The Rarest and Most Valuable Sega Genesis / Megadrive Games
Are you wondering if your Sega Genesis collection has any valuable treasures in it? This month we take a look at Sega’s most popular console of all time and its most desired games. Since the console wasn’t a huge success in Japan, we will find quite a few rarities in its library, but there are some other gems from the rest of the world as well.
Update: Prices Current As of 04/02/2013
In stark contrast to the Cheapest Games series, this Rare and Valuable 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 game by itself. The second price is the highest price in the past three months, which is usually the price for the new/sealed game. 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.
Over the last few years we’ve seen certain titles rise out from under the radar to become big collectors pieces. We have also seen the values of completed copies rise quite nicely. If you have had a nice library for some time, you should see some nice increases in overall value, but if you’re just getting started, things are starting to get pricey. Since we’re seen some fluctuations, I’ve kept in some of the past values from previous revisions so you can see the changes and we have some historical reference.
Limited Edition Collectibles
These picks range from the unreleased or unlicensed games that found their way into collectors hands to rarity box sets that saw limited production before “Limited Edition” was commonplace.
|Tetris: $3,000 – $16,000
So you think the unlicensed Tetris game for the NES is hard to find? Just try to get your hands on the Japanese Megadrive Tetris. It was developed alongside Sega’s System-16 arcade version, but never reached shelves after legal wranglings gave Nintendo exclusive console rights. However, that little issue doesn’t stop some people from obtaining it. Apparently, there are about 10 copies known to be floating around.
See The Latest Megadrive Tetris to Surface
|Genesis Blockbuster World Video Game Championships II: $1,200 – $2,500
Much like the competition carts mentioned in the NES and SNES rare and valuable lists, this little cartridge was used to promote a few games (in this case NBA Jam and Judge Dredd) and let players compete for prizes. In the case of this Genesis game, the cartridge was never meant to be distributed. It’s probably even more rare than the NES cart. (rumor has it that there are only two copies floating around). Don’t get excited when you see all the reproductions floating around though…
|Ecco The Dolphin Box Set: $210 – $1300
Most Sega fans are well aware of the underwater, puzzle-filled adventure, but you most have probably never seen this rarity. According to an old Sega Force magazine, Sega made a deal with a London aquarium which housed a real dolphin named Ecco that would be benefited by the proceeds. It was sold in very limited quantities in a handful of shops. A complete box set sold for about $1300 USD on eBay back in 2011 but again only sold for $280 in 2012 (the box set was missing the CD and T-Shirt) (Check out more pictures of the set here)
|Phantom 2049 Box Set : $600 – $900
Sega released a limited collector’s version of this game for the Mega Drive in Australia, most likely due to the character’s popularity there. In addition to the game, it contained a set of the Phantom Glow Zone stickers and a Phantom key-ring. This set doesn’t show up very often — especially in complete and pristine condition.
See Latest Phantom 2049 Box Set on eBay
|Maximum Carnage Box Set: $160 – $327
Who says that there isn’t anything worthwhile on QVC? Apparently there were 5,000 copies of this Maximum Carnage set made and they were sold (perhaps exclusively) on the QVC home shopping TV channel. The included book includes the first few issues of the Maximum Carnage comic that the game was based on.
See Latest Maximum Carnage Box Set on eBay
The Expensive Japanese Megadrive Imports
|Batman Forever, Justice League, Maximum Carnage, Virtual Bart, WWF Raw, Judge Dread, & Comix Zone
Around $280 – $700 each
These games are all plentiful and dirt cheap in the US, but in Japan, only a few copies of these games were released. Most of these games were published by Acclaim during the last days of the Genesis and the publisher actually took some extra European game boxes, stuck on a new T number and a barcode on the box, and a Japanese cartridge for the quick and dirty release. Now they are simply collectors pieces. It is very difficult to get solid prices on these games as they rarely appear. Every so often one will show up on Japan’s Yahoo auctions and they usually go for around $300 USD, but are rumored to sell for as much as $700.
|Eliminate Down – $90 – $450
Even though most people won’t enjoy it as much as MUSHA or the Thunderforce series, Eliminate down it one of the better (and most difficult) 2D shooters on the Megadrive. Usually, you can find it around $200, but it apparently sold for about $300 on eBay a while back.
