Even in its glory days, the Sega Game Gear (see our Beginner’s Guide) was always in the shadow of both its Game Boy competition and it’s Sega Genesis/Megadrive sibling. Sega’s handheld has its share of devotees, but it didn’t quite find mass appeal. Decades later, there has been a bit of reassurance of Game Gear game collecting — especially for complete copies.
Much like the Game Boy, most bare cartridges aren’t terribly hard to find, and even some of the games in this roundup aren’t overly expensive in cartridge form. However, you will notice that having mint cardboard boxes and manuals helps push up the resale value dramatically.
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. Below you will see two prices beside each title. The first is the average selling price of a bare cartridge. The second price is the highest price in the past three months for a complete copy (assuming it came with a box). Sealed values are also shared, when available.
Values Current as of May 2021
Most Valuable North American Games
Mega Man: $250-$1000
The Mega Man game for the Game Gear is not quite the rarest in the library (it is considered to be about the sixth rarest Game Gear game according the RarityGuide.com but the appeal of a Mega Man game — especially on a Sega platform is hard to avoid.
Unlike some expensive Mega Man games, like those on the Sega Saturn, the Game Gear’s Mega Man game isn’t especially enjoyable. It’s essentially a mash-up port of earlier Mega Man games with quite a bit of zooming-in to suit the smaller screen. So technically, it’s kinda an “exclusive”, but not in the same way that the ones that we feature in the Game Boy’s valuable game lineup.
Much like a lot of the games on this top section, complete copies really don’t show up often. But even a bare cartridge of Mega Man for Game Gear is worth more than all but a few complete Game Gear games.
It’s actually difficult to get an especially accurate appraisal of a mint/complete Game Gear Mega Man. Mint Mega Man games, in general have been rapidly appreciating in value — especially in this 2020/2021 collecting upswing, but there hasn’t been an example lately on sale. Based on what we’ve seen lately, $1000 is a relatively conservative value for a boxed copy. If you see a gem mint copy with all the inserts and such, you might be able to see it for well above that range.
Fantastic Dizzy: $130-$900
Fantastic Dizzy is one of several games in the Dizzy series and the only one released outside Europe (where it has a bit of a cult following — especially in the home computing world). The game was ported to multiple platforms including the NES and Sega Genesis in the States. However, the Game Game version is the hardest to find and definitely the most valuable in complete form.
The game was published by Codemasters in their own off-brand-vibe style of packaging and cartridges, so I suppose those Game Gear owners that did happen to pick up this game didn’t especially feel motivated to keep the packaging. As a result, the cartridge itself isn’t overly expensive (despite it being argued that it is a bit more rare than Mega Man), but the value of a complete copy makes up the difference in pushing this to our #2 spot.
We’ve seen manuals for the Game Gear’s Fantastic Dizzy going for $200 alone, but this complete copy (along with all mint inserts) sold for nearly $900 in February 2021.
Pete Sampras Tennis: $170-$535 ($650 Sealed)
This rarity is another Codemasters release but had a more typical, fully-licensed Sega Game Gear packaging (but still bloated-looking cartridge). The game also happens to be just a bit easier to find than Fantastic Dizzy (not sure why the Dizzy cart is cheaper — also considering Dizzy seems like a more interesting game in retrospect).
Like you might notice from most of these Codemasters games, they were more common in Europe, but the North American versions are much trickier to find and command quiet the premium.
Spiderman X-Men Arcade’s Revenge: $15-$600
If you were a Sega fan in the 16-bit era, I’m sure you saw this game quite a bit in ads or in the stores. As you’ll notice from the “low”, cartridge-only price quote, this is not a rare game — although it’s also not super-plentiful.
And even though there is a real premium on the cardboard of many of these more prized Game Gear games, the premium for boxed copies of Arcade’s Revenge is higher than normal. And we aren’t just basing the $600 high range on a single price point. There was one complete copy sold in April 2021 for $600 (with a Buy it Now) and then another copy sold for $510 in May 2021 with an auction format.
