The Rarest and Most Valuable NES Games

Rare and Most Valuable Nintendo NES Games

Considering how much of a nostalgic powerhouse the NES is, there should be little surprise that Nintendo’s 8-bit library is filled with many collectible pieces. In contrast with the Super Nintendo’s rare and valuable list, the most desirable NES games are not necessarily populated with the most popular games. Because of the unassuming nature of these titles, you may be unaware of the treasures that could be found in a local garage sale, flea market, or your own closet.  Over the last few years, we have seen some stabilization of some of the high-priced games, but there have been a few standouts that have emerged into the top 30 list over the last couple of years.  This year, we also added a new section covering the recent uptick in collecting pristine, graded, and sealed classic (but common) classics.

In stark contrast to the Cheapest Games series, this Rare & Valuable series will round up the rarest and most valuable games for a given console or handheld so you’ll know what to look for whether you are buying or selling.  Below you will see two prices beside each title. The first is the average daily selling price of what is typically the cartridge by itself. The second price is the highest selling price of the recent history of a an unsealed copy (typically with box and manual). The list is ordered by the balance of the two prices. Note that some of these games are not rare in the sense that there are not many available, but rare relative to demand, which makes the games expensive. It is also worth noting that we are not including prototype cartridges.

Rare & Valuable NES Games Table of Contents:

Limited Edition | Standard USA | Standard PAL | Pristine Classics | Unlicensed Games | Rarest Japanese  | Rare+Affordable

Note: Values updated on December 2022

Limited Edition Collectibles

1990 Nintendo World Championships: Gold Edition:
$25,000 – $100,000

In 1990, Nintendo famously held a gaming tournament in Los Angeles, California, not unlike the one in the finale of the cult classic film, The Wizard. While admittedly a mainstream competition (most of us could have won with no problem), the event was a high point in Nintendo’s glamorous reign at the top of the gaming market, and is remembered by many with great enthusiasm. After its promotion in the popular Nintendo Power and through the Powerfest tour, kids everywhere practiced feverishly in hopes of heading to this event, seeing the wonder of light and sound, playing some Rad Racer, and winning it all.

The actual game is a timed compilation of three titles (Super Mario Bros, Rad Racer, and Tetris), each adjusted for the tournament and containing a unique scoring system.  The 1990 Nintendo Worldwide Championships: Gold Edition was the contest prize in one of Nintendo Power’s monthly promotions. One grand prize winner and twenty-five equally as fortunate runners-up were each sent a single copy (which makes 26 copies in the wild).

What gives these competition cartridges an incredible dynamic is that, while so few copies exist, they were distributed to winners throughout all of North America. Many rare/prototype games and systems with this low of a production had their entire allotment sent to or found in a single localized area.

Successful sales of these cartridges only really seem to happen every few years.  However, you will often see ones on eBay like this graded copy – listed for a $2 Million asking price with a “Make an Offer” option .  From the turn of the millennium t0 2010, Gold cartridges sold in the range of $5,000 to $18,000).  This last decade it has doubled to quadrupled in value.   It is still quite difficult to quantify an expected value for this piece, so we have the range based what little info we have.  There was a sale in 2015 for $26,000 and there was supposedly a private sale of one in the “triple digits”.

1990 Nintendo World Championships: Grey Cart: $13,000 – $25,000

These essentially have the same story behind them as the gold cartridge mentioned above, but the more common grey cartridges were the ones actually used in the tournaments and were then given to each of the finalists. The grey carts had a print run of 90 and has a monochromatic label and, like a lot of EPROM exposed prototypes, has a hole in its casing for displaying dip-switches.

What is rather interesting about these cartridges is the fact that only about half of the cartridges have reportedly surfaced, so there are still more out there hidden in somebody’s closet, garage sale, or flea market.  Even though these are cartridge-only releases, condition can be a large factor.    However the buzz of these championship cartridges helped a sale for $25,000 complete in May of 2017.

We previously had the low-end price at $8,000 based on the 2012 sale, but we have bumped it up to $13,000 based on a [surprising] trade in at Pink Gorilla Games store for $13,000 (and they later sold).

Much like the Gold Cartridge, there is a current eBay listing out there to see if they can get a bite at a high price.  These cartridges are graded, but they have asking prices of $75,000 and $275,000 with a “Make an Offer” option.

1991 Nintendo Campus Challenge: $13,000 – $21,100

The 1991 Nintendo Campus cartridge was created by Nintendo for a video game competition like the Nintendo World Championships in 1990, but this one would tour college campuses and spring break hot spots.  The cartridges had three games on them, Super Mario 3, PinBot, and Dr. Mario and a time limit of about 6 minutes.  Players attempted to get the most points on all three games within the allotted time.

After the event, the games were all supposed to be destroyed, but one was found at an ex-Nintendo employee’s garage sale in 2006.  Up until 2006, it was hard to pin down a value for this cartridge as it never really surfaced on the marketplace.  That year, the cartridge was sold privately (by a collector who found it at a garage sale in New York) for $14,000 and then later resold for on eBay $20,100 — at the time, bringing it just shy of the mark at the time for the 1990 Gold Nintendo World Championship Cartridge.  (Read More)  The cartridge hasn’t surfaced since 2006 — neither new sightings of additional, legitimate cartridges or new sales of the original find.

One could argue that this cartridge is less of an “official game” than even the 1990 Championship Cartridges and more in the area of prototype cartridges (which typically aren’t worth as much as official game releases).  These are the types of difficult discussions that collectors face — similar to putting a value on a game like Gamma Attack for the Atari 2600 that only has one known copy after being sold via mail order.  Ultimately, a game is only worth what somebody will pay.  The question is whether somebody will pay more than $21,000 the next time a cartridge goes up for sale.

Recent Fluctuations of North American Retail Games

The NES is leading the trend in increased nostalgia collecting and we are seeing a strong increase in complete and mint values.  Loose cartridges are also increasing significantly, but there are comparatively fewer complete games are entering the resale market.  Even rarer are those units that have manual and all the inserts that came in the retail box.

Despite being less than a full year since our last guide revision, I have still been noticing a lot of ranking shifting with the North American retail releases.  In the chart below I compared the average pricing between the different the average loose price levels for a game and their highest mint copy sale during the time frame.  I compared those averages between our October 2020 guide and this July 2021 guide to calculate the value growth percentage.  If you’d like to see the full 2017 guide for comparison, I have made it available to my Patreon members. (Only $1 of support or more is needed to access)

After the chart, we will dig into the details of the top North American, PAL and Japanese NES/Famicom games — we have a lot to cover!

While the biggest gainers aren’t as crazy, percentage-wise as last year, there are still some games making strong gains.

It may be a surprise, not everything is going up in the NES market this year!  For the first time we can recall, we actually have a handful of big games cooling off quite a bit.  Some of you that have been closely paying attention, some of these leading decliners were actually some of our biggest gainers last year.  So let this be a fair warning for those that are jumping on a collecting bandwagon.  It is also worth mentioning, that out of the 56 top games we analyzed, literally half of the games were at lower prices than last year (for more detailed numbers and history, check out my Patreon page).  So perhaps, this is a sign that the market is starting to cool a bit.  It will be interesting to see how this continues to play out.

Treasured Standard USA Releases

Stadium Events: $7,500 – $30,000 ($42,000 Sealed)

Stadium Events BoxWhile the 1990 World Championship cartridges had much of the attention of the NES collectors up until 2010, Stadium Events has been covered in much of the hype over the last seven years.

What makes this otherwise standard game so rare, is that just after its release, it was recalled. As an official third-party title, Stadium Events made use of an accessory called the Family Fun Fitness Pad. It required the player(s) to run or step rapidly in order to complete each event. Upon its release, Nintendo decided to grant the game a first party production, recalling the scant initial cartridges that had been sent out.The game would later become “World Class Track Meet” and would be played with Nintendo’s own controller the “Power Pad”. Both became very common and were boxed-in with many NES consoles. But Stadium Events, the original anomaly, had snuck out in ever so limited numbers.

