If you’re on the hunt for some intriguingly rare Gameboy games, then you better be prepared to have a wad of cash in your pocket.
The Gameboy was, and still is, one of the most iconic handheld consoles ever made. Android emulators and retropie handhelds will come and go, but the might of the Gameboy is everlasting.
Maybe we could start our own Church of Nintendo (someone probably already has).
As with any iconic console, the games list was incredibly vast. Over 1,000 titles were released for Nintendo’s first portable powerhouse, so it should come as no real surprise to find out that some of those have become as rare as rocking horse dung, or chickens teeth if you want another analogy.
Mr Potato Head might be the hottest-vegetable on the film and TV scene, but our first protagonist had his sights set on gaming greatness back in the 90s with Spuds Adventure!
Spud’s Adventure is part of a series of games known as ‘Puzzle Boy’ and is the second in the run. It came out just 8 months before it’s sequel (Number 3 on our list) and is a top-down RPG title with tricky puzzle action around every corner.
The player has to move ‘Spud’ around a series of levels in a bid to rescue Princess Mato (who I’m guessing is a Tomato), and while the graphics aren’t anything special, the gameplay is tantilizingly addictive.
What started off as a $15 dollar game can now cost up to $3,500 for a mint condition copy. That makes Spud the most expensive potato in existence!
If you’re a fan of the series, however, then you HAVE to give Mega Man V a try. It’s a classic in its own right and quite different from the home-console versions that have come before it.
Mega Man V was voted as the best portable title in the series. It took more time to make than any of the previous four games, and it really showed consumers what the DMG could do.
For those of you that don’t know, Mega Man is kind of like Samus Aran (Metroid). He’s a space-age fighter with a plasma arm and flying fists, and you have to use him to defeat enemies about 4-times his size (check out that beast in the pic above!)
Capcom sure know how to make cracking games, and Mega Man V is certainly no exception. It might look old, but this game can still hold its own in the gaming big leagues and has a price that proves it’s a title worth investigating.
Amazing Tater is one of the hardest rare Gameboy games to find. Another cult classic by game developers Atlus (who seem to be obsessed with potato based gaming), Amazing Tater is the third-game in their vegetable-kingdom-style series and the sequel to Spud’s Adventure.
This game is essentially a puzzle-based title in which you need to move blocks around to solve problems. If you liked the block-moving tasks on games like Ocarina of Time, then you’ll be all over this.
How did Amazing Tater end up in our rare Gameboy games list? Well, Atlus were notorious for producing limited runs of games and creating cult audiences.
Also, it’s not hard to see why a game that revolves around vegetables might not have hit the big time. With more and more people becoming Vegan in 2020, this could have been a modern-day success had it come out this year!
Amazing Tater has strong Sudokan vibes, and while this block-pusher wasn’t a blockbuster (I’m extremely proud of that line), it’s still one that you should have if you’re curating the ultimate collection.
The next offering in our list of rare gameboy games is a super rare North American version of a Japanese title; Sumo Fighter.
Sumo Wrestlers don’t often feature in video games (except from E. Honda of course), which makes this even more of an interesting concept.
The player takes control of a mighty wrestler named Bontaro Heiseiyama and must work through a series of levels set in ancient Japan. The side-scrolling gameplay feels a little bit like Sonic and Mario combined, with spike pits, blocks, and enemies to throw, slap, pound, or charge at.
This game obviously had a bigger draw in Japan than it did in the States, as copies of the North American port are now extremely rare. The most expensive version we’ve come across is a graded copy still sealed in a hard-plastic casing.
Can you imagine paying $7,500 for a game that cost less than $30 when it came out! If you’re as rich as Bruce Wayne and looking for a present to yourself, then this could be a good option!
I’m going to level with you – I never knew that there was a version of the King James Bible on the Gameboy. Some of you might be thinking that playing through some of those Bible tales would be pretty epic, but there are no exciting side-quests or epic adventures to play through on this game.
This is essentially a portable, digital version of the Bible. I added digital there because books are pretty portable as it is.
Still, if you’re on a bus and want to read through Exodus covertly while everyone thinks that you’re playing Tetris, then this would certainly fool them.
