Gaming changed in the 90s with the advancement of technology and the mind-blowing innovation coming from all over the world. It was the decade that gave us the battle between Sony and Nintendo, after all.
As the gaming medium continued to improve over the decade, so did game selection. The original Nintendo had already been released for a while by the time the 90s rolled around so they had already begun slowing down production on games as they prepared for their next console, the Super Nintendo.
Sega was already releasing their versions of gaming consoles at the same time but in 1994, Sony released the PlayStation and, once again, the gaming world was about to be transformed. Many of the most valuable video games ever all came from the 90s, mostly in the first half of the decade, and we have found them for your enjoyment.
20 Panic Restaurant (NES, $1,400)
As the years passed by, demand for many of the most popular Nintendo games has increased. However, for the games that were not very popular upon release, they have seemed have increased their value ten fold.
In other words, Panic Restaurant was a great game that came out towards the end of the original NES release so many people were already moving on by then. It has since become increasingly more rare to find and has climbed to nearly $1,400 in value.
19 Super Mario RPG Legend Of The Seven Stars (SNES, $2,127)
Most gamers forgot about this RPG because there was another very similar one that was released for the Nintendo 64 only a few short years later. When it first came out in 1996, people got a chance to glimpse the scope of gaming's advancements.
But the announcement of the Nintendo 64 hurt sales for the Super Nintendo which included Super Mario RPG Legend of the Seven Stars, which sold on eBay not long ago for $2,127.
18 Return Of The Joker (NES, $2,499)
Right now would be a good time to talk about the benefits of building a time machine just so we can all go back in time and buy all the toys and video games that are now selling for ridiculous amounts.
While owning the original games, in their original packaging, might be valuable, getting them graded is another story. Return of the Joker, the 1991 Nintendo game, was graded and rated at 90+ by VGA before being sold for $2,499 on eBay.
17 3 Ninjas Kick Back (SNES, $2,750)
A guilty pleasure is something we all like that we would rather not admit to the general public. For example, the film, 3 Ninjas Kick Back, was a horrible 90s movie but has turned into a cult classic because so many people have enjoyed it over the years, secretly.
The Super Nintendo released a game of the same name that when graded well becomes a rare commodity, selling for upwards to $2,750.
16 Super Smash Bros. (N64, $2,900)
Can you imagine the control that it takes to purchase Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64, leave it in its original factory packaging, and store it in a safe location until grading video games actually becomes a thing?
Whoever originally owned this version of the game must have known that it was going to be valuable one day and stashed it away, never to be touched. It makes us think that some people, that had the money back then, bought two copies of games— one to play and one to keep.
15 Skyblazer (SNES, $2,950)
If you thought owning an original Nintendo 64 game was hard, imagine finding one for the Super Nintendo and storing it away, for nearly thirty years?
Skyblazer recently sold for nearly $3,000 on eBay after it appeared with a 80+ grading and was still sealed in its' original plastic. The game itself was one of the better SNES puzzle-solving platform games that more people should be playing.
14 EarthBound (SNES, $2,999)
After spending roughly $2 million to market the game, Nintendo ended up crashing and burning with EarthBound. But when you take a look back at the campaign, and the approach to the game's humor, it's only natural so many gamers were turned away.
It only sold about 140,000 copies in the United States and it was all blamed on the marketing strategy behind this game. Its value comes from both its poor sales and the game itself being (formerly) so underrated.
13 Clay Fighters: Sculptor's Cut (N64, $3,000)
Due to the fact that Clay Fighters: Sculptor's Cult was only available at your local Blockbuster, it has turned the game into one of the rarest, and most collectible Nintendo 64 game ever released.
Blockbuster ended up doing an online contest which gave people the chance to win a copy of the game, meaning there are copies still out there, somewhere, that have yet to be seen.
12 Super Mario Kart (SNES, $3,500)
We all played Super Mario Kart, it was one of the greatest games ever created for any console. It was a simple racing game that featured the most popular Nintendo characters at the time including Mario, Donkey Kong Junior, and Bowser.
Since most people played the game, it has become even more difficult to find original versions of it that are still in mint condition. Every year that goes by, the mint condition values increase and it was most recently sold for $3,500.
11 Resident Evil (PS, $3,700)
By the late 90s, the survival horror and zombie genres didn't have a clear place in gaming. There just were not very many gamers rushing to the store to buy zombie apocalypse games. Until the PlayStation released Resident Evil in 1996, that is.
