1. Sealed Super Mario Bros, 2. Stadium Events, 3. Mean Girls, 4. Nintendo World Championships, 5. Air Raid for Atari 2600, 6. Birthday Mania, 7. Red Sea Crossing, 8. Lakers vs Celtics for Sega Mega Drive, 9. Mangia, 10. Where in North Dakota is Carmen San Diego. Today, there are more than $85 billion worth of video games sold worldwide. The Magnavox Odyssey, the first console ever sold back in 1972, represents how far we've come. Numerous games have been produced throughout that time. One website estimated there were 1,181,019 games, but later clarifies that this number excludes any classic PC or console games for devices like the NES, SNES, Commodore 64, and many others. And while it may be hard to estimate how many there have ever been, millions are a good bet. Some of those millions have undoubtedly been more difficult to obtain than others. Custom games and even some Magnavox Odyssey titles that are so uncommon they haven't been seen in decades may never be discovered. However, a select few games have grown to almost mythological proportions among players. Here are 10 of the most sought-after.
- Sealed Super Mario Bros
- Stadium Events
- Mean Girls
- Nintendo World Championships
- Air Raid for Atari 2600
- Birthday Mania
- Red Sea Crossing
- Lakers vs Celtics for Sega Mega Drive
- Where in North Dakota is Carmen San Diego
Sealed Super Mario Bros
So it’s difficult to surpass Super Mario Bros as the most expensive and rarest video game of all time. But how is that possible? It’s possibly the most well-known game of all time, if not the most. Everything hinges on the specifics.
A sealed edition of Super Mario Bros sold for an astounding $660,000 in April 2021. The game was sealed, undamaged, and basically flawless because it had been stored in a drawer unopened for 35 years. However, it wasn’t the most expensive game ever. A few months later, another copy of Super Mario Bros sold at auction for an astounding $2 million, setting a new record for the highest money ever spent on a video game.
This copy was flawless and professionally graded, much like the $660,000 copy. Additionally, it was only printed in a single copy, making it more uncommon than the typical Super Mario Bros game. With those elements together, it might be the only game in existence that satisfies all of those requirements.
Since the advent of gaming, sports games have become popular. After all, Pong is a sporting activity. The video game Stadium Activities, which was launched in 1987 and let players compete in four different Olympic-style events, was a Nintendo NES classic at the time. Particularly considering that it was re-released in 1988 as World Class Track Meet, the game itself is not particularly noteworthy. And therein is the reason why this game is so uncommon. There are only a few dozen copies under the original title that are known to exist.
The original game was printed in 2000 copies, of which 200 were sent to retailers. The Nintendo Power Pad was then rebranded as the Nintendo Power Pad after Nintendo purchased the rights to the pad during the game’s delivery.
The games that weren’t purchased were returned to the publisher, but a select few would have been, and today’s rare copies are them. In 2010, one copy went for $13,105. A brand-new copy sold for $41,300. There are so many non-rare versions available that people try to pass off as the genuine article, which is the problem with this.
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For a while, it was believed that the game had never even been launched; Lohan wasn’t even on the cover, apparently due to her reputation at the time. However, that didn’t stop someone from discovering it. One of the Mean Girls developers noticed Raven, who had built a career out of describing lost and forgotten DS titles, and shared a copy with her after several years of searching, looking, and appealing.
A playable version of the game was eventually released once it had been emulated and debugged. Although no one has claimed to own a physical copy of the DS version, it may have been sold in Europe on a very limited scale. If so, it’s probable that there aren’t even any authentic copies of this left.
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Nintendo World Championships
Today, the concept of a professional gamer is widespread, but even a few years ago, the concept would have caused many to roll their eyes. No one could possibly make a living playing video games. However, the concept has been percolating for years. Consider the Nintendo World Championships from 1990. The biggest video game tournament in history was by no means this one. One was conducted by Atari in 1981 and offered $50,000 in prizes.
The Wizard, a 1989 film starring Fred Savage, was about two brothers who travel to California to compete in a Nintendo competition. The entire film was essentially a giant Nintendo advertisement, and it worked. It also ensured that each and every child was aware of the reality of video game tournaments. The 1990 Nintendo World Championships featured 8,000 players in 29 locales the next year.
Even a specific World Championships game for the tournament was included; it was never intended to be played elsewhere. Tetris, Rad Racer, and Super Mario Bros. were the three games on the cartridge. Approximately 100 of the games are thought to have been exported illegally. A copy with a torn label sold for $100,000 in 2014. Another was acknowledged as having been exchanged for a $550,000 Tom Brady rookie card when it was sold at auction in 2021 for $180,000.
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Air Raid for Atari 2600
Men-A-sole Vision’s game produced was Air Raid, a shoot ’em up for the Atari 2600, released in 1982. The cartridge features a depiction of flying saucers attacking a futuristic city and has a blue T-handle design. Because of its incredibly low availability, video game collectors greatly prize it.
