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 cover Kizuna Encounter (Euro) – $5,400 – $13,500  (RUMORED)
Rarity = 10
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 only about 10 have been confirmed to exist. (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.
Check for Kizuna Encounter on eBay
Ultimate 11 Cover Ultimate 11 / Super Sidekicks 4 (Euro): $4,800 – $10,000  (RUMORED)
Rarity = 10
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.
Check for Ultimate 11 on eBay
King of Fighters 2000 English AES Cover King of Fighters 2000 (English Edition):  $3540 – $6000
Rarity = 10
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.
Check for King of Fighters 2000 on eBay
Metal Slug Cover Metal Slug: $2,500 – $3,000
Rarity = 9
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 Cover Metal Slug 2: $1,500 – $3,000
Rarity = 8
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 Masters Cover Ninja Master’s: $1,500 – $2,200
Rarity = 8
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 Cover Neo Turf Masters: – $1,500 – $2,000
Rarity = 9
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 AES Cover Last Hope: $1,100 – $1,300
Rarity = 9
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.
Check for Last Hope on eBay
Double Dragon Cover Double Dragon (Euro): $800 – $1,500
Rarity = 8
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 Cover Stakes Winner: $900 – $1,100
Rarity = 8
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 Cover Zupapa: $700 – $800
Rarity = 8
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 Cover Last Blade 2: $600 – $755
Rarity = 7
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 Cover Metal Slug X – $550 – $700
Rarity = 7
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

Metal Slug Japanese Cover Cover Quiz Chibi Maruko-Chan Deluxe: $3,000 – $3,800
Rarity = 9
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 Japanese Cover Metal Slug: $1,800 – $2,600
Rarity = 8
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 Cover Big Tournament Golf (Neo Turf Master): $760 – $950
Rarity = 9
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

MVS Releases

Nightmare in the Dark Title Nightmare in the Dark: $115 – $500
Rarity = 7
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 Title Bang Bead: $200 – $350
Rarity = 8
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 Title V-Liner: $200 – $325
Rarity = 8
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

Unreleased Games

Ghostlop: $Unknown
Rarity = 10
This game was to be released by Data East in 1996, it is a cross between Ikaruga in terms of polarity (red and blue), and the fast style of Puzzle Bobble. The object of the game is to clear your screen of ghosts by either throwing a red or blue ball at them. There are red and blue ghosts, and the ball color can be changed in mid air to clear them. The more you clear the more appear on your opponents side. This game was considered for re-release in 2001, but was canned possibly due to SNK’s closing. This is a rare game to own on any format (MVS/AES) and if you look in the right spot, you might just be able to secure your own copy.

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

Iron Clad Cover Chotetsu Brikin’ger / Iron Clad: $195 – $300
Rarity = 8
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 CD Cover Metal Slug: $100 – $150
Rarity = 5
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 CD Cover Breakers: $90 – $130
Rarity = 8
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

 


10 Comments

sir jorge says:

i used to work for a video game liquidator and they dumped a ton of these games in the trash, because no one wanted them. Now we see that people were willing to pay a lot more now that they aren’t easily accessible.

racketboy says:

Wow — dumping Neo-Geo games? that blows my mind!
What year was this?

denpanosekai says:

You’re kidding me with that Kizuna Encounter auction price. I demand pictorial evidence!!!

racketboy says:

Well it’s not like it goes up for sale very often. But talk to any serious Neo-Geo collector and they can confirm it.

Presicion25 says:

Ive been a member of the Neo Forums for a few years and I remember hearing about Kizuna Encounter AES in 2008 or 2009 going for around $13,000. That’s insane. I got rid of my MVS carts in favor of the 161 in 1 Multi Cart and Emulation on several systems.

