The internet has a flourishing market for valuable, retro video games. After all, everything from Pokémon cards, to ’90s collectibles, to Happy Meal toys can go for astounding sums of money.
Old video games that are worth a lot of money are generally rare and hard to find. Special editions and uncommon imports are of course worth quite a bit, as well as unofficial titles with limited runs. But how many of us have a closet full of Magical Chase and Gama Attacks?
For people without a ridiculously niche collection, the best bet to make your fortune on video games lies with some of the greatest games of all time. Video games worth an insane amount of money today usually come from the likes of Metroid Prime and Super Mario Bros. Many gamers are familiar with these titles, and probably owned most of them at one point, now they’re beating themselves up for throwing them out.
Super Mario Bros.
How Much It’s Worth: One particular sealed copy of the game went for $30,000.
Why It’s Worth So Much: Super Mario Bros. is perhaps the least surprising coveted collectable in gaming, due to its massive popularity. It’s not uncommon to see the entry sold for over $1000 if the buyer is hungry enough. Super Mario Bros. was the first Mario game created for the Nintendo Entertainment System, originally called the Famicom Disk System in Japan.
It is the first game in the franchise to feature the storyline Mario is famous for, as he moves from castle to castle chasing Bowser and Princess Peach. Its predecessor, the arcade title Mario Bros., follows Mario and Luigi as they clear the sewers of New York City from monsters.
How Much It’s Worth: For a game released back in 1999, it might not be too surprising to learn a new copy of the beloved Pokémon Yellow sold for $199.99 on eBay nearly 20 years later.
Why It’s Worth So Much: Pokémon Yellow was the fourth entry released in the Pokémon franchise (including Pokémon Green in Japan) and remains an outlier today thanks to its departure from the norms of the series.
The player begins with an electric-type starter, Pikachu, rather than choosing between fire, grass, or water types. Many sprites were altered from the game’s predecessors, Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue, to match up with the popular anime. This meant new clothes for gym leaders Misty and Brock, and new looks for the likes of Pikachu and Clefairy.
How Much It’s Worth: For the right copy, and the right collector, Luigi’s Mansion can go for as high as $799.95 on eBay.
Why It’s Worth So Much: In this case, the game sold was an unopened original run of the GameCube cult hit, with an almost unmarred plastic seal. Luigi’s Mansion has a strong following among people who enjoyed the spooky take on the Super Mario Bros. universe.
The game follows the titular Luigi as he wanders through an abandoned mansion dispatching ghosts and ghouls with a souped-up vacuum cleaner. Other new copies, in less pristine condition, can go for as much as $199.99.
Super Mario Sunshine
How Much It’s Worth: A brand new copy of Super Mario Sunshine is a top commodity. One particular copy of the game brought in $265 on eBay.
Why It’s Worth So Much: Super Mario Sunshine is a beloved Mario title that follows the titular plumber as he cleans up graffiti (caused by his body double, Shadow Mario) around Isle Delfino. The gameplay has given Sunshine a loyal, and vocal, fan base.
The love for the game is entirely justified, seeing as this is the only Mario title that includes a water jetpack and squirt-gun fights. Used copies of the entry, in good condition, still bring in a decent $55 on eBay.
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble!
How Much It’s Worth: Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! was a hit for the Super Nintendo that sells for as much as $379.95 on eBay. Used copies do significantly worse, faring between $10 and $25.
Why It’s Worth So Much: The game capped off the Donkey Kong Country trilogy and pushed the graphical limitations of the SNES with its pre-rendered 3D-character models.
The gameplay was largely similar to previous entries in the series, with some added characters and abilities. It has been ported to newer consoles like the Game Boy Advance and Wii U, which has undoubtedly affected the price of used copies.
The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess
How Much It’s Worth: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess can earn someone up to $139.94 on a site like eBay. At least, that’s what a mint condition copy of the GameCube version went for in 2018.
