Just because video games are fun doesn’t mean they can’t mean serious business.
People are willing to pay a hefty price for nostalgia and one-of-a-kind releases, and thanks to retro gaming website RacketBoy, you now see just how much.
From golden Nintendo cartridges to games that let you play as an 8-bit Moses crossing the Red Sea, we’ve tabulated the rarest and most expensive games of all time.
Spoiler alert: People love rare Atari games.
'Elemental Gearbolt' is a Japanese sci-fi shooter released for the original Playstation in 1997.
The Assassin's Case was awarded during a 1998 E3 tournament, and only 40 of these limited-edition bundles were produced. The case includes the 'Elemental Gearbolt' game and a golden 'GunCon' and memory card.
'Eli's Ladder' is the rarest educational video game in existence.
Players answer simple maths questions to move Eli up the ladder and into his spaceship, all so he can fly to the moon. The game even includes a wall chart and motivational stickers, according to RacketBoy.
Due to legal issues and Nintendo's exclusive rights to 'Tetris' on video game consoles, the Sega Genesis (or Megadrive) never saw a 'Tetris' game released.
The unlicensed version was recently confirmed to exist by none other than 'Tetris' creator Alexey Pajitnov (pictured). RacketBoy estimates around 10 copies of 'Tetris' for Sega Genesis exist today.
In this Atari game, players must protect the city of Atlantis from the evil Gorgon spaceships. A beefed-up take on the original 'Atlantis' game, 'Atlantis II' features harder gameplay and a competition-tuned scoring system.
Winners of the 'Defend Atlantis' competition were sent copies of 'Atlantis II.' RacketBoy reports that the four finalists were flown to Bermuda for the ultimate showdown, with the winner receiving $US10,000 in prize money.
The European release of 'Kizuna Encounter' is a somewhat mythical game. There are only five claimed sales in the past.
You can find this fighting game at arcades, however, and the Japanese release is far more common. The mysterious and tough-to-trace European production run of 'Kizuna Encounter' has led to sales that RacketBoy reports 'supposedly ended in the range of $US12,000-$13,500.'
Composed of 'Super Mario 3,' 'PinBot,' and 'Dr. Mario,' this Nintendo NES cartridge was used for Nintendo's campus gaming competitions. Though all copies were thought to be destroyed, RacketBoy reports that a copy was found in the garage of an ex-Nintendo employee.
It was sold for $US14,000 in 2006 and resold for $US20,100.
'Air Raid' sports a blue cartridge with a unique T-shaped handle. The purpose of the game is to defend the city from an air raid using your own aircraft.
According to RacketBoy, only 12 copies of the game are rumoured to exist. Two copies of 'Air Raid' have sold recently for $US14,000 and $US33,400 on eBay and gaming auction site GameGavel.
There are only 26 copies in existence of this gold-coloured limited edition cartridge. The 26 cartridges were awarded to the winners and runner-ups of Nintendo's Power contest.
The game itself consists of a customised combination of 'Super Mario Bros,' 'Rad Racer,' and 'Tetris,' all with a special tournament timer ticking away.
This Atari 2600 game is arguably the rarest video game available.
Only one cartridge was produced by gaming company Gammation, and it currently is owned by collector Anthony DeNardo, according to RacketBoy. DeNardo has listed the cartridge on eBay before, asking a $US500,000 Buy-It-Now price.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.