Over half the population of America are gamers. That’s 179.6 million monthly gamers in the US.
If you consider the top influential gaming countries, we’re sure Japan and America would be high on that list. The question is, who is willing to pay money for the most expensive video games?
Last year, things started heating up for the gaming world as three world records were smashed for the most expensive game. The record amount also skyrocketed from $156,000 to $2 million.
This article is for you if you’re interested in gaming, are looking to invest, or have a game you want to sell. We’ll tell you what key features made the game a record-breaker.
We’re delving into the world of stacked cartridges and retro video games with some of the most avid gamers in the world. From the headquarters of Nintendo and Sony in Japan to the streets of America, we’re on a mission to find the world’s most expensive video games. So, put that controller down because there are some surprise entries.
Here are the Top Ten Most Expensive Video Games Ever Sold:
- Super Mario Bros, 1985
- Saints Row 4: Super Dangerous Wad-Wad Edition
- Mike Tyson Punch-Out
- Chibi Maruko-chan: Maruko Deluxe Quiz
- Kizuna Encounter
- Binary Land
- The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind
- Shinrei Jusatsushi Tarōmaru
- Poop Slinger
Do you recognize all of these titles? Some of these games are rare, while others have interesting production stories that cause their inflated price tags.
10. Poop Slinger ($1,048)
Diggidy.net designed Poop Slinger, and Limited Rare Games released it on April Fools Day in 2019. It has since become the rarest PS4 game in the world and creeps into number ten on our most expensive video games list.
It became a rare game because out of 840 copies available, the publishers managed to sell 84 copies. One of the biggest reasons for failure was that they decided to launch it on April Fools Day.
So, of course, people assumed it was a joke. Also, Limited Rare Games had agreed to a pop-up one-day sale. All copies of the game had to sell within 24 hours to pay back bank loans. Sadly, they didn’t meet the target and were bankrupt the next day.
9. Shinrei Jusatsushi Tarōmaru ($1,250)
Original Title: 心霊呪殺師 太郎丸
You might not have heard of this game if you are not a hardcore gamer, but it is one of the most sought-after. The Japanese arm of Atari, known as Tengen (Time Warner Interactive), released Shinrei Jusatsushi Tarōmaru in 1997.
Playable on the Saturn, it’s a classic action and side-scrolling game. There are two characters to choose from, the ninja Taroumaru or his trusty sidekick Enkai. Similar to Street Fighter in style, you battle Japanese folklore demons.
It’s worth a lot of money because it’s fantastic to play and is a cult classic. Tengen only produced 5,000 to 7,500 copies because they were due to shut down, so they are rare in number.
The exact number of copies in circulation is unknown. Tengen games have a strong following in Japan because their fun manuals and insider developer comments.
8. The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind ($2,500)
The Elder Scrolls was first released in 1994, and it is still an active fantasy world today. MMO populations estimated there to be 20,426,505 players of the online game. The creators at Bethesda Game Studios released this third version in 2002.
With five games in the series, this fantastical world became one of the most popular at the time. One of the reasons this game retained many players is the strong storyline.
A copy sold on the auction site eBay for $2,500. What made this sale more interesting was that it wasn’t a complete set. It was missing the game soundtrack CD.
However, gamers consider this game a cornerstone in computer graphics because it was the first central Elder Scrolls with 3D. This game paved the way for Oblivion and Skyrim.
7. Binary Land ($4,000)
Original Title: バイナリィランド
Less than 100 copies of this game exist, and it was never sold in a computer store. So, how could you get a copy?
A Japanese company presented the computer game to employees as a wedding ceremony gift. We’d never heard of it, so, of course, we watched some playthroughs on Youtube.
There are two characters in the game, a pink penguin and a blue penguin, representing the bride and groom. It does have some unique gameplay because when you move your character in one direction, the other character will go the opposite way.
The aim of the game is to get both penguins to a caged heart at the top of the screen. In total, there are 99 levels to complete. You expect some form of celebration screen at the end, but it will take your straight back to level one.
This game would be in the number one slot if this was a list of most frustrating games rather than the most expensive video games. But that in itself has created a following of gamers willing to pay a high price.
6. Kizuna Encounter ($12,500)
This particular sale was for a sealed version of the 1996 game. It’s a traditional fighting game with a tag-in twist. You can tag in your friends during mid-game to swap places while recovering.
This game is rare because the producers, SNK, only made five copies. Deep in the realm of gamer chats, there is a whole conspiracy theory surrounding the illusive Kizuna Encounter.
People were trying to determine how many copies of the Euro version were circulating. Or if the same copy was switching between multiple buyers and sellers.
Due to the poor sales of this game in the western world, a considerable percentage of the cartridges were sent back to Japan. So, be careful if you’re looking to buy because the Japanese AES version has identical packaging but isn’t worth the same amount.
5. Tetris ($16,000)
Think of retro video games, and you’ll recall nostalgic childhood memories of Tetris. Over the years, there have been 215 versions of this original 1984 game. As a result, Tetris is the Guinness World Record Holder for a video game with the most variants.
This sale was for the SEGA Genesis version in Japan. There’s an interesting back story to the creation of this family-friendly game. For example, did you know that Russian scientists designed it?
