The Rarest and Most Valuable Sega Saturn Games
The Sega Saturn is definitely one of the leading consoles among hardcore classic gamers. It’s strong selection of unique and engaging 2D games keeps it relevant a decade after its premature demise. While many of the Saturn’s best games were not adequately appreciated at the time of their release, word of mouth discussions online have boosted many of these games to underground stardom. Even though some of the highest-flying Saturn games like Panzer Dragoon Saga, Guardian Heroes, and Burning Rangers were rather collectible even two years ago, they have essentially doubled since 2006. (See the “affordability” section in my 2006 review of Guardian Heroes to compare as an example). (Digg This)
Three factors can be attributed to much of the rise in Saturn game values
- Many of the Saturn’s best games have still not been ported to other consoles
- a good number of classic gamers are just now discovering what the Saturn has to offer
- Emulation of the console can still be challenging
In stark contrast to the Cheapest Games series, this Rare and Valuable series by JJ Hendricks and I 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. JJ owns the video game pricing website VideoGamePriceCharts.com and writes a Video Game Pricing Blog which analyzes video game prices, pricing trends, and charts historic video game prices. He used his pricing statistics to find both the average selling price and the highest selling price for each game over the last three months.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.
The Expensive Saturn Imports
|Psychic Assassin Taromaru: $270 – $400
Stealing this place from the infamous Radiant Silvergun, the Psychic Killer Taromaru is the most difficult to aquire Saturn title, regardless of region. The game is a well drawn 2D acion title, with a decidedly “Shinobi meets Castlevania” style. The publisher, Time Warner Interactive, shut down all production facilities after only 7,500 copies were made. There are also manual-art variations as well, all of which are included in the total production number, and each generally fetch the same price.
Check for Psychic Assassin Taromaro on eBay
|Radiant Silvergun $190 – $350
Known as one of the Holy Grails of console game collecting and one of the greatest 2D shooters of all time, it does not need an introduction for experienced retro gamers. However, to the surprise of those not schooled in Japanese game retail, Radiant Silvergun actually isn’t very rare at all. In fact, the game is actually quite common in Japan and up until recently could be found in Japanese gaming store quite affordably. However, store owners are now taking advantage of it’s increasing popularity
Check for Radiant Silvergun on eBay
|Hyper Duel – $180 – $220
Technosoft is well-known for their wonderful Thunderforce shooter series, but Hyper Duel is a little-know shmup from Technosoft that was released in between Thunderforce 4 and 5 and shares many characteristics with the series. The game was never released out of Japan on any platform and is one of the harder-to-find games in the Saturn library. Because of all these factors, shooter fans are willing to pay a good chunk of change to score Hyper Duel.
Check for Hyper Duel on eBay
Limited Edition Collectables
|Daytona USA: CCE Netlink Edition: $250 – $300
Although commonly thought to be Panzer Dragoon Saga, this NetLink version of Daytona USA: CCE is in fact the rarest North American Sega Saturn game. It was available only through Sega’s online store, and making it even more rare is its almost total indistinguishability from the regular version of Daytona USA: CCE. The only notable differences are found only when opening the case up, which features a black and white NetLink booklet underneath the standard booklet, and the disc has a small NetLink logo.
Check for Daytona USA CCE Netlink Edition on eBay
Treasured Standard USA Releases
|Panzer Dragoon Saga: $206 – $240
It’s a shame that Panzer Dragoon Saga came out at the end of the Saturn’s short life. Too many people missed out on playing this gem of an RPG. The initial production run was 6,000 (not enough to fill pre-orders) and by the end of the game’s run, only 30,000 copies were produced Sega. To this day, game is loved by critics and has a very devoted following. Many experienced gamers even consider it one of the very best RPGs of all time.
Check for Panzer Dragoon Saga on eBay
|Shining Force III: $89 – $115
Sega’s strategy RPG trilogy came to an end on the Saturn and this game released in the final days of the Saturn’s support in the US. Shining Force III is the first scenario in a trilogy but only the first scenario was released in the US and Europe because the Saturn was no longer supported in the West.
