The Rarest and Most Valuable Super Nintendo (SNES) Games
Here is another chance for you to raid you closets or used game stores for hidden treasures. The Super Nintendo is the target of this expedition and there are plenty of highly-collectible games this time around. Surprisingly, many of the the most valuable SNES games aren’t actually rare, but are instead driven by popularity and the hunt for elusive boxed SNES games in good condition. This guide has recently been updated, and the update could not have come soon enough as there has been a lot of inflation in not only complete copies of games, but also many cartridges as well over the recent years.
In stark contrast to the Cheapest Games series, this series will round up the rarest and most valuable games for a given console or handheld so you’ll know what to look for whether you are buying or selling. Below you will see two prices beside each title. The first is the average daily selling price, which is typically the going rate for the cartridge by itself. The second price is the highest daily selling price of recent history. The list is ordered by the balance of the two prices. Note that some of these games are not rare in the sense that there are not many available, but rare relative to demand, which makes the games expensive.
Note: Values Updated on October 31, 2013
The Expensive Super Famicom Imports
It’s rather difficult to find solid rarity and value information on Super Famicom titles unless you have a Japanese connection, but here are three of the most desirable Super Famicom releases from the research we did. If you have more to add, please use the comments section below.
|Kunio-kun no Dodge Ball Zenin Shuugou Tournament
Special Gold Cartridge: $1,100 – $1,300
There were a number of Super Famicom games that were released as limited edition gold carts for tournaments in Japan, one of the most valuable being the Kunio-kun no Dodge Ball Zenin Shuugou Tournament Special. It was given away as a prize to winners of Technos Japan’s Dodgeball Tournaments, which they used to host several times during 1993.
Check for Kunio-kun no Dodge Ball Zenin Shuugou Tournament
Special Gold on eBay
|Fire Emblem Thracia 776 Box Set: $150 – $270
Before the Fire Emblem series came to the US on the GBA and Gamecube, it was a very popular strategy RPG series in Japan. To satisfy the many fans of the series an feature-packed box set was released that included maps, posters, toys, and other cool stuff. Check out this forum thread to see picutres of the complete Box set.
Check for Fire Emblem Thracia 775 Box Set on eBay
|Rendering Ranger R2: $120 – $299
From the makers of the Turrican series, this run-and-gun shooter is one of the most desirable standard-issue Super Famicom games. It is hard enough to find a bare cartridge of this game, but it will more the double the value if you have a complete boxed copy.
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Limited Edition Collectibles
|Exertainment Mountain Bike Rally/Speed Racer Combo: $1000 – $2500
While some people are hawking the single game carts for a handful of money, the rare version of these games actually has both the Speed Racer and Mountain Bike Rally game on it together. For use with the LifeFitness Bike Unit. One of the rarest games for the system, as it may have not seen full or any retail distribution. This 2 in 1 most likely never made it to any stores, and most copies that have been found have been from NOA’s warehouse itself! The last two reported sales for the game were for loose cartridges for around $1400 each. If a complete copy was to surface, it would be easily much more.
|Batman Forever Woolworths Box Set: $900 – $1300
This PAL Limited Edition box set was only available from Woolworths and is very hard to find. The set includes The game, Making Of Game VHS, Batman Diary, Batman Sticker, Competition Entry Form & the outer Slipcase. As many of you know, they game wasn’t especially popular and in the days of people not really collecting video games, most people who purchased it would not have kept all the items and packaging together, let along in good condition. It has surfaced on eBay a few times in recent years, but hasn’t always reached its asking price.
Check for Batman Forever Box Set on eBay
|Donkey Kong Country Competition Cartidge: $728 – $1200
Donkey Kong Country Competiton cartidges were used by Blockbuster Video in tournaments held within the store, and never receieved a true commercial release. (The cartridge is rumored to have a print run of 2,500 copies) As typical with most video rental stores, a few leftover carts were tossed into the bargain bins for customers to purchase. Nintendo Power also offered some extra carts in their catalog.
See Latest Donkey Kong Country Competition Cartridge on eBay
|Starfox: Super Weekend Cartridge: $400 – $799
Much like the DKC Competiton cartidges, this Star Fox cart was used by Blockbuster for game tournaments and extra carts were sold off by Blockbuster and Nintendo Power. An article included in the original packaging suggests that the Starfox Weekend cart actually had a smaller production number (around 2,000) than the DKC cart, but for some reason the Star Fox cart has showed up on auction sites a bit more often and has fetched a lower price. It has been listed on eBay a number of times and not sold for asking prices of $255 and $285
See Latest Star Fox Super Weekend Cartridge on eBay
Treasured Standard USA Releases
|EVO the Search for Eden: $150 – $3350
The game can not only be tricky to find, but is has a bit of a following. It is a unique platforming/role-playing game and is very highly regarded by gamers which helps increase its popularity. While a complete copy can go for about $200, a factory-sealed copy recently sold for $3,350! (the highest I’ve seen any standard SNES game sell for). Unlike Earthbound (see below), we haven’t seen any digital re-releases to help cool the demand for the game. Bare Earthbound cartridges can still edge out EVO in terms of value, but those complete and sealed copies of EVO are SO hard to come by!
