Collecting rare video games is a hobby that has existed for as long as video games themselves. Limited releases mean that some games are as difficult to find as precious gems and are just as likely to start fierce bidding wars. Said rarity and value makes it unlikely that most of us will play these games in our lifetime.
However, with the advent of digital distribution and with some consoles having at least a modicum of backwards compatibility, some rare games are making comebacks. Some of the rarest and most expensive games you could possibly own are available for low prices on digital marketplaces. And I don’t mean old DOS games you can download for your browser, but the official re-releases of old classics on the console stores.
There’s a possibility that digital distribution reduces the inherent value of rare video games. Presumably the monetary value of a game is based on the conceit that the fewer copies there are, the fewer people will have the privilege of playing it. So when a game becomes available for digital distribution, that value is replaced by the slightly more dubious value of physical rarity alone.
The fact that some of the rare games have become available for relatively cheap prices on the digital market diminishes their value somewhat. But, on the other hand, the vast majority of us who would never be able to touch these games now have the chance to play and enjoy them legally!
You’ve probably seen the protagonist of Earthbound, Ness, in Super Smash Bros. This game is a classic Super Nintendo RPG, the North American version of which was difficult to find for years due to poor sales. It can be found on the Nintendo eShop for $9.99. The version available on the Virtual Console even includes the original Player’s Guide.
One of the reasons this game is so beloved is because of the fact that it’s the only one in the Mother series (it’s the second in the series) that has been released in North America. Earthbound is not necessarily the rarest game, but its huge cult following make it something its possessors aren’t likely to sell for less than three figures. A used one is $179.36 if you want to get a physical copy.
The Misadventures of Tron Bonne
This game was a spin-off from Capcom’s Mega Man Legends series and stars supporting character Tron Bonne. It was largely thought to be out of its publisher’s radar after the cancellation of the third Legends game until it was re-released this year. It’s available on the PlayStation Store for PSTV, the PS3, the PSP, and the Vita for $5.99.
Part of its rise in value in recent years might be due to the fact that Tron Bonne was a playable character in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Now it is one of the more valuable PS1 games and can be very difficult to find. The listed price for a used copy is $214.16.
Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
In Link’s fourth adventure, he’s washed up on the shore of a strange island while on his way home to Hyrule. He must find out how to escape in this return to the eight-dungeon template of the first Zelda game. It’s available for the 3DS on the Nintendo eShop for $5.99.
This was the first Legend of Zelda game to be released for the Game Boy. The version currently available on the Virtual Console is the DX version, the colorized rerelease for the Game Boy Color. The price for a new copy of the original Link’s Awakening is $150, and a new copy of the DX version is $165. Used copies of both games are about $16 on average.
The Suikoden series was developed and published by Konami. If you want an example of a good game based on a novel, this is one of them: The series is a loose adaptation of a novel called Shui Hu Zhuan. It is currently available on the Playstation network for the PS3, the PSP, and the Vita for $9.99.
The price for this has dropped slightly since its release on the Playstation Network, but it’s still considered one of the more rare and sought-after PS1 RPGS. The listed price for a new copy is $367, and a used copy is $136 with the box and manual.
Mega Man X2 & X3
The Mega Man X series was a sequel series which followed from the venerable Mega Man series. Starring blue robot X and, as of X3, Zero; this series debuted on the Super Nintendo before migrating to Playstation consoles. X2 and X3 both featured a special Cx4 chip that allowed for limited 3D graphics. Both games are available on the Nintendo eShop for the Wii U for $7.99 each.
The Super Nintendo version of X3 is more rare than the re-released version for the PS1, due to the fact that that console’s lifespan was nearing an end and fewer copies were manufactured. The listed price for a used copy of X3 is $195, and a loose copy of X2 sells for $96. The listed price for a new copy of X2 is $6399. If you are one of the lucky few who owns an unplayed copy of Mega Man X2, you might be sitting on quite a lot of cash.
Let Me Know What Rare Games You Have Below!
Have you collected any rare games? Do you think the digital release of rare titles should be discouraged because it lessens their inherent value, or do you think it’s more important that everyone should be able to play these games? Let me know in the comments below!