Why It’s Worth So Much: This is an incredible haul considering the game received a HD port to the Wii U in 2016, and is far from a rare title. Twilight Princess marks the final first-party release for the Nintendo GameCube, so it’s easy to see why it’s held in such high regard by gamers. On top of that, the game was incredibly well received.
The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX
How Much It’s Worth: A brand new copy of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX, verified by the Video Game Authority, was sold on eBay for $4,750.48.
Why It’s Worth So Much: Normally, copies go for up to $349.95. Link’s Awakening DX is a Game Boy Color port of the original Link’s Awakening with added color graphics and an exclusive dungeon.
The Game Boy Color game follows Link as he fights monsters and solves puzzles to awaken the sacred wind fish and escape Koholint Island. The port was also compatible with the Game Boy Printer, allowing players to print out screenshots taken during the game.
How Much It’s Worth: An unopened copy of the Metroid Prime Trilogy sold for $104.95 on eBay in 2017. That’s pretty good for the collection, seeing as it was later released on the Wii U eShop to many collector’s dismay.
Why It’s Worth So Much: This series package was released nearly three years after the introduction of the Wii. Metroid Prime is among an exclusive club of games to receive a score above 95 on review aggregate site, Metacritic. It is also regarded as one of the best games ever made. Individual entries in the series, in new condition, can still fetch up to $70 on sites like eBay.
How Much It’s Worth: EarthBound was a cult hit on the Super Nintendo, so beloved that a Video Game Authority-certified copy can be found on eBay for as much as $2,999.99.
Why It’s Worth So Much: The game has a bizarre storyline featuring a group of kids saving the world from aliens with a baseball bat. Along the way, the main character Ness relives moments from his babyhood (he starts out as a child), takes down a paintbrush cult, and kills plenty of trash monsters.
Non-certified-new copies of the game can go for $999.99. Used copies in good condition don’t trail too far behind at $669.99. It’s a dangerous market though, many of the cartridges floating around eBay are refurbished or reproductions worth significantly less.
How Much It’s Worth: Castlevania: Bloodlines can earn a private seller up to $525 for a new copy on eBay. The Japanese version has sold for even more, bringing in $680 for a new copy. Those without a pristine game are still in luck, as those in slightly-used condition can go for $149.50.
Why It’s Worth So Much: It’s the only Castlevania title to be released on the Sega Genesis, which no doubt contributes to its price. The storyline follows two men as they prevent Dracula’s niece from using World War I to generate enough sacrifices to resurrect her vampiric uncle. The Japanese copy is particularly special because the main character Eric Lecarde had his facial features changed in the American release to appear more masculine.
How Much It’s Worth: .hack//QUARANTINE is perhaps the most expensive entry in the .hack//IMOQ series. Even used copies can be found on eBay for as much as $199.99.
Why It’s Worth So Much: The franchise is a cult hit that has received mass attention thanks to rereleases and remasters. Only the later entries in the series have been ported to newer consoles and PC, leaving fans of QUARANTINE to pay through the nose for the older title.
Thanks to an Easter egg found in the remaster, .hack//GU: Last Recode, there are rumors of a rerelease of the older titles in the franchise that may affect their price point in the future.
How Much It’s Worth: A new copy of Shadow Hearts can go for $397.47 on eBay.
Why It’s Worth So Much: This fan-favorite title is a highly sought after prize among collectors, especially factory-sealed copies. Even used versions of the occult RPG can go for up to $90.74 with case and CD. The disk alone is worth at least $50.99. It shows the determination collectors have, and the money they’re willing to spend to add their favorite games to their collection.
How Much It’s Worth: An original, sealed copy of Valkyrie Profile can earn the right collector up to $499.99.
Why It’s Worth So Much: The cult classic was released in North America in 2000, and has been a high-ticket item ever since. It’s sold over 709,000 copies as of 2005, and has traded hands many times since then on sites like eBay and Amazon.
The game has many revolutionary features for an original PlayStation game, like multiple endings, and a combination of platforming and turn-based RPG elements. The story follows the Valkyrie Lenneth as she recruits the souls of deceased warriors to fight the chaos deity Loki.