Once Rob Walters was at the right time in the right place, namely at the garage sale of a former employee of Nintendo. On that day, Walters struck a deal of a lifetime by buying several cartridges at a yard sale that turned out to be emeralds in the world of retro game collectors. As a result, after some time, Walters sold all the cartridges he bought at the sale in the amount of $ 50,000.
On eBay, people are really willing to give thousands of dollars for rare pieces that represent the gaming industry in the 20th century. And often the packages from under the cartridges are more expensive than the game itself. Below you will find a list of the most cherished desires of retro game collectors.
Unlike the classic title known to Atari arcade fans, this Gauntlet was developed by Answer Software and distributed exclusively by mail order. It is noteworthy that the developers sent each buyer a cartridge without a box and instructions for the game.
In Gauntlet, the player assumes the role of Robert Wittenbottom, who is trying to earn the respect of a certain «Council of Warriors». To do this, he needs to pass a deadly test, dodging all the trees and flying axes at him. Admittedly, the game is considered the benchmark of boredom, but thanks to its rarity, the price tag has risen to $5,000 apiece.
King of Fighters 2000
King of Fighters 2000 is the latest installment in the King of Fighters series of fighting games. It is the European version for the Neo Geo console that has value, due to the tiny release in North America. At the moment, about a hundred cartridges are known to exist, which change owners through auctions at a price reaching up to $ 6,000. The value of the game is added by the fact that it was the last release of the soon bankrupt company SNK.
Despite the number «II» in the title of the game, Atlantis II is not a sequel to Atlantis, in which the player had to fend off an attack by alien Gorgonians. No, Atlantis II was a prize given to the finalists of the 1982 Destination Atlantis competition, and the game itself differs from the original only in increased difficulty.
As for the cost of a copy of Atlantis II miraculously stale with someone, it is estimated at about $7,000 on the thematic forums.
By the way, according to vague recollections of eyewitnesses, the four finalists of Destination Atlantis went to Bermuda, where they fought for the main prize of $10,000.
Ultimate 11 (Super Sidekicks 4)
Ultimate 11, or «Super Sidekicks 4» as players call it, is another game released for the Neo Geo console in the 90s. Despite the failure of the console itself, its games are definitely a success with collectors. According to experts, each found copy of the Ultimate 11, and there are rumored to be no more than ten, will be valued at about $10,000. The value again is the European version of the game.
1991 Nintendo Campus Challenge
This collection, which includes Dr. Mario, Super Mario 3 and PinBot were used by Nintendo in competitions that the company held in the United States in 1991. In a competition called the Campus Challenge, players had to score as many points as possible by playing a special cartridge in order to be able to go to Disney Land for the final competition stage.
Following the conclusion of the Campus Challenge, Nintendo destroyed seemingly all copies of the cartridges. However, in 2006 a former employee of the company found an untouched copy in his garage and sold it to the same Rob Walters for $1,000. In 2009, Walters sold her for $14,000 on eBay, and later she changed hands again, this time for $20,100.
The English version of Kizuna Encounter is considered one of the most valuable titles for the Neo Game system and is the sequel to another game from the SNK studio, Savage Reign. Although it is almost identical to the Japanese version, the fact that there are only 15 copies of the English version left in the world allows it to sell for $13,000 each. And all because it is not completely clear whether there was a European release at all, or whether SNK has slowed down the sale of the game in Germany and Austria.
Kizuna Encounter itself at one time proved to be a rather entertaining fighting game, the main feature of which was the character change during the battle. It is known that in 2009 someone purchased a set of Kizuna Encounter and Ultimate 11 for $55,000.
Red Sea Crossing
The game was developed by Inspirational Video Concepts and was to be sold with an audio cassette and coloring book. However, even without these accessories in our time, someone managed to sell one copy for $10,400 and another for $13,877.
In Red Sea Crossing, the player plays one of the scenes from the Bible when Moses sailed the Red Sea. Moving from left to right, Moses must jump over obstacles in the form of crabs, snakes, and other living creatures. That, in fact, is all. It is quite possible that, as planned, an audio cassette should have been played in the background.
According to game author Steve Stack, only a few hundred mail-order cartridges were produced. It is known that very little was sold, but the fate of the untouched part remains a mystery.