We couldn’t help but notice somebody trying to sell a mint sealed copy of Game Gear copy of Arcade’s Revenge for a cool $5,000. I’d love to see what a sealed copy would successfully sell for, but I’m thinking the price might be a little ambitious at this point (but I’ve been too conservative in the past).
CJ Elephant Fugitive : $135 -$385
Oh look, another Codemasters game. This one sports the more unlicensed look of Fantastic Dizzy. (Even though both games have text stating that they are indeed licensed by Sega for use on the Game Gear).
Elephant Fugitive is a follow-up to CJ’s Elephant Antics that had modest success on the Commodore 64 and had ports on a few other systems.
It’s been really tricky to find copies of this game in cartridge format, let alone complete. It may not be on the top of many gamer’s wishlist, but it is a collectors piece.
Tails’ Adventure : $62-$300
The Game Gear got a healthy amount of Sonic action, but our buddy Tails actually got his own dedicated game as well! And while it is still a platforming game at it’s heart, it is more slow-paced than Sonic fans would guess and fits more into the Metroidvania sub-genre. (Some have also compared it to Gargoyles Quest on the Game Boy). The gameplay is focused around puzzle-solving and exploration with a reliance on collecting items and backtracking in stages.
As you might expect from a game in the Sonic family, Tails Adventure is more common than most of the games in the Top 10 of this guide, but the demand for this interesting exclusive makes it more valuable.
The box alone has sold for more than $160 at times, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if a complete copy with all the inserts/posters would sell in the $300 range. You have to admit, a mint copy of Tails Adventure would make a nice addition to any Game Gear collection. It could be the most universally attractive game on the North American Top 10 — rivaled only by Shining Force down below.
Tempo Jr: $54-$280
Sega teamed up with Red Company (perhaps best know for their work on the Bonk series and Gate of Thunder/Lords of Thunder on the TG16) to develop a colorful platformer on the Sega 32X that had some music/rhythm components. While it wasn’t as well-known as some of the other first-party Sega 32X games, it was interesting enough to warrant an Honorable Mention on our Games That Defined the 32X guide.
But this is about the Game Gear, right? Well, Sega thought there was a good enough idea in this new Tempo concept that they would give it another go, not only in this Game Gear follow-up (released later in the same year), but Super Tempo on the Sega Saturn (although this Saturn installment only made it to Japan).
It’s worth mentioning that Tempo Jr isn’t really considered a sequel to the 32X game — it’s actually a bit more of a shrunken-down version of the original game with some gameplay mechanics simplified. With both the “Jr.” in the title and the “Sega Club” branding on the game, it is targeted more toward younger kids. It can still be a chill gaming experience for those that want to dig into the Game Gear library or you’re in the mood for a more relaxing platformer. And much like the 32X version, Tempo Jr. is a pretty nice-looking game considering the hardware its running on.
Even though we have the “average” price for a bare cartridge being in the $54 range, we’ve seen loose carts for for close to $100. There are a lot of bare units out there, but they can vary in price more than most. Manuals are pretty rare to find and North American boxes boxes are near non-existent. There is actually a mint extra-complete copy with inserts listed current on eBay for $640 (much higher than our conservative appraisal above), just to give you perspective
So while it isn’t a hardcore gaming experience, I can see why Game Gear collectors would want to scoop this up and why some might target it on a list of games to splurge on for a complete copy.
Check for Tempo Jr on eBay
Check for Tempo Jr on Amazon.com
RC Grand Prix: $25-$270
Like some other Game Gear games, RC Grand Prix originated on the Sega Master System. It’s a pretty comparable port and one of the harder-to-find games of the earlier Game Gear era.
Shining Force Sword of Hajya: $52-$220
The Shining Force series was among the Defining Games of the Sega Genesis/Megadrive and those two games are also among the best tactical RPG games in history. The series was a natural fit for Sega to bring the franchise to their portable system. Interestingly enough, their first portable installment, Shining Force Gaiden remained a Japanese exclusive on the Game Gear. The North American release, Shining Force: Sword of Hajya is actually “Shining Force Gaiden II”. It’s also worth mentioning that both Game Gear games were remade (and brought to all regions) in Shining Force CD for the Sega CD/Mega CD (where it also makes a predominant rank on the Sega CD Rare & Valuable list).