2000 copies is believed to have been the total distribution tally, but that doesn’t consider how many of those were sold prior to Nintendo’s recall. Some have suggested that no more than 200 actually made it into NES owners’ homes.   It should be noted that PAL versions were not recalled and are not worth as much (even though many eBay sellers try to pass them off as rarities or jump on the hype of the rare North American version).

In 2011, we saw complete copies of Stadium Events peak with an eBay sale closing at $45, 000.  As more copies (sometimes unopened) surfaced, the prices started to come down to $30,000 or even $20,000.  Loose copies seem to have increased over time, but there are still relatively frequent.

In 2017, we saw one more sealed copy surface.  It was randomly found at a thrift store, picked up by the recent seller’s mom.  Here’s a recount of the story (hear a full recollection on his Youtube video):

“Mom always buys things for me and she thought that this might be something I would like, that I would probably open it up and play it. She also knows that I like video games and I would be happy with this if it had no value. I’d say thanks Mom, but at the same time this one actually did have value so it was amazing she found it.”

This particular sealed copy sold for about $42,000 USD.  So it does show that Stadium Events does still have legs on the marketplace — especially if the condition is top-notch.

Little Samson: $1,520 – $6,000

Little Samson BoxLittle Samson has become the NES collecting “success story” in the last decade (without the mainstream media hype of Stadium Events).  In our original publication of this guide in 2008, Little Samson was on the radar, but it didn’t crack the top 10 list and could be found for a reasonable amount of money for one of our NES Hidden gems  that were relatively hard to find.  In our 2012 revision of the guide, it jumps to $90 for a bare cart and $200 for a complete copy.

If you check into eBay or any other experienced seller that is selling a copy of Little Samson today, you will find those bare carts being over 16x as expensive — sometimes nearing $2,000 for a bare cart if its clean and proven to be authentic.  Although, just in August, there was a complete copy with box and manual (granted, with noticeable wear) that sold for only $1500.  Mint complete copies have been reported in the $3,000 to $6000 range though.   However, all this easily makes it the most valuable un-recalled retail NES game in the collector market.

With all that being said, Little Samson is a gem of an action shooter developed by Taito in 1991 to jump into the platforming trend.  It also had the bright graphics and smooth animation to earn its way onto our NES Games That Pushed the Limits back in 2007.   Unfortunately, back in the early 90s, Taito didn’t have the marketing push to help it get attention in the crowded NES platforming space.

Donkey Kong Jr. Math: $150-$5700

After the Atari video game crash in the early 1980s, Nintendo was tread especially carefully when entering the North American video game market in 1985. In addition to positioning their console as a bit more of piece of consumer electronics, they also had consistent launch packaging of their games that featured accurate pixel artwork of the games on the cover (as opposed to lavish, but misleading artwork that many Atari games featured).

The result was a rather stark, but collectable set of launch Black Box / Pixel Artwork games that debuted alongside the NES. For good measure, Nintendo aimed to have a modest lineup of games in an “Educational Series”. The first game in the series was to be Donkey Kong Jr. Math.

Donkey Kong Math Jr., however wasn’t a deeply designed educational game that was more targeted towards children than any other Nintendo game. In fact, it highly depended on recycled assets and game engine from the original Donkey Kong Jr. game. The game ended up selling quite poorly — easily the worst-selling (and now most rare) launch title of the NES’ launch library.

As if the game itself isn’t hard enough to find, the entire collection of black box launch games are especially hard to find in complete condition and even more difficult to find in great condition. The pure black borders/backgrounds of the cardboard boxes are very easy to show wear and tear. As a result, mint copies of Donkey Kong Jr. Math have been selling for extreme premium prices (especially since the launch set is so desirable as a whole).

The Flintstones: The Surprise at Dinosaur Peak: $850 – $3,500

As the NES era drew to a close, publishers like Taito released many of their games exclusively to game rental companies while bypassing the traditional retail market. The Flintstones II is the best example of this in the US, but is a bit easier to find in Europe.

Of course, since it was primarily a rental game, finding a complete copy in good condition is especially challenging.  You can currently find some boxed copies on eBay with asking prices getting close to $4,000 but we rarely see buyers taking them up on prices this high.

The combination of the rarity element and a fun pop-culture tie-in helped The Surprise at Dinosaur Peak to see a similar trajectory to Little Samson on the NES collectors charts.   In 2008, it was an affordable gem to keep a look out for.  However, by 2012, it had made it to the top 5 licensed retail/rental games for the NES at the $120 to $250 range.  Now, you’re easily creeping toward the $1000 to $2000 mark just for loose cartridges if the condition is good.

Bonk’s Adventure: $750 – $3700

While it was know primarily for being the leading franchise on the TurboGrafx-16 / PC-Engine, Bonk also received an adaptation on the NES (in addition to the Game Boy, the Arcade and Amiga).  The original TG16 game was developed by Red Entertainment and published by Hudson.  A.I. Co worked with Red Entertainment on the NES port to be released in January 1994 (4 years after the TG16 release and exceptionally late in the NES timeline.).

The NES port obviously had the colors downgraded due to hardware limitations, but it looks like a pretty decent presentation considering the circumstances.  However, since the cartridge space was bigger of a limitation on the NES than color palette, some levels were cut from the original, and the remaining levels have some edits to them.   You also won’t find the NES version to be as challenging as the hardware wasn’t able to put as many enemies on the screen at a time.

This rather limited release didn’t get much attention on the original publication of this list in 2008 as it was selling for between $30 and $60 at the time.  It doubled in value by 2012 to a $60 to $250 range.  However, in the last 5 years, it was multiplied 5 to 6 times.   In 2017, we actually saw a complete copy sell for $2000, but it’s cooled down just a bit since then (unless somebody sells a gem mint copy, you could see it hit $2000+ again).  However, since 2017, loose carts have increased from about $400 to $600.

Power Blade 2: $755 – $2700

This action platformer developed by Natsume is yet another Taito publication that has been climbing this list.  Interestingly enough, this title was actually released in North America before it was released in Japan (under the name Captain Saver).

While this original Power Blade was adapted from a Mega Man rip-off that ended up being pretty good, Power Blade 2 was watered down from the original other than the addition of some additional power suits.  Released in late 1992, it was near the end of the NES lifespan and didn’t get a lot of circulation.

Just in the last year, we’ve seen these skyrocket further from its already lofty #6 spot at a $450 to $1000 range in the Fall of 2020.  Loose cartridges have more than doubled since then if they are in good condition and mint complete copies have tripled.

Panic Restaurant: $850 – $2000

Here’s another Taito release that has started to get increased collector attention the past few years.  Five or six years ago, it was not hard to find a copy of this game under $100.  As the NES market has heated up, you’ll be challenged to find it for less than $700 with prices sometimes exceeding $2000 for a complete copy.

Panic Restaurant is an interesting platformer designed by the late Kenji Eno (who eventually developed the “D” survivor horror series) that puts you in the role of Chef Cookie in an attempt to tame your restaurant of aggressive food products.   It has a fun style and theme to it that would feel right at home in the better third-party NES platformers.

Since it is both hard to find and a fun, quirky addition to any NES fan’s collection, it’s not hard to see why this title has climbed the list as everyone wants to round out their collection.

Athletic World [Family Fun Fitness]: $15-$2000

Bandai’s Stadium Events may have stolen the show with the NES Collecting crowd over the last decade, but Athletic World was actually the first game in the “Family Fun Fitness” series for the NES. However, the full series rights were acquired by Nintendo and the game was rebranded as World Class Track Meet.

