Ranking The Rarest NES Games & How Much They’re Worth (Expensive To Cheapest)

a selection of rare nes games on the Retro Dodo background

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If Nintendo had known back in 1983 that some of these rare NES games would end up going for thousands and millions of pounds, then they probably would have passed out with excitement.

The NES had no problem becoming one of the greatest success stories in video gaming history of its own back and remains one of the most influential consoles to date. It sold 60 million consoles as of 2004, a number that the Nintendo Switch has just surpassed.

There are so many incredible titles for this console, with series and characters that have gone on to greater success across multiple consoles and platforms. But today, we’re only bothered about the rare ones, the ones that collectors lay awake thinking about at night.

The ones that cost a whole heap of money!

1. 1990 Nintendo World Championships Cart: Gold Edition: $1,000,000

1990 Nintendo World Championships Cart: Gold Edition NES
Credit: Nintendo

Consider this cart the ‘Golden Ticket’ of the retro gaming world. Only 26 of these cartridges were ever made, given away as prizes to 1 winner and 25 runners-up in a competition inside Nintendo Power Magazine.

The cart features specially modified timed versions of three games that were played at the phenomenal Nintendo World Championships in 1990; Super Mario, Tetris, and Rad Racer.

Gameplay from the 1990 Nintendo World Championships, showing Mario, Road Racer, and tetris
Credit: Nintendo/Youtube

Way before Fortnite and Rocket League Tournaments existed, the Nintendo World Championships was the crowning title in the gaming world. This tournament represented a time when Nintendo was at the top of the gaming world, the masters of the golden age itself.

While I was busy being a baby, having just been born, kids were shunning their homework in favour of becoming the ultimate block-stacking master and perfecting those ‘rad’ corners. The Gold Championship game cart is one of the rarest game carts in existence and the most expensive rare NES game in the world!

2. 1990 Nintendo World Championships Cart: Grey Edition: $149,000

1990 Nintendo World Championships Cart: Grey Edition laid on a table
Credit: Nintendo

The grey World Championships cart has the same timed games as the shiny gold version. 90 of these game carts were made and given to the gamers who managed to become finalists in the tournament. Win or lose, you still took home a piece of gaming history.

The hype around the 26 gold cartridges has helped to bump the price of these grey carts up over the years. The cart has an exposed dip-switch and a simple monochrome label, but the story behind each unit is far more exciting than it looks. Imagine holding one of these in your hands after making it to the finals of one of the biggest gaming tournaments of all time!

Sources tell us that only half of these grey cartridges are actually in circulation. Like some of the best SNES games, there’s a possibility that some might be still stored away in a drawer at Nintendo HQ, or gamers may well be sitting on them and waiting until the price rockets once again.

3. Stadium Events: $782 – $42,000

Stadium Events for the NES game cover
Credit: Nintendo/Bandai

The Nintendo World Championship carts might be two of the most sought-after games in existence, but the next entry on our list of rare NES games isn’t far behind them.

Stadium Events was the Mario and Sonic at the Olympics of its day and could well have been the inspiration behind Wii Fit and the Wii Fit board. This game promoted Family Fun and Fitness right from the off and was played using something called the Family Fun Fitness Pad (catchy title!)

Stadium Events gameplay with one player in white with his arms in the air and another player in purple running
Credit: Nintendo/Bandai

Some of you might recognise this game as World Class Track Meet, the game played with Nintendo’s own Power Pad. Well, that’s because this is the same game. It was originally released as a third-party title before Nintendo recalled it and slapped their badge on it.

Around 2000 of these North American copies of Stadium Events were released before Nintendo recalled the stock to make the change. Some sources guesstimate that as little as 200 copies might have actually made it into NES owner’s homes. If you’re reading this and have a copy in your collection, I’d consider getting it graded; you might be sitting on a small fortune!

4. Kid Klown in Night Mayor World: $280- $2,499

Kid Klown in Night Mayor World NES game box
Credit: Nintendo/Kemco

When a magician asks Kid Klown to help him open up some treasure and Kid refuses, the magician captures his entire family.

