Presented by Racketboy and G to the Next Level
Are you wondering if your Sega Genesis collection has any valuable treasures in it? This month we take a look at Sega’s most popular console of all time and its most desired games. Since the console wasn’t a huge success in Japan, we will find quite a few rarities in its library, but there are some other gems from the rest of the world as well.
Prices Current As of November 2017
In stark contrast to the Cheapest Games series, this Rare and Valuable series will round up the rarest and most valuable games for a given console or handheld so you’ll know what to look for whether you are buying or selling.
Below you will see two prices beside each title. The first is the average daily selling price, which is typically the going rate for the game by itself. The second price is the highest price in the past three months, which is usually the price for the new/sealed game. The list is ordered by the balance of the two prices. Note that some of these games are not rare in the sense that there are not many available, but rare relative to demand, which makes the games expensive.
Over the last few years we’ve seen certain titles rise out from under the radar to become big collectors pieces. We have also seen the values of completed copies rise quite nicely. If you have had a nice library for some time, you should see some nice increases in overall value, but if you’re just getting started, things are starting to get pricey. Since we’re seen some fluctuations, I’ve kept in some of the past values from previous revisions so you can see the changes and we have some historical reference.
Limited Edition Collectibles
These picks range from the unreleased or unlicensed games that found their way into collectors hands to rarity box sets that saw limited production before “Limited Edition” was commonplace.
Tetris: $16,000 – $25,000
This elusive variant of the classic puzzle game was developed alongside Sega’s System-16 arcade version, but never reached shelves after legal bullying from Nintendo over exclusive console rights. Sega had the Megadrive console port completed and seemed to have started production of the Japanese cartridges in 1989, but ended up scrapping what came off the assembly line.
Interestingly enough, Wikipedia currently claims it was “estimated that only between 5 and 8 copies were produced.”. Anyone that is familiar with manufacturing production can guess that what really happened was that a bigger production run (probably in the thousands) were put out (the costs of setting up the run wouldn’t have nearly covered a super-small run) but then management told staff to destroy what was produced to avoid legal issues. What most likely happened was that some crew members smuggled a few units out the door and just a few still survive in the wild. Apparently, there are about 10 copies known to be floating around.
One of the most well-known original copies of the Megadrive port was put for auction in 2011 at an ambitious starting bid of $1 million (right up there with the $500K auction for Atari 2600’s Gamma Attack.). Granted, the case was autographed by Tetris creator, Alexey Pajitnov (still alive so autograph shouldn’t add too much value), but it’s still more about about getting exposure than actually looking to part ways with the goods. The owner of that cartridge paid 11,000 Euro (approx. $13,000 USD) back in 2008. He also mentioned back in 2011 that he turned down two offers of 12,000 GBP (about $20,000 USD). With the retro market heating up, a complete copy that shows strong legitimacy should sell for $25,000 or even more.
Outback Joey: $2,000 – $7,000
Before the Wii Fit, there were some attempts to tie in fitness training and motivation in with video games. Outback Joey was one piece of the effort on the Sega Genesis (see also the Extertainment game combo on the SNES)
Outback Joey itself a respectable-looking platforming game in which the player’s heartbeat and motion controls the speed of Joey, the kangaroo in the game. The game was only bundled with the Heartbeat Personal Trainer (which, in of itself is a rare variation of the Sega Mega Drive console — see video) exclusively in North America. The Heartbeat Personal Trainer can run any NTSC Genesis games, but came bundled motion sensors that tied into supported games.
The Outback Joey game cartridge was never sold separately as it required the Personal Trainer’s fitness controllers and this set only had a production run of 1000 units. Sometimes, you may see an Outback Joey game cartridge sold by itself on the aftermarket, but that would imply that there was a Personal Trainer unit that either got lost or damaged. There is not a standalone box for the Outback Joey game. It had a manual, but the only box is for the Heartbeat Personal Trainer console and controls itself.