Concerned Citizen says:

Some tips, people. Zupapa! was never an official AES release from SNK. Any AES Zupapa cartridges out there are conversions from the MVS cartridges with fan-made inserts, stickers and manuals. Also, the pics shown for Metal Slug 1, 2 and X show the ORANGE stripe. The real SNK factory-released versions of Metal Slug 1 and 2 have BLUE stripes, and Metal Slug X has a red stripe. If you buy one of these cartridges with an ORANGE stripe, you have a version of the game that has been ALTERED from the original release. To most, these games are worth substantially less than the original copies. BE CAREFUL.

Dion Dakis says:

Some doubts have arisen due to the fact that there was a court case between playmore and NeoGeoFreak over copyright and repackaging issues.

The case was tried in US Federal Court and NeoGeoFreak was proven to be official and authorized by snk-japan (all signed agreements and contracts between snk-japan and NGF were provide and exhibited in court) . Upon seeing all the evidence, playmore offered NeoGeoFreak a very lucrative settlement and issued a public press release stating that NeoGeoFreak was authorized to sell neogeo consumer merchandise with the NGF brand corrected inserts.

Playmore posted this press release on their website:
http://web.archive.org/web/20050208171535/http://www.snkplaymore.jp/information/en_press15.html

Zupapa is an official and licensed release, with agreements from Aruze, SNK, Face, and NeoGeoFreak. Agreements and contracts show for English distribution and packaging.

Zupapa documentation, contracts, art files, and a brief faq can be viewed below:
http://www.ngfusa.com/zupapa/zupapa.htm

We fully understand people’s concerns due to propaganda from one neogeo site and a few of it’s members. Understanding distribution, repackaging rights, exclusive contracts, and/or sworn affidavits signed in US Federal Court declaring NeoGeoFreak and our licensing extensions, may prove a little overwhelming to people without knowledge of contracts and law.

In simple terms…. playmore, snk neogeo usa, and US Federal Court, under the Honorary Judge David O. Carter, have declared, with signed and sworn affidavits, and official court seal, that all neogeo items sold by NeoGeoFreak are official and fully authorized. Court transcripts and decrees are available for all people.

Hopefully this clears up any confusion people may have.

thank you,
Dion Dakis
NeoGeoFreak/NGF-USA

Dion Dakis says:

NeoGeoFreak Zupapa release is somewhat similar to NG Dev Team’s Last Hope release. Both are sometimes considered “indie releases.” That is simply not the case with NGF.

NG Dev Team released a homebrew indie game that is UNLICENSED.
NeoGeoFreak, with agreements from Aruze and snk-japan, released an official and authorized game that is FULLY LICENSED.

NeoGeoFreak games have the specific distinction of being official, authorized, and licensed through snk-japan and Aruze, and also confirmed by playmore and US Federal Court.

These are facts that can’t be argued or denied. It’s just a matter of reading into the NGF history and/or press release from the court cases, in which NGF was victorious and declared official and fully authorized by playmore (the current neogeo copyright holder), and US Federal Court.

NeoGeoFreak paid a fair sum of money for exclusive distribution, repackaging, and licensing rights for the neogeo consumer market. Thus all titles from NeoGeoFreak are official and licensed.

thank you,
Dion Dakis
NeoGeoFreak/NGF-USA

Nice article! I have a small collection of AES carts, mostly just the games I wanted to play on the original hardware. I did however have a great desire years ago to own AES copies of Metal Slug and Samurai Showdown 4 and so I learned how to do conversions. I was able to successfully create both a Metal Slug 1 AES conversion and a Samurai Showdown 4 AES conversion. I wrote an article about my experiences here:

http://www.aorensoftware.com/blog/neo-geo-cart-conversions/

It may be worth mentioning how counterfeit conversion carts affect the high end AES market. There have been quite a few forum threads exposing conversion Metal Slug AES carts being passed off as originals in the last few years.

due diligence says:

Trying to refrain Ad hominem, this is the ruse Dion plays. There are no official documents on any of his pages that lay claim to post 2000 releases. Tiny screenshots with letterhead do not denote legal documents. I have many similar letters from queries throughout the years. I would just warn people to do their research until they feel comfortable with their decision.

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