What a nice guy…

Kid Klown in Night Mayor World is a fun and colourful side-scroller and pretty much a Mario copy through and through.

Kid Klown in Night Mayor World gameplay - Kid Klown standing under a branch with a strawberry on it
Credit: Nintendo/Kemco

Still, if we got mad at every Mario copy that came out over the years we’d never have anything to write about!

Pick up strawberries, use lightning to become invincible, and play bonus games to win items in a fairground-style balloon game.

Can you save Kid Klown’s family? I hope so, otherwise, it’s gonna be a bit of a lost cause!

5. Panic Restaurant: $363 – $2,247

Panic Restaurant NES game art
Credit: Nintendo/Taito

Panic Restaurant brings some kitchen-based mayhem to Nintendo’s classic console.

Two chefs fighting for glory – it’s how we all secretly wish Masterchef played out whenever a new series drops.

If you imagine Mario where everything is based around food (not just mushrooms), then you’ll get the general vibe.

Panic Restaurant gameplay, with a chef smiling while in front of a shelf with plates and glasses on it
Credit: Nintendo/Taito

Armed with a frying pan like Samwise Gamgee, players bash back everything from burgers to microwaves.

Throw plates through kitchens and freezer levels, and defeat the rival chef to claim back your culinary kingdom.

Ok, so it’s basic and feels like BurgerTime on steroids, but it’s worth a look if you have $789 burning a hole in your pocket…

6. The Flintstones: The Surprise at Dinosaur Peak: $508 – $2,200

The Flintstones: The Surprise at Dinosaur Peak for the NES
Credit: Nintendo/Taito

The Flintstones: The Surprise at Dinosaur Peak went straight into the rental market. It’s crazy to think back at how popular game rentals were in the ’90s. Because of this fact, it’s very difficult to find a decent, boxed version in good condition.

The Flintstones were one of my favourite childhood cartoons, not to mention the film with John Goodman that I watched about a hundred times. Taito’s rental release of The Surprise at Dinosaur Peak came out towards the end of the NES’ reign of glory and was a superb title to help bring the era to a close on a high.

The Flintstones: The Surprise at Dinosaur Peak gameplay - Fred speaking with Barney outside of his house
Credit: Nintendo/Taito/Youtube

Like the Asterix and Obelix games, players can choose between Fred and Barney as they play through the game. Each character has different attacks, but aside from that, you get to play with your favourite character.

A run-of-the-mill rental copy can set you back over $500, whereas a mint-condition copy could cost as much as $2,899.99!

7. Little Samson: $222 – $2,195

NES game case for Little Samson
Credit: Nintendo/Taito

Could you imagine paying over $2,000 for just a cart of one of the most elusive rare NES games on the market? If the answer is yes, then go grab Little Samson and add a piece of retro gaming history to your collection.

Previously, a sealed copy in a box sold for almost $5,500!

Little Samson is another Taito release, featuring bright, colourful worlds with lots of exciting detailing. It’s an action/shooter that has a similar feel to the Mega Man series, though Taito didn’t have enough marketing capital to make the game as popular.

Little Samson gameplay, with Samson moving towards a king on a throne in a room with columns
Credit: Nintendo/Taito/Youtube

Despite being titled Little Samson, the player must take four heroes through this side-scrolling adventure. A dark prince has been awoken from his slumber, and you and your heroic mates have to put things back in order.

Little Samson is made by the same director as Ghouls ‘n’ Ghosts, another epic title that we’ve spent far too many hours on. Despite the poor marketing strategy, it garnered great reviews and has become incredibly sought after. Some auctions are starting at $1,000, and that’s just for a bare cart!

8. Wacky Races: $249 – $1,599

Wacky Races game case for the NES
Credit: Nintendo/Atlus

Wacky Races isn’t a racing game. I know that’s a weird contradiction but stick with me.

Ok scrap that – this isn’t anything to do with the main premise the cartoon or the franchise really at all. Yes, it has Muttley the dog in it, but no Penelope Pitstop or Captain Caveman.