See Eliminate Down on eBay
|Panorama Cotton – $ 170 – $350
This pseudo 3D shooter had incredible backgrounds, making the MegaDrive hardware do things that the Nintendo fanboys claimed were impossible on the Sega machine. The game on its own is rare enough (about 5,000 copies were produced), but if you really want to show everyone up, try to find the game with the rare Panorama tea cup that was available initially for free to anyone that sent in a coupon to the publisher. Only about 300 of those tea cups exist and its presence with the game can nearly triple the overall value.
See Panorama Cotton on eBay
The Expensive PAL Megadrive Games
|Megaman: The Wily Wars – $ 300 – $530
2010 Value: $150 – $200
The Wily Wars served as a compilation of remakes of the first three Megaman games in addition to an extra “Wily Tower” gameplay mode which let the Blue Bomber battle a fresh batch of robot bosses before facing Wily in the final castle. This popular Megaman title was also available in the US on the Sega Channel, but only saw a true retail release in Japan and PAL territories. It is the only Megaman game to be released on the Megadrive.
See Megaman: The Wily Wars on eBay
|Nightmare Circus – $180 – $230
2008 Value: $180 – $230
Supposedly, this game was supposed to be Genesis’s answer to Donkey Kong Country, however, once everyone realized how crappy of a game it really was, it was cancelled in all the major markets, but was eventually released in Brazil in 1996. The game was also available in the US on the Sega Channel. Rumor has it that an English version of the game is out there somewhere, but proof has not materialized.
See Nightmare Circus on eBay
|Daze Before Christmas – $100 – $320
2010 Value: $100 – $160
It’s not too often you see a video game with a holiday theme, but Daze Before Christmas is simple platforming game that had a small print run on the Genesis. In fact, as far as we know, the game was only released in Australia on the Megadrive.
See Daze Before Christmas on eBay
Top Unlicensed / Homebrew Releases
While most people think of unlicensed games as the cheap crap that came out during the console’s heyday, the Genesis has seen a number of recent releases that are just as good as some of the high-profile games in the Genesis library. Because they were produced in rather small quantities and most of the original purchases aren’t looking to get rid of their copy, the values can stay quite strong. Here’s some of the biggest collector’s pieces.
|Pier Solar and the Great Architects: (First Editions): $200 – $600
Pier Solar and the Great Architects: (Reprint Edition): $120 - $227
Pier Solar was a completely homebrew release that was developed by Watermelon Co (and started as a project of the classic Sega website, Eidolon’s Inn). This 2010 release also had the option to use the Sega CD for extra audio content. The first print run actually had three variations with different languages, different box artwork and different label artwork. There are 800 of each of the three editions.The Posterity Edition is also first edition that was to thank the earliest supporters of the project. The Posterity Release has a sticker on the package and a additional magazine. The exact number was never published, so we can only estimate. It was limited to 500 copies but not all of them have been sold.The Reprint does not have all languages and the CD is not included. It has a different box (plastic clamshell) and a different box artwork and label artwork. Numbers were never been published for the Reprint Edition, so it’s completely unknown how many of them have been sold.
Check for Pier Solar on eBay
|Star Odyssey: $190 – $204
This 2011 release from Super Figher Team (of Beggar Prince fame — see below) is an RPG that was localized from an unreleased version of Hot-B’s Blue Almanac, an RPG in the similar to Sega’s Phantasy Star series. The game was slated for a western release, but progress stalled somewhere along the way. The only existing prototype copy of the localization was found to be incomplete and glitch-ridden. Super Fighter Team cleaned it up and prepped it for an indie release. The first run of the game sold out of the initial 600 copies. It seems that Super Fighter Team is open to the idea of a re-release.
Check for Star Odyessey on eBay
|Beggar Prince (First and Second Editions): $95 - $144
This is the game that kicked off the “new” Genesis releases. Beggar Prince was the first new Genesis product released since Majesco published Frogger in 1998, and gamers everywhere were excited at the prospect of owning the game in cartridge form, complete with box and manual. Though Beggar Prince originally appeared in Taiwan in 1996, the rest of the world had never seen it, so it was seen as “new” for everyone in the West.The American company, Super Fighter Team created an English translation of the game and did the first commercial release in 2006. By September 8, 2006, all 600 copies had been sold. However, a month later, Super Fighter Team announced that they had begun taking pre-orders for a second production run of 300 copies. By June, 2007, this production run had also sold out. The total print run for Beggar Prince with the original cover art is 900 copies.
