11 Video Game Cartridges That Are Now Worth Total Bank

Let’s hope you bought these and then immediately had them taken away by your parents who totally forgot that they’d hidden them in the garage all those years ago
11 Video Game Cartridges That Are Now Worth Total Bank

The combination of a rabid fan base and a long enough timeline for souvenirs to become rare is a recipe for some outlandish auction prices for what is, in practical terms, not much more than interesting trash. And when it comes to rabid fan bases with deep emotional connections — and arguably entire personalities, built on them — its hard to beat video games. 

With that in mind, nerds with cash to burn will pay top dollar for relics of gaming culture past, regardless of the games actual quality.

This splits in two ways: The first is games that are notable as touchstones of the format, and usually reach sky-high prices only when theyre pristine, case-included and barely touched copies. This is less interesting to me than games that are strange, hard-to-find bits from the more esoteric edges of gaming. Even though most people have no memory of playing plenty of the games on this list, they still command top dollar.

Here are 11 weird video game cartridges worth their weight in gold…

Nintendo World Championship (NES)


Probably one of the best-known under-produced Nintendo carts were the ones offered as part of the Nintendo World Championships in 1990. These cartridges were never sold, period, and there were only about 125 in all. In order to get your hands on them, you had two options: 1) You could win your age-groups contest in one of the 30 tournaments across the globe for the gray option; 2) or you could win a Nintendo Power promotional contest for the gold version. Bummer for the people that earned their gray cart fair and square that the gold cartridge is worth more today, selling for roughly $26,000 while the gray version goes for as “low as $8,500.

Blockbuster World Championships II (Genesis)


Where the cart commemorating one of a gaming titans earliest events is an object of their early success, this game is a bit of the opposite. Its a commemoration of a championship put together by two fallen giants: Sega and Blockbuster. This was the cartridge used to put on tournaments for the worlds aspiring Genesis champions, containing iconic title NBA Jam and, weirdly, Judge Dredd. “Best Judge Dredd Player in the World” sounds like a character cut from Napoleon Dynamite. Only two or three copies are thought to exist, with values estimated between $9,500 and $16,000.

Wrecking Crew (NES)


Wrecking Crew was a Nintendo first-party title, starring Mario, that came bundled with the NES, which makes its irrelevance all the more fascinating. In fact, anyone who has played the wildly popular Super Mario Maker games has spent a significant amount of time staring at Mario wearing his Wrecking Crew duds without realizing it. Hindsight is 20/20, and if you want to get your hands on a copy retroactively, you could be shelling out over $3,500 for a factory-sealed copy.

Stadium Events (NES)

Bandai Namco

At this point, Nintendo has thoroughly laid their claim on weird accessories, especially after the success of the Wii, a console almost entirely marketed on the strength of various doodads. The history of Nintendo peripherals goes back a long way, though. You might think of Duck Hunts laser gun, but there was also something that made it to less living rooms, made by Bandai, called the “Family Fun Fitness Control Mat.” 

It was a soft mat that tracked your movements on top of it, and, based on my experience with knock-off DDR pads, probably sucked. Nintendo, though, liked the idea and bought the rights to the pad and a game designed for it called Stadium Events, re-releasing both as WorldClass Track Meet and the “PowerPad.” When they made the switch, they recalled and destroyed all copies of Bandais version, with the exception of roughly 200 that had already been purchased. In 2010, a factory-sealed copy sold for $41,300.

Atlantis II (Atari 2600)


The Atari 2600 was slightly before my time, but apparently the game Atlantis was fairly popular. Like numerous games back then, it wasnt much more than a reskinned take on Missile Command. A copy of Atlantis is worth about three bucks. A copy of Atlantis II, though? That's worth between $5,000 and $7,000. Its unique for a couple of reasons: First, it couldnt be purchased; it was sent out as part of a promotion where players were invited to send in photographs of their highest scores, with the best players receiving a copy of Atlantis II, basically a hard-mode variant for them to further test their skills on. Second, the carts were no more than standard-looking Atlantis cartridges with a label slapped on top. The fact that kids love to peel off stickers means theres probably some Atlantis II copies out there masquerading as a boring old original.

Air Raid (Atari 2600)


First off, lets just appreciate how fun this twist on an Atari cartridge is. The weird, TNT-plunger-esque shape and baby blue coloration are unique among the consoles library. Unfortunately for the company that made it, Menavision, this didnt lead to interest or success when it mattered, and less than 20 copies are known to exist. Now, though, the game is a collectors item, and boxed copies have sold for over $30,000.

King of Fighters 2000 (Neo-Geo)


The King of Fighters franchise and the Neo-Geo system are both nostalgic favorites. The Neo Geo console was marketed as a high-end home console that could give you an experience on par with a genuine arcade cabinet, and the graphics did far outperform contemporaries like the SNES and Genesis, but with a prohibitive price to match. King of Fighters 2000 was the victim of highly unideal timing, released just as Neo Geo maker SNK was declaring bankruptcy, and only saw 100 copies shipped out for a now-dead system. Each one can net you between roughly $3,500 and $5,000.

Tetris (Sega Genesis)


This one, at first glance, makes less sense than any other on the list. The Genesis was a popular console. Tetris is literally the best-selling video game of all time. Its enough to create a Mandela effect style surety that you owned and/or played this, despite there being close to zero chance of that. This is because they only created 10 copies before what I assume was a panicked legal team catching sight of the newest game off the press informed them that Nintendo had exclusive rights to Tetris. Only the presumably very ticked-off development team that had worked on the port ever owned a copy of illegal Sega Tetris, meaning they're worth between roughly $2,500 and $14,000.

Gamma-Attack (Atari 2600)


There is a ceiling on an items rarity, and that ceiling exists at the number “one.” Thats how many copies exist of a game named Gamma-Attack, an Atari 2600 cartridge that is a singular piece away from not needing to be italicized at all. Its apparently owned by a man named Anthony DeNardo, and since theres only a single copy, we dont need to add “roughly” to the price it fetched: $500,000.

Birthday Mania (Atari 2600)

Rare Games Wiki

The creepiest entry on this list is the game Birthday Mania. Looking like it was pulled straight from internet creepypasta is this cartridge, produced by Personal Games Company. It was never available in stores, and instead was a game available from a one-man programming team made up of Robert Anthony Tokar. Copies of the game would have the birthday boy or girls name programmed in for a fun personal gift, and contained mini-games revolving around birthday activities like blowing out candles. Honestly, its a pretty cool idea, but only 10 to 15 people ever ended up ordering one. Its a much pricier gift now, with copies worth between an estimated $15,000 and $35,000.

Landfilled Copies of E.T. (Atari 2600)


E.T. the ExtraTerrestrial for the Atari 2600 is famously horrible, and often shows up on lists of the worst games of all time. It did so badly that, despite an A-list promotional tie-in, copies were famously dumped in a desert due to lack of sales. Do you know how bad a game has to be for it to end up in the Smithsonian for sucking

Now, the games a collectors item, but in a twist of fate, its only the ones that were thrown away for being completely unsaleable that increased in value. They were eventually dug up and sold on eBay, taking in up to $1,537 for an excavated copy.

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