Video games have always been an expensive hobby. There is always a new game, accessory, or system that is demanding more of your hard-earned cash.
But one gamer has it worse than the others: the retro gamer. For those dedicated to tracking down original games and accessories, this hobby can drain your entire bank account!
Below is a list of some of the most expensive games ever made. If you plan on collecting any of these, you may want to take out a second mortgage!
Gauntlet – $3,000
When you think of the Gauntlet arcade game, you’re most likely thinking the classic dungeon crawler. In that game, fantasy warriors and elves fight hordes of enemies while tracking down the keys (and food) necessary to keep hacking and slashing.
This Gauntlet is different. It was a 1983 mail-order game created by Answer Software for the Atari 2600. You control Sir Robert Whittenbottom as he goes on his own hack-and-slash dungeon adventure.
Because it never saw release outside of mail order, this game is quite rare. Copies of it sold for about $3,000 in the early 2000s.
Nintendo PowerFest ’94 – $12,000
Wondering why you’ve never heard of this game? That’s because it was not a commercial release. Instead, this was a compilation of games (including the original Mario Kart) used in competitions throughout the United States.
What makes this so rare if the cartridges were all around the country? Simple: Nintendo destroyed most of them after the competition. Only two of these still exist. One sold in 2012 for a cool $12,000.
Genesis Tetris – $13,000
Here’s another game most people have never heard of. There’s a simple reason for this: this game was never supposed to exist!
Sega greenlit production of this game, and a small handful of copies were made. But Nintendo dropped the heavy end of the legal hammer, citing that they had exclusive console rights for this game.
As near as anyone can tell, only about 10 copies of this still exist. In 2011, one of them sold for approximately $13,000. While it was signed by Tetris creator Alekséi Pázhitnov, that doesn’t justify the initial asking price of one million dollars!
Nintendo Campus Challenge 1991 –$20,100
You guessed it: this is another special cartridge designed for video game competitions. Specifically, this was designed for a college gaming tournament back in (when else?) 1991.
Only one of these cartridges survived, and it sold in 2009 for $20,100 dollars. The buyer didn’t even have to take out a student loan!
Swordquest Talismans – $25,000
This next entry is not a video game so much as an accessory. However, it might be the strangest story of them all.
Swordquest was an Atari franchise that spawned the world’s most ambitious gaming promotion. The plan was to release four games (based on the four elements) and run contests where players had to play the game, read comics, and send in a mysterious phrase. The winners got a chance to compete with each other to take home a prize.
Each “treasure” prize had a value of $25,000 and was made of diamonds and precious stones. Sadly, only two of these were awarded before the video game crash of 1983. Players would never be able to compete for the other two talismans and the big prize: a giant sword!
Air Raid – $34,433
By now, you’ve figured out how video game value works. It’s all about supply and demand. The fewer the games, the higher the value!
Air Raid was a Space Invaders knockoff for the Atari 2600. It came out in 1982, but only barely: only a few were ever made, and only three known boxed copies exist today. In 2010, one of those copies sold for $34,433!
Stadium Events – $41,977
Released by Bandai, Stadium Events came out in 1987 in the U.S. and was compatible with a pad — the Family Fun Fitness Mat. But then Nintendo bought the rights and rebranded the game and the mat as World Class Track Meet and the Power Pad.
Nintendo pulled the game from the shelves and destroyed them in order to avoid confusing consumers. But not before 200 or so copies had already been sold. Only about 20 complete copies are believed to exist today.
In 2017, a copy of Stadium Events sold for $41,977. But think of how much the buyer will save on their gym membership!
Nintendo World Championships Gold Cartridge – $100,088
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, what’s the rarest game of all? For the Nintendo Entertainment System, it’s the gold cartridge version of Nintendo World Championships.
This is another game designed for a tournament — in this case, a global contest. For the tourney, Nintendo made 90 copies of the standard gray cartridge.
However, another 26 were special golden cartridges. This version of the game is officially Nintendo’s rarest cart. One of them sold in 2014 for $100,088.
For that kind of money, the buyer could sponsor his own global contest!