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The World’s Rare$t Video Game$

May 20, 2019

If you’ve got any of these sitting in a box in your basement (or in your parents’ basement), you’re going to want to dig them out, and figure out what to do with all the money you’re going to get when you sell then.

Taipei, Taiwan – February 19, 2018: A collection of retro video game controllers shot from above on a white background.

Nintendo PowerFest 94

In the early 1990s, Nintendo held an annual, nationally touring exhibition capped with a video game tournament. Finalists in each city in 1994 squared off on a specially made, three-in-one game cartridge that contained multiple games: Super Mario Kart, Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, and Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball. Nintendo made 30 of these cartridges, and only two are known to still exist. One that sold went for $23,000.

Stadium Events

In 1987, software company Bandai released Stadium Events, a track-and-field simulation meant to be played with a toy called the Family Fun Fitness Mat, a touch-sensitive vinyl mat that let players control their character on screen by running and jumping all over it. Neither game or mat sold well, but Nintendo bought the rights to the Family Fun Fitness Mat, and re-released it as the Power Pad, then remade Stadium Events as World Class Track Meet. All copies of Stadium Events were ordered recalled and destroyed…but a few slipped through the cracks. In 2010, a woman in North Carolina put her kids’ old video games up for sale on eBay. Among them: Stadium Events. Expecting to nab a couple of bucks, the woman took in $13,105. A few years later, an unplayed, factory-sealed edition sold for $42,000.

Birthday Mania

This game, made for the iconic early ‘80s console the Atari 2600, is pretty simple. It consists of small, easy games like blowing out candles on a cake, and speed-popping balloons. (You know, birthday stuff.) It was only available by mail order. Programmer Anthony Tokar would write your kid’s name on the cartridge and then program a personalized birthday message in the actual game’s title screen. But so few people ordered this game that there is only one known working copy in existence. Estimated value: about $25,000.

Atlantis II

In 1982, Imagic released Atlantis, a game in which the player used huge cannons to defend the city of Atlantis against evil invaders. It was extremely popular, selling two million copies for various consoles and inspiring an Atari-sponsored contest called “Defend Atlantis.” Players sent in proof of their high score (a photograph of their TV) and the four top finishers received a rare prize: a copy of the game’s “sequel,” Atlantis II. It wasn’t actually a sequel, just a more difficult version of Atlantis. Still, only four copies were ever made, making them worth somewhere in the area of $6,000 a piece.

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