Since Athletic World was around a bit longer, there were more units floating around in the wild compared to Stadium Events. However, it is still pretty hard to find a North American version with this original packaging.  The cartridges can be found relatively easily, but there is a slight difference in the labels (just look for the extra Family Fun Fitness part above the main title)

Be aware that many of the legit games you’ll find on eBay are either a PAL version with the same artwork or the later North American version with the revised branding.

Kid Klown in Night Mayor World: $620 – $1160

Developed by and published in the US in April 1993 by Kemco, Kid Klown was originally Mickey Mouse III: Yume Fuusen (The Dream Balloon) in Japan.  Since Capcom held the license for Disney video games in the US, the game’s title and certain character sprites were changed for its North American release.

The game is a fairly standard platformer in many ways, but the game’s biggest innovation is the circus balloons that Kid Klown can deploy as a springboard to high places, a parachute to float safely, and as a projectile weapon that can be thrown in 8 directions.  Other than this novelty, there isn’t much in the gameplay or the graphics (especially by 1993 standards) that will keep you coming back to this title.

Kid Klown remained in obscurity in both name and collectibility until it started ascending from tens of dollars pre-2015  to hundreds of dollars in the last few years.   In fact, even since our 2017 guide revision, this release has risen dramatically from the $190 to $280 in just those three years (making it one of the fasters risers as of late).   Boxed copies are pretty hard to find in good condition — most of them only sell for $400 to $500, but ones in nice condition that actually include all the manual, poster, inserts and such can exceed the the $1000 mark.  Even loose cartridges have seen some rapid increases.  In 2017, you could score are cart for under $200.  In the Fall of 2020, the average price was about $340.  By the Summer of 2021 (less than a year later), you’re seeing bare cartridges selling in the $430 to $750 range. But apparently, this one isn’t done climbing.

Stack Up (With Pieces): $300 – $2,006

Remember R.O.B. The Robot? Gyromite may be the most popular game to play with the NES’s early companion, but Stack Up was yet another option for our robotic friend.  I’m putting this on the bottom of the main list since the game itself isn’t especially rare (but still sells for $60 to $80 for the cartridge), but it is very difficult to find in complete condition due to all the pieces that were included and the large cardboard box.

Stack Up has appreciated nicely since its addition to our guide in 2012.  Eight years ago, you could find the cartridge for as little as $15.  The complete copy commanded between $160 and $248.  Today, it has more than quadrupled its value for the complete form, surpassing a $900 price tag. (Nearly doubled even from the 2017 level of $480)  There was also recently a copy of the game that was complete other than the box, which sold for $120.

While we have seen modest increases in loose and typical complete copies of Stack Up over the past year, sealed copies have literally doubled in a year’s time.  In 2020, a sealed copy sold for $4,000, but 2021 has seen a $7,900 sale.

Zombie Nation: $550 – $1,000

Released in 1990 by Meldac and developed by KAZe, Zombie Nation was originally released in Japan as Abarenbou Tengu.  It is a horizontal shmup that features a bizarre setting with a fusion of  zombies and samurai.

Zombie Nation could use some additional refinement, but it does show off some technical skill with the amount of activity occurring on the screen without slowdown.  The boss battles are also frantic, and the amount of bullet fire in later levels show the promise of the “bullet hell” genre to become popular later in the decade.

While it isn’t one of the greatest shooters on the NES, it’s not difficult to see how fans of shmups or quirky titles could find it appealing to add this to their collections.  The game doesn’t have the best historical reputation, but has become a bit more of a rare cult classic over time.

Complete copies with Manual are extremely difficult to come by.  So much so that in May 2021 a Box and Manual(with NO game cartridge) in rather nice condition sold for over $1,000.  (and other boxes without manuals have sold for nearly $1000 as well)

Cowboy Kid: $445 – $1,265 

Inspired by Konami’s Ganbare Goemon series but with a heavy Western influence, Cowboy Kid was developed by a small upstart company by the name of Pixel and published by Romstar in North America in 1992.   It has a lot of similarities to Ganbare Goemon 2 on the Famicom but is different enough that it has been theorized that it could have been rejected by Konami and sold off to be repackaged.

The game isn’t strictly 2D, but some areas give some freedom of movement like a beat ‘em up.  Other spots shift to either side-scrolling platforming levels or horseback stages that play like an overhead shooter.  To round it out, it even has some RPG aspects and a handful of mini games like a shooting gallery, blackjack, and others.

In the end, Cowboy Kid was a very low-run production piece at the later part of the NES lifespan.  It didn’t really get a ton of collector action until the last 5 to 7 years.  In 2012, we were looking at $16 for a loose cart and around $25 copy for a boxed copy; 5 years later, you are looking at $250 loose and $400 boxed.  This momentum continued to build during the 2020s retro boom as Cowboy Kid continues to climb higher in these rankings.

Bubble Bobble Part 2: $430 – $1,240

If you’re an old-school gaming fan, it is hard not to love the Bubble Bobble franchise. The original is a common mainstay in the NES library, however, Bubble Bobble Part 2 was released in 1993, coming very late in the NES’s lifespan – a full two years after the SNES was released. Despite it being a follow-up to an arcade classic, it languished on the store shelves, overshadowed by shiny, new Super Nintendo games.

In fact, by 1993, the puzzle platformer style of the game was becoming very much a niche genre, so it wasn’t even released in the arcade.  All that results of Taito’s efforts was this NES release and a Game Boy variation.

For those that are into the series, Part 2 is mostly unchanged from the original game, but the player can float up to higher platforms and over walls by holding down the B button.  One disappointment with this NES releases, however is that two-player mode only lets you take turns instead of play cooperatively.

Wacky Races: $370 – $1,130

Don’t be fooled by the title of this game — this game has nothing to do with racing but instead is a platforming game based on the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon series featuring Muttley and Dick Dastardly.  It was developed and published by Atlus in 1992 and is actually a relatively challenging but beatable platformer that has a nice cartoon presentation and will feel at home with some of the of the best licensed platformers the 8-bit era had to offer.

Much like The Jetsons, Wacky Races was previously on the “Rarest USA Games at Affordable Prices” section back in 2012.  Loose copies jumped from $11 to $220 (a 20x jump) and a boxed copy from $15 to $500 in the fall of 2020 alone. (which is up from $300 in 2017).    Just between October of 2020 and July 2021, we’ve seen bare cartridges go from just a bit over $200 to exceeding $300 (and up to $500).   And in that same 9 months or so, we’ve seen complete copies for from $500 (or $850 graded) to $510 on the low end (beat up manual) to over $1,500 with all insert cards in mint condition.

Sqoon: $165 – $1,237

Irem has a special place in the hearts of shooter fans and Sqoon is one of their lesser-known gems. It was originally published by Irem in Japan on the Famicom a year before releasing their defining shooter, R-Type in the arcades (and Sqoon arrived in North America on the NES soon after in late 1987).

The game itself looks simple on the outside, but is actually feels like a mix between Gradius, Defender, and Choplifter. Initially, it feels like a traditional horizontal shmup in which you pilot a submarine with horizontal torpedos and diagonal depth charges (that can only be deployed once at a time). However, you won’t make it very far in the game if you don’t rescue humans by destroying the prison structures in the ocean floor. You receive extra fuel with each extra survivor you retrieve. Compared to the likes of Gradius, Sqoon looks like a simple shooter for 1987, but it actually has a great deal of gameplay depth compared to most 8-bit shooters.

Sqoon was also happened to be Irem’s first game published themselves, was the first game of theirs that was originally developed for the NES (instead of a port) and Irem has never republished the game elsewhere.

Sqoon has always been a rarity in complete form and has been above $100 complete for a while. However, loose cartridges were able to be found for $20 or less prior to 2013. Between 2013 and 2017, we saw loose carts steadily climb to the $70 mark and complete copies were nearing the $250 – $300 range. Going from 2017 to 2020 saw modest gains: $80 average for a cart and not much change for complete (when you could find them).

