The Nintendo DS is currently hitting the interesting point in its lifespan where there are quite a few great bargains to be found in its library, but some of the hidden gems and rarities are starting to be discovered and priced accordingly. While some of the prices in these games might be a bit surprising, some of the more rare games might just rise strongly from here, if history is any guide.
You may notice some of the high-ranking rarities had relatively low prices on the low end of the spectrum. The low range on these listings are for cartridge-only games. While some of these games are still hard to find as a bare cartridge, the real premium is on complete copies. And while the Nintendo DS cases are much more durable and useful than the cardboard boxes for the Game Boy lineup, a lot of DS cases have been discarded by the likes of GameStop stores that have policy do scrapping cases before selling the games (sad, but true).
The second price in the value ranges is the highest price in the past three months which is usually the price for a mint, complete copy. An average price is also shared for a sealed copy if one has sold recently. The list is ordered by the balance of the two primary 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.
Treasured Standard North American Releases
Shepherd’s Crossing 2: $175-$515
Shepherd’s Crossing 2 is farm simulation that revolves around farming, animal husbandry, and wooing the ladies. It may feel familiar to those that enjoy the Harvest Moon series, but it does have its differences.
A big draw to Shepherd’s Crossing 2 over similar games is the open-ended gameplay that is less restrictive than its peers. However, you can’t really leave your land like in Harvest Moon — but you can visit other houses (as long as you bring food). There are also more dire consequences than Harvest Moon — you can potentially run out of supplies and die. In Shepherd’s Crossing you can also completely ignore sections of gameplay if you desire and focus only on the aspects that interest you.
This sequel on the DS was a follow up to the original game that was on the PS2 and PSP. Both of those titles are still quite affordable, but this DS release was small enough print run that it’s pretty hard to find in the wild. It’s especially interesting to see that there wasn’t even many online reviews of Shepherd’s Crossing 2 out there at the time of its release. It almost seems that the lovely game was developed, but they didn’t invest in any marketing resources to get exposure for it at all.
Veggy World: $29-$600 ($605 Sealed)
It’s not uncommon for our Rare and Valuable guides to have old-school scrolling shooters (aka Shmups) ranking high on the lists. However, these highly-sought-after shmups are usually expensive mainly for their quality levels and fervor from the fans of the genre.
Veggy World has more of a “budget game” type of feel, but does have some classic shmup vibes. However, much like Shepherd’s Crossing 2, there is virtually no substantial reviews of the game (although I’d argue that Shepherd’s Crossing 2 deserved more attention). Veggy World seems to be a rather repetitive game that requires you to tap the screen to shoot through incoming vegetable-themed “aircraft”. Players also have rotating veggies surrounding their craft that can deal out damage. But I don’t think die-hard shooter fans are going to be putting this on repeat play too often.
Both the Wii and the DS version of Veggy World aren’t super expensive in loose disc/cartridge version, but complete copies are especially difficult to find in the wild. Its one of those games that most DS owners that did happen to pick up this rather uncommon game didn’t bother to keep the case from it. Now it’s especially tricky to find.
Solatorobo: Red The Hunter: $85-$315 ($350-$500 Sealed)
This gem is the spiritual successor to Tail Concerto which also happens to have a spot on our Rare and Valuable PS1 game guide. Solatorobo is a very beautiful and polished Action RPG with beatemup elements. The stunning graphics blend 2D and 3D elements to create a cohesive experience.
The game was published by X-Seed in rather limited quantities and also came along with a soundtrack CD. All this came packaged in an extra outer cardboard box. However, as you might expect, a lot of people didn’t keep the CD handy, let alone the outer cardboard sleeve. So a mint, perfectly complete copy will most likely demand that $300+ price point. If you are looking to score this game, but really mostly care about the typical game case and cartridge, you can save some cash.
