15 Rarest and Most Expensive NES Games of All Time

Mega Man NES 5 screw
Mega Man NES 5 screw

It’s incredible to take in any collection of the most expensive NES games. Many know the legendary NES Campus Challenge cartridge is worth well over $10,000, but what else is there? Which NES games are going to cost you a pretty penny (or thousands of them) to add to your vintage game collection?

People have been collecting Nintendo Entertainment System games for nearly 40 years. However, while the console has been considered “retro” since the 90s, it wasn’t until relatively recent that the value of certain NES games skyrocketed. The game you ripped from your NES and hurled across the room in frustration in 1987 might be worth thousands of dollars today, if not more. How many screws are used to hold the bottom of the cartridge together? Depending upon how you answer that question, your copy of something like The Legend of Zelda could be worth hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

So, let’s take a look at the most expensive NES games currently on the market. Maybe this will be the best day of your life, but keep in mind we’re also talking about some of the rarest NES games ever. Chances are, you don’t have them — and no, that gold The Legend of Zelda cart you have probably isn’t worth that much.

 

Most Valuable NES Games

15. Gotcha! The Sport! (5 Screw)

Gotcha the Sport
Gotcha the Sport

Price Range: $229.99-$1,250

Explaining the remarkable value of Gotcha! The Sport! comes down to knowing what you’re looking at, and why cartridges held together with five screws are more valuable than those with three screws on the back.

Gotcha! The Sport! has two versions, although you’re obviously talking about the exact same game. When the NES was first released, cartridges were kept together with five screws in the back, but this would eventually shift to manufacturing cartridges that combined 3 screws with plastic tabs on the front of the cartridge. A 5-screw cartridge is also older, which tends to play some role in its value, as well.

And what about Gotcha! The Sport! itself? Loosely based on a 1985 movie that’s even more obscure than this game, Gotcha! The Sport! is a capture-the-flag style title that utilizes your NES controller and the NES Zapper light gun. It’s fun for what it is, but only serious collectors need to pay the kind of prices a 5-screw variant are commanding.

 

14. Power Blade 2

Power Blade 2
Power Blade 2

Price Range: $1,165 – $13,200

If you’ve never heard of the NES game Power Blade, then that might go a long way towards explaining why you’ve never heard of Power Blade 2 either. The game has been fetching high prices for a long time simply due to its rarity, but the reF$cent explosion in retro game prices has copies now going for as much as a grand and change. A perfect graded copy has been listed for much, much more.

Power Blade 2 is a solid, if uninspired platform action game. It’s been compared to the Mega Man series in the past. That makes sense, given that Power Blade 2 features stage selection and the ability to acquire and utilize various types of armor, which gives our hero different powers and abilities. The game looks and plays fairly well but may only be of actual interest to fans of these relatively obscure games.

If you happen to find yourself with a CIB (Complete-In-Box) copy of Power Blade 2, you might be sitting on a pretty lucrative piece of gaming history.

 

13. Bubble Bath Babes

Price Range: $1,199 – $2,800

Despite Nintendo never granting them a license, adult games did indeed make their way to the NES during the console’s lifespan. To the surprise of no one, these adult games are almost universally terrible. Bubble Bath Babes from developer C&E isn’t much different in this regard, although this Taiwanese 1991 game can at least be a vaguely enjoyable ripoff of Tetris, if for some reason you really, really want to play this.

Bubble Bath Babes being an unlicensed adult game that you could only obtain via mail-order is obviously why the game is so rare these days. Coming across this release in any form can pay dividends, but a CIB edition is almost impossible to track down.

To be honest, the saucy box art is more titillating than anything you’re going to come across in the game itself. This is ultimately more of a curiosity than anything that could qualify as a good, entertaining video game.

 

12. Myriad 6-in-1

Myriad six in 1
Myriad six in 1

Price Range: $1,300 – $19,999

While we can’t imagine anyone actually paying nearly 20 grand for a copy of this infamous unlicensed game, Myriad 6-in-1 has long been established as one of the rarest NES cartridges on the planet.

Featuring 6 astonishingly mediocre games, Myriad 6-in-1 was originally developed and manufactured by a company known as Carlton Industries. However, that company went out of business, and would sell their stock of games to a group known as Myriad Games Inc. This company took the original cartridges, replaced the Carlton label with one of their own, and released the game with custom box art and a folded instruction manual.

Then Myriad Games Inc. went out of business, as well, and today it is estimated that fewer than one hundred copies of Myriad 6-in-1 still exist. Because of that, people are willing to pay at least a thousand dollars for a cartridge that contains dreadful ripoffs of games like Space Harrier and Buster Bros. Magic Carpet 1001 is the only original game here, and even that one isn’t very much fun.

