The vast majority of video games are mass produced by publishers as they obviously want to sell as many copies as possible to customers. Even supposed limited edition versions of games are rarely truly limited. It is generally not difficult to find a copy of a title that you really want. That is not always true though. There are a very select number of games that are incredibly rare, with some being produced purposely in only tiny numbers, while in other instances, copies have been destroyed or lost over time. This article will take a look at video games that are the most difficult to acquire due to their high value and severely limited number.
12 Uncharted 2: Fortune Hunter Edition
While Uncharted 2 is not a particularly rare game itself (in fact, it is one of the most popular and highly praised games available on the PlayStation 3), there is a certain edition of the title that has proved elusive for collectors. This was completely by design though, as Sony decided that for their limited edition version of the game, it really should be limited rather than just a more expensive bundle. The company only created 200 copies of the Fortune Hunter Edition and gave them out randomly to players who had spent some time on the official demo during selected weekends. Copies can sell for anywhere between $8,000 and $12,000 and come with the game, as well as an official art book and game guide along with a replica dagger.
11 Dead Space Ultra Limited Edition
The Ultra Limited Edition of Dead Space is another version of a game that uses the word limited in its truest sense. Just 1,000 of these bundles ever made it to retail, meaning that they are incredibly rare and incredibly difficult to find, even through sites such as eBay and Craigslist. As well as the usual version of Dead Space that you would expect to find in the collection, the Ultra Limited Edition bundle also contains a special graphic novel that comes to 160 pages, an animated movie, a detailed art book, signed artwork and a patch. Sealed copies of this have sold for as much as $1,000.
10 Atlantis II
This version of the fixed shooter that released in 1982 is one of the rarest games from the Atari 2600 days. While it was not a traditional sequel to the original title, Atlantis II did differ significantly in that enemy ships were faster and awarded fewer points to the player when they were destroyed. The rarity of the game comes from the fact that it was never a retail release. Instead, the cartridge was sent to players directly from the developer if they could prove they had beaten a set high score with a photograph of the television screen. Listings for Atlantis II have shown that collectors are willing to pay in the region of $5,000 for it.
9 Air Raid
Air Raid is not just one of the rarest games ever to release but it is also one of the most mysterious. Developed by Men-A-Vision, the game has no official name as the cartridge itself just displays an image of alien ships attacking a built up city. It also has a distinctive blue handle in the shape of the letter T that was never used in North America. Its gameplay follows similar fixed shooting mechanics that made games such as Missile Command popular, but nothing really sets it apart from better titles from the same time. With only 12 copies known to exist, auctions with the box and manual have sold for in excess of $30,000.
8 Kizuna Encounter
This particular Neo Geo title first released in 1996 in Japan, and is relatively easy to come by for collectors. However, the European version of the fighting game is much rarer, as the game was never officially released in the region other than as arcade machines. Collectors estimate that there might be as few as 15 European versions of the game in existence and there have only ever been five sold online. Even though it is widely available in other markets, the rarity of this particular version means that prices have risen to more than $13,000 when it has been sold at auction.
7 Ultimate 11
Also commonly known as Super Sidekicks 4, Ultimate 11 was the final entry in the Super Sidekicks series of soccer games that had been available on the Neo Geo from 1993. Featuring a number of improvements of its predecessors, this 1996 title was not expected to be a commercial success and thus, was not mass produced for the market. This has left very few copies remaining, as over the years, other surviving cartridges have been lost or destroyed. Some estimate that there may be as few as 10 copies still in existence, which allows them to fetch a price of more than $10,000.
6 Nintendo World Championships
In the year 1990, Nintendo set about organizing a competition that would run in 30 different cities around the United States to try to find the best gamers in the entire country. The Nintendo World Championships used a cartridge that bore the same name and contained demo versions of Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer and Tetris. Competitors would have to try to post as high a score as possible in a 6-minute time limit. Three winners from each city were given a copy of the cartridge used and these have sold for between $4,000 and $6,000. Even more rare though are gold versions of the game that were awarded to winners of a magazine contest, as only 26 were ever sent out. Prices for these versions can reach as high as $21,000.
5 Stadium Events
One of the rarest licensed games ever created for any platform is the 1987 title, Stadium Events. The game was not a big seller upon launch and Nintendo later bought the rights to the games in 1988 for use with their own peripheral the Power Pad. They re-branded the game World Class Track Meet and released it as a separate game, after recalling all copies of Stadium Events from retail stores. As the game only had a small initial production run and the fact that Nintendo asked retailers to recall all copies, it is estimated that only around 200 copies made it into the hands of customers. People have been known to buy the game for as much as $41,000 for complete copies, while the boxes alone have sold for up to $10,000.
4 NBA Elite 11
NBA Elite 11 was a basketball game that was developed by EA Canada to replace the publisher’s longstanding franchise, NBA Live. It was set to feature completely revamped controls, new animations and a variety of other additions. However, the developers were only given 18 months to work on the game and they were unable to get it to perform to a level high enough before EA performed an internal review and subsequently cancelled the game. Some sealed copies made it to retail though, and out of the nine confirmed to exist, some have sold for upwards of $2,000.
3 Birthday Mania
Birthday Mania was a small game that was created for the Atari 2600 by a single developer. The man had started his own company and wanted to create a birthday themed video game that could be bought as a unique present for children. It featured incredibly simple game-play and because the developer created each cartridge manually when they were purchased, the game would actually feature the name of the birthday person in the title screen. Only 10 copies of the game were ever sold while a few others were given away as presents, making Birthday Mania an immensely rare game.
2 Gamma Attack
Gammation was a company that created a number of controller attachments and peripherals for the Atari 2600. However, they also tried their hand at creating a video game in 1983, and this led to Gamma Attack. The shoot’em up had a very limited run and is widely considered by collectors to be the rarest game available for the platform. Only one copy is known to be in existence and it has never been sold since it was acquired by collector, Anthony DenArdo so it is unknown exactly what its value is, although offers of more than $10,000 have been made by others who wanted to get their hands on it.
1 Nintendo Campus Challenge
In a similar promotion to the Nintendo World Championships, the Campus Challenge saw the gaming company travel to a variety of popular Spring Break locations at different College campuses, so that players could compete in the competition and attempt to win some select prizes. With the same 6-minute time limit imposed on competitors, this particular cartridge contained demo versions of Super Mario Bros.3, PinBot and Dr. Mario. Nintendo destroyed the copies after the competition ended, although one employee managed to keep hold of just one cartridge that eventually went on to sell for $14,000 before being sold again at auction for $20,000. It is perhaps the rarest game of all time, with just one known to be in existence.