The Rarest & Most Valuable Bandai Wonderswan Games
The Bandai Wonderswan (read our Beginner’s Guide) is a handheld system that was designed by long-time Nintendo employee and father of the Nintendo Game & Watch and Game Boy systems, Gunpei Yokoi. It had a lot of cool design choices, but remained a Japanese exclusive over its relatively short lifespan. However, the handheld has increasingly become more collectable outside of Japan. In this guide, we hope to cover the most interesting collectors pieces. If you have any interesting information to share that I didn’t cover, please feel free to share it in the comments section below.
This guide will be broken into two major sections, those that were designed for the Wonderswan Color (similar setup to Gameboy Color) and those that were released for the classic, non-color Wonderswan. The Color games will be listed first just because they have the most valuable lineup.
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 selling price for loose games. The second price is the highest price in the past three months, which is usually the price for the a complete game. The list is ordered by the balance of the two prices.
Most Valuable Wonderswan Color Games
Dicing Knight: $570-$900
The Wonderswan had a handful of interesting oddities and curiosities, but our top two entries in this Rare & Valuable series are the result of a contest to get enthusiasts to create games using the WonderWitch development kit that was sold to consumers (which we discuss in our Wonderswan Beginner’s Guide and will also mention below in our valuable hardware section).
The first of the two winners in this 2003 development competition is Dicing Knight from Platine Dispositif. Dicing Knight has the style of a classic Zelda game, but is more of an action rouge like with randomly-generated maps. The game also has some other innovative gameplay mechanics like its “Food Gauge” that will limit how much time you can spend in a dungeon and its namesake “Dicing” mechanic that will determine the amount of damage you’d deal out to enemies.
Despite it have a pretty cool setup, it doesn’t get quite the attention of the second game, Judgment SilverSword, mentioned below, but it usually is valued a bit higher as a result.
In 2020, we saw a copy sold for 59,800 yen (about $565 USD) in Japanese shops and for about $750 on eBay. But it’s really hard to find in the wild. Given the increased demand in the market, we think our higher estimate range of $900 being rather conservative for a mint copy. Some have said that $1,000 wouldn’t be unrealistic at this point.
Check for Dicing Knight on eBay
Judgement Silversword: $500-$800
The second winner of the WonderWitch amateur development contest from 2003 is this innovative shmup from M-KAI. The game attracted a lot of attention for not only being an attractive 2D vertical scrolling shooter, but effectively using the Wonderswan’s unique TATE mode. It also benefited form colorful visuals, fast and fast gameplay with smooth animation (even with up to 100 spites onscreen). This all built toward Judgement Silversword’s reputation as being one the best technical showpieces of Wonderswan software.
Previously, the game was released as a freeware demo on M-KAI’s personal site in 2001. The retail version of the game was published by Qute in 2004 (with the subtitle Rebirth Edition). Unfortunately, since Bandai had already announced discontinuing the platform in 2003 (strangely after this coding contest), Qute only produced 500 copies of Judgement Silversword.
While Judgement Silversword’s production was very limited, it still seems to be a bit easier to find that the ultra-elusive Dicing Knight, mentioned above.
In Japanese shops has been spotted for as little 30,000 yen (over $260 USD) around 2020, but things have heated up since then and prices often are much higher on eBay. Some have estimated that a mint copy could sell for $1,000, but our conservative appraisal would be $800 on the higher end.
Check for Judgement Silversword on eBay
Rockman EXE N1 Battle: $90-$200
It has becoming a growing trend to see Mega Man / Rockman games starting to rank higher on our Rare & Valuable guides and it shouldn’t be surprising that these rather obscure examples of the Rockman / Mega Man franchises fair well on this list.
Rockman EXE N1 Battle is essentially an alternate version of Mega Man Battle Chip Challenge, which was released on the Game Boy Advance. However, in the Wonderswan version, there are some differences such as only having Netto’s story, less Battle Chips available and some other minor changes. Both the Wonderswan and GBA versions were leased on the same day in 2003 within Japan.