Check for Beggar Prince on eBay
|Beggar Prince (Third Edition): $115 – $137
This third print run included several changes including higher-quality cover art, became available for pre-ordering on October 9, 2007 and started shipping on November 27, 2007. This print run had 600 copies bringing the total print run of the game to 1,500 copies. Between there being less copies of the game with the new cover and the preference of many current Genesis owners for the new art, the third release is staying quite high in value.
Check for Beggar Prince on eBay
|The Legend of Wukong: $111 – $129
The second Genesis game that Super Fighter Team brought stateside was this RPG was originally developed and released in China in 1996. It saw a commercial release of the English translation in 2008. It sold out of the first run of 600 copies and Super Fighter Team hasn’t ruled out the idea of doing another print run.
Check for Legend of Wukong on eBay
|Action 52: $40 – $100
2010 Value $22- $40
Action 52 is an unlicensed release with a bunch of poorly made games one cartridge game that originally retailed for $199. The cartridge is only really sought after for collection’s sake as Action 52 is well-known for its low quality and numerous bugs and even fatal crashes. An interesting note: The publisher advertised a prize for a random person who beat level 5 of Ooze — The developer was essentially off the hook, however as the game crashes at level 2.
Check for Action 52 on eBay
Treasured Standard USA Releases
|MUSHA: $80 – $253
2008 Value: $34 – $115
2010 Value: $60 – $125
Shmup fans are always willing to pay good money for a quality shooter and on the Genesis, MUSHA is main target on the platform. Coming from the Aleste series of shooters, MUSHA was relatively popular in Japan but the game never caught on state side. On a side note, it was never released in Europe, so it an especially appealing import over there. As you can see from the historical values above, this one has been climbing the charts for quite a while.
Check for MUSHA on eBay
Check for MUSHA on Amazon.com
|Grind Stormer: $70 – $285
Known as “V – V” in Japan, this shmup from Toaplan saw a rather limited release on the North American Genesis. For the longest time, this release went under the radar, but as Shmup fans are building up their collections, this one is joining MUSHA at the top of the list.
Check for Grind Stormer on eBay
Check for Grind Stormer on Amazon.com
|Crusader of Centy : $80 - $150
Crusader of Centy is an Action RPG from Atlus. Altus is known for doing some smaller print runs for its games and this one is no different. Usually their games have a bit more of a cult following after them, but Crusader is a bit more low profile — just recently creeping up in value.
Check for Crusader of Centy on eBay
Check for Crusader of Centy on Amazon.com
|The Punisher: $50 – $130
Licensed beatemups were all the rage in the 90s and The Punisher jumped on the bandwagon, but with a rather limited Genesis/Megadrive-exclusive port of the arcade game. It didn’t end up selling that well (it isn’t that good of a port) and is now a bit of a challenge to track down — especially in complete condition.
Check for The Punisher on eBay
Check for The Punisher on Amazon.com
|Miracle Piano Teaching System w/ Piano: $100 – $115
2010 Value: $70 – $90
Back in the 8 and 16-bit eras, The Software Toolworks created these Miracle Piano Teaching Systems for the major consoles to help teach people how to play the piano. The game comes with all the piano hardware you need to play along, so that adds to the price/value. If you only have the cartridge, it will be a lot less valuable, but still hard to find.Check for Miracle Piano Teaching System on eBay
|Splatterhouse 3: $50 – $100
2008 Value: $34 – $78
2010 Value: $30 – $55
Splatterhouse 3 was the precursor to the survival horror genre and 3 plays like Double Dragon (but with more gore and violence, of course). Splatterhouse 3 was also the last game in the cult-classic series before the 2010 reboot of the series (which may have sparked intrest in the previous games)
Check for Splatterhouse 3 on eBay
Check for Splatterhouse 3 on Amazon.com
|Master of Monsters: $40 – $120
2008 Value: : $26 – $60
2010 Value: $18 – $45
Master of Monsters is a turn based strategy game that isn’t typically a well-known game in the Genesis library. The game is fairly rare now but sold well enough initially to warrant a sequel on the Saturn. Many fans of the series think the Genesis version is the most watered down game in the series, but that hasn’t hurt the resale value at all.
Check for Master of Monsters on eBay
Check for Master of Monsters on Amazon.com
|Double Dragon: $39 – $188
One of the first big franchises in the beatemup genre saw a few more common releases on the Genesis the the form of a sequel and a mashup game teamed with the Battletoads. However, the straight port of the original arcade game is the one to be one the lookout for.