So anyway, Shining Force: Sword of Hajya is one of the more common games on this top 10 list, but it is little surprise that it’s highly collected. For those interested in collecting complete copies, it helps that the artwork is downright beautiful.
Check for Shining Force Sword of Hajya on eBay
Check for Shining Force Sword of Hajya on Amazon.com
Urban Strike: $48 -$160
All of use that came of age in the 90s console gaming world were very aware of the “Strike” series . The EA-produced isometric, multi-directions shoot-em-up were some of the most iconic non-sports/non-fighting multi-platform games of the 16-bit era.
And while this decade finally sees complete games in the series starting to get closer to their 90s resale prices, they are quite easy to find — Urban Strike for the Game Gear is possibly the hardest to track down of the whole series — especially in boxed/complete form.
Most Valuable PAL Games
Power Drive: $800 – $5000
The Power Drive games were arcade-style isometric/top-down Rally car racers that feel familiar to those that are fans of the RC Pro AM series. In the series, you rallied around tracks and picked up time bonuses and cash to spend on your car to improve its handling and speed. The series was popular on the Amiga system and the 16-bit consoles (and even made it to the Atari Jaguar).
We really don’t see many copies of the Game Gear ports in the wild. The console counterparts of the game on the Sega Megadrive and Super Nintendo (still PAL exclusives) are much more common and can be picked up for $30 or less complete at times.
Fortunately, to help with our appraisal efforts, Hendrik Stabler, from Germany, purchased a gorgeous complete-in-box Power Drive for €4,122 in an August 2020 Facebook auction. He shared, after the auction, “Initially i didn’t want to go any higher than 3k [Euros]… This kind of got me hooked because of the mint condition. Never have I seen a Power Drive this immaculate.” (Read more and see more pictures on RetroFaith’s post on the topic). Earlier in 2020, I’ve seen people offering €1,000 for any copy of the game, so while my appraisal range may be fairly wide (due mostly to lack of sample size), this piece won’t come cheap.
Mortal Kombat 3: $250 – $400
It’s always interesting to see games from big franchises that get ports to things like handhelds, but then only get releases in a certain territory. This one is a rather surprising one too.
So yes, a scaled-down Game Gear version of Mortal Kombat 3 was produced, but it is nearly identical to the Game Boy version. The only “upgrades” are that it includes blood and gore, it is in color and features Noob Saibot as a hidden character. For trivia’s sake, its worth mentioning that this was later ported to the Sega Master System — only to be released in Brazil.
Most Valuable Japanese Game Gear Games
Panzer Dragoon Mini: $500 – $1100
This Japanese exclusive is a neat 2D on-rails shooter that has cartoon-like stylings inspired by the Sega Saturn cornerstone games. There’s no storyline in “Mini”, nor was Panzer Dragoon creator, Yukio Futatsugi involves aside from the cover artwork.
We often think of the Game Gear coinciding with the Sega Genesis timeline, so its kinda cool to see the 8-bit handheld getting a game inspired by the Sega Saturn. The game was released in Japan in November of 1996 — if released just four weeks later, it would have been the last game release for the Game Gear (who’s honor goes to Sonic Blast G, mentioned below in December of 1996)
Even though it’s not a significant part of the Panzer Dragoon legacy, it’s a cool collectable for any Sega fan and is priced on the aftermarket accordingly.
Check for Panzer Dragoon Mini on eBay
GG Aleste: $400 – $800
Compile is one of the premier developers of 2D shooter/shmups in the 80s and 90s and their Aleste series is heavily represented in our Best Shmups to Get You Started guide and many other of our Shooters guides. Perhaps you’ve heard of MUSHA, Space Megaforce or even Robo Aleste — well that series all started with this game on the Master System (and was adapted and released in North America as “Power Strike”) and then adapted to the Game Gear before hitting the 16-bit platforms.