Check for Rockman EXE N1 Battle on eBay
Rockman EXE WS: $90-$155
Unlike other games in the .EXE series (also known as Battle Network outside of Japan), Rockman.EXE WS is a retelling of the first season of the Rockman.EXE anime series, and is the only tie-in game released for the show. It essentially allows players to “live” out the anime with some story changes. With this being essentially an exclusive, it shouldn’t be surprising that this one has a solid resale value. From a pure collectability standpoint, I’m surprised EXE WS hasn’t recently edged out EXE N1 Battle, but I also haven’t played either of them — also, it’s possible that N1 Battle is a bit harder to find.
Check for Rockman EXE WS on eBay
Golden Axe: $100-$180
This release is a pretty straightforward port of Sega’s arcade classic scrolling beatemup. The Wonderswan does a nice enough job with it that it’s a natural pickup for those that want English-friendly games on this Japanese-only handheld.
Also, with the strength of Sega collecting in general, some fans might pick up a complete copy of this one just for novelty’s sake.
Super Robot Wars Compact for WS Color: $90-$145
The Super Robot Wars series is an especially popular series of tactical role-playing video games by Banpresto / Bandai Namco. The series has its roots in the portable gaming world, starting on the original Game Boy before having console installments.
Naturally, the Wonderswan received a few installments under the sub-series, Super Robot Wars Compact. The first of these installments was for the original Wonderswan and therefore without color. This particular release, “Super Robot Wars Compact for WS Color” is a remake of this original “Compact” game to utilize the full color palette and bring it in line with its sequels. In addition to adding color graphics, audio and mechanics were changed to match that of the Compact 2 series of games.
With it being a re-release and there already being quite a few copies of the original floating around, you can understand why this one might have had a rather limited run.
Check for Super Robot Wars Compact for WS Color on eBay
Super Robot Taisen Compact 3: $85-$140
The third in the trilogy of the Super Robot Taisen Compact games, this one came out in the summer of 2003 as the Wonderswan was as the platform was getting phased out.
The series may have been popular in Japan, but there was still some risk in producing too many copies of this one. At the same time, fans of the series don’t mind tracking this one down after the fact.
Check for Super Robot Taisen Compact 3 on eBay
Guilty Gear Petit Series
Guilty Gear Petit 2: $78-$150
Guilty Gear Petit: $60-$138
The Guilty Gear series by Arc System Works is one of the Defining Franchises of the Fighting Game genre (albeit, one of the less mainstream ones) that became famous for its fast action, heavy music and drool-worthy sprite design in the era.
The series originated on the PS1 before becoming a bit more high-profile in the arcade and on the Sega Dreamcast in 2000. In 2001, Arc System Works published their first portable version on the Wonderswan (a year before the Gameboy Advance version) that featured super-deformed style characters.
The initial Petit release was popular enough to warrant a second installment in nine months later. The series has remained popular enough that this pair is often high on a list of English-friendly games to collect.
Check for Guilty Gear Petit Series on eBay
Most Valuable Wonderswan [Classic] Games
MakaiMura for WonderSwan (Ghosts N Goblins): $70-$165
The Ghosts N Goblins franchise is increasingly becoming more of a collectors item for classic gamers and this particular installment is an interesting exclusive as opposed to a simple port of the arcade classic.
Makaimura for WonderSwan was developed by Bandai instead of Capcom and is usually not counted as an “official” installment in the franchise. It’s also the only game to have not been designed by Tokuro Fujiwara, who had temporarily left Capcom at that point.
Fans of the series often mention that MakaiMura for WonderSwan is the least challenging game of the series, but it is still quite difficult for mere mortals.
Visuals in MakaiMura for WonderSwan are strongly based on earlier entires in the series, but it has less unique personality within. However, all the bosses are new, but their designs are not quite as original as you might expect.
Uzumaki: Denshi Kaiki Hen: $70-$160
Uzumaki is a horror manga series published published in 1998 and 1999. The manga series was popular enough to receive a publication in North America as well. Uzumaki: Denshi Kaiki Hen is the first of two games based on the series on the WonderSwan.
This release, developed and published by Omega Micott in 2000 is essentially a visual novel retelling the events of the manga.
Considering, most of the games on this list are rather English-friendly, this one is especially impressive in its resale value. It has, however gotten some attention over the years as horror games become more of a collectors target.