We’ve seen a strong appreciation of complete copies that have surfaced in 2021. Values for mint complete copies increased 5X in less than a year’s time. Carts have fared well also, increasing 60% in just as much time.

Dragon Fighter: $465 – $925

This Natsume creation was published by SOFEL in North America in early 1992.  It is a very interesting hybrid of a platformer and shooter that can either be incredibly frustrating or, with some practice, a zen-state action experience.

You primarily venture out as warrior with a hack-n-slash platformer feel, but you can switch to a flying dragon form when you meter fills up (ideal when you’re in a tight spot, certain stages, or during boss battles).  This is one of the better examples of a valuable game that has some solid and interesting gameplay.

While being judged purely on gameplay, it might not be “worth” the price, but if you’re looking to add a valuable collector piece to your NES collection that is also a solid gem of a game (see a solid video review), Dragon Fighter is actually a nice choice.

Gun-Nac: $415 – $1015 

While most of this lists relies heavily on the rarity of the game and collectors trying to add buzz-worthy investments to their collection, Gun-Nac is one of the most serious combinations of rarity and the caliber of the game itself.   Fans of scrolling shooters (or shmups as their often called) are some of the most dedicated genre collectors and the genre often has a lot of under-appreciated gems that didn’t sell especially well in their time of release.  This can be evidenced in many of our Rare and Valuable guides of 90s consoles such as the Saturn, Dreamcast, Genesis, PlayStation, and SNES.

There was a nice handful of great shmups on the NES, and some of the most well-known classics such as Gradius and 1943 were mainstream hits and have lots of inexpensive copies floating around.  Gun-Nac, on the other hand, is commonly on shmup fans list of top NES shooters but also has a much more limited circulation.  Gun-Nac was developed by Compile — the Japanese firm known for shmup franchises such as Zanac, Aleste and Gunhed/Blazing Lazers.

Gun Nac is one of the fastest shooters for the NES, probably only rivaled by Recca Summer Carnival or Crisis Zone. Although Gun Nac frequently becomes hectic, it is still one of the most balanced shooters in the NES library.  Weapon drops are frequent causing the penalty of dying to be less threatening than most shooters.  The money you pick up can be used in the shops between levels to power-up your weapons if you don’t feel like leaving it to fate.   Gun-Nac’s graphics are reminiscent of Zanac but with its 5 years of technical advances showing.  It also has a zany story and strange bosses that seemed to give Compile a break from its more “serious” themes.

Gun-Nac has seen a slow and steady climb.  It’s never been an outright cheap game (lowest would be like $20 to $30 loose a decade ago).  And like a lot of these games saw a large rise between 2013 and 2017.  But Gun-Nac has still seen an impressive increase from its 2017 range of $200-$360.

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out [5-Screw]: $285-$900

Premium copies of iconic NES games have been strongly growing in value over the last decade and Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out is perhaps the most iconic NES game that doesn’t feature Mario or Link.

This particular variant of this classic is the initial release of the game cartridge that used 5 screws to keep the plastic cartridge shell together. Before too long, Nintendo switched to a 3-screw design that was accompanied by tabs to create a seal for the cartridges. Some NES collectors treasure these variants (however, some 3-screw games can be harder to find than their 5-screw counterparts, depending on when that game was switched over in the migration, determining their rarity).

Mighty Final Fight: $300 – $1,200

Final Fight was a landmark beat ‘em up on which Capcom began work as a follow-up to the original Street Fighter (but before Street Fighter II).  It was a hit in the arcades in 1989 and received a successful Super Nintendo port in 1991.  Once 1993 came around, Capcom wanted to try to bring the successful game to the still-surviving NES but obviously needed to make some graphical changes to make it work on the older hardware.

As a nice compromise, Capcom took some inspiration from the likes of Double Dragon and River City Ransom.   The result is a “chibi,” or super-deformed, art style that works as a bit of parody of the Final Fight series (think of Capcom’s later Pocket Fighter as a fun take on Street Fighter).   While you may be disappointed if you expect Mighty Final Fight to be a replacement for the original, if you go in with an open mind ready to have fun, it’s still one of the best beat ‘em ups on the NES.

For a collector’s standpoint, Mighty Final Fight skyrocketed out of mid-double digit cartridge pricing to going for $300 for a bare cartridge over the last 5 years.

Duck Tales 2: $235 – $1,200

While the original Duck Tales game was released in 1989, sold quite well, and is a regarded as a challenging but thrilling classic in the NES library, the follow-up title was not released until 1993, dooming it to be a slow-moving title.  For those who enjoyed the original Duck Tales game, you will mostly likely find enjoyment here.  There are a few subtle changes, but some argued that the game was rather short.

Duck Tales 2 has been high on this list of NES collectibles for quite some time.  While its numerical ranking may have gone down, it is still worth 4 to 5 times what its value from 6 years ago.  Duck Tales also has continued to build nostalgic power after the successful DuckTales animated series reboot.

Zen Intergalactic Ninja: $160-$920

This Konami-published, side-scrolling action gem from 1992 is based on a comic franchise and follows the story of Zen, a ninja warrior from the planet Chikyu. Zen is equipped with a variety of weapons and abilities. The gameplay perspectives also vary between side scrolling and isometric layouts — which some variances in attack and manuevering capabilities based on the perspective.

Zen Intergalactic Ninja has been praised for its engaging gameplay, an interesting amount of variety and challenging difficulty. The game’s graphics and soundtrack were also praised, with the game’s vibrant color palette and catchy tunes adding to the overall experience.

While tricky to find out in the wild, Zen Intergalactic Ninja cartridges do find their way onto eBay rather regularly. Finding a complete copy is especially tricky, however. As a result, Zen Intergalactic Ninja has been climbing higher on these rankings due to collectors trying to round out their collections of complete cult classics.

Zen is one of the biggest gainers over the last decade or so. Way back in the Aughts, you could score a loose cartridge for $4 or less. By 2015, it started to get some attention, getting to $55 for a cart and $100 to $200 for a boxed/complete copy over the next few years. However, as you’re seeing recently, the values really started to heat up in 2021 as more retro enthusiasts started to notice the game more.
Check for Zen Intergalactic Ninja on eBay

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tournament Fighters: $225 – $900

Tournament Fighters was a classic attempt to combine the popularity of the franchise at the peak of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ popularity with the peak of the fighting game trend.  While there was a lot of noise in the genre, the Tournament Fighters title got a lot of promotion, but this was mostly for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis ports.  The NES version was a bit of a gamble to capitalize on the large NES install base late in its lifespan (and actually released a few months after the 16-bit versions).  While it did have it’s technical limitation on the NES, it wasn’t as disappointing in comparison to the 16-bit versions as you might think.

Tournament Fighters’ 1994 release was Konami’s final NES title. If it wasn’t enough of a risk to release an NES game in 1994 (only 8 licensed US titles were released after it), Tournament Fighters was also banking on the success of the third live-action Ninja Turles movie that was released in the spring of 1993, but as fans may remember, that movie was painfully disappointing.  Interestingly enough, the NES version was not released at all in Japan.

Tournament Fighters was originally in our honorable mentions section of this guide in past revisions, but it only sold for between $25 and $40 back  in 2012.  The resurgence in TMNT nostalgia has helped power Tournament Fighters’ rise on this list.

Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers 2: $325 – $650 

The original Chip N’ Dale Rescue Rangers is one of the best platforming games on the NES and got a decent amount of attention after its 1990 release.  Much like the scenario of Duck Tales and Duck Tales 2, Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers 2 is a solid follow up to the original and will make fans happy, but when arrived in 1993, the NES was all but dead, and the novelty of the cartoon franchise was already in limited syndication.