It is rather strange that a cartridge with all the famous Tetris could be on such a list. However, when the Japanese Mega Drive version was severely curtailed due to Nintendo’s exclusive rights to the game, collectors immediately took notice of the release.
In 2011, someone tried to sell a copy of Tetris autographed by the game’s author Alexei Pajitnov on eBay and asked for as much as a million dollars for it. Nothing came of the idea, because the seller himself bought the game for $11,000. However, the item’s status was later changed to «sold».
Now the owner of the Japanese Tetris can try to get up to $16,000 for it.
Nintendo PowerFest 1994
Similar to the Campus Challenge, in 1994 Nintendo hosted another championship, this time called the PowerFest. In each city, the company found one crafter who scored the most points by playing Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Kart, and Ken Griffey, Jr. Presents Major League. The winners then met in a final showdown at the Nintendo World Championships II in San Diego.
33 special cartridges were published that included these three games, and only a few of them have survived to this day. One such cartridge was discovered by Rob Walters in 2006 and later sold for $10,000 not to anyone but to PowerFest attendee Rick Bruns. Then another copy surfaced in 2012, which sold for $12,000.
1990 Nintendo World Championships
The very first Nintendo competition already mentioned was the Nintendo World Championships in 1990. Specially before this event, 90 gray and 26 gold cartridges were released, on which you could find modified versions of Super Mario Bros., Tetris and Rad Racer.
Competitions were held in three age groups in thirty cities, and each finalist got a gray cartridge. Another 26 gold coins were sent to the winners of a competition from Nintendo Power magazine dedicated to the championship. In the final stage of the Nintendo World Championships, participants competed against each other for big prizes like a TV, a car, or $10,000.
Today, gray cartridges are valued much less than gold ones. Owners of the gray version can get up to $8,000, but if someone has a gold copy lying around, then he can safely put up a price tag of up to $27,000.
Men-A-Vision was a short-lived company, and managed to release only a small number of copies of Air Raid for the Atari 2600, the cartridge of which came with an unusual «T» handle.
In the game, you protect the city from airborne attacks that attack the player at an increasing rate. The developers at Men-A-Vision are definitely inspired by Space Invaders.
Each of the 13 surviving cartridges is worth at least $3,000, but there were auctions willing to pay more than $30,000 for Air Raid.
In the 80s, if you wanted to send a special birthday greeting to a friend, you could call Personal Games and order a birthday game for the Atari 2600 from them. it was possible to find several mini-games with a birthday theme.
According to rumors, now there are almost no working copies of Birthday Mania left, and therefore the cost of treasured cartridges can reach up to $35,000.
In the 80s, Stadium Events was easy to find in Europe, but in the US it almost never appeared on the shelves. It was so rare that when a North Carolina resident found Stadium Events in a second-hand store in 2013 for $7.99, she was later able to fetch $12,000 from it at auction.
Stadium Events was developed by Bandai as one of three games for its failed Family Fun Fitness Mat controller. After the rights to both the controller and the game were bought by Nintendo, the latter destroyed all copies of the game, not counting the two hundred sold, of which probably ten times less have survived to this day.
While European copies are valued at $2,000-$3,500, a sealed cartridge sold straight from the factory for $41,300. By comparison, Nintendo’s redesigned WorldClass Track Meet doesn’t cost more than ten dollars.
It is noteworthy that you can earn money by owning only a box from the game, which one of the collectors bought for $10,000.
Gamma Attack was developed by Robert Esken at Gammation Products for the Atari 2600, and legend has it that there is only one game cartridge left in the world. Actually, even the owner of the coveted cartridge is known. They became the collector Anthony DiNardo, who in 2008 tried to earn half a million dollars on his treasure. And although he ended up getting an impressive $10,000 for Gamma Attack, according to the authoritative portal Racketboy, now this cartridge will cost from $20,000 to $50,000.
As for the gameplay, unlike most similar games, Gamma Attack gives you the opportunity to take control of an alien ship, the goal of which is to destroy as many people as possible, and not vice versa.
It is interesting that, despite all the mysticism that revolved around the candidate for the «Worst Game of All Time», ET: The Extra-Terrestrial, the price for it does not exceed $1500. Apparently, neither the popularity nor the quality of the game itself is important. The fewer copies of each particular game remain, and the less information is known about it, the stronger the hands of collectors will reach for it.