Check for Uzumaki: Denshi Kaiki Hen on eBay
Pocket Fighter: $75-$150
If you have played Super Puzzle Fighter 2X, you are probably familiar with the pint-sized versions of everybody’s favorite Street Fighter and Darkstalkers characters. Pocket Fighters (aka Super Gem Fighters) takes those character sprites and actually uses them in a fighting game. While the result isn’t exactly a deep gameplay experience, you can’t help but have a bit of fun with the game. The game still uses the gems from Puzzle Fighter but this time they are used to make your special moves stronger.
The game got most of its attention on the Playstation and Saturn, but this is the only portable version of the game (despite the “Pocket” naming) and Capcom fans are eager to add this to their collection.
Check for Pocket Fighter on eBay
Ganso Jajamaru-kun (Ninja-kun): $70-$140
Ganso Jajamaru-kun is an enhanced remake of the original Jajamaru-kun game that appeared on the Famicom, MSX and in the Arcade. (The MSX version was released in Europe as Ninja II, being marketed as a sequel to Ninja-kun: Majou no Bouken, a game that used the name Ninja for its European MSX release).
The game itself is a relatively basic arcade style game in which your goal is to kill each of the enemies on the screen. And while North Americans might not be especially familiar with the game, the original actually sold nearly 1 million units on the Famicom, becoming one of the system’s best-selling games.
As you might guess, this resale value is mostly due to its limited release vs unique gameplay.
Check for Ganso Jajamaru-kun on eBay
Kaze no Klonoa: Moonlight Museum: $65-$109
Moonlight Museum is the first handheld game in Namco’s Klonoa series and, in turn, the first to place him in a fully two-dimensional world and established the system that his Game Boy Advance titles later used.
Kaze no Klonoa: Moonlight Museum was published in 1999 on the Wonderswan as a side-story to the original Klonoa: Door to Phantomile. Interestingly enough, Moonlight Museum could be played equally well on the WonderSwan’s horizontal or vertical display mode. However, this could also have contributed to the fact that the game remained exclusive to the Wonderswan and to Japan over the last 20+ years.
Check for Kaze no Klonoa: Moonlight Museum on eBay
Additional Games of Value
- Flash Koibito-Kun: $60-$140 (eBay)
- Gunpey EX: $63-$120 (eBay)
- Mr Driller: $60-$105 (eBay)
- One Piece Grand Battle: Swan Colosseum: $30-$ 70 (eBay)
- Rockman & Forte: $70-$112 (eBay)
- Hanafuda Shiyouyo: $65-$110 (eBay)
- Glocal Hexcite: $60-$105 (eBay)
- Moero Pro Yakyuu Rookies: $60-$100 (eBay)
- Magical Drop for WonderSwan: $40-$110 (eBay)
- BeatMania for WonderSwan: $45-$100 ($107-$155 boxed with turntable (eBay)
- Clock Tower for WonderSwan: $45-$90 (eBay)
- Neon Genesis Evangelion Shito Ikusei: $30-$90 (eBay)
- Langrisser Millennium WS: The Last Century: $40-$75 (eBay)
- Makai Toushi SaGa (Final Fantasy Legend): $34-$76 (eBay)
- Space Invaders: $30-$75 (eBay)
- Medarot: Perfect Edition – Kabuto: $40-$80 (eBay)
- Medarot: Perfect Edition – Kuwagata Version : $30-$58 (eBay)
Typically, we don’t cover hardware or accessories in this guide, but I wanted to include this one for kicks. If you didn’t pick up on it earlier the Wonderwitch is essentially a devkit with a C-based toolchain for the Wonderswan that was available to normal retail consumers.
There weren’t a ton of them made, but you can understand why this piece of hardware is especially collectable for a niche handheld with a following. Check for the Wonderwitch on eBay
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Good stuff as usual. I have a few games, and one thing that has to be heard to be believed is the Beatmania game. The audio on that one is punching many, many classes above its weight class.
Very cool! I saw that, but didn’t know that much of it — will dig deeper — thanks!
Good list another 2 somewhat expensive ones are Tetris and Wizardry
Sweet — thanks for the heads up — I’ll look into it!