Solatorobo: Red The Hunter did have a lot of good reviews, but it didn’t have a huge print run in North America (although it did quite well in Japan)
Another budget game-type release on the DS, Powerbike is a motorbike racer/stunt combo game that features relatively good graphics. At a glance it almost feels like a mix between Road Rash and Excite Bike.
It has been hard enough to find bare cartridges of Powerbike, but its very uncommon to see complete copies of the game show up on eBay — about just a handful of times a year and only a few ones that have a completed sale. But this is actually more frequent than they used to show just a few years ago. Having the rarity (and therefore value) become more widespread knowledge, you’ve seen sellers start to surface these items.
Up until the spring of 2020, this game was often selling for only $10 for loose carts and $20 to $75 for complete copies. It will be interesting to see if this one stays strong past the retro rush of 2020, but it indeed does have the strong rarity element going for it so far.
Pokemon SoulSilver & HeartGold Versions $80-$260 ($280-$1000 Sealed)
Mainline Pokemon games are often making their mark on our Rare and Valuable guides (particularly the Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Color guides) and the SoulSilver and HeartGold hold up quite well against those peers despite being being more recent releases in an plentiful quantities.
The SoulSilver and HeartGold installments are quite popular entry points in the series as it has a classic feel to it while having some of the modern benefits of the newer title. Being on the DS also brings the series to a lot of players out there that are digging into the series (more DS units out there than the GBA or 3DS)
The game also had a Wal-Mart special edition (from pre-orders) that has a cardboard outer box with a figure and a pokewalker jacket. Having all that with the original packaging drastically increases the value of the game.
Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ: $67-$220 ($330 Sealed)
Little Red Riding Hood’s Zombie BBQ has a little slower pace than a typical shmup. However, the games uses both screens to make a nice taller “screen” for a vertical shooter. You use the D-pad to move the characters placement along the bottom of the screen and then use the touch screen to adjust the angle of your shots as you tap to shoot. It almost feels like a mix between a Plants vs Zombies game and a more traditional vertical shooter.
The game rested in obscurity for a while. It didn’t get much collecting attention until 2016. Even then, it was hovering in the $15 loose/$40 complete range for a while. A year later it started commanding $45 for a cart and $100 or more for a complete copy. It’s been on a steady increase since then.
Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation: $82-$195 ($200-$230 Sealed)
The Dragon Quest series has always had a relatively strong following in North America, but this is the first we can recall an entry in the series show up on one of our Rare and Valuable guides in a while.
This particular release is an enhanced remake of a Super Famicom title that never officially made it to North America before. The original SFC release is regarded as possibly one of the top 5 in the series and this remake received rather solid reviews overall.
While the series is huge in Japan, it didn’t quite warrant a huge print run stateside. It seems like there is just starting to be slightly more demand than there is to supply.
Like many DS games, prices started int increase gradually in 2016 — Dragon Quest VI, in particular was going for a $20 to $40 range, but started trending upward shortly after that.
Pokemon Black & White Version 2: $ 78-$170 ($200 Sealed)
Pokémon Black 2 and White 2 are the fifth generation of the series and are the sequels to Pokémon Black and White. The games are set approximately two years after the events of Black and White and are set in the Unova region. They feature 300 new Pokémon and creatures that were not featured in Black and White.
Apparently this “sequel” setup wasn’t a major hit with most Pokemon fans as it only sold about half as many units as the original Black and White series. However, in the aftermarket, you’ll need to spend more to pick them up.
Magician’s Quest: Mysterious Times: $81-$158
However, Magician’s quest did have a bit of a Harry Potter-esqe magical studies element, some modest innovations, and some impressive depth to the game and can keep gamers interested.
The game has never been especially cheap, almost keeping a bit of a hidden gem status for most of its life. It hung around in the $15 to $30 range up until 2016 before starting its steady climb in value.