Check for Shining Force III on eBay
|Guardian Heroes: $81 – $105
Developed by fan-favorite, Treasure, Guardian Heroes is another late-blooming Saturn title that many people still haven’t discovered. Guardian Heroes is a beatemup with strong RPG elements. In this masterpiece, Treasure combined great 2D animation, a unique control scheme, and killer gameplay with the ability to level up and focus the skills that you choose.The game is relatively rare, but sells for so much because of its unique gameplay.
Check for Guardian Heroes on eBay
|Burning Rangers: $70 – $90
This futuristic firefighting game with randomly created levels was based on the NiGHTS into Dreams engine and was developed by Sonic Team. Even though it was well-recieved by those who played it, it was released in the last year of the Saturn’s life and had minimal commercial success.
Check for Burning Rangers on eBay
|Dragon Force: $65 – $97
A unique real-time strategy/tactics/war simulation game, Dragon Force received critical acclaim and was rated the best Saturn game in 1996 by EGM. The low production numbers and praise from gamers keep the price high. The game had a Japan-only re-release on the PS2, but that hasn’t stopped Saturn collectors from raising the values for the original.
Check for Dragon Force on eBay
|Albert Odyssey: $40 – $100
Albert Odyssey: Legend of Eldean is an RPG that was original developed for the Super Famicom in Japan but was ported to the Saturn by Working Designs as the SNES was losing ground in retail. The fact that good RPGs are relatively hard to find on the Saturn and being published in smaller quantities by Working Designs guarantees nice returns on investment.
Check for Albert Odyssey on eBay
|Magic Knight Rayearth: $40 – $100
This manga-based action RPG was also published by Working Designs and was supposedly limited to about 15,000 units upon its release. It was released at the very end of 1998, making it the very last game released for the Sega Saturn in the United States.
Check for Magic Knight Rayearth on eBay
|The House of the Dead: $60 – $80
A port of the cult-classic light gun arcade game, House of the Dead was one of the last games released on the Saturn and didn’t sell many copies. The series has received many sequels in arcades and consoles, but the original is the hardest to find.
Check for House of the Dead on eBay
|Saturn Bomberman: $52 – $79
Bomberman has been released on just about every console known to man, but Saturn Bomberman may still be the definative version thanks for its support of up to 10 characters on screen at once. Not even the new XBox Live Arcade version can top that. Saturn Bomberman is also one of five games for the Saturn to use the NetLink feature which allowed online play.
Check for Saturn Bomberman on eBay
|Winning Post: $50 – $70
Winning Post is a horse racing simulation and sports game. It was published by KOEI and is one of the rarest Saturn games. The price isn’t much higher as most Americans aren’t into horse racing simulators.
Check for Winning Post on eBay
The Rarest Saturn 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 Saturn 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.
- 3D Baseball – $20 -$29
- Worldwide Soccer 98: $2 – $20
- Virtual-On Netlink Edition: $20 – $30
- Vallora Valley Golf: $5 – $12
- Winter Heat: $7 – $20
- Mega Man X4: $15 – $61
- Shinobi Legions: $22 – $29
Additional Sega Saturn Games of Value
These games aren’t especially rare, but are quite collectable; resulting in a high resale value, especially for complete, boxes copies.
- Shining The Holy Ark: $35 – $125
- Sonic Jam: $35 – $59
- Shining The Wisdom: $35 – $50
- Christmas Nights into Dreams: $35 – $41
- Mega Man 8: $33 – $60
- Herc’s Adventures: $33 – $57
- Enemy Zero: $33 – $50
- Mortal Kombat II: $30 – $40
- Golden Axe The Duel: $30 – $38
- Mr. Bones: $25 – $30
- NIGHTS into Dreams: $25 – $51
- Clockwork Knight 2: $25 – $35
- Three Dirty Dwarves: $25 – $30
Credits: Sega Saturn Video Game Prices provided by VideoGamePriceCharts.com. The source for daily updated prices on over 10,000 video games. The prices are the highest daily price and average daily price from February, 1st 2008 to April, 8th 2008. Racketboy also averaged in eBay sales prices from April 20th to May 20th, 2008. Rarity scores are courtesy of my friends at DigitalPress.