By Joseph Carey
10 valuable video games that are more Fort Knox than Castlevania
Video games are still a relatively new medium — the advent of Pong in 1972 is seen as the starting point of the gaming industry as we know it.
Since then, games have had over 44 years to garner value and some are now worth considerably more than their weight in gold. You wouldn't believe how much gamers are willing to pay for some nostalgia or simply to add another limited edition to their collections.
This is T3's list of the rarest and most valuable video games of all time. What we've learned from compiling it: video game collectors REALLY like obscure Neo Geo releases…
Trip World is a platformer that you probably haven't heard of. The game is an absolute gem that's overflowing with charm and character. Trip World can be beaten in one sitting but the entire experience is somewhat unique — half the characters on screen aren't actually enemies, they're just characters in the world doing their own thing. The game only saw a release in Japan and Europe and is extremely rare with the cartridges alone going for close to £500. A sealed PAL copy of the game has gone for nearly £1000 in the past.
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
Okay, so this isn't the most valuable Atari game out there, but it certainly has the most interesting story.
E.T. is regarded by many gamers as one of the worst games ever made. The video game adaption of the blockbuster film was made in just five weeks — the game was extremely unpopular and the story goes that Atari had so many copies of the game left unsold they buried the carriages in a desert in New Mexico.
The value of the game skyrocketed when the cartridges were dug up in April 2014. The deluge of games found were sold, with one original game carriage and packaging selling for £981. Not bad for one of the worst games ever made, right?
System: Atari 2600
Price: Up to £981 (usually much cheaper, admittedly)
Kunio-kun no Dodge Ball Zenin Shuugou Tournament Special Gold Cartridge
The SNES has a plethora of rare games in its library, however one of the most rare only got released in Japan. The system was called the Super Famicom on the other side of the world and had a few limited edition gold cartridges for tournaments. Kunio-kun no Dodge Ball Zenin Shuugou Tournament Special was one of these special gold editions, given to the winners of a dodgeball tournament hosted by Technos in 1993.
Genesis Blockbuster World Video Game Championships II
The most valuable and rare games are usually ones that were designed for competitions. There are similar games on the NES and SNES, but this Sega game finds itself even more rare than NES games of the same vein.
The cartridge was designed to promote NBA Jam and Judge Dredd, but because this was used for competitions, it was never meant to be distributed. As such, Genesis Blockbuster World Video Game Championships II is extremely valuable and there are only a couple out in the wild, but if you're serious about picking this one up, make sure you check the listing out properly before you lay down your money, as there's a lot of worthless reproduced versions floating around!
King of Fighters 2000 English Edition
The 'English Edition'of King of Fighters 2000 isn't only rare and valuable because it was the last in the series SNK made before their bankruptcy. No, what makes it so is the fact that there are only 100 copies of this game in the wild, with public auctions even rarer. The Japanese version goes for a much smaller sum, but the limited release in North America makes this fighting game one of the rarest Neo Geo games you can get your hands on.
System:Neo Geo AES
Kizuna Encounter ‘Euro’
A fighter so culty, it makes King of Fighters look like Mortal Combat,Kizuna Encounter is one of the most valuable and mysterious games ever made.
The European version of this Neo Geo game seems to be completely impossible to get hold of. Only five copies have been claimed as sold, and you won't even find the game on eBay.
The arcade version is very common, along with the Japanese AES edition of the game. The 'Euro' version is said to be identical in every way except for the packaging and inserts — the value of the game comes from the fact that it's not certain whether this edition was ever commercially released. The PAL versions of the game were meant to launch in Germany and Austria, but they were recalled by SNK before anyone could get their hands on them. The most recent sales of this game have reached up to £10,200 — some of the highest prices paid for a game ever. Even if you have the Sterling, it's not guaranteed you'll ever see this game for sale online.
System:Neo Geo AES
1990 Nintendo World Championships: Gold Edition
In 1990, Nintendo, at the height of their power in the gaming industry, held a gaming tournament in Los Angeles. To mark the occasion, 26 Nintendo World Championships cartridges were made prizes in the popular Nintendo Power magazine in the US. The competition winners were selected across the country and received what would become some of the most valuable cartridges on the NES. The game contains modified versions of Super Mario Bros, Rad Racer and Tetris that had new score systems adjusted for the tournament.
Who doesn't want to pay top dollar for a game that lets you pop balloons and blow out candles?!
Birthday Mania for the Atari 2600 is another game that finds itself with only a few cartridges known to be in existence. The game was meant to be the perfect birthday present, so of course you had to specially order the cartridge to receive a personalised title screen that would light up anyone's face on their special day. The box also came with a space to write the receiver's name on.
The idea of blowing out virtual candles didn't exactly become a hit, but with the limited numbers of the game available, those balloons have dramatically increased in price…
Gamma Attack definitely takes the spot for rarest video game out there, and it's no slouch when it comes to price either. There's only one cartridge in existence — it was produced by gaming company Gammation. The game is now owned by collector Anthony DeNardo who previously put the cartridge on eBay for the buy it now price of $500,000. It didn't sell, however, which leaves its value at somewhere between nothing and $499,999.
The game sees you take control of an alien ship shooting all the human defence forces on the ground. If you've got a cool half a million laying around you should give Anthony DeNardo a call for this incredibly rare cartridge.
Price:Up to $499,999
Tetris (Japanese Megadrive edition)
PurchasingTetris is hardly difficult… unless it's the Japanese Megadrive version that you want. Legal issues caused it to be pulled after only a very small number were made. Our sister site Kotaku claims only 10 are now 'in the wild'.
As with Gamma Attack, recent eBay listings make an accurate valuation tricky, but the last guy to attempt to sell it chanced his arm with a Buy it Now price of$1,000,000,for a copy signed by Tetris developerAlekséi Pázhitnov back in July 2011. The seller had bought it for $11,000 so that was quite a bullish starting point, we'd say.
The cartridge was subsequently relisted in August 2011 and is now flagged as 'sold', although it's not clear whether that was for the $1,000,000 asking price. What the hell; we'll go with it.