The game sparked a revolution in both genres which has blown up over the past 23 years and has become a huge part of the gaming market. It even inspired a film franchise that has topped $1 billion worldwide.
10 Batman Forever (SNES, $3,900)
As one of the lowest rated games of 1995, Batman Forever was not very popular upon its initial release in North America. People praised the graphics, but it felt as if Probe Entertainment spent all their money on better graphics instead of the overall gameplay.
This led to the game becoming a collector's item through the years, including winding up on eBay recently, graded and being sold for $3,900.
9 Hagane: The Final Conflict (SNES, $3,996)
It was hard to play any video game knowing that if you died, it was over. Hagane: The Final Conflict was created without the ability to save your gameplay and it had only few checkpoints throughout each level. It was a challenge to beat the game and could get very frustrating for gamers.
Since it was praised as a great game only good as a rental, many gamers did not even play it until maybe a few years back, when it started showing up on eBay. It is now quite the collector's item.
8 The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time (N64, $4,999)
When Nintendo announced a new Legend of Zelda game was coming out in 1998 for the Nintendo 64, gamers rushed to their local video game store and placed their pre-orders. In fact, more than 500,000 copies were pre-ordered, destroying the record for pre-orders by nearly tripling the previous record holder.
After being released in late November of 1998, it ended up selling about 2.5 million copies. Because the gameplay was almost perfect, almost everyone who bought it, played it. So it is very rare to find one graded 90+ and in near-mint condition.
7 The Flintstones: The Surprise At Dinosaur Peak (NES, $5,000)
After Nintendo released the Super Nintendo, games for the original NES stopped being produced. One of the last ones ever made was The Flintstones: The Surprise at Dinosaur Peak and that has made it one of the rarest for the original NES.
Gamers have even disputed whether it was originally released as a rental only or sold in stores. Because of its' rarity, the value has skyrocketed over the years.
6 Pocky & Rocky 2 (SNES, $6,600)
The Super Nintendo had several games in the shoot'em-up genre that have become masterpieces in gaming history, but Pocky & Rocky 2 has not because of how few gamers played it upon its initial release in North America.
It was still given extreme praise for the ability to move in multiple directions and having amazing graphics. As one of the toughest to find SNES games today, the value remains high until more copies start showing up.
5 Super Copa (SNES, $6,900)
Super Nintendo games almost all have some kind of value, regardless of whether they are still in the original box or not. As long as you have the cartridge, some SNES games are still worth a nice chunk of change.
A rare soccer game for the SNES, Super Copa, sells for about $150 online, just for the game. But when someone listed the game in its original box, the value flew through the roof and it sold for $6,900 a few years back.
4 Super Nintendo PowerFest (SNES, $12,000)
If you have not realized it by now, the fewer games created, the higher the cartridge rises in value. Back in 1994, Nintendo hosted the Super Nintendo PowerFest all across the country. Gamers were given a chance to play three games within a certain time limit to reach the best overall score.
They created 33 cartridges that featured the three games for the PowerFest to be used in the tournaments held all over the country. Only two still exist today after Nintendo admitted they recycled the others. It was once listed for $300,000 but did not sell.
3 Super Mario World (SNES, $13,500)
From the second you hop on Yoshi, gamers were transported into a new world of gameplay that they had yet to experience in the Mario universe. He added another aspect to Mario's adventures that made the entire game feel totally brand new— not just an updated version of the original.
As one of the greatest video games ever, Super Mario World recently showed up on eBay still in its original factory packaging and in near mint condition. It did not take long for the price to rise to $13,500 for one rich buyer.
2 Nintendo Campus Challenge (NES, $20,100)
A year after the Nintendo World Championships first began, another competition started, only this time, it was for much older gamers. It was the Nintendo Campus Challenge and it started in 1991 and traveled to nearly 60 college campuses across the United States.
Back in 2009, the only known copy of the cartridge used for the event was sold on eBay for $20,100 just a few months after being sold for $14,000. It was found at a garage sale in 2006.
1 Nintendo World Championship (NES, $100,000)
In March of 1990, Nintendo traveled around the United States, hosting the Nintendo World Championship. All finalists won $250 plus a trip to the World Finals at Universal Studios Hollywood. At the World Finals, gamers played a customized NWS cartridge that featured three mini-games.
That NWC cartridge, in Gold, has become one of the most iconic video games ever mainly because no one knows exactly how many were ever made. Many people have estimated that 26 copies exist that were in Gold. One was sold for a cool $100,000 a few years ago.
Sources: 1upretro.com, IGN.com, pricecharting.com