Retro video games have become a trend these days. Video games that used to cost a dollar or two can now sell for dozens of thousands of dollars. There is definitely a market for retro games, so this might be the right time to go to your attic and explore all those old boxes of video games – who knows, you might be rich without even knowing it. All in all, while the record for the most expensive retro game ever sold is broken on a regular basis (a sign that the industry keeps going up), here are some of the most expensive games ever sold.
List of 10 Rarest and Most Valuable Video Games
10. Red Sea Crossing – 1983
Red Sea Crossing has been created for Atari 2600. It is one of the rarest games on the market. It was developed by Steve Slack – Inspiration Video Concepts. Red Sea Crossing came out in 1983 and believe it or not, only 100 copies were released. The company advertised the game in a couple of magazines and that was it – it went history.
Only two copies have been found recently. While the original package also came with an audiotape and a coloring book, these things are long gone. All in all, a copy of this game sold for $10,000. Initially, it was only a few dollars, so it is definitely worth looking for it.
9. Blockbuster World Championships II – 1995
Blockbuster World Championships II gave gamers the opportunity to play three different games. Some of them liked the classic NBA Jam Tournament Edition, while others opted for Judge Dredd – both for the SEGA Master System. Donkey Kong Country was also an option, but for Super Nintendo. The actual tournament was over in the summer of 1995.
Soon after the tournament ended, Acclaim destroyed all the Mega Drive cartridges out there – or so the management though. A few of them have survived and showed up on the market. These days, a copy can easily fetch a few thousands. One of them sold for $10,500.
8. Nintendo Powerfest – 1994
Nintendo Powerfest has a nice history. The competition took place in North America in 1994. Contestants had access to three different games for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System – Mario All Stars, Super Mario Kart and Ken Griffey Jr. Home Run Derby. The cartridge includes all three games and they are fully playable.
The competition brought in 33 cartridges only and 31 of them were destroyed. Parts were used for recycling. Two of them are still out there and one of them has sold for about $15,600, after a few other successful sales. Its value just keeps going up.
7. Tetris – 1984
Tetris is one of the best known games ever made. The game was created in the 1980s, in Russia. It was property of the government back then, so international licensing was out of discussion. Different versions came out and the game made it to the whole world eventually. The original production is extremely rare. However, there is one copy out there that was autographed by Tetris developer Alexey Pajitnov.
The only copy out with an autograph fetched $16000. The owner has also tried to sell it for a million, but it is way too early for such a price.
6. Nintendo Campus Challenge – 1992
The Nintendo Campus Challenge contest from 1992 brought in access to Pilotwings, F-Zero and Super Mario World. All the games – with special updates for the competition – came out on a single cartridge. Just like always, cartridges were destroyed after the competition.
Three of them managed to survive and one of them sold for $20,000.
5. Super Mario Bros. – 1983
Super Mario Bros. is not really a rare game. In fact, it is widely available and you can get it for relatively low prices. However, some editions are more popular than others – especially an original one that is still factory sealed. It was made public in 2017 and it sold for over $30,000.
4. Air Raid – 1982
Developed for Atari 2600, Air Raid was a rare game back in the 1980s. It was known as the rarest Atari game out there – imagine how hard it might be to find these days. It is the one and only game developed by Men-A-Vision. The game has a simple plot – you have to defend Manhattan against aggressive UFOs.
The story behind the copy that sold for over $33,000 is quite funny. A man who owned a drug store was given a copy to test it. He was not too happy with the game, but the sales representative told him to keep it – no one else wanted the game. Three decades later, he sold the copy for $33,433.
3. Stadium Events – 1986
Stadium Events has a pretty interesting story. Developed for the Nintendo Entertainment System, the game came out in 2,000 copies. However, only 10% of the total amount has made it to stores. The game was exclusively sold in Woolworths – only available in a few states. The game was recalled, hence the low numbers. It was updated and released under a different name.
There are obviously not too many copies of Stadium Events out there – about 11. One of them has sold for more than $41,000 in 2017.
2. Nintendo World Championships Gold – 1990
Nintendo World Championships Gold was created to identify the greatest Nintendo Entertainment System player in the world. A team traveled around the USA with a special championship cartridge – different games, different levels and different switches. The competition took place in 1990.
Gray cartridges were used for the actual competition, while gold cartridges were given to the best players. There were more than 1,000 cartridges used in the process and many of them are history now. One of them sold for $100,000.
1. Super Mario Bros. 3 – 1988
Not every copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 will make you rich, but if you have a sealed copy, chances are it will change your life. A sealed copy of the game has recently sold for $156,000, making it the most expensive retro game ever sold.
The game was released in Japan in 1988 and hit the North American market in 1990 – it made it to Europe in 1991.
The Rarest Gems from the Video Games Industry
Bottom line, retro games have seriously built a solid industry. Of course, not every retro game out there will fetch a fortune. The rarer it is, the better. Plus, sealed copies will fetch much more than used copies. These are the main criteria to pay attention to when browsing through your attic for childhood memories that could make you rich.