany fighting game can command several hundreds of dollars; even selling for over a grand with its original box! At least when disregarding Japanese-only releases and limited edition bundles, ClayFighter: Sculptor's Cut basically shines as the holy grail of N64 games for collectors.