Commando: Steel Disaster: $27-$253
This hidden gem draws a great deal of inspiration from SNK’s iconic Metal Slug series and brings some interesting 2D run and gun goodness to the Nintendo portable. Granted, it might be rather frustrating for the average gamer (more than even Metal Slug titles) and might not have the polish of the Metal Slug series, but it’s an interesting game for hardcore 2D fans to add to their library.
Up through the end of 2015, Commando: Steel Disaster was pretty much a bargain bin oddity. You could easily find loose cartridges under $10 and complete copies for $20 or so. Carts haven’t increased dramatically (doubled, but from a low amount) but collectors have started to realize how incredibly rare a mint, complete copy of this game really is.
There are eBay sellers asking $500 for complete copies (or $1500 sealed), but the $200 to $250 price range is where we typically see complete copies move.
Limited Edition Non-Game Cartridges
These items may actually see values above mint copies of the games above, but they actually aren’t actually games – they just happen to be “bonus” materials that are stored on Nintendo DS cartridges. Still very collectable though, so we don’t want to overlook them!
Twilight Princess Preview Trailer Cartridge: $400 – $2500
We really don’t see these surface too often. In fact, there is probably less than one completed sale on eBay for these units in the average year.
Currently, there is one listed on eBay for an asking price of $3,000. The highest documented sale on eBay is for under $700 back in 2017. We can imagine, especially in this era of rising values, a bare cartridge could easily sell for over $1,000, but $3K might be a stretch in the short-term without having the full packaging. But the packaging is very hard to find — even on eBay auctions, so a “complete” copy could go for a few thousand.
Pokemon Distribution Cartridges: $45 – $1500
These special distribution carts we sent out to retail stores to promote special events and enable visitors to obtain a special Pokemon that wasn’t otherwise available outside of that event. They stopped producing these units after Generation V.
Most of these cartridges were destroyed or tossed out, but the surviving carts are quickly becoming a hot commodity for those Pokemon fans that are trying to round out their collection.
The values of these cartridges vary greatly based on the the type of Pokemon or use of the particular cartridge. Here’s a quick run-down of the larger recent confirmed sales:
- Jirachi & Pikachi-Colored Pichu: $1500
- Secret Key: $250 – $800
- Zoroark: $500
- Manaphy: $480
Additional Games of Value
- Pokemon Platinum: $74-$160 ($350-$500 Sealed) (eBay)
- Super Robot Taisen OG Saga Endless Frontier: $28 -$185 (eBay)
- Etrian Odyssey III: The Drowned City: $52-$160 ($200 Sealed) (eBay)
- Dragon Quest IV Chapters of the Chosen : $57-$151 (eBay)
- Flower Sun and Rain: $50-$150 (eBay)
- Dragon Quest V Hand of the Heavenly Bride: $58 – $135 (eBay)
- The Dark Spire: $50-$140 ($170-200 Sealed) (eBay)
- Dokapon Journey: $40 -$145 ($260-300 Sealed) (eBay)
- Izuna Legend of the Unemployed Ninja: $37-$145 (eBay)
- Mega Man Star Force 3 Red Joker : $50-$130 (eBay)
- Sarah: Keeper Of The Unicorn: $25-$150 (eBay)
- Blue Dragon: Awakened Shadow: $40-$130 ($130-300 Sealed) (eBay)
- Black Sigil Blade of the Exiled: $55 -$115 ($150-190 Sealed) (eBay)
- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers of Sky: $57 -$110 ($175-250 Sealed) (eBay)
- Mega Man Star Force 3 Black Ace: $40-$115 ($200 Sealed) (eBay)
- Jewel Time Deluxe : $50-$100 (eBay)
- Legacy of Ys: Books I & II : $40-$110 (eBay)
- Winx Club: Saving Alfea: $39-$110 ($220 Sealed) (eBay)
- Castlevania Order of Ecclesia: $ 100-$120 ($270 Sealed) (eBay)
- Avalon Code: $36 -$105 (eBay)
- Fire Emblem Shadow Dragon: $40-$90 (eBay)