2010 Value: $60 – $115
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|Earthbound: $160 – $2500
Another game that is not hard to find, but is very popular. The game is famous for its cult like following of fans. It is a non-traditional RPG taking place in suburbia and weapons are every day household items. Still regarded as one of the most enjoyable RPGs to this day. Prices have increased quite a bit for Earthbound over the last six years — nearly doubling in value over the past 3 years. Granted, a complete copy might only cost you $600 to $700, some sealed copies have recently exceeded $2000.
2007 values: $66 – $181
2010 values: $90 – $334
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|Hagane: The Final Conflict : $150 – $962
This was a hidden gem for many years and has recently become one of the best SNES collectors pieces. A few years ago, you could find a copy of this game for around $50 dollars. In July of 2012 James of AVGN posted this video of obscure SNES games that praised Hagane and mentioned it being a Blockbuster-exclusive title. However, some Blockbuster store managers mentioned that they saw it sold new in Electronic Boutiques stores. Regardless, the fire of rare game talk was lit and Hagane has been near the top of SNES collector’s lists since. We may never truly know what the real circumstances are — we can only observe the true supply and demand on the open market. The game itself is a side-scrolling action game from Hudson Soft that has a graphical style that feels more at home on the Genesis or TG16 and a gameplay style that seems inspired by the likes of Shinobi III on the Genesis.
2007 values: $40 – $60
2010 values: $50 – $250
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|Aero Fighters – $370 – $700
Aero Fighters was released as an arcade game in 1992 and then ported to the SNES two years later. When it was brought over they made very limited quantities so it is one of the hardest games to find on the system — especially in complete condition. After being under the radar for a while, this gem is finally getting more recognition in collecting circles and has taken off in value (couldn’t avoid the aviation analogies). The $700 value mentioned above is actually a very conservative estimate for a complete copy. I haven’t seen a successful sale of a complete copy in a while, but considering over $2000 was asked of one and loose copies are many hundreds of dollars, this could actually take over some other titls or more on the list.
2010 Values: $50 – $120
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|Metal Warriors: $170 – $766
This sidescroller was published by Konami, but developed by LucasArts. Very much influenced by Cybernator/Assault Suits Valken and is considered by some to be an unofficial spinoff of the series. According to an interview with the developer, it was built on the game engine of “Zombies Ate My Neighbors”, but you’d never guess by looking at it. The game has slowly built up a bit of a following among collectors and has recently begun climbing these rankings.
2010 Values: $39 – $52Check for Metal Warriors on eBay
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|Mega Man X3: $140 – $700
This beauty has climbed a bunch of spots on this list since its 2010 edition, nearly tripling in value. The $700 value quoted above isn’t even for a sealed copy like the high values on EVO and Earthbound above. Mega Man X3 was one of two games to use a specialized chip called Cx4 that allowed for some 3D graphics in games (Mega Man X2 being the other title). Because of this chip it is an oddity and has some of the best graphics on the SNES. It is also hard to find. These two factors combine to make it one of the more expensive Super Nintendo games.
2010 Values: $55 – $194
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|Wild Guns: $140 – $400
There aren’t a ton of Western-based video games or really good Cabal clones (shooting gallery-style shmups) to my knowledge. Wild Guns also delivers in every area from graphics, music, controls and challenge. With this being a high-quality, unique SNES exclusive, it’s not hard to see why the value of this game has been climbing, especially for complete copies.
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|Harvest Moon: $150 – $400
Harvest Moon was released the same year the Nintendo 64 was launched so many gamers had already moved onto Nintendo’s new console and didn’t bother buying this game. The Harvest Moon series also has a cult following of gamers who want to farm and try to get a girl to like them. This is the first in the Harvest Moon series so many of these fans want to buy the game that started it all.
2010 Values: $57 – $95
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|Ninja Gaiden Trilogy: $110 – $610
Earthbound isn’t the only SNES game to get lots of love over the last few years, this trilogy has also doubled in value since 2010. All three NES Ninja Gaiden games combined onto one cartridge with some graphical improvements and passwords added, but most mid-1990s gamers didn’t think this was enough to warrant a purchase. The lackluster sales at launch helped keep this gem hard to find.
2010 Values: $65 – $135
Check for Ninja Gaiden Trilogy on eBay
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|Castlevania Dracula X: $100 – $400
Castlevania Dracula X is the final Castlevania game released on the SNES and like many games in a series the later versions don’t sell as well. However, the hardcore following of the series and SNES collectors keep the price of this title rather high.
2010 Values: $58 – $125
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|Mega Man 7: 100 – $306
After seeing NES Mega Man games rise in value, it is no surprise to see the trend continue with the SNES installments. While Mega Man 7 didn’t really bring anything new to the series (and was possibly even a step backwards for Capcom), it still ended up as a collector’s item. It is the first and only title in the main series to make use of 16-bit graphics and the eight Robot Masters in the game are the product of design contests held for fans in Japan.
2010 Values: $39 – $78
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|Super Turrican 2: $100 – $300
This installement of the underground-popular run-and-gun series saw a release late in the Super Nintendo’s platform life. The game has been re-released on the Wii Virtual Console in 2008 but resale prices have only increased since then.