The game is unusual, to say the least, mostly because it’s not actually a game. Advertised at a primarily religious audience, this cartridge has joined the ranks of rare gameboy games and can now fetch up to $750 on auction sites. If strange releases are your bag, then this one needs to be in your game case.
Remember we mentioned the ‘limited run’ factor at the beginning of this article? Well, that’s exactly why this particular copy of F1 Pole Position (Black Label) has become such a coveted gaming collectable.
The Gameboy version of Pole Position uses the same artwork as the SNES version. It’s essentially a rebranded Ubisoft game, and as Ubisoft had little monetary investment in it, they decided to only release a few copies in North America to see how it sold.
So what makes this ‘Black Label’ version so unique? PAL versions can be bought relatively cheaply, but this North American game box has a strange feature that makes it one of the rarest Gameboy games on the market.
Instead of using a new image for the small case, Ubisoft used the uncropped photo from the SNES game and added chunks of black onto the design to ‘fill in the gaps’. It’s a small difference, but one that collectors have gone wild for. It’s also boosted the top price of the game to almost $3,000 too!
The next title in our list of rare Gameboy games is based on a popular cartoon series that many of you have probably spent hours watching. Toxic Crusaders features characters from the show in a side-scrolling beat -’em-up that looks pretty darn good on the DMG.
Unlike most titles that see releases in multiple regions, Toxic Crusaders only had a North American release. That’s one of the reasons why this game is now so expensive, and gamers in Europe and Japan will have to part with a big pile of cash if they want to try it out.
The price of this game has skyrocketed over the past four years. You could pick up a cart-only copy for around $20 in 2016, but now you’re looking at paying six-times that amount.
Toxic Crusaders also saw releases on the SEGA Genesis and the NES. While all versions are pretty rare, it’s the DMG cart that’s worth the most. It received another wave of interest after appearing on the Angry Video Game Nerd in 2013, prompting gamers to resume the hunt once more.
Avenging Spirit is a bit of an enigma. This game’s poor sales were a product of it’s own strange branding choices, and there’s a reason why I’ve opted for the European cover specifically.
The North American cover featured an American gangster wielding a Tommy Gun, whereas the Europan and Japanese cover features a cute-looking ghost and various small characters that look anything but frightening.
Why are they so different, I hear you ask? Avenging spirit is esentially known as a ‘Posess-’em’up’ in which you play as a ghost that can possess different characters in a bid to avenge your own death and rescue your beloved girlfriend from meeting the same fate.
To add more confusion, the game was also known as Phantasm in Japan. Now you know the ‘avenging’ part of the story line, the game starts to make more sense. Still, it’s too late to change the damage done by the conflicting cover art, but the intrigue surrounding the game has increased greatly over the years.
We’ve chosen to highlight the European PAL cover as it is by far the rarest and most expensive version of the game. A cart that would have cost you around $10 in the early 2000’s will now set you back just over $1,400 dollars. That’s one heck of a price jump!
Jimmy Connors Tennis (USA Version) holds the title for the most expensive starting price in all of our rare Gameboy games. In the same vein as F1 Pole Position, Ubisoft released a very limited number run of this game in North America. Maybe they always knew that they would be able to make a killing on the retro market!
Perhaps it was down to Ubisoft guessing that Europeans likes tennis more than Americans that led to this game becoming such a rarity in the States. Sports games have always been popular on every console, and surprisingly, you can still pick up a cheap copy of this title for the Atari Lynx
Jimmy Connors’ Tennis features the name and digital likeness of the man himself, and while it’s not exactly a Tony Hawks style gaming transformation, it was pretty big news back in the day.
Players could work their way through the ATP World Tour and challenge their mates using a link-up cable. It’s a hefty price to pay to whack some tennis balls around, but this is a title that I’d want if I was on a path to compile the greatest DMG collection ever known!
The final title on our list of rare Gameboy games is one that you can only find in Japan. Chikyu Kaiho Gun ZAS was never released in any other regions, but it pushed the DMG to the max and made for incredible gameplay that was hard to put down.
It might be hard to believe looking at the picture below, but this game was cutting edge when it was first released. It’s now one of the most demanded ports on the system, and with high demand comes equally high prices.