 

11. DuckTales (Gold)

Price Range: $1,375- $1,495

Released in 2013 to select members of the gaming press as a promotional tool for the upcoming remaster of the 1989 Capcom hit, the gold cartridge for DuckTales is a fascinating release. Only 150 copies of the game were made for the event. The few that weren’t given to members of the press were awarded to players in contests, and you can only imagine how many copies of this release are out in the world. The game was already a rarity upon release, and that value has only risen with time.

DuckTales plays exactly like the platformer classic we all know and love. Players control Scrooge McDuck as he travels across a variety of worlds collecting treasure, discovering secrets, bouncing on enemies with your trusty cane, and even making a trip to the moon. It’s just that this familiar game comes in a special cart with artwork from the remastered edition.

If you can find this game in its original lunchbox with all the extra goodies, you’ve hit the jackpot.

 

10. The Flintstones: Surprise at Dinosaur Peak

The Flintstones Surprise at Dinosaur Peak
The Flintstones Surprise at Dinosaur Peak

Price Range: $1,399 – $13,700

The real surprise with The Flintstones: Surprise at Dinosaur Peak is that new NES games were still being released in 1994. No doubt, this was to capitalize on the 1994 live action Flintstones movie, but even so. That’s 4+ years removed from the release of the SNES.

It’s hard to imagine very many copies were made of this game based on the 1960s animated sitcom classic. The other surprise is that the game is actually not bad for a platformer in which you control Fred and Barney in an adventure that looks and plays quite well. You can switch between the two, and you’ll find that each one has their own unique weapons and abilities.

However, if you really, really want to play The Flintstones: Surprise at Dinosaur Peak on original hardware, it’s going to cost you. This has always been a rare title, and the recent explosion in prices of vintage and retro games has only increased that value.

 

9. Hot Slots

Price Range: $1,400 – $3,300

Oh boy, it’s another adults-only piece of garbage that people will pay upwards of several thousand dollars to own. Hot Slots was originally released in Japan as AV Pachisuro, with the AV portion meaning “Adult Video.” Of course, since this is the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System, the alleged titillation is really only viable if you have a very specific fetish for badly pixelated hostesses.

That only leaves the gameplay, which, is, fine? Choose one of three slot machines. The more money you win, the more clothes your hostess removes. The graphics and sound are unremarkable at best, and kind of grating and glum at worst. Arguably the most interesting thing about this game is the fact that the title on the game screen reads “Hot slot.” Just the one, apparently.

The rarity of this game certainly makes sense. This was a mail-order only title, and it’s difficult to imagine very many copies were actually manufactured. For these kind of prices, it would be nice if the hostesses actually came out of the screen.

 

8. Peek-a-Boo Poker

Price Range: $1,750 – $2,500

Once more around the horn of hellish porno games with developers Panesian and Hacker International, who made Hot Slot(s) and Bubble Bath Babes. If you think Peek-a-Boo Poker is going to be any different from those two, well, your optimism is admirable.

Peek-a-Boo Poker costs as much as a weekend in Vegas for the same reason the other two are on any list of the most expensive NES games. A mail-order title that at least delivered on the promise that you’d get to see what technically qualifies as nudity, Peek-a-Boo Poker pits you against three other computer players for a few hands of strip poker. If you’ve ever played an actual game of strip poker, your memories of that are almost certainly going to be more entertaining than this game.

If only the developers could see how Peek-a-Boo Poker is doing in the present. It’s the only time you’re ever going to see this game mentioned in the same space as actual NES games.

 

7. Cheetahmen II

Cheetahmen 2
Cheetahmen 2

Price Range: $1,925 – $5,300

The good news: No more grot games.

The bad news: Instead, we have an unlicensed game that was never actually officially released, based on characters from one of the most infamous NES titles of all time.

Developed with three heroic Cheetahmen first introduced in the notorious Action 52, Cheetahmen II was originally part of an effort to cash in on what we can only assume was the popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the late 80s/early 90s. The first game is virtually unplayable, and it’s a shame the sequel was ever found in a Florida warehouse years after it was actually made. It’s just as bad, if not even worse. The fact that this action platformer was never fully completed is the least of its problems.

Only 1, 500 copies were found in that presumably haunted Florida warehouse. That right there is why this abomination fetches a high price. A Cheetahmen III did go into development in 1994, but luckily for us, it never came out. Sometimes, dead is better.

 

6. Little Samson

Little Samson
Little Samson

Price Range: $2,300 – $18,000

After a string of very crappy games, it’s almost a relief to come to the relative brilliance of Little Samson.

Regrettably lost to time, this unique and highly compelling platformer is actually a lot of challenging fun. Released in North America in 1992, well into the lifespan of the SNES, the game was poorly marketed and didn’t sell very well. That explains its rarity and extreme value on the market, and it’s a shame honestly that more people haven’t played this one.

Taking control of Samson and his team of heroes, Little Samson is an action platformer that looks and sounds quite good, and there are even unique features. For example, there are two distinct difficulty modes, each with different gameplay elements. You can also switch between your characters during a stage, which adds a bit of strategy to these levels, which feature some pretty tough boss battles. Even if you can’t afford the steep price tag this carries for a CIB copy, seek this one out and prepare to be pleasantly surprised.

