Every hobby has its enthusiastic collectors who will pay exorbitant prices for rare memorabilia or pieces of history. In the world of video games, this often means rare cartridges, limited-edition merchandise, and long-lost artifacts from an era before anyone knew how big gaming was going to get.
Now there are hundreds, if not thousands, of relics gamers would pay high costs to get their hands on. Some of these collectibles can get impressively expensive. These remarkable heirlooms feel like remnants from a different era of the gaming industry, and their value indicates exactly how far the industry has come.
10 Everyone’s Looking For Link
At E3 in 1997, fans got a sneak peek at the upcoming Nintendo title, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. One way that Nintendo commemorated the event was by producing and distributing 300 figurines of Adult Link from the game.
Adult Link was depicted in his iconic green outfit and armed with a Hylian shield and the Master Sword, with the Ocarina of Time version of the iconic series’ logo inlaid in the stone at his feet. Because of their limited production, these statues are now valued at up to $8,000 depending on the condition and whether it’s still in the box.
9 Tetris Isn’t Always Ubiquitous
While Tetris is available on most platforms and electronic devices these days, that wasn’t always the case. Due to a complication with licensing and copyright agreements, only ten copies of Tetris for the Sega Genesis were ever made.
These games were banned from being sold once Nintendo successfully negotiated exclusive rights to Tetris, but several of them reached the wider world. Even today, they occasionally appear in collectible auctions. Some of these rare Tetris versions have been priced at around $15,000, although additional details like a signature can increase their value.
8 The Mysterious Allure Of Blue PlayStations
When the 10-millionth PlayStation was made, Sony celebrated by crafting a limited run of special-edition versions of the console. These beautiful blue boxes came with a matching memory card and controller. No other details differentiated them from a regular PlayStation, but their scarcity and commemorative status increased their value.
Originally, the special-edition PlayStations were never available for sale. Instead, Sony distributed them as gifts. In the current market, these rare collectibles tend to go for around $20,000 when all the components are included.
7 Some Will Pay Big Bucks For Multilingual Mario Cartridges
when Super Mario Bros. was released, the game booklet, box, and cartridge label typically featured one language or another, depending on their intended region. However, the “Asian Version,” produced for the Hong Kong market, included two languages.
Thanks to the prominence of both languages in the area at the time, the “Asian Version” featured both English and Cantonese lettering. Although they seem to be more common now that their value is a known factor, when they were harder to pin down, a copy reportedly sold for roughly $23,000.
6 Stadium Events Didn’t Last Long
A collaboration between Bandai and Nintendo in the mid-1980s resulted in Stadium Events. Stadium Events was a sports and fitness game that utilized early control-mat technology and had players compete in running and jumping events similar to those in a track meet.
Shortly after the game’s release, Nintendo chose to rebrand the game in the North American market to promote their own technology, the Power Pad. As a result, North American copies of Stadium Events became rare and could cost up to $45,000 in collectors’ markets.
5 Swordquest Wasn’t Just An In-Game Journey
Reminiscent of modern Alternate Reality Games, or ARGs, the 1980s Atari series sword quest had plenty of adventure lurking beneath its surface. The saga comprised three games, even though it had planned for four, and each of the games came with a comic book that explained its plot.
However, each comic also contained puzzles for fans to solve. Those lucky gamers who solved all the puzzles and submitted their correct answers to Atari won stunning prizes such as a sword, chalice, and crown crafted with gold and jewels. Even though their fate remained hotly debated, the overall worth of these lost rewards was estimated at around $50,000.
4 Gaming Competitions Aren’t A Modern Invention
Before modern E-Sports and professional-level gaming competitions, there were challenge cartridges. These special editions of games, or sometimes compilations of games, calculated the player’s score within the cartridge itself so that it could be submitted and evaluated for judging.
Two of the most famous competitions were the Blockbuster World Video Game Championships and the Nintendo Campus Challenge. Both had the companies sponsoring them and offered real, valuable prizes for those who scored the highest. The cartridges for these events would become valuable in their own right, with some selling for $80,000.
3 Gamma Attack Barely Exists
Although the gameplay in Gamma Attack is nothing to write home about, it’s one of the rarest and most highly valued game cartridges in the world. The reason for its remarkably high price is that only one cartridge of Gamma Attack seems to exist in the world today, and thus has become a one-of-a-kind gaming relic.
According to most sources, the cartridge currently belongs to collector Anthony DeNardo, who last tried selling the game on eBay for a starting price of $500,000. Gamma Attack was developed for the Atari 2600 system in 1983, and only sold 20 copies upon its release.
two The First Of The Untouched Mario Artifacts
In 2021, two historic video game collectibles were sold. Sold in July, the first of these was a copy of Super Mario 64 that sold for $1.56 million in an online auction and earned the world record for being the most expensive video game ever sold.
The anonymous buyer who purchased this incredible find must have been astounded by their luck and success. However, Super Mario 64‘s supremacy in this region wasn’t meant to last, as it would be outsold by one of its franchise compatriots only a month later.
1 The Most Expensive Game In The World
In August 2021, an unopened and untouched copy of the original Super Mario Bros. sold for $2 million. The game went to auction after an online retailer and auction organizing site Rally denied a collector’s offer to purchase the game for several hundred-thousand dollars.
By choosing to go to auction instead, after acquiring the game for a much lower cost, Rally allowed the price of the artifact to be determined by demand and hype rather than professional appraisal, leading to an anonymous buyer snagging the historic hall-of-fame game for $2 million.
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