In addition to having a small grip on top, the 1982 release of Air Raid had a very distinctive sky blue case that made it easy to remove from your Atari 2600. Additionally, it is now worth a nice sum, with a copy found at Goodwill selling in 2021 for $10,590.79. In fact, it was less expensive than a sealed copy sold along with the user manual in 2012, which brought in a respectable $33,433.30.
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Video games have always been a favorite among children. Anthony Tokar, a programmer, probably came up with the concept for Birthday Mania in 1984 for this reason. After learning how to program for fun, he created the game himself and advertised it in the Newark Star Ledger newspaper in New Jersey. For a child’s birthday, the game might be tailored. Tokar would program the child’s name into the title screen in exchange for a buyer mailing him a cheque. After that, players had to blow out falling birthday candles in a straightforward game.
It’s estimated that just 10 or fewer copies of the game were ever sold, in part because of the drop in gaming that occurred in 1983 and the fact that the game was never placed on the market and was instead only accessible through an ad in a New Jersey classified.
A copy of the game went for $6,500 in 2009, but if another one turned up now, it would probably sell for more. A few years ago, Tokar donated the game’s rights under the condition that any profits from its replication and sale will be donated to a charitable organization.
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Red Sea Crossing
Red Sea Crossing must be mentioned when discussing big money for rare games. The much more well-known game Frogger served as a significant inspiration for the Atari 2600 game. You assist your little character in moving from place to place while avoiding dangerous hazards. However, in this instance, Moses is playing as you, and the game is a sidescroller. A copy of the game brought $10,400 at auction in 2012.
In 1983, a freelance programmer created Red Sea Crossing; reportedly, just 100 copies were ever produced. Only two of those are believed to still be alive. The majority of the gaming community had no idea the game even existed until 2007. The man who found it that year discovered it at a yard sale.
After some investigation, a few vintage magazine advertisements for the game were discovered, which mentioned that it came with an audiotape and a coloring book. On eBay, a different copy of the game was once sold for $14,000. Nobody has yet discovered a copy that comes with the book and tape.
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Lakers vs Celtics for Sega Mega Drive
There are several Lakers vs. Celtics video games, but the one developed specifically for European gamers for the Sega Mega Drive in 1990 is unquestionably the rarest of them all. This is owing to the theory that the game was truly going to be recalled because of a licensing dispute at the time with the NBA in Europe. Only 192 copies were actually produced as a result, and only 14 are thought to still be in existence. Because it was so uncommon, nobody was certain that it even existed for years. At that time, the game was either formally released or legally permitted for sale.
The game itself was not unique because the Sega Mega Drive was merely the Sega Genesis outside of North America. The game is extremely simple to find in North America. However, this limited run version was special in terms of the packaging, manual, and return slip, which made it stand out. One of the few models still in use sold on eBay for almost $4,500 in 2017.
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Every once in a while, a game comes along that is so bizarre that it leaves players scratching their heads. If you can find it, one of the games is called Mangia. It was published in 1983 for the Atari 2600, and the gameplay is distinctly odd.
The player is in control of a little child who must consume spaghetti dishes that his mother has put in front of him. She will keep feeding him till his tummy bursts on the screen. The player can toss it to the dog that walks across the bottom of the screen and the cat that occasionally appears at the window to stop this from happening. However, the mother brings three times as much spaghetti the following time she comes home if she observes the pasta being thrown to the dog or cat.
The player is controlled by the joystick; pushing right allows the boy to pick up a plate of pasta, pressing left causes him to eat it, and either up or down causes him toss the pasta to either the cat (in the manual, named Frankie) or the dog (in the manual, named Sergio). The mother returns with more pasta to “punish” the player if the cat and dog are not around when the meal is thrown to them. Not being used is the firing button.
The spaghetti will build up on the table until it breaks if the player does not eat it or feed it to the animals. This results in the player losing a turn. The boy’s tummy will enlarge if he tries to eat all the spaghetti without sharing any with the cat or dog, and it will eventually explode in a jumble of chunky blue pixels after shifting hues from blue to yellow to red.
A copy of the game fetched $1,000 on eBay back in 2012. Only a few copies were known to exist everywhere at the time. These days, they can be purchased for anywhere from $370 to $760, but only one or two are sold annually.
Where in North Dakota is Carmen San Diego
Carmen Sandiego was initially introduced to the world in 1985. The computer game Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego was so well-liked that it later inspired a TV program and a Netflix series. Additionally, it taught geography to children, so they were entertained while learning. Where in North Dakota is Carmen Sandiego is an official spin-off game created by German game maker Brderbund that is remarkably uncommon. The only state-specific version of the game ever created was this one.
To educate children about the state, roughly 5,000 copies of a set of floppy disks created for the Apple II were produced in cooperation with North Dakotan schools. You may not have even seen a floppy disk before, therefore you can probably guess what happened to this game. As technology advanced, many were simply thrown away. The game data was preserved after a duplicate was discovered in 2015, but what about the floppies themselves? Those might never be seen once more.
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