So what’s so exciting about Chikyu Kaiho Gun ZAS? Well, it’s a futuristic shoot-’em-up in space – what more is there to say! It plays like R-TYPE and takes some seriously steady hands to get your craft around the different levels.
Super robots have taken over the earth, and it’s your job to get rid of them and get the planet back in order. If you’ve got a wad of cash burning a hole in your pocket, then you could be the gamer for the job!
Mega Man IV is one of those games that never saw a re-release as part of a compendium on another console. As such, it’s a rare DMG game that not many people seem to be parting with.
While not as sought after as Mega Man V, the fourth portable Capcom adventure, sometimes known as Rocket Man, still fetches a pretty penny. Used copies sell for around £150 just for the cartridge!
Mega Man IV follows the same gameplay mechanics as V (good job I know my Roman numerals), with our arm-cannon-wielding crusader once again trying to stop the infamous Dr Wily from taking over the world.
Wily sends a radio transmission that sends all of the robots into a frenzy. Now I know where Matt Groening got the inspiration for that Futurama episode I watched last week.
Rush, Mega Man’s robs-dog makes an appearance from time to time too. He looks like a souped-up version of one of the Paw Patrol pups!
Capcom always knew how to make excellent DMG games, and Mega Man IV is no exception. It’s well worth a punt if you can find a copy for a reasonable price and a great title to add to your collection.
Kid Dracula is a neat little spin off from the Castlevania series. It’s much more ‘cutesy’ than Richter Belmont’s outings, but some of the characters that our little-vamp hero comes up against have gone on to feature in later titles in the Castlevania canon.
Konami made a real gem with this game. Its comical yet gripping at the same time and has all of the same exciting elements that you’d come to expect from a Konami title.
Rather than focusing on picking up weapons and upgrading from a whip until a skeleton defeats you, Kid Dracula is more about pure platforming. It even includes funny references to other platform titles too.
Is there a zombie Goomba in there that I missed?
Kid Dracula first appeared as a Famicom only title in Japan. The Gameboy game is classed as part sequel/part remake and follows the mechanics of the first title.
With Death as his companion, Kid Dracula must defeat Galamoth while remembering his spells along the way. Not only that, but he needs to try and win over his minions who have gone over the the dark side… well, the darker side, at any rate.
The game itself costs around $160 for a cartridge alone, but players will have to shell out around $700 for a boxed copy!
How Are Rare Gameboy Games defined?
If you’ve read our article on rare PS2 games already, then you might have a bit of an idea of how a game becomes rare (and it’s not because Banjo-Kazooie creators RARE get involved).
There are lots of reasons why a common-old-garden Gameboy title can turn into a rare Gameboy game, but here are a few to give you an idea of how we’ve compiled this list.
As with the case of Number 7 on our list, perhaps there were only a limited run of boxes in a certain style.
Like the first few editions of a book where the main characters name was spelled wrong, these boxes are now extremely rare. If they’re still sealed, then you can expect to pay over $5,000 for one.
If a game sells poorly at launch, then the chances are it won’t have a very long shelf life. What turns out to be the developers loss is a retro-collector’s gain, however.
All it takes is one person to spark some interest in forgotten games, and a wash-out title from 20 years ago can suddenly become an expensive, sought-after prize.
The internet can give us anything that we want at the touch of a button. Suddenly, games that were released only in Japan are at our disposal, and people will pay a pretty penny to get their hands on them.
How Does This List Work?
We’ve made a list of 10 rare gameboy games for you to work your way through above.
The title of each game will have two prices; the first shows you how much the game costs for just the cartridge or in poor condition.
The second price is how much you would have to shell out for a mint condition box including instruction booklet or even a sealed copy.
There’s a link to the eBay listing for each game in the titles, pictures, buttons, and in the text of each section, so you can click through and purchase them all after you’ve finished reading.
More Content From The Retro Dodo Team!
- Check out our list of the best Gameboy games on the planet!
- We’ve made a list of the most exciting and best N64 games ever made.
- Will we see a Gameboy Mini anytime soon?
Seb Santabarbara has bought every Nintendo console that has ever been released in his 31 years on Planet Earth. His favourite game franchise is Zelda, and he’s patiently waiting for Banjo-Kazooie to come back to the fold. When he’s not playing games, he’s travelling the world in his self-converted camper van.