One of the most common points of conversation between gamers is the incline in video game prices. And while some can’t justify spending upwards of a hundred dollars on a new IP, others won’t so much as think twice about breaking the bank for it. But that’s pretty much the way video games are going these days, and $70 price tags aren’t exactly that uncommon any more — especially with the turn of the new consoles and premium packaging that drop with almost every triple-A release.
Having said all of this — there’s a fine line between spending $70 on a new game and splashing out upwards of $100,000. And I know what you’re thinking: what game could possibly exceed a thousand dollars and beyond? Well, quadruple figures are actually pretty common in the collector’s domain, though seeing six figures definitely isn’t something you’d see every day. However, that’s not to say that they don’t exist. Because they do. And yes — we’re envious of those who have hoarded them for all these years without even realising it. But anyway, here are five games that will cost you an arm and a leg to purchase — if you can find them, that is.
5. Nintendo Campus Challenge (1992) — $20,000+
Nintendo hosted a campus event back in 1992 where players were grouped together to battle it out over a series of games for a shot at the gold. With Super Mario World, Pilotwings and F-Zero compressed into one coated cartridge, the little catalogue went on to become a rarity in the gaming community. Oh, and Nintendo also had every cartridge filed for destruction after the event shut down, too. However, a few sneaky copies have been discovered since 1992 — and collectors have been hungry to snag the remaining drifters ever since.
In 2009, one of the few standing copies of Nintendo Campus Challenge 1992 ended up selling for $20,100. Of course, that means that, whether they’re aware of the big ‘ol bag of money sitting in their attic or not — a couple of lucky owners are still hoarding their copies of the game somewhere in the world. Rainy day fund — check.
4. Super Mario Bros. (1983) — $30,000+
Despite the fact that Super Mario Bros. is one of the most popular, and let’s face it — most played video game of all time on the NES, it doesn’t stray from the fact that it’s actually an incredibly rare purchase in today’s market. That is, of course, if it’s still factory sealed and in pristine condition. Unboxed and somewhat deteriorated, on the other hand — is a far cry from the top shelf.
In 2017, DKOldies, a longtime retro video games dealer, made the decision to part ways with their shrink-wrapped copy of Super Mario Bros. on NES. Starting out with a single penny bid on a no-reserve auction, the game went on to sell for a whopping $30,100 after the auction caught the eyes of collectors all over the globe. Long story short — the buyer paid up with confidence, and the absorbed dealer was left with a serious payout.
3. Air Raid (1982) — $33,000+
Discarding the fact that Air Raid wasn’t the most well-travelled Atari game back in the early eighties, it did, funnily enough, age extremely well due to its short supply of copies. Now considered to be the rarest game to ever touch the console, the sole entry from Men-A-Vision has racked up thousands of dollars in third-party sales. But that’s not what made our jaws swing. Oh no — it’s the complete copy of the game that ended up selling for $33,000 that shook us to our core.
Stemming from a promotional offer back in 1982, Air Raid found its way into the hands of one oblivious drug store owner who, at the time — had no intention of distributing it to his customers. In light of this, the single copy of the game ended up being shelved and left to gather dust. Fast-forward a few decades and Air Raid would go on to become the rarest find on the market. Lo and behold, the drug store owner dug up the promotional copy from 1982 and put it to auction. And, well — it went for $33,433.
2. Stadium Events (1986) — $41,000+
In 1986, Nintendo distributed 2,000 copies of Stadium Events, which later rebranded as World Class Track Meet. Sadly, only 2,000 games were produced for the public — and only 200 of them made it to the shelves in North America. And as for the rest? Well, your guess is as good as mine. Who knows, perhaps you’ve got one lurking about in your attic after all this time? Worth a look, that’s all I’m saying.
As part of the short-lived Family Fun Fitness mat for the NES, Stadium Events homed a series of sporting competitions that ranged from a 100m dash to the triple jump. Unfortunately, the family game never quite escalated from the foundations it erected. Instead, the game frazzled out by the nineties, and the rest went down as history. 11 copies of the game have been found over the last thirty years, and one of them, as crazy as it is — sold for $41,00 in 2017.
1. 1990 Nintendo World Championships (1990) — $100,000+
Finally, to crown the list of most valuable video games on the market — it’s 1990 Nintendo World Championships on NES. Of course, you might’ve heard stories about the legendary $100,000 auction surrounding this one already. But if not then, well — you might want to stay seated for the next few minutes.
In a bid to find the greatest NES player of all time, Nintendo scoured the US with a spool of games all compressed onto single cartridges. They had grey editions, which were purposely used for the competitions that ran throughout the season. And then, of course, there were gold-plated cartridges, which were finally handed out to the winning collective. However, as time moved forward and the few remaining cartridges faded away, collectors took it upon themselves to fish out the goldies. Alas, one was found in 2014, and it sold for a whopping $100,000. Yes — $100,000. As if winning the 1990 championships wasn’t enough of a flex already, right?