Players instead take Muttley on an adventure to solve multiple missions in a side-scrolling, Alex Kidd-esque game.

wacky races gameplay - Muttley on top of a log house roof
Credit: Nintendo/Atlus

The gameplay is very simple; jump over obstacles, bite enemies, collect items that allow Muttley to pull off new moves and regain health.

If anything, it’s slightly disappointing for people who might think they’re getting a bonafide racing game. Still, Dick Dastardly’s pal was one of the best cartoon and doesn’t do a bad job of hosting his own game.

Hey, if Clank can do it, then Muttley sure as heck can!

9. Power Blade 2: $640 – $1,400

NES box for Power Blade 2
Credit: Nintendo/Taito

Power Blade 2 has a strong Probotector feel it with players running through levels blasting the hell out of everything in sight…

You’re basically the Terminator with a metal boomerang.

In this case, an alien from outer space who is the president (I know…) has ordered a bunch of fighting robots to be obliterated… by you.

Talk about a warped storyline!

Power Blade 2 gameplay - character jumping up towards a ledge
Credit: Nintendo/Taito

There are six levels to play through in Power Blade 2. Once you start a mission, it has to completed before you choose another one; there’s no quitting halfway through when the future of the world is at stake!

Avoid dangers, dodge traps and destroy bad guys. Job done

On January 14th, 2024, a box and manual sold for $2,200… that’s without the game!

10. Mighty Final Fight: $90 – $1,255

Mighty Final Fight game box cover art NES
Credit: Nintendo/Capcom

Mighty Final Fight might sound like it’s overcompensating in covering all bases with its title, but it’s actually a really good game.

This version is the only 8-bit port of the game and is based on the first final Fight game…

… so not the final fight after all then?

In terms of gameplay, it’s a one-player side-scroller like Streets of Rage.

Mighty Final Fight gameplay - two characters fighting in a street setting
Credit: Nintendo/Capcom/DenofGeek

What separates the NES version from other ports is the fact that it has an RPG-style experience system. Players can learn new moves as they go along through racking up points.

Obviously being an older game the movesets aren’t that fantastic. There’s a special move, jump, and punch. You can throw enemies too just like SoR.

Choose from one of three fighters and clean up Metro City, not to be confused with those guys who sang Shake Shake (MetroStation… tough crowd…).

11. Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 2: $190 – $1,235

Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers 2 NES game box
Credit: Nintendo/Capcom

Next up is Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers 2. Fatcat’s henchmen are back and have undone all the good work carried out by the rangers in the first game…

… that was all pointless then, eh?

What’s more, that feline felon has stolen a priceless treasure too. Now they have to rescue the stolen goods and bring Fatcat to justice again!

Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers 2 gameplay - character in a bucket throwing a ball at a chipmunk
Credit: Nintendo/Capcom

Rescue Rangers 2 is a side-scrolling game ala Castle of Illusion. Two players can play together; one controlling Chip, the other Controlling Dale.

Collect Rescue Rangers blocks as you move through levels based on restaurant vibes and use tame attacks to defeat oversized enemies.

I guess everything’s oversized for these little warriors!

12. Zombie Nation: $390 – $975

Game box for Zombie Nation NES
Credit: Nintendo/meldac

Far from the terrifying zombies in the Resident Evil series, the front cover of Zombie Nation looks like something you might find in a Morph cartoon. To be honest, I’m still not sure what the heck goes on in this game, but it’s one that you never forget once you’ve played.

Zombie Nation is a shoot ’em up title, so you can expect madness from the offset. Zombie heads, explosions, samurai masks; you name it, and you’ll find it in this game.

Zombie Nation gameplay, with an orange floating head destroying a building with orange balls
Credit: Nintendo/meldac

If any game falls into the category of ‘cult classic’, then it’s definitely Zombie Nation. Players control a samurai head that can shoot out of its eyes and vomit on enemies. You’ve got to fight everything from zeppelins to lava monsters.

I’m guessing the developers were high when they made this….

Although games where 1-million bullets a minute are now commonplace, Zombie Nation didn’t receive incredible scores with critics. Since the 90s, it’s developed a dedicated group of hardcore fans, prompting other gamers to try a slice of the madness. At $289 its a gamble, but one that won’t break the bank.

13. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tournament Fighters: $155 – $799

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tournament Fighters NES box
Credit: Nintendo/Konami

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tournament Fighters is a good one for fans of fighting games everywhere. It’s certainly got that old-school Street Fighter II vibe.

Though at $999 for a boxed copy, it’s certainly a whole lot more expensive!

This game’s rarity mainly stems from the fact that promotion was just much more widely distributed for the SNES and Sega ports. The NES was getting on it’s life at this point, but just like Just Dance 2020 dropping on the Wii, so many people had NES consoles that it seemed silly not to bring it our for the older gen console too.

Mike holding nunchucks and moving through a hallway in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tournament Fighters gameplay
Credit: Nintendo/Konami/Youtube

The general gist of the idea is to take the turtles out of the Streets of Rage format and into the traditional side-on 1v1 fighting game format.

But, with a game dropping on a console that couldn’t live up to the 16-bit era and a disappointing film dropping around the same time, Donatello and the gang just couldn’t bring him the bacon.

Now, however, this game is worth a tidy little fortune. I guess good things come to those who wait patiently in a sewer for 27 years, right?

14. Snow Brothers: $220 – $799

NES box for Snow Brothers
Credit: Nintendo/Capcom USA

Snow Brothers might look semi-normal on the surface, but the garish clashing colours on some of the levels will leave you rushing to find your shades!

The game is essentially a remake of the arcade puzzle classic. It’s a little like the early versions of Bubble Bobble crossed with the Mario Bros. arcade game. You play as two snowman twins who have to save two princesses.

Snow Brothers gameplay - snowman on the top level of a screen that looks like the typical Mario Bros. sewer platform level
Credit: Nintendo/Capcom USA

Enemies must be turned into a snowball by throwing snow at them. Once fully covered, they can be thrown or rolled into walls where they will crack and disappear. There are over 50 levels of this madness for you to work through, with the player moving to a new stage once the level has been cleared.

People went mad for Snow Bros. It spawned a sequel, but the original is the one that brings home the bacon up on auction sites. Cart-only copies go for over $200, but you’re looking at close to $2,500 for a boxed copy with a manual.

Talk about a major markup!

15. Bonk’s Adventure: $445 – $752

Bonk's Adventure game case for the NES
Credit: Nintendo/Hudson soft

You may well remember Bonk from the PC Engine, but it’s the NES port of his maiden adventure that we’re interested in today. While the colours might not be as sharp, the game itself is still as fun to play and filled with prehistoric delights.

Bonk was named thusly because he ‘bonks’ enemies with his massive, indestructible head. I guess cavemen didn’t have much else to work with back then!

Bonk about to headbutt an enemy - Bonk's Adventure gameplay
Credit: Nintendo/hudson soft

Back in 1991, this game was voted the third greatest game available. It’s fun, cartoony, and easy to play, making it accessible for gamers of any age.

Bonk’s adventure made it onto the Wii and Wii-U in recent years, and it features on the TurboGrafx-16 Mini console for any nostalgic gamers that want to relive the good-old-days. Bonk might not be the world’s greatest action hero, but he’s a cool character and one that you should check out if you have some cash lying around.

16. Bucky O’Hare: $90 – $699

Bucky o hare game case for the Nintendo Entertainment System
Credit: Nintendo/Konami

Bucky O’Hare might not be as swish as the Mandalorian, but this planet-hopping hare is still a bad-ass galactic fighter with tonnes of courage.

And with a price tag of over $699 for a boxed copy, I should hope that courage lasts a long time too.

Like the TMNT franchise, Bucky has seen success in both comics and on the screen. The home console game didn’t wow as much as Bucky’s previous work or indeed the arcade game, and with small print runs and the SNES doing the rounds, it followed many of the other games into obscurity.

Bucky O'Hare gameplay, with Bucky moving along a platform with mountains and a pink space background in the distance
Credit: Nintendo/Konami

Complete copies are hard to come by, and when they do pop up, they usually bring the big bucks.

If all you’re after is a cartridge, then you can usually pick one up for around $190.