Unlike Duck Tales 2, C&DRR2 stayed under the radar with collectors for quite a while and could be found relatively easily for low double digits in 2012.  Now, it will be hard to find a loose cartridge for less than $200.  A sealed and graded copy even went for $1400 in 2017.

It is also worth noting that both Duck Tales 2 and Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers 2 were released in The Disney Afternoon Collection compilation for the PC, PS4, and Xbox One in April of 2017 but we’ve seen some significant increase in value even since then.   Complete copies (especially with manual) have actually skyrocketed.

The Jetsons: Cogswell’s Caper: $275 – $710

If you’re paying attention to the developers and publishers on this list, the combination of Natsume developing and Taito publishing should make it unsurprising to see The Jetsons: Cogswell’s Caper appear on this list.  Combine that with the release date of late 1992, and you can see why it is an in-demand rarity.

Cogwell’s Caper wasn’t always high on this list; back in 2012, it was simply on the middle of the “Rarest USA Games at Affordable Prices” section.  In hindsight, more of us should have tracked down copies of all those titles.  Just five years ago, one could have easily scored a loose copy for only $14 and possibly a boxed copy for around $20. The game itself is not where its primary value is found.

Sword Master: $325 – $640

Sword Master is a side-scrolling action platformer that relies on action, patience, and strategy.  Between the hack-n-slash action and the energetic soundtrack, it has some strong arcade vibes, but it requires more thought and concentration than most of its arcade peers.  Despite its challenging and unforgiving nature, it can be really fun once you get a good feel for it.

Sword Master was developed by Athena in 1990 but released by Activision in the US in 1992.  It is thought by some to be a follow-activup of Athena’s Castle of Dragon, but it was never officially stated as such. The graphics could actually pass for an early TurboGrafx 16 or a launch-era Sega Genesis game with large, detailed characters and impressive backgrounds and cutscenes.   As impressive as it was for the NES, it did pale in comparison to what the SNES offered in 1992 which prevented it from getting substantial sales.

Back in 2012, this game was quite under the radar and could be found for $20 to $30 for a loose copy.  While it goes for 10x those prices now, this is another one of those gems that could be worth adding to your collection if you are fan of the genre.

Swamp Thing: $195-$865

Much like Zen, mentioned above, Swamp Thing is another game based on a comic book property (and a related B-movie) and was also released in 1992. While it does have a bit of a repetitious nature, Swamp Thing has built a cult following among NES fans.

Swamp Thing is truly an example of an obscure but affordable game that rose out of nowhere to become a collectable. In the first decade of 2000s, it was pretty easy to score a cartridge for $10 or so. The 2010s started to see it command $30 for a cart and $60 boxed before ending the decade at nearly $100 for a cart and nearly $300 for a mint copy.

Swamp Thing did get a bit of a boost in the 2020 boom, but that only got it to the Honorable Mentions section of this guide before. However, in the spring of 2021, demand for Swamp Thing really kicked into gear.

Wayne’s World: $240 – $810

For those of you that didn’t grow up in the 1990s, Waynes’s World was the popular SNL skit that became successful film in 1992 — creating a brief cultural phenomenon at the beginning of the decade.  Game makers were quick to turnaround the property into a digital experience, but were right at the transition between 8-bit and 16-bit consoles.  The NES Wayne’s World game is a completely different game than that was released on the Super Nintendo and Sega Megadrive/Genesis. The NES game also follows the plot of the Wayne’s World film as well.

The NES game actually came out months after its 16-bit Wayne’s World peers. When you stop and think about it, the less of a surprise that the NES Wayne’s World game wasn’t exactly flying off the retail shelves — the SNES was well on its way to replacing the NES and, to the casual game shopper, this NES release wasn’t something you couldn’t get on a newer system.

The Wayne’s World NES cartridge has never been especially cheap, but it’s mostly been an under-the-radar collectable until about 2012. Before 2012, the bare carts were about $20 to $30. In 2012, the NES cart started its gradual accent into the $100+ range — possibly kick-started by Angry Video Game Nerd’s spotlight the year prior and Youtube’s subsequent growth. These last few years, we’ve continued to see continued strength compared to the overall NES market. Just since our 2017 guide revision, we’ve seen it jump from the $105 to $215 price range in the Honorable Mentions section to landing in the Top 30 section. The premiums placed on mint, complete copies have greatly helped Wayne’s World’s ranking in collectability.

Just since our Fall 2020 guide revision, we’ve seen Wayne’s World accelerate heavily with collectors.  Loose cartridges were selling in the $130 range in 2020 and now are $200 on the low end at up to $320.  Complete copies maxed out in the $500 range in 2020, but a complete copy with a full lineup of inserts sold for $1500 in July of 2021. We haven’t seen prices quite that high in the past year, so we’re not sure if that was just the peak 2021 rush talking or if we will revisit that pricing for a mint copy in the near future. (even loose copies have cooled a bit since then)

Color A Dinosaur: $150-$930

Color a Dinosaur is an educational game released in 1992. The game is designed to teach children about colors, shapes, and basic arithmetic. In the game, players control a young dinosaur named Rex, who must complete various puzzles and challenges to earn points and advance to new levels.

The game’s levels are designed around different themes, such as the jungle, the ocean, and the desert, and each level features a variety of colorful graphics and fun animations.

Up until 2012, it was pretty easy to get a cartridge for under $20 before prices started to escalate. By 2018, we were seeing bare carts reach the $100 level. And as you can imagine, complete copies have also been strengthening in recent years as well.

Mega Man 5: $145 -$930

The Mega Man series was on the biggest third-party franchises on the NES and, while Mega Man 5 wasn’t the final NES installment, it marked the beginning of the end of this classic run.

Fans of the series were starting to get a little tired with more of the same Blue Bomber being delivered. It was all still enjoyable, but was all still quite familiar. Mega Man 5 is also regarded as the easiest of the NES Mega Man games as well — at least up to the final showdown. However, it wasn’t without its innovations, such as Gravity Man’s inverted gravity effects and Wave Man’s auto-scrolling elements.

Bucky O’Hare: $150 – $900

Originally beginning as a comic before transitioning to a TV series in the early 90s (perhaps riding off the success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Bucky O’Hare was transitioned to the video game world by Konami (who also worked with TMNT, Simpsons and other properties)

While Konami created both a NES game and an arcade game for Bucky O’Hare, they were significantly different games. This also could be likened to Konami’s first TMNT home games compared to the first Turtles arcade game. The NES Bucky O’Hare game drew a lot of inspiration from Capcom’s Mega Man series with some Contra-like elements and TMNT’s character-switching (you unlock characters by completing certain levels). And more so than TMNT, each character in your roster has different skills and advantages. The Bucky arcade game was more of akin to Konami’s other licensed beatemup arcade games but with shooting being more of a focus.

Even though the NES game came out before the arcade game, it was in 1992 and well into the era where the Super Nintendo was around and thriving. This era was interesting in retrospect as skilled developers did put out some interesting games that made good use of the NES hardware such as this Bucky ‘O Hare release, but these late third-party released just didn’t end up getting much commercial exposure, therefore having relatively smaller print runs.

The Bucky ‘O Hare cartridges could often be picked up for $20 or less up until 2012, but gradually increased to the $100 price point between mid 2012 and 2016 (with complete copies goes for about double those prices). Things plateaued a bit for the next few years. It was in our honorable mentions section in our 2017 guide, but just this year rocketed into the top 20 North American retail listings — accelerating nicely while others slow down a bit.

Finding a complete copy, especially with all the inserts, has always been a big challenge for Bucky  O’Hare but that has become more evident between 2020 and 2021.  In October 2020, we were seeing mint boxed copies for a high of $650.  In May 2021, a fully complete but opened copy sold for $1,200.  Also, a box and manual alone (not even with inserts, let a long a game cartridge) sold for $600.

