The Rarest and Most Valuable Neo-Geo Games
SNK’s Neo-Geo platform started as both a solid arcade system and an upscale home console that only the most hardcore (or wealthy) owned. Over its lengthy lifespan it remained as a treasured system for old-school gamers. Unlike most video games, the Neo Geo hardware and software has held its value quite well over more than a decade’s time. Considering the high initial prices on the Neo-Geo software, it isn’t surprising that the games are still some of the most expensive out there. This guide has been revised since its original publication in 2009. Entries for King of Fighters 2000 (English), Last Hope, and Zupapa have been added since then and prices have been updated (some of the more popular titles have increased in value by several hundreds of dollars in two years).
In stark contrast to the Cheapest Games series, this Rare & 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. Special thanks to Neo-Geo.com and NeoGeoFreak for their price guides — they were essential to compiling this list and the rest of their site is required reading for anyone interested in SNK’s mega-platform. Also, thanks to TonK for helping out as well.
English AES Releases
|Kizuna Encounter (Euro) – $5,400 – $13,500 (RUMORED)
One of the most rare games on any platform, the Euro version of Kizuna Encounter is the Holy Grail of European game collecting, and also a complete mystery. A tag-battle fighting game from SNK, the arcade version is very common, routinely selling for around $50 USD. Also very common is the Japanese AES version of the game, identical in every way to this release, except for the packaging and inserts. It is unknown exactly how many copies of the Euro version exist, but no more than five have ever been claimed to be witnessed sales. (and we haven’t seen any recent eBay sales of this item)
It is also not possible to confirm that this game was commercially released, given what appears to be an inconceivably low production number. Suposedly, the only PAL versions of the games were sold in Germany/Austria, but were quickly recalled by SNK before many reached gamers’ hands. The most recent sales of Kizuna Encounter supposedly ended in the range of $12,000-13,500, which remains as some of the highest prices of any singular video game in history. This price, like all others on this list, is relative to the current demand and desire for the title, and may include many secondary factors such as rumors, small-scale bidding wars and over-estimation.
|Ultimate 11 / Super Sidekicks 4 (Euro): $4,800 – $10,000 (RUMORED)
There aren’t a lot of sports games on the Neo-Geo platform, but the Super Sidekicks series is quite popular among soccer/football fans. This is technically the final game of the series (Neo-Geo Cup ’98 was released later, but is actually a rehash of Super Sidekicks 3). The Euro version of Super Sidekicks 4 is especially hard to find and is obviously only for the most die-hard collectors.
Much like the Kizuna Encounter European release, the prices associated with this release are often speculated to be rumors or over-estimation. If one would show up on eBay, that would surely help us establish a more solid value on this item.
|King of Fighters 2000 (English Edition): $3540 – $6000
With only 100 confirmed copies world-wide, the sales are very infrequent. However, unlike the Kizuna and Ultimate Euro releases, everytime they have been offered for sale, it’s been in an open/public offering on eBay, Craigslist, Yahoo Auctions (Japan), or NeoGeo.com Forums.
The cartridges were released in North America by NeoGeoFreak, a company that was a licensed (and eventually exclusive) distributer for North American Neo-Geo consumer merchandise. Because of the limited release, KOF 2000 is the rarest, licensed North American Neo-Geo AES release.
|Metal Slug: $2,500 – $3,000
Known universally for its hand drawn, over-the-top comic carnage, the original Metal Slug is an amazingly difficult find on the Neo Geo AES and is the most treasured US release on the system. Even though it became increasingly popular and is much more affordable on other platforms and formats, Metal Slug wasn’t produced very high quantities for the AES (I have no clue why). And even though you can take a few other approaches to play the game on SNK hardware, most Neo Geo fans can’t go without the game in their AES collection and are willing to pay a hefty fee for it.
Check for Metal Slug on eBay
|Metal Slug 2: $1,500 – $3,000
The second installment of the popular run-n-gun series is significantly easier to find in AES than the original, but its still rather rare. I’m still blown away by how low the print run was on Metal Slug 2 even after the success of the original.
Check for Metal Slug 2 on eBay
|Ninja Master’s: $1,500 – $2,200
This versus fighting game was a joint venture between ADK (of World Heroes fame) and SNK and is thematically much like the Samurai Shodown series. However, Ninja Master’s, not surprisingly, has more of a ninja focus to it. It is said to be one of ADK’s best games and is one of the best hidden gems in the Neo-Geo’s expansive fighting library.
Check for Ninja Master’s on eBay
|Neo Turf Masters: – $1,500 – $2,000
Yes, another unsuspecting sports title makes this list, but this time it’s a golf game. If you into video golf, it’s a great game (many Neo fans rank it on their list of top 10 Neo-Geo games), but unless you’re an AES purist, you’ll probably find a cheaper way to play it.
Check for Neo Turfmasters on eBay
|Last Hope: $1,100 – $1,300
In 2006, German indie developer, NG:DEV.TEAM released this beautiful shmup for the Neo-Geo AES, Neo-Geo CD, and Sega Dreamcast. In addition to being a solid game, it was released as a bit of a tribute, not only to the classic genre, but all the cult-classic platforms it was released for.
The Last Hope AES cartridge was sold directly by the developers and was limited to only 60 copies (which is even less than the King of Fighters 2000 English), although this release is technically a unlicensed, indie release. The cartridge was originally sold for around $730, so initial buyers of the cartridge have seen a decent return on their “investment” in a short amount of time.
|Double Dragon (Euro): $800 – $1,500
This isn’t the type of Double Dragon game most of us are used to. Instead of a sidescrolling brawler, it’s a versus fighting game. Even though it’s a quite popular game, it never received a home version in the States. So if you want an English home version, the rather small print run of the European version is your only choice.
