About this series: 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.
Since Sega’s first console wasn’t a bit hit in the United States and it doesn’t have as much of a collector’s following as some newer systems, it can be a challenge to find a lot of price information on the rarer Master System games. However, after a lot of research on eBay, forums, and rarity guides online, I think I’ve compiled a fairly accurate listing of the Master System libary. It’s also worth noting that with a quick search on eBay, you may find that some prices for games may vary for certain games. Often in those cases, it may be due to a more common region variation of the game being sold without being specified (often a common PAL version instead of the US version)
|Sonic the Hedgehog: $300 – $500
Now, don’t get confused on this one (or some of the others to follow). If you look on eBay for a Sonic the Hedgehog for the Master System, you will indeed find some inexpensive games that will play on the North American Sega Master System, but most likely, it is actually just the more common European version. The only way to tell the European versions from the North American counterparts is that US releases have a sticker barcode on the back (and the code often begins with “01008” as opposed to the PAL’s “49743”) Because of this, you need a complete game (not just the cart) to have much value.
|James Buster Douglas Knockout Boxing: $150 – $400
This games is just hard to find all-around. After the real US Sonic release, this is the next in line in terms of rarirty. It is also the most sought-after loose cartridge (you don’t have to worry about the more-common European version).
|Golden Axe Warrior: $65 – $200
This one is a mix of rarity and demand for a solid exclusive title. Warrior is a real challenge to find at an affordable price and it’s also Zelda-like spinoff of Sega’s classic Golden Axe franchise. If you’re looking to build a top-notch Master System collection, this is a solid entry that will command respect in more ways than one.
|Out Run (Blue Label) 1990 Re-Release: $50 – $100
It isn’t hard to find Out Run for the Master System, but there are a handful of games that saw a late re-release with a simple packaging change. This 1990 release has a blue label on the cartridge instead of the original red one. That’s the only difference.
|Power Strike II: $60 – $85
Like Golden Axe Warrior, Power Strike II is both hard to find and an excellent Master System exclusive. If you like 2D shooters then you owe it to yourself to try this game out (at least on an emulator). This is easily one of the best 8 bit shmups and can even hold its own against many 16-bit shooters.
|Phantasy Star: $23 – $60
While it isn’t super common, Phantasy Star’s value rides more on the fact that it’s the first installment of Sega’s classic RPG series. It is still regarded as one of the best 8-bit RPGs and other than a few releases in compilations many years down the line, it also remained an exclusive to the Master System
|Out Run 3D: $40 – $80
Here’s Out Run again! This time it’s the version that makes use of the Master System’s ahead-of-its-time 3D glasses. There were a handful of games that utilized the 3D, but Out Run is one of the harder games to find and also one of the most in-demand. It’s a cool little collectible if you can scoop it up.
|Spiderman: $45 – $70
This is another rare North American release that can be easily found in other regions.
|Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker: $30 – $50
Yes, another rare North American release. The passing of the King of Pop also helped drive the value of this release up. Both the Master System and the Genesis version saw a huge spike in value after MJ’s death, but it’s calmed down since then.
|Alex Kidd in Shinobi World: $30 – $50
This treasured platformer can be a bit hard to find, but the love of the classic Alex Kidd franchise also keeps the value of this gem up. If you shop around, you can find it cheaper, but most of the time on eBay it will cost you.
Valuable Brazil (Tec-Toy) Releases
|Tec-Toy released a large selection of Master System games in Brazil (where the Master System thrived quite a bit). Many of them were actually simple ports of Game Gear games. There are many Tec-Toy releases that are rather hard to find and can bring in some good money, but here are some of the most valuable.
Valuable Japanese Releases
|Great Ice Hockey: $120 – $200
How does a common US game go from being worth $5 to $200+? The Japanese version was only released through a magazine contest that coupled the title in with a Sega Sports Pad giveaway (before the Sega Sports Pad’s official release in Japan). No box was ever made for it (we just included a picture.
|Bomber Raid: $100 – $150
This vertical 2D shooter was the very last Master System game released in Japan. It was also released in Europe and North America, but this seems to be the most valuable Japanese release.
Valuable European/PAL Releases
Les Schtroumpfs Autour du Monde: $50 – $80
Masters of Combat: $60 – $80
Buggy Run: $60 – $80
Other US Releases of Value
- Alf : $30 – $50
- Strider: $40 – $60
- Ghouls ‘n Ghosts: $20 – $47
- Asterix and the Great Rescue: $30 – $50
- Montezuma’s Revenge Featuring Panama Joe: $35 – $45
- Ninja Gaiden: $32 – $45
- Aerial Assault: $20 – $45
- Ultima Quest of the Avatar: $29 – $42
- Power Strike: $30 – $40
Other Hard-to-Find US Releases
- King’s Quest: Quest for the Crown
- Castle of Illusion (starring Mickey Mouse)
- Slap Shot
- Dick Tracy
- Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap
- Super Monaco GP
- Blade Eagle 3D
- Space Harrier 3D
Other Hard-to-Find Brazil Releases
- Ariel The Little Mermaid
- Ecco: The Tides of Time
- Cyborg Hunter
- Dynamite Headdy
- Fire & Ice
- Buggy Run
- American Pro Football
- Asterix and the Secret Mission
- Alien Storm
- Battletoads Battlemaniacs
Other Hard-to-Find Japanese Releases
- Great Ice Hockey
- The Castle
- Comical Machine Gun Joe
- Loretta no Shouzou
- Undead Line
- Alex Kidd: BMX Trial
- Cyborg Hunter
- Hokuto no Ken
- Super Racing
Other Hard to Find European Releases
- Championship Hockey
- Great Soccer [card]
- Home Alone
- T2: The Arcade Game
- Assault City (Light Phaser Version)
- Asterix and the Great Rescue
- Daffy Duck in Hollywood
- Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine
- Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story
- The Incredible Hulk
- Power Strike II
- Sonic Spinball
- Ultimate Soccer