Check for Bucky O’Hare on eBay
Check for Bucky O’Hare on Amazon

Snow Brothers: $270 – $550

Snow Brothers is an arcade port of the puzzle platformer title of the same name and has gameplay very similar to Bubble Bobble.  It is actually one of the older games on this list, being released in 1991, but the game did not move many copies despite its solid gameplay. In fact, Ocean had licensed the game for the Amiga and Atari ST in 1991 but canceled the games part way through development because of disappointing sales (it was eventually released on the Mega Drive in 1993, however)

Even though Snow Brothers has been on our top 10 list of Licensed US Releases for quite a while, it could be found for a modest $49 for a loose cartridge and up to $150 for a boxed copy.  Five years later, it has essentially quadrupled in value, now commanding $200 for a loose copy and up to $500 for a boxed copy.

Metal Storm: $133 – $800

Possibly the best value on this list despite the hefty price, Metal Storm packs a great futuristic aesthetics paired with fun 2D run-n-gun platforming  gameplay.

Metal Storm was published in 1991 by Irem (who is notorious for their punishing shooters such as R-Type).  This fantastic gem has you play as a robot that can switch gravity at a push of a button (a feature that was also fun the Gameboy gem, Wendy: Every Witch Way).  It’s a wonderful gameplay mechanic that is just as technically impressive as it is fun.  Metal Storm is easy to pick up and play, but it takes quite some effort to master.  The advanced animation, parallax scrolling, and and mecha style would feel at home on a 16-bit console if it had a deeper color palette.

Despite being featured on the cover of Nintendo Power Issue #22, it didn’t sell very well — Nintendo Power later blamed it on issues with low distribution.

Metal Storm has seen a steady climb over the years, but loose copies have been cooling a bit after Limited Run did a special edition NES cart of Metal Storm.  While they are physically different, some collectors that may have considered picking up an original cart (in possibly not ideal condition) may have opted to get a Limited Run copy with packaging for a just as much money or less.

Additional US NES Games of Value

  • Chubby Cherub: $140 – $750  [eBay]
  • Fire ‘N Ice: $195 – $585   [eBay]
  • Mega Man: $115 – $915  Amazon / eBay
  • Kick Master: $145 – $710  Amazon / eBay
  • Die Hard: $170 – $650  Amazon / eBay
  • Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom: $198 – $500 [eBay]
  • Pro Sport Hockey: $188 – $536  [eBay]
  • Contra Force: $125 – $530  Amazon / eBay
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (Ubisoft): $190 – $456  Amazon / eBay
  • Gargoyle’s Quest II: $145 – $510  Amazon / eBay
  • Casino Kid II: $133 – $500  Amazon / eBay
  • Nobunaga’s Ambition II: $155 – $500  Amazon / eBay
  • RC Pro-AM II: $130 – $459  Amazon / eBay
  • Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out: $52 – $710 Amazon / eBay
  • Battletoads & Double Dragon: $115 – $ 400  Amazon / eBay
  • Jimmy Connors Tennis: $142 – $400  Amazon / eBay
  • Godzilla 2: $150 – $310  Amazon / eBay
  • Bomberman II: $125 – $360  Amazon / eBay
  • Rockin’ Kats: $140 – $255  Amazon / eBay
  • Bandit Kings of Ancient China: $115 – $300   Amazon / eBay
  • Tetris (Tengen): $95 – $310  Amazon / eBay
  • L’Empereur: $100 – $200  Amazon / eBay
  • Race America: $85 – $230  Amazon / eBay

Rare & Valuable  PAL NES Games

Snowboard Challenge: $2400-$8500

Snowboard Challenge is a 1990 release developed by Imagineering that was published in North America under the name “Heavy Shreddin'”. The game was published in rather large quantities in North America with Parker Brothers publishing the game. However, Activision published the game as “Snowboard Challenge” in Europe with much more conservative numbers.

The game puts players in the role of a snowboarder, competing in a series of downhill races against other snowboarders. The game features six different courses, each with its own unique terrain and obstacles, as well as a variety of tricks and stunts that players can perform to earn points and gain an edge over their opponents.

Phantom Air Mission: $720-$3700

This one is another Imagineering-developed game that was published by Activision in Europe.

This particular game actually originated as “Flight of the Intruder” for MS-DOS, Amiga, and Atari ST before Imagineering ported the game to the NES (and the Gameboy as well).

The original game was developed by Rowan Software, a British team that specialized in a handful flight combat/simulator games for personal computers in the late 80s/early 90s.

Mr. Gimmick: $980-$2300

In this platforming gem from Sunsoft, players control Mr. Gimmick, a doll with the ability to come to life, as he navigates through a variety of colorful and imaginative levels, using his various abilities to defeat enemies and overcome obstacles. Mr. Gimmick has a variety of moves at his disposal, including punches, kicks, and the ability to throw objects. He can also use his powers to transform into different forms, such as a helicopter or a tank, to gain new abilities and access new areas.

It’s a fun and colorful game that only received a widespread release in Japan as Gimmick! It was originally expected to have a worldwide release, but initial feedback was lukewarm so Sunsoft of America held off on publishing it in North America. Ultimately, the Swedish distributor Bergsala, was the only other outlet that took a chance on the game. They waited until 1993 to release it in small quantities across the Scandinavian market. So even among all PAL regions, Mr. Gimmick still is a challenge to track down.

Additional Rare & Valuable PAL NES Games

  • Lethal Weapon / L’arem Fatal: $260 – $1360 (eBay)
  • The Flintstones: Surprise At Dinosaur Peak: $335 – $1500 (eBay)
  • Vindicators (Australian HES version): $600 – $$750 (eBay)
  • Stadium Games: $50 – $1000 (eBay)
  • Rodland: $290 – $700 (eBay)
  • Trolls in Crazyland: $140 – $600 (eBay)
  • Devil World: $130 – $600 (eBay)
  • Banana Prince: $145 – $380 (eBay)
  • Jetsons: Cogwell’s Caper: $150 – $350 (eBay)
  • Parasol Stars: $85 – $250 (eBay)


Pristine Retail Classics: Up To $35,000

The Values in this section are from completes sales between August 2020 and May 2021.  

Note for 2022:  I’m pausing updating this section of the guide for this year.  Partially, this is due to the recent lawsuit against WATA about manipulating the prices of these graded games.  In my brief sampling, not a ton has changed, so this section can still serve as a bit of a reference.

For most of the last few decades, collecting classic video games was pretty much limited to those that grew up with the games and continued to build their collection over time.

The last five years or so, we have seen an influx of younger collectors that are broadening their horizons — digging into game libraries that are older than they are.

Since around 2018 and 2019, we have seen more outsiders jump into the retro game collecting world, viewing it as the next big collecting market — another comic books, if you will. With this viewpoint, it should not be a huge surprise that we have begun to see (and will continue to see) increased interest in mint copies of the most iconic and beloved games of history. These collectors are going to be looking more for historical significant instead of complete sets. (Although some people, like myself, do this anyway).

Below are some of the most iconic games on the Nintendo Entertainment System. They are not rare games by any means. In fact, there are some of the most common games out there, in terms of actual cartridges. The values show below are heavily dependent on the condition of box, and all the contents that were included inside. Special premiums are also given if there is proof that it was the first print run of the given game.  (Also check out our Defining Games of the NES for additional titles to look out for in pristine condition)

Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out

Legend of Zelda (Original Release)

Super Mario Bros.

Super Mario Bros 2

Super Mario Bros 3

Note: Super Mario Bros 3 sold incredibly well, so there are MANY units in the wild. Only the most impeccable condition go for higher amounts. Valuations swing wildly based on condition.

Helpful links:

Coveted Unlicensed Games

The NES had a number of unlicensed titles that didn’t receive the Nintendo Seal of Approval. Since most of them had a very limited release, it isn’t a surprise that many are worth quite a bit.