Check for Double Dragon on eBay
|Stakes Winner: $900 – $1,100
If you enjoy 2D horse racing , Stake Winner is a great game. However being such a niche genre it isn’t terribly surprising that the print run was so low for the English home version.
Check for Stakes Winner on eBay
|Zupapa: $700 – $800
This whimsical puzzle platform in the vein of Snow Bros (and very similar to another game from SNK, Nightmare In The Dark) is a bit of a hidden gem of the Neo Geo library — both in terms of the game itself and actually finding it in AES format. It seems like it hardly ever shows up on eBay or in the wild. Keep an eye out for this one!
Check for Zupapa on eBay
|Last Blade 2: $600 – $755
Last Blade 2 is one of the best fighting games on the Neo-Geo, but since it came out as the Neo-Geo was reaching its tenth year, it is understandable that the print runs for the games were starting to decline even for popular games. And while it isn’t especially rare compared to some games that are more affordable, the demand for this high-quality fighter keeps the value high.
Check for Last Blade 2 on eBay
|Metal Slug X – $550 – $700
Metal Slug X is actually a tweaked version of Metal Slug 2 that fixes some slowdown issues in addition to adding some new weapons and items and re-arranging some enemy placements. Luckly, this release is a bit easier to find than Metal Slug 2, so if you’re trying to save a few hundred dollars, this is a better bet for your collection.
Check for Metal Slug X on eBay
Additional English AES Releases of Value
- Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: $550 – $700
- World Heroes Perfect: $525 – $650
- Mark of the Wolves: $500 – $650
- Last Blade: $380 – $500
- Metal Slug 5: $365 – $500
- Voltage Fighter Gowcaizer: $360 – $475
- Art of Fighting 3: $360 – $450
- Rage of the Dragons: $325 – $385
- Samurai Shodown 5 Special: $335 – $365
- Samurai Shodown 4: $300 – $350
- King of Fighters 2003: $285 – $350
- Metal Slug 3: $250 – $350
Japanese AES Releases
|Quiz Chibi Maruko-Chan Deluxe: $3,000 – $3,800
This is said to be the rarest of the Japanese AES games (although Neo Turf Masters is right up there). It’s one of those quirky quiz games that the Japanese seem to love so much and is, of course, based on a popular manga/anime license.
Check for Quiz Chibi Maruko-Chan on eBay
|Metal Slug: $1,800 – $2,600
Even though its not the rarest Japanese release, the value and popularity of the English release carries over to the Japanese version. Some English-speaking AES owners are willing to sacrafice a little to save a thousand dollars.
Check for Metal Slug on eBay
|Big Tournament Golf (Neo Turf Master): $760 – $950
Much like Metal Slug, the Japanese version is just about as rare but is more affordable. It’s still a lot to pay for a golf game, in my opinion, but true Neo-Geo fans, just don’t care.
Check for Big Tournament Golf (Neo Turf Master) on eBay
Additional Japanese AES Releases of Value
- Blazing Star: $750 – $900
- Super Sidekicks 4: $575: 750
- Metal Slug 2: $600 – $760
- Ninja Master’s: $500 – $1,000
- Twinkle Star Sprites: $600 – $700
- Fu’un S.T.B (Kizuna Encounter): $550 – $650
- Pulstar: $500 – $600
- Metal Slug 3: $500 – $600
- Metal Slug X: $500 – $600
- Magical Drop 3: $500 – $575
- Shock Troopers 2nd Squad: $400 – $550
- Over Top: $400 – $520
|Nightmare in the Dark: $115 – $500
This excellent Snow Bros. clone (with a darker horror theme) is a bit of a hidden gem and was only released as an MVS cartridge. It was published by SNK in 2000 just a bit before they originally closed their doors. Obviously, since the company was in financial trouble and the platform was dying out, the print run was small for this one. Check for Nightmare in the Dark on eBay
|Bang Bead: $200 – $350
This sequel to Flip Shot was only released on the MVS and only in Europe. Much like Nightmare in the Dark it was also released in 2000 near the end of the original SNK era. Check for Bang Bead on eBay
|V-Liner: $200 – $325
Released in 2001 only for the MVS, this obscure slot machine game was developed by Brezzasoft, the company put together by disbanded SNK employees after SNK’s bankruptcy. Check for V-Liner on eBay
Additional MVS Releases of Value
- Pop ‘N Bounce: $200 – $300
- Samurai Shodown V Special: $150 – $300
- Digger Man (Unofficial): $125 – $300
- Irritating Maze: $100 – $300
- Super Bubble Pop: $180 – $250
Neo-Geo CD Releases
|Chotetsu Brikin’ger / Iron Clad: $195 – $300
Iron Clad is one of the few Neo-Geo CD exclusives — it did not receive a MVS or an AES release. It’s also quite a good shooter. Being a high quality game that actually an exclusive for the NGCD makes it the most treasured release for the platform.
Check for Chotetsu Brikin’ger / Iron Clad on eBay
|Metal Slug: $100 – $150
It isn’t a terrible surprise to see Metal Slug here since it’s by far the most affordable way of playing this classic on SNK hardware. However, it is actually one of the most common games on this list.
Check for Metal Slug on eBay
|Breakers: $90 – $130
An early Street Fighter 2 clone, Breakers didn’t bring a lot of gameplay originality to the table but some fans appreciated it for its design and tight controls. The value of the game is purely based on the low print run. The MVS and AES versions not only avoid load times, but they are also dirt cheap. So the only real reason to pick of this NGCD version of for pure collectibility.
Check for Breakers on eBay
Additional NGCD Releases of Value
- Oshidashi Zintrick: $75 – $125
- Ninja Master’s: $75 – $110
- OverTop: $75 – $110
- Metal Slug 2: $75 – $100
- Neo DriftOut: $75 – $100