But is it worth the money?

Well, if you like titles like Mega Man but wish they all had a character like Super Sparkster, then I guess so yeah!

17. Duck Tales 2: $209 – $619

Duck Tales 2 Nintendo Entertainment System
Credit: Nintendo/capcom

The next title in our list features my favourite cartoon duck of all time; Scrooge McDuck. I think every kid wanted to have their own swimming pool filled with gold coins when they were younger. Until they realised that diving into coins would absolutely destroy their body, that is.

Duck Tales 2 came out in ’93, towards the end of the NES’ reign. It didn’t have a lot of time to sell many units, hence why it now has that ‘mysterious’ sought-after quality that game collectors search for.

Duck Tales 2 gameplay, with Scrooge moving towards a frog past a waterfall
Credit: Nintendo/Capcom

If you liked the original Duck Tales title, then you’re bound to love the sequel. The game mechanics are very similar and Scrooge’s character traits haven’t changed.

The revival of the Duck Tales TV show in 2017 has seen prices for the game skyrocket. Collectors are looking at paying 5 times the price just for a cartridge, with a boxed copy selling for around $1,200. At those prices, you might have to ask ‘ol Scrooge for a quick loan!

18. Wayne’s World: $129 – $475

Wayne's World Nintendo Entertainment System game box
Credit: Nintendo

Wayne’s World is up next, bringing with it all the epic feels of the incredible movie.

Did you know that Wayne’s World started out as a sketch on Saturday Night Live? Since its creation, it’s taken the world completely by storm and is loved by fans all over the globe.

Just like the TMNT Tournament Fighters game above, however, it dropped at just the wrong time. In this case, the jump from 8-bit to 16-bit consoles.

Wayne's World gameplay, with Garth holding a gun on top of a crate
Credit: Nintendo/Youtube

While the NES and SNES versions both follow the movie plot, the NES version plays totally differently.

What’s more, it dropped months after the SNES version and after everyone had already gone out to buy SNES consoles.

Essentially, no one wanted to buy it for the NES, making it a bit of a rare collectible these days.

$475 might not be enough to Party On with for long, but it’s still a nice little earner if you’ve got a copy of this stored away somewhere!

19. Princess Tomato In The Salad Kingdom: $142 – $398

Princess Tomato In The Salad Kingdom box NES
Credit: Nintendo/hudson Soft

Is there really a wonder that Princess Tomato In The Salad Kingdom has ended up in our list with a name like that?!

I’ve got to admit; it’s a cover that I’d pick up just for how odd it looks, a little like Engachio!, one of the best WonderSwan games ever released.

What started out as a text-based game released in Japan soon found its way to North America and eventually into the hearts and minds of maybe a couple of gamers. (For those who can’t tell, I’m poking fun at it).

Still, at $5,000 for a sealed copy, those that bought one and kept it somewhere safe are probably having the last laugh right about now.

Princess tomato in the salad kingdom gameplay - player choosing options on screen while characters talk in a bar setting
Credit: Nintendo/Hudson soft

Choose commands from a menu, Monkey Island style, and watch as little fruit-based people go about their business.

So it’s not going to make your head feel dizzy with excitement like you’ve been trapped in a salad spinner for days, but it’s a cool little find and nice slice of NES history.

Why am I really hungry for tomatoes right now?

20. King Neptune’s Adventure: $90 – $305

King Neptune's Adventure game cover for the NES
Credit: Nintendo/Color Dreams

King Neptune’s Adventures is an unlicensed title for the NES that sees players working through underwater worlds such as Atlantis.

It’s an adventure game and one that received fairly positive reviews on release. The rarity comes in the form of two different types of cartridge, with one being more expensive than the other.

Neptune standing outside of an underwater building in King Neptune's Adventure gameplay
Credit: Nintendo/Color Dreams

Most of the games came in a baby blue colour, but the black ones are worth the most money on resale sites. The artwork on the game box is also pretty amazing too!

Neptune can shoot light beams and bubble bombs as you try to discover where his eight missing treasures are. Don’t expect many other colours than blues and greens in the background though; it is the ocean after all.

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