 

5. Mega Man (5-Screw)

Mega Man NES
Mega Man NES

Price Range: $10,600 – $165,500

Capcom was really just getting started making titles exclusive to the home console market when they developed the unique, groundbreaking Mega Man for the NES in 1987.

Built from the ground up by a team consisting of a mere six people, the game was a hit and would be one of many exceptional games Capcom developed and published in the NES era. A staggering five sequels were released for the NES alone, and today there are numerous spinoffs and additional sequels. It’s fascinating to play this fiendishly hard platformer today and see just how far the little Blue Bomber has come over nearly 40 years.

If you want to own the original Mega Man on NES, it’s not going to cost you thousands of dollars. Copies of the game with the 3 screws Nintendo would later utilize go for about $30+ on eBay and elsewhere. However, if you want the exceptionally hard-to-find 5 screw edition of Mega Man, good luck even tracking one down. “Elusive” would be an understatement

 

4. Family Fun Fitness Stadium Events

Family Fun Fitness Stadium Events
Family Fun Fitness Stadium Events

Price Range: $16,100.00 – $59,000

Family Fun Fitness Stadium Events in itself isn’t anything special. Players compete in a variety of fitness events, including the 100m dash and the triple jump. A gameplay pad was included, allowing players to move in time to the game to complete the events successfully.

It’s rumored that around 2,000 copies of Family Fun Fitness Stadium Events were manufactured by Bandai bearing this title. Of those 2,000 copies, an estimated 200 actually shipped to retail locations. Even more astonishing is that those copies were seemingly only available at select Woolworths locations in the northeastern United States. So, what happened? Nintendo bought the rights, recalled the copies that were sent to stores, and rebranded the game and pad. All of these factors combine to give us one of the rarest video games ever made.

Simply put, if you have a CIB edition of Family Fun Fitness Stadium Events, which is virtually impossible for the reasons mentioned above, you have an extraordinary and expensive piece of video game history.

 

3. Nintendo Campus Challenge 1991

Nintendo Campus Challenge 1991
Nintendo Campus Challenge 1991

Price Range: $17,000+

Besides being one of the rarest NES cartridges in history, Nintendo Campus Challenge 1991 is also a fascinating time capsule into Nintendo’s history. Nintendo’s influence on the pop culture landscape was impossible to shake by the early 1990s. Events like the Nintendo Campus Challenge, held in 1991 and 1992 at more than 60 college campuses and other locations throughout the United States, was one of the reasons for that.

Only one copy of the 1991 Nintendo Campus Challenge cartridge is known to exist. This is because the cartridges, featuring three shortened versions of NES games (Super Mario Bros 3 was one) with challenges that had to be completed in six minutes and twenty-one seconds, were destroyed. The sole copy was purchased for $14, 000, and then sold later for $21, 100.

You can find recreations of the cart quite easily, but the odds of coming across another original are about nil. Still, you just never know, and there could indeed be one more copy of Nintendo Campus Challenge 1991 out there.

 

2. Nintendo World Championship Gold

Price Range: $18,000+

Another cartridge specifically made for a competition, namely the 1990 Nintendo World Championships, the gold edition was given away exclusively as a prize in the pages of Nintendo Power.

Twenty-six copies are known to exist, with the cartridge itself once again breaking down as three shortened NES game challenges (Super Mario Bros, Rad Racer, and Tetris) across a blistering six minutes and twenty-one seconds of gameplay. The 1990 Nintendo World Championship wasn’t the first event that could technically qualify as an esports event, but it was certainly the biggest example up to that point.

Besides its staggering price, owing to its notable rareness, Nintendo World Championship Gold has some interesting trivia attached to its history. For example, among those who won the competition was Thor Aackerlund, one of the first competitive gamers to go pro. The gold cartridge design is also fascinating, with an exposed section featuring DIP switches that can control the time limit for the challenge.

 

1. Nintendo World Championship Grey

Nintendo World Championship Grey
Image credit: IGN

Price Range: $22,000+

The differences between the gold edition of the 1990 Nintendo World Championship cart and the grey edition that was used in the actual competitions is minimal. One is grey. One isn’t. The DIP switch design can be found with these grey cartridges, as well. More grey cartridges were made than gold, which makes the fact that Nintendo World Championship Grey is currently the most expensive NES game ever a little peculiar. The value of these cartridges varies wildly, which means the grey and gold could switch spots again in the near future. Right now, despite there being more of them in the world, the grey cartridge is the only one currently being offered at all.

At time of writing, there is one original Nintendo World Championship cartridge for sale, and it’s a grey variant currently being sold for an asking price of $175, 000.

It would be tempting to just shrug and say “Uh, good luck with that.” However, if we’ve learned anything from the pandemic and buying behavior, it’s that gamers with more disposable income than God will pay a premium for a supremely rare collector’s opportunity.

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