More often than not, when gamers get nostalgic for the games of yesteryear, Nintendo consoles come to mind. Sure, Stadium Events and the Nintendo World Championships are worth some big money on NES, but Atari has some games that easily compare with those from a pure value perspective.
If you have one of these in your collection, consider yourself among the lucky few. And should you happen to spot one of these on Craigslist or at a garage sale, jump on it fast!
1. Air Raid
Video game collectors generally regard Air Raid as the holy grail of Atari cartridges. Only a few are known to exist, and even fewer come with the box. Even on its own, the game sells for around $3,000. No, that wasn’t a typo — just the cartridge is worth around three thousand dollars.
The last copy to hit the market with the box included sold for an even more mind-blowing $33,000. That means the little bit of cardboard is actually worth more than the game itself. What’s even crazier is that Air Raid actually had a commercial release, whereas most really rare games were never sold in stores.
The cartridge features a distinct design. It comes in light blue, and it has a T-shaped handle on the top. Though it’s wildly different than most Atari 2600 games, it actually looks pretty cool. If you ever happened upon one, you would know it right away. Anyone with Air Raid in their collection has made collectors around envious.
This game was not even known by Atari collectors until 2007. It was all but lost to history until someone found it at a garage sale. Red Sea Crossing was so hard to come by because it was only sold by mail order. On top of that, people have only found one ad for the game’s original release, which explains why no one bought it (or even heard of it) when it was new.
So how much is this insanely rare game actually worth? The last loose cartridge sold for $13,800, which is staggering. No boxed copies have ever made it to the public, but it’s easy to imagine that if one did, it would probably sell for around the same price as Air Raid.
If you happened to order away for this game, and you have one sitting in your closet, consider yourself incredibly lucky. But if you had it, and were the person who sold your copy at a garage sale, then we can’t help but feel for you.
This is another special order game, but it comes with an interesting twist. Buyers would custom order it as a gift, and the developers would add the name of the recipient to the title screen. There was also a spot on the front to write the name of the person getting the gift. This is about as custom as you can find in video game-related gifts.
Sadly for the company that made it, but happily for collectors today, the concept did not catch on. As such, copies are incredibly hard to come by. It’s so rare, in fact, that only two or three copies are known to exist.
This game has never been sold to the public, so it’s hard to put a true value on it. The only record is of a $6,500 offer on a copy, so that’s really all we have to go on. Perhaps more copies will surface someday, but for now, this is easily one of the rarest video games available, and one that collectors the world over would be willing to pay insane amounts of money to have in their collection.
Just Scratching the Surface
The video collector hobby is fast-moving. Values rise and fall seemingly at random, but these three gems have stood the test of time, maintaining staggering values in the thousands of dollars. Even with loose copies of Air Raid having seen a decrease in recent years, it’s still worth more than most other games!
And in some ways, these crazy valuable games are just the tip if the iceberg. Games like River Patrol, Beany Bopper [Xante], Cakewalk, Video Life, and Atlantis II are all valued at over $500. When you start getting into the games worth over $100, you realize that the Atari 2600 can be a gold mine. Of course, for every one of these, there are games like E.T. that aren’t even worth the plastic they’re housed in.
But if these games are too expensive for your tastes, check out rare games you can download digitally without breaking the bank.
Do you own any of these incredibly rare games? Are you going to look for them next time you’re at a garage sale? What are the rarest games in your collection? Hit the comments section below and let us know!
Image Credits: Chris L via Flickr