At first blush, it might seem that Compile simply did an easy port of the game from the Master System to the Game Gear (they are very similar hardware), but they actually created a different off-shoot in the series for the portable. There’s nothing super unique from its other family members, but its cool that theres more to dig into for fans of the series. In fact, not only did they produce a GG Aleste 2 (mentioned below), but recently created a new GG Aleste 3 in recent years to be included in with the rest of the series in the new Aleste collection for the Nintendo Switch and PS4 (Amazon/eBay).
With all that said, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a rather elusive installment of an ever-popular in a heavily popular retro genre is a collectors item decades later.
Fray in Magical Adventure: $400 – $620
This spin-off “Gaiden” to the Japanese RPG series, Xak, originated on the MSX. Fray in Magical Adventure is an action RPG and has sections that feel a bit shmup-like with its auto-scrolling, enemy approaches, and movement. It’s not as fast-paced as a typical shooter, but it is intriguing for those that enjoy both genres.
After the MSX, Fray in Magical Adventure later found its way to some other Japanese personal computers and the PC Engine CD before getting a Game Gear port.
On eBay, we don’t even see many listings for this one, so it was cool that we got to see a completed and sold auction reaching $620 shipped from Brazil
G Sonic (JP Sonic Blast) – $350 – $450
For those that grew up with the Sega Genesis but haven’t explored the full Game Gear lineup, it’s easy to assume that “Sonic Blast” was a slimmed down version of Sonic 3D Blast. The cover art is even remarkably similar. Instead, Sonic Blast is a 2D platformer that uses pre-rendered visuals. Sonic Blast, and its Japanese release, known as G Sonic were among the very last Game Gear games released. The very last game published on the Game Gear platform in December of 1996 (it was actually release a full month earlier in North America).
Despite being a rather lousy game (especially after the initial novelty of the pre-rendered graphics wore off in the mid 90s), the rather limited release and the Sonic branding make this quite the collectable decades later.
Griffin: $200 – $375
If you’re into shooters, Griffin one is a tank-based shoot-em-up that doesn’t have auto-scrolling. It’s an interesting and “ok” game, but halfway respectable for the Game Gear.
It is supposedly a rather hard game to find, but you can typically find a handful of copies (including complete copies) on eBay at any given moment. I have a feeling the genre plays a bit into the demand factor here, despite it not being an especially solid example.
GG Aleste II – $135 – $240
Oh hey — we’re back into the GG Aleste sub-series of 2D shooters. This one was released in European regions as GG Power Strike II (not to be confused with Power Strike II on the Master System, which is in the same series, but a different game as well). But much like the first GG Aleste, there isn’t a lot that sets this one apart feature-wise from its series-mates, but it is indeed a separate game in the franchise.
Additional North American Games of Value
- Sonic Blast: $37-$150 (eBay)
- Space Harrier: $25-$160 (eBay)
- Rise of the Robots : $25-$150 (eBay)
- Fatal Fury Special: $35-$150 (eBay)
- Vampire Master of Darkness: $35-$150 (eBay)
- Double Dragon: $40-$140 (eBay)
- Cosmic Spacehead: $50-$125 (eBay)
- Popils: $27-$150 (eBay)
- Captain America and the Avengers: $35-$135 (eBay)
- Defenders of Oasis: $40-$120 (eBay)
- Itchy and Scratchy: $18-$130 (eBay)
- Arena Maze of Death: $50-$95 ($150 Sealed) (eBay)
- Solitaire FunPak: $15-$120 (eBay)
- Micro Machines: $27-$100 (eBay)
- Sonic Labyrinth: $22-$100 (eBay)
- Bubble Bobble: $38-$80 (eBay)
- Ninja Gaiden : $20-$80 (eBay)
- Battletoads: $31-$70 (eBay)
- Crystal Warriors: $35-$90 (eBay)
- Samurai Shodown: $28-$70 (eBay)
- Junction: $15-$90 (eBay)
- Iron Man X-O Manowar in Heavy Metal: $17-$80 (eBay)