It was under the ownership of the government and therefore hit serious licensing problems in the early days. A collector purchased this copy a few years ago for $16,000 and is now reportedly selling it for $1 million.
That’s a massive mark-up in price. There are two reasons why this Tetris game costs so much. Firstly, it is one of three copies that Alexey Pajitnov, the creator, signed. Secondly, the owner of this copy knows where the remaining two are and has said that they won’t sell the game.
Therefore, because this is the only one in circulation, the owner decided $1 million is a fair deal.
4. Chibi Maruko-chan: Maruko Deluxe Quiz ($16,132)
Original Title: ちびまる子ちゃん まる子デラックスクイズ
This unique 1996 game is based on a manga character and looks like a daytime TV show in Japan. You choose between three characters and aim to win the show.
It was much more popular as an arcade game than a play-at-home game. That might partway explain why it is considered a rare and therefore expensive item in the gaming world.
Bebop created the game, and Takara released it. In recent years, the price has been doubling. The problem is that it is only available in the Japanese language.
3. Mike Tyson Punch-Out ($50,400)
Mike Tyson said that the 1987 deal with Nintendo was a bad one. Although Nintendo made a profit of $1.7 billion, poor Mike Tyson received the low sum of $50,000.
If you were born in the 1980s, we’re sure you’ll remember playing this game. It felt like everyone on the street had a copy. So why did this one sell for $50,400?
It joined the ranks of most expensive video games because it is unopened and has the game’s original title. The final boss was the aptly named Super Macho Man in the original version.
However, the Japanese designers were so impressed by Mike Tyson’s boxing in 1986 that they asked him to become the boss in the game.
2. Saints Row 4: Super Dangerous Wad-Wad Edition ($1 million)
Deep Silver, the developers of Saints Row, reached a whole new extreme with the Super Dangerous Wad-Wad Edition. They made only one copy and launched it in 2013. With a price tag of $1 million, no one is sure whether it has been sold or not.
But we had to include it on our list. Alongside the special edition game, the extravagant price tag is because of the real-life experiences that come with it.
For example, if you pay the $1 million, you’ll have a seat on the Virgin Galactic trip to space. You’ll also get a full day of “spy training” and receive a Lamborghini Gallardo.
You can then use that to drive to Jefferson Hotel in Washington for your seven-night vacation. The final cherry on top? You’ll receive any plastic surgery of your choice.
The Top 3 Most Expensive Video Games Ever
You might be confused about why we have three number ones. The most expensive game record was broken three times in a few short weeks. So, we wanted to include all of them. If you had these three video games in your video game collection, you’d be the envy of all gamers.
The Legend of Zelda, 1987 ($871,538)
Sold July 2021
The reason for this sale price is in the finer details of the product. This particular copy of the Legend of Zelda is the second production run, the NES R version.
It was available for a few months, from late 1987 to early 1988. Then, in 1988, the producers replaced this version with the Rev A variant. This buyer paid for the early production status and bragging rights.
Sadly, its glory at the top spot was short-lived as it slipped into second position a week later. However, if a mint condition copy of the first production NES TM comes to light, it could steal the crown of the most expensive video game.
Super Mario 64, 1996 ($1.5 million)
Sold July 2021
Originally released in 1996, our two Italian best friends, Mario and Luigi, embark on a journey to collect Power Stars and save the beautiful Princess Peach from the claws of Bowser.
Super Mario 64 was the first game for the Nintendo 64 and is still one of the most beloved games ever. There are 18 main levels, alongside six secret levels to discover.
The original retail price was around $60. The game sold 12 million copies worldwide, but this particular copy sat in a drawer unopened. It is thought to be one of five copies globally that are still in mint condition.
According to Heritage Auctions, it was the first time that a computer game fetched over $1 million.
The Current Number 1 Under Investigation
Heritage Auctions, the sellers of the most recent record smasher for the most expensive video game, is under investigation. There are doubts that the auctioneers and Waga, the game graders, are boosting prices to manipulate the retro video games market.
Super Mario Bros, 1985 ($2 million)
Sold August 2021
In 2020, another copy of Super Mario Bros was sold for $114,000. However, the secret to this $2 million ultra-sale was that this copy was sealed and still included the perforated cardboard hanging tab.
Shops usually use this tab to hook their items onto the sale racks. But, it is a very rare case that it survives. As such, this particular copy goes above and beyond what is considered “mint condition.”
For this reason, it sold for more than four times the previous record amount. So, some potentially good advice is to buy one game to play and one with the cardboard tab to sell. This computer video game cost $2 million, and to put that into comparison, it’s more than 50 Cent’s custom-made car.
Video Game Collecting
While the gaming industry continues to boom, we’re left wondering how much higher auction sales will go. By 2050, will we be paying $5 million?
The main reasons for the most expensive video games include the production length, number of copies, developer signatures, and condition. So keep your eyes peeled and your wallets ready in case you find a game worth a fortune.
As a surprise to some, no Pokemon games made this list. You’ll have to wait a few more years for them to be worth millions. But in the meantime, read our article on why Pokemon cards are so expensive.