Cheetahmen II: $1,400 – $2,500

The original Cheetahmen game was released on the Action 52 cartridge for the NES and on the Sega Genesis.  Each game also came with a 12-page comic book to tell of the characters’ backstory. Despite the franchise’s lackluster performance a second installment of Cheetahmen was completed, although not officially released. Eventually, in 1996 all of the reported 1,500 copies of the game left their warehouse and were sold to the public.  The games were packaged in unused Action 52 cartridges.  Once people actually played the game, they realized there was more to its cancellation than its namesake. To this day it is known as one of the most unplayable games of all time.

A patch fixing all the game-breaking bugs was made available on and a “fixed” version of the game was released under the name “Cheetahmen II: The Lost Levels” via a Kickstarter campaign in 2012.  You can now see a handful of these cartridges show up on places like eBay, so don’t get them confused with the rare, but buggy original.

While some of the unlicensed games on this list have cooled down in the last handful of years, this renewed interest in Cheetahmen II has actually boosted the value of this original release.  Even just back in 2017, the game was only in the $1,000 to $1,200 range, but complete copies have more than doubled since then.

Myriad 6 in 1: $1,200 – $2,000

The 6-in-1 Myriad cart and its sibling, the Caltron 6-in-1 (see below) have been some of the more standout collector’s items on the Nintendo Entertainment System as the retro gaming hobby developed. A decade or more ago, the Myriad 6-in-1 was one of the most valuable NES games out there (more than Stadium Events at that time, if you can believe it), but we’ve seen a gradual degradation as collectors have shifted more to licensed copies (although Cheetahmen II, mentioned above, has built more of a cult status and remained strong).

As the name suggests, they are a collection of 6 games, which are about as good as you’d expect from an independent, unlicensed title.  While the games themselves were released many times, these actual carts were released twice, the other time from Caltron, who reportedly went bankrupt during its production.

Myriad Games would later acquire the leftover carts, shipping them out in a new box, and with a numbered label for the price of $69.  That sum might have seemed steep then, but it would be a steal for that today. While it might be slightly outdated information, a Digital Press posting lists #888 is the highest number found, so it’s unlikely that more than a thousand exist.

Panesian Games

Hot Slots: $1,200 – $2,000
Bubble Bath Babes: $800 – $1,800
Peek A Boo Poker: $700 – $1,700

The games from adult publisher, Panesian, obviously didn’t meet Nintendo’s strict content guidelines. And even without the whole Seal of Approval business, the chances of your average retailer carrying the games would be pretty slim. So what was Panesian (the publisher) to do? Ship it only to video stores as a mail-order release.

I’m not sure it can be said how many copies are out there, but it is presumably less a thousand.  It is very easy to imagine, even with the game’s immense rarity, that you could walk into a flea market, thrift shop or video store and discover one of these games hidden away for a dollar. Why is that? The game wasn’t packaged in the cardboard box typical of most NES releases, but rather in a VHS-esque movie case.  The copies still left unclaimed for are most likely shoved in with regular old movies rather than games, meaning there are plenty of unsearched places to look for it.

Bubble Bath Babes is a puzzle game featuring an 8-bit rendered, unclothed female at the bottom of the screen. Peek A Boo Poker and Hot Slots are your standard poker and slot machine games with extra “character” so to speak.  The prices for each of these games have been steadily increasing over the last decade or two.

6-in-1 (Caltron): $300 – $500

The original Caltron 6-in-1 release is about equally as hard to find as the Myraid 6 in 1, but generally commands a smaller premium.   It is worth noting that there have been a number of suspected counterfeits showing up on eBay over the years.  Back in 2012, there were mostly fake cartridges for $150, but not there are supposed sealed and graded copies for $500 or less. (looking at the feedback shows the sellers have been selling multiple copies and sell copies of other high profiles games like Stadium Events).  In 2012, a loose copy has sold for over $1,000, but it’s slowly gone down to $600 in 2017 and $300 now.


  • Action 52: $190 – $450   Amazon / eBay
  • Color a Dinosaur: $90 – $1400   Amazon / eBay  (high premium for mint/complete packaging)
  • Menace Beach: $200 – $290   Amazon / eBay
  • Moon Ranger: $150 – $300   Amazon / eBay
  • Secret Scout in The Temple of Demise: $150 – $270   Amazon / eBay
  • Sunday Funday: $150 – $240   Amazon / eBay
  • Chiller: $75 – $235   Amazon / eBay
  • Big Nose Freaks Out: $75 – $150 ($350 Sealed)   Amazon / eBay
  • Mermaids of Atlantis: $42 – $85 – Amazon / eBay

The Rarest Japanese Famicom Games

Note: This section was last updated in late 2021.  I plan on doing a dedicated Famicom guide in the coming months.  Stay tuned

I don’t have a ton of information or pictures from the wonderful world of Famicom games, but here are the most treasured Famicom and Famicom Disk games via this thread at Famicom World. Most of these were issued as prizes for game competitions. The values are primarily from Japanese transactions on Yahoo! Auctions. If you would like more information and pictures of some of these check out this article.

  • Kinnikuman Muscle Tag Match Golden Tag Cartridge (8 Made) $7328 – $9770
  • Rockman 4 Gold Cartridge (8 Made) $5370 – $5765
  • Uranoid Ii (300 Made) – $4885
  • Obake No Q Tarou Wan Wan Panic Present Version (100 Made) $1759 – $3900
  • Meimon ! Daisan Yakyuubu Gold Cartridge: $2440

The Rarest Japanese Famicom Disk Games

  • Wakusei Aton Gaiden Kokuzeikyou: $290 – $1,000
  • Clu Clu Land $1,000 – $3,200
  • Gold Disk (Japan Course) + Plate (100 Made)
  • Alien II
  • Zelda No Densetsu Charumera Version : $1000
  • All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros (3000 Made) $830 – $1280

The Rarest USA Games At Affordable Prices

Each of these games have a rarity rating greater than 6, but routinely sell for less than $40. If you are an NES collector and see a boxed or sealed copy of any of these on eBay for a low price, you might want to snatch them up — you may never see them again.  Note: these are starting to get less “affordable” as the years pass.  We keep seeing some of these promoted to the higher rankings — especially for complete copies.

Official Retail Games

Unlicensed Games

  • Fantastic Adventures of Dizzy (Aladdin): $11-$30 - Amazon / eBay
  • Impossible Mission II: $20 – $35 – Amazon / eBay
  • Micro Machines (Aladdin): $20/$30/$60 – Amazon / eBay
  • Quattro Adventure (Aladdin): $6 – $30 – Amazon / eBay
  • Quattro Arcade: $19 – $40 – Amazon / eBay
  • Quattro Sports (Aladdin): $5- $20 – Amazon / eBay
  • Stunt Kids: $36 – $65 – Amazon / eBay
  • Trolls on Treasure Island: $23 – $65 – Amazon / eBay
  • Ultimate League Soccer: $24 – $45 – Amazon / eBay
  • Venice Beach Volleyball: $10 – $50 – Amazon / eBay

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dgraham says:

I have Little Sampson, Dragon Warrior IV, and Ducktales 2. All great games. I also have Banana Prince, Noah’s Ark, and Parasol Stars from Europe. Planning on a follow-up European list?

Terry says:

I have super mario bros/duck hunt anf Tetris plus other games i dont see on this list

Ben Combee says:

I picked up about six of those Myriad 6-in-1 games in Dallas at a big flea market back in 1996… I knew it was rare, but not $1600-rare! Alas, I traded off several of them. I got a Cheetahmen II cartridge in one of the trades; the others I traded for various 2600 games. However, I’ve still got two — one that I opened and played, and one in the unopened and shrinkwrapped box. I might just have to look into this thing called eBay 🙂

The Indigo Effect says:

Do the pieces packed in with Stack-Up have official names? I’ve read found some info on Wikipedia, but the names of the parts seem like generic descriptions rather than real names.