Check for Double Dragon on eBay
Check for Double Dragon on Amazon.com
|Streets of Rage 3: $50 – $75
2008 Value: $34 – $56
2010 Value: $35 – $50
The Streets of Rage series was a popular alternative to the Final Fight series and game brawler fans plenty of fun on the genesis. Even through the third installment in the series isn’t usually regarded as the best of the bunch, it is significantly harder to find that its predecessors.
Check for Streets of Rage 3 on eBay
Check for Streets of Rage 3 on Amazon.com
|Teenage Mutant Ninja Tutles: Hyper Stone Heist: $40 – $100
During this game’s release in the early 90′s the Ninja Turtles were at its peak and the arcade game “Turtles in Time” was bringing tons of quarters. The SNES received a great port of Turtles of Time, but the Genesis got a bit of a different take on the game. There are some similarities, but Hyperstone Heist has fewer, but longer levels in addition to some differences in special effects and audio. It is a more challenging game and has become a valued part of the Genesis library.
Check for Hyperstone Heist on eBay
Check for Hyperstone Heist on Amazon.com
|Warsong: $40 – $83
2010 Value: $16 – $50
Also know by the name, Langrisser in Japan, this tactical RPG is the first in a long series from Nippon Computer Systems. Many have compared it to the Fire Emblem series that has a cult following on Nintendo platforms.
Check for Warsong on eBay
Check for Warsong on Amazon.com
|Shining Force II: $40 – $80
2008 Value: : $39 – $103
2010 Value: $35 – $80
Shining Force 2 is not extremely rare but it is considered one of the greatest RPGs of all time. Developed by the Sonic Software Planning (now known as Camelot) at Sega, this tactical RPG is #48 on IGN’s top 100 list and considered a must own for Genesis collectors. It also was a later release in the Genesis library and came in the cardboard boxes that are hard to keep in good condition. This puts a high premium on mint/complete copies of the game.
Check for Shining Force II on eBay
Check for Shining Force II on Amazon.com
Additional Valuable Japanese Imports
- Snow Bros: $70 – $280
- Twinkle Tale $90 – $260
- Battle Mania Daiginjo / Battle Mania 2 $90 – $245
- Alien Soldier – $80 – $180
- Yu Yu Hakusho – $60 – $170
- Greylancer – $70 – $170
- Ristar – $50 – $150
- Contra – $50 – $150
- Nagoya Home Banking – ???
Additional Box Sets
- Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego Box Set
- Primal Rage Box Set (picture)
The Rarest US Genesis Games At Affordable Prices
Each of these games have a rarity rating greater than 6, but routinely sell for less than $30. If you are a Genesis 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.
- Joshua Battle for Jericho: $11 – $15
- Liberty or Death: $15 – $22
- Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel: $15 – $45
- Rolo to the Rescue: $6 – $10
- Crossfire: $6 – $10
Additional US Sega Genesis Games of Value
These games are quite collectible; resulting in a high resale value, especially for complete, boxes copies.
- Valis III: $30 – $192
- Herzog Zwei: $30 – $90
- Castlevania Bloodlines: $39 – $88
- Mutant League Hockey: $39 – $84
- New Horizons – Uncharted Waters: $40 – $75
- Zombies Ate My Neighbors : $30 $77
- Sparkster: $29 – $73
- Jurassic Park: Lost World: $20 – $80
- Splatterhouse 2: $30 - $70
- Aerobiz Supersonic: $40 – $60
- Contra Hard Corps: $50 – $75
- Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker: $45 – $75
- Gunstar Heroes: $40 – $60
- Phantasy Star IV: $35 – $178
- Aero the Acrobat 2: $28 – $80
- Ghostbusters: $35 – $55
- Shining Force: $30 – $60
- Ghouls’n Ghosts – $24 – $110
- ToeJam and Earl: $30 – $55
- Battletoads: $30 – $76 (premium for complete cardboard box version)
- Outback Joey – $30 – $60
- John Madden Football ’93 Championship Edition: $27 – $57
- Time Killers: $20 – $53
- Truxton: $26 – $51
- Valis: $25 - $60
- Blockbuster Game Factory Blue / Green: $30 – $50 each
- Death and Return of Superman: $25 – $50
- Spiritual Warfare: $18 - $52
Credits: Rarity scores are courtesy of my friends at DigitalPress.