Top 10 Rarest/Most Valuable NES Games

10. Peek-A-Boo Poker

Created by Hacker International in 1991, Peek-A-Boo Poker is one of their three adult titles made for the NES. The other two: Bubble Bath Babes and Hot Slots are unsurprisingly, also extremely rare.

One of the oldest adult video games ever released, it’s rare as the first distribution was limited to a few ‘select’ retailers.

Cartridge Price: £450.00 / $690.00

New / Boxed Price: £981.00 / $1,500.00

9. Flintstones Surprise at Dinosaur Peak

Released in 1994 by Taito, it’s rumoured that this was meant to be an exclusive Blockbuster Video rental game only. As many people had moved onto the 16-bit consoles by 94, demand was low. Due to its incarnation as a rental exclusive, obtaining the box and manual is extremely difficult.

Cartridge Price: £457.00 / $699.00

New / Boxed Price: £801.00 / $1,225.00

8. Cheetahmen 2

An ambitious group of characters created by Active Enterprises on their Action 52 NES compilation cartridge, The Cheetahmen was is known as being one of the worst video games ever made. Active expected Action 52 to be a massive hit, so Cheetahmen 2 came to being.

Never officially released or completed (only 6 of the 10 levels were finished), it looked set to disappear into the ether. But miracles do happen, 1500 copies of it were discovered in 1996 and promptly sold. Such a low figure obviously makes it a must for any retro game collector.

Cartridge Price: £471.00 / $721.00

New / Boxed Price: £841.00 / $1,286.00

7. Little Samson

The little known Samson (see what we did there) is a platformer in the mould of the popular Mega Man titles. Created by Takeru and published by Taito, it’s unique in the sense that there’s no game dialogue (spoken or written – unheard of these days!). It’s considered one of the best games ever released on the NES, featuring graphics that squeeze out the very best from the 8-bit. For reasons unknown, the game sold very badly when released – which seems odd as it was released in 1992 when decent platformers sold incredibly well. For this reason, there aren’t many copies around.

Cartridge Price: £497.00 / $760.00

New / Boxed Price: £497.00 / $760.00

6. Zelda Test Cartridge

Why was the yellow Zelda cartridge ever made? Most believe they were utilised by Nintendo Service Centres to check if the game worked on various hardware and third-party accessories. They contain the same Legend of Zelda game you’d normally find in the original grey or gold packaging. How many of them are out there? Not many, as it turns out.

Cartridge Price: £526.00 / $805.00

New / Boxed Price: N/A

5. Myriad 6-in-1

An exact copy of the Caltron 6-in-1 game, with a new sticker plastered over it, this collectable unlicensed game consists of: Cosmos Cop; Magic Carpet 1001; Balloon Monster; Adam & Eve; Porter and Bookyman which all received bad reviews at the time and when you look closely are poor imitations of other popular NES titles.

The Myriad version is extremely rare as it’s believed that less than 100 copies of the game exist.

Cartridge Price: £768.00 / $1,175.00

New / Boxed Price: £3,502.00 / $5,355.00

4. Family Fun Fitness Stadium Events (NTSC North American version)

Although the PAL version of the game is quite rare (achieves around £300.00), the NTSC version is the true jewel in the crown. Only 200 copies of it were ever released to the public for purchase.

Developed by Bandai, it worked alongside the Family Fun Fitness mat, a running accessory for the NES. And you thought the Wii was innovative…

Cartridge Price: £5,424.00 / $8,292.00

New / Boxed Price: £22,960.00 / $35,100.00

3. Nintendo World Championship

The inaugural Nintendo World Championships was set up due to the success of The Wizard (an eighties film based around a NES video game championship). Held in 1990, it toured 29 cities across the United States and featured three games – all packed in one extremely rare cartridge: Super Mario Bros; Rad Racer and Tetris.

Each finalist was given a copy of the custom grey NES cartridge (in addition to other prizes). Only 90 copies were ever made (our friends at VideoGamesNewYork have one if you want to see it in person) and awarded to the tournament winners. Each has a unique number which makes them easier to track.

Cartridge Price: £5,755.00 / $8799.00

New / Boxed Price: N/A

2. Nintendo Campus Challenge 1991

As with the original Nintendo World Championships, a similar tournament was held the following year around 60 college campuses in the US and Canada. Three different games featured this time: Super Mario Bros. 3; Pin Bot and Dr. Mario.

One 1991 Campus Challenge cartridge is known to exist which is quite frankly ridculous. It’s only due to the popularity of the next cartridge that this isn’t considered the rarest NES cart of all time. Discovered in a garage sale in 2006, it later went on to sell for over $20,000.

Cartridge Price: £13,148.00 / $20,100.00

New / Boxed Price: N/A

1. Nintendo World Championship Gold

Only 26 of these known to exist, the gold Nintendo World Championship cartridge is rightly considered the “holy grail” of any NES collector.

With no tournament involved and containing the same insides as the grey version, only those lucky enough to have won a competition run by the Nintendo Power magazine have it. I know what you’re thinking, yeah, I wish I’d paid more attention to those competitions too…

Cartridge Price: £17,450.00 / $26,677.00

New / Boxed Price: N/A


This article was originally written for Rareburg, a site that later merged with the hobbyDB project.
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