Also, I did manage to come across a game that fit Johnny’s description, but it’s a Famicom title called Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa. It actually looks pretty fun.

racketboy says:

I haven’t seen any official names of the pieces, but I’m far from an expert on the game….
I was just surprised to see how much the game went for 🙂

Trying to find some loose pieces, are you? 🙂

Garret says:

Hah, I remember playing the stadium events game as a kid. It came with the mat that looked a lot like a twister mat. I had no idea it was rare… Neat!

Jeremy says:

Ben Combee, do you want to sell your sealed Myriad nintendo game. I bought this complete off a guy down the road from me for $10 but sold it on Ebay about 5 years ago and got $266 for it. I guess there has been a price jump since then.

Christian says:

My parents owned a video store growing up so I used to have a lot of those, including the Caltron 6-in-1. We always figured it was a quasi-legal hong kong bootlegs, as those x-in-1 games usually are. I hope we still have it boxed away somewhere because if I find out we sold it for a buck or two I’m going to be very sad. At least I still have Bubble Bobble 2.

Deniz says:

Well. I just found an ad on craigslist in chicago, where i live. It was an add that said: Posting this for my neighbor, their son was big into nintendo but moved out over 10 years ago and this has been in their attic. No idea what game console you need to play them, the gold one says 1990 on the front (not sure if its real gold plated but it could be) so they are pretty old. all the boxes have games in them. send me a offer for all and then come pick them up. One of the games looks to be pornographic so you must be 18. I want to put the least amount of effort into selling these since I am doing this for free thanks. Included was NWC Gold Cart, and all the other rarest games. I missed him by 2 minutes, otherwise they would have been mine, for he sold them to somebody for 45 dollars. Yes, 45. If you would like to see pictures of this, please email me. I am so mad i couldn’t get these. ONCE AGAIN, A NINTENDO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CARTRDIGE (GOLD) HAS BEEN LOCATED!!!

paul says:

i still have RC pro am 2 in the box. and Dusty Diamond which is alot of fun.
I remember renting many of those at Blockbuster..wish I had bought them (like Wacky Races and Dragon Warrior 4). Some of those were the last to come out in ’94..Nintendo Power started to phase our reviews of NES games around that time.
I already sold my top loader.but i don’t think i want to sell anything else for a while.

Neovo says:

I was wondering if someone could tell me how many ‘PAL only’ games there are? I started counting and didn’t got any further than 33 games.

Oscar says:

As far as im aware there are only 32 PAL exclusives, other titles would just be name variations.

Mike M. says:

Ummm…. You may wanna update the price on that Stadium Events.

One just went for $13,105 on eBay.

Eric says:

The Factory Sealed “Stadium Events” is now going for $40,100 on ebay!!!

greg steinbrunner says:

just want to find out how much the games I have are worth?
*Super Mario 3
*Ice hockey
*Ryan Sandberg baseball
*Nes football
*Nes baseball
*Konami Jack Nicklaus Golf
*Original Mario and duck hunt

Bruno says:

God job…
Maybe you can answer a doubt of mine…
I found a game im my closet, and i can’t find any information or images of him on the internet, the onli thing i found was it rom as unlicensed game on a romset in thepiratebay.
The game name is “DUCK” there are some photos of his: (at the end of the list)
you can tell me what is the rarity of this game, and what is aprox. his price?
Thanks, and sorry for my bad english xD (i’m brazilian)

Parasite says:

Haaa! Just bought Cheetahmen 2,now gonna get little Samson.I always thought action 52 was pretty rare,but according to this list ,it’s not.It’s going for $200.00 on eBay

Matt Lewis says:

I have just un-covered a few amazing gems, check out my Google+ profile to see all the beautiful pics:

What I have is a few original NES Prototype EPROM games. The one I’m most excited about is the copy of Ninja Gaiden. I’ve been searching non-stop for another Prototype like it, but I cannot seem to find anything. If you know anything about another copy floating out there, please let me know. I can’t wrap my head around the idea that I might have one of the only copies in the world.

Less as exciting as above, but exciting none the less, are my other two Prototypes. Sky Kid and Blaster Master. These have all been confirmed to work and roughly “verified” by a few collectors via NintendoAge forums. Curious what anyone else has on this topic. Please contact me via Google Plus, linked above. Game on!

ASSSss says:

Pal Devil World should be on here.

Saturnome says:

Nice update. It hurt to see many games that used to be on my wishlist 12 years ago but that I jumped over because I thought they were expensive at 30$, like Mighty Final Fight… Now I’m used to spend 30$ on a not-so-great titles. Or I should say, I’m used to buy way less games these days. I’m not exactly a collector, I buy games to play and get as far as I can.

In my 70 games collection at least I have Metal Storm, Cowboy Kid and Zombie Nation (got that one for 10$ in 2014!).

racketboy says:

Thanks for the support! And I can totally relate. Granted, the NES has never been especially high on my collecting list apart from the more common classics and a few gems. Might Final Fight was also always on my shopping list, but never pulled the trigger. I ended up picking up Metal Story a few years back, but still paid a premium for it. But I viewed it as a nice treat for myself.

That being said, I don’t really collect cardboard boxes much — especially of rare games. Somebody I might pick up some for my absolute favorite iconic games. But then that’s where those Pristine Classics scenario starts kicking in….

Chris says:

I’m not certain those wata graded games will hold on to those prices , seems like a bunch of speculation from individuals who have no real interest in the hobby. But that’s where we are at right now . I like the nes quite a bit and am happy I was able to get some titles here before they got super expensive . Nes is still fun to collect for , you be surprised what you can get for a few bucks still

racketboy says:

I’m not certain either. But I feel like I’ve been skeptical of the sealed/graded market for nearly a decade and now feel rather naive about it. I personally wouldn’t consider collecting those, but some people may look at it as a fine collectable. I do see the appeal of a well preserved, but opened classic though. Someday, maybe I’ll hunt down a couple of my favorites.

GoFoxGo says:

When linking to examples of completed listings, such as the Princess Tomato listing in this July 2020 update, it would be better to archive and link to those details (at least a full page screenshot) than a direct link to the listing. The current price tracking sites and ebay tools do not archive every listing or delete listings after a short period. Further, without a visual of the items sold, why certain items went for a particular amount and what an item looks like in great condition or complete with correct inserts will be lost due to digital decay.

Fred K says:

This is a bogus market, rich people buying up sealed games at used game expos and local retro stores, and ebay of course…they put it up for sale and have their friends bid thousands of dollars to bait suckers into thinking they are actually worth it… its a FAKE MARKET, created by trust fund brats who dont want to get jobs, but want to show their daddy that they too can make money off ignorant people. DO NOT BUY INTO THIS BS, IT WILL ALL FALL APART IN A COUPLE YEARS. I just saw a sealed copy of Contra on ebay with bids up to $10,000 and then some…. if you look at the bid history you will see that there are 3 bidders…and 2 of them are doing 95% of the bids…and one of them keeps bidding the price up a couple thousand each time, even though no one is counter bidding… its a JOKE

Jon says:

It’s already falling apart. Prices have dropped 60-80% already on many sealed games. Bc now the market isn’t 100% controlled by them bidding up their own games.

Laurie Holden says:

Ok so I have the legened of Zelda. Nes-zL-Usa, made in Japan, A Rev-A #12 gold, also marking on back , NES-ZL871104, WORTH ANYTHING?

Jon says:

I would add S.C.A.T to the list of rarest NES games. It’s harder to find Imo than Metal Storm but easier to find than Gun Nac. So I’m between the two. It’s also an AMAZING game!

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