2010 Values: $21-$52
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|Pocky & Rocky 2: $95 – $300
This installement of cult-classic series from Taito and Natsume is often regarded as a favorite in the franchise. It’s been quite hard to find in the wild, but went under the radar of collectors up until recently.
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|Chrono Trigger: $80 – $1,200
The game is not rare, but is rated as one of the best games of all time on many gamers’ lists. It was created by an all-star cast of developers and stands up to the test of time in terms of story and game play. Typically, a complete copy of Chrono Trigger goes for about $150 to $200, however a sealed copy exceeded $1,200. It is worth mentioning that loose copies have dropped a few dollars over the last eight years — possibly because of the DS re-release.
2010 Value $70 – $1200
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|Demon’s Crest: $100 – $800
This game is a follow-up to the Gargoyle’s Quest games on the Game Boy and NES, but unlike it’s predecessors, shared a dark, gothic feel with the Castlevania series. The game is a mix of standard platfroming with mild RPG elements. A complete copy in good condition can be obtained for a little over $200, however, a sealed copy recently sold for $800!
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|Ogre Battle The March of the Black Queen: $75 – $314
Enix, the publishers of the game, only made 25,000 copies of the game for sale in the US. The game is very hard to find because of this limited release. The Ogre Battle is a very good strategy RPG game too, so many RPG fans want to buy it just to get a chance to enjoy a great game.
2010 Values: $57 – $149
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|Incantation: $60 – $760
This little title got lost in obscurity due to being a mediocre Mega Man knock-off at the very end of the SNES’s lifespan. The developer, Titus, already had a relatively bad reputation at the time, so the game really got buried in the bargain bins by the time it left stores. Over 15 years later, Super Nintendo collectors are trying to flesh out more of their collections and finding this piece to be a challenge to track down in good condition.
2010 Value: $15 – $25
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|Super 3D Noah’s Ark: $120 – $303
The biblical video game producer Wisdom Tree, got around Nintendo’s strict licensing system and released a laughably bad clone of Wolfenstein 3D. This plug-thru cartridge that required another game to be attached in order to run removed every reference of violence and Nazis, replacing them with hungry animals requiring your ammunition of ‘sleep’-inducing snacks. Obvisously, this is an interesting conversation piece which adds to it’s collectability.
2010 Values: $45 – $100
Check for Super 3D Noah’s Ark on eBay
Valuable PAL Releases
- Whirlo: $150 – $755
- Starwing Super Weekend Competition Cartridge: $200 – $400
- Brawl Brothers: Rival Turf 2: $100 – $700
- Castlevania – Vampires Kiss: $100 – $700
- Harvest Moon: $100 – $400
- Secret Of Evermore: $80 – $2000 [sealed]
- Aero The Acro-bat 2 :$60 – $700
- Soul Blazer: $40 – $500
- The Firemen: $50 – $400
- Daze Before Christmas: $50 – $400
- Secret Of Mana: $80 – $200
- Cool World: $50 – $300
- Space Invaders: $30 – $250
The Rarest Games At Affordable Prices
Each of these games have a rarity rating of 7 or 8, but routinely sell for less than $30. If you are an SNES collector and see a boxed or sealed copy of any of these on eBay for a low price, you might want to snatch them up — you may never see them again.
- The Adventures of Kid Kleets: $20 – $130
- Ardy Lightfoot: $22 – $90
- Bebe’s Kids: $15 – $89
- Shien’s Revenge: $18 – $90 [sealed]
- Oscar: $20 – $60
- Chavez II: $20 – $42
- The Ren & Stimpy Show: Fire Dogs: $15 – $36
- Hurricanes: $15 – $680 [sealed]
- Pieces: $11 – $20
- No Escape: $10 – $55
- The Miracle Piano Teaching System: $16 – $25
Additional SNES Games of Value
These games aren’t especially rare, but are quite collectable regardless resulting in a high resale value, especially for complete, boxes copies.
- Super Mario RPG: $35 – $354 [sealed]
- Mega Man X2 – $80 – $200
- Final Fight 3: $75 – $159
- Secret of Mana: $50 – $1120 [sealed]
- Final Fantasy III: $50 – $200
- Fun N Games: $60 – $130
- Breath of Fire II: $60 – $152
- Kirby’s Dream Land 3: $50 – $240 [sealed]
- Zero: The Kamikazee Squirrel: $49 – $200
- The Ren and Stimpy Show Buckeroos: $60 – $120
- Lufia and the Fortress of Doom: $35 – $189
- Lufia and The Rise of Sinistrals: $60 – $150
- Nosferatu: $35 – $177
- Casper: $30 – $139
- Uncharted Waters: New Horizons: $32 – $120
- Metal Marines: $36 – $79
- Dragon View: $27 – $139
- Breath of Fire : $26-$130
- Boogerman A Pick and Flick Adventure: $35 – $83
- Kirby Super Star: $29 – $253 [sealed]
- Super Double Dragon : $25 – $259 [sealed]
Credits: Rarity scores are courtesy of my friends at DigitalPress