Before 2010, there were a few bare cartridges floating around under the radar under $100 as the game/set wasn’t especially apparent to mainstream Genesis collectors. Around 2012/2013, the set got more attention and sets started to demand over $1000 and cartridges had been selling for $150 to $400.
The last three years, there has been one unit surfacing on Ebay each year. In 2015, a copy of the game along with the Personal Trainer and box sold for $1950. The next year, in 2016, a bare cartridge of Outback Joey sold for $2025. This month, however, a complete copy of the Personal Trainer and Outback Joey sold for $7000.
- See Latest Outback Joey on eBay
Blockbuster World Video Game Championships II: $2,500 – $3,500
Much like the competition carts mentioned in the NES and SNES rare and valuable lists, Blockbuster World Championships II is a special promotional cartridge developed by Acclaim that was utilized in various Blockbuster stores during a contest they held to see who could get the most points in truncated versions of NBA Jam and Judge Dredd to compete for prizes. In the case of this Genesis game, the cartridge was never meant to be distributed.
While there was said to be 67 of these units produced, the current estimates are that only a few known copies of these Blockbuster cartridges remaining, so they may be even more rare than the NES World Championship cartridges. However, they don’t quite have as exciting of a story behind it (ever watch “The Wizard”?).
The Genesis cart is actually more similar to the Super Nintendo Championship cartridge featuring Donkey Kong Country. However, unlike its SNES counterpart which could be won by contestants, Acclaim’s cartridge was ordered to be destroyed after use, drastically cutting down on the number of surviving legit cartridges. It’s also worth mentioning that it’s boring, small-text label isn’t exactly as inviting as the graphical labels of its peers.
A copy of the Blockbuster cartridge was sold in 2015 for $3,000 on eBay. At one point, bidding got up to $3,500 but a buyer fell through. This shows a nice increase from our previous estimate was $1,600 to $2,500 in 2013. Also, one copy was spotted on an auction on Goodwill’s website for 2 Genesis consoles, a couple controllers and 6 games — one of which was the Blockbuster competition cartridge. The auction closed for over $10,000, but its hard to know if the transaction was completed.
- See the Latest Blockbuster World Championship II Cart on eBay
Ecco The Dolphin Box Set: $210 – $1300
Most Sega fans are well aware of the underwater, puzzle-filled adventure, but you most have probably never seen this rarity. According to an old Sega Force magazine, Sega made a deal with a London aquarium which housed a real dolphin named Ecco that would be benefited by the proceeds.
This beautiful box set was sold in very limited quantities in a handful of shops. In addition to the game, the box set included a handful of items including an Ecco t-shirt, an audio cassette tape, and a certificate among other things.
A complete box set sold for about $1300 USD on eBay back in 2011 but again only sold for $280 in 2012 (the box set was missing the CD and T-Shirt) (Check out more pictures of the set here)
Phantom 2049 Box Set: $600 – $900
Sega released a limited collector’s version of this game for the Mega Drive in Australia, most likely due to the character’s popularity there. In addition to this hidden gem of game (it has a good Metroidvania vibe to it), the box set contained a set of the Phantom Glow Zone stickers and a Phantom key-ring.
This set doesn’t show up very often — especially in complete and pristine condition. With the regional limitations and the relatively low-profile contents, it’s not surprising that complete copies didn’t really stick around people’s homes.
- See Latest Phantom 2049 Box Set on eBay
Maximum Carnage Box Set: $160 – $327
Who says that there isn’t anything worthwhile on QVC? Apparently there were 5,000 copies of this Maximum Carnage box set made and they were sold (perhaps exclusively) on the QVC home shopping TV channel. This particular box set has a polished presentation and included lapel pins and a book containing the first few issues of the Maximum Carnage comic that the game was based on.
Sealed versions of the set had sold for about $400 before our last guide revision in 2013, but opened copies have sold in the $160 to $300 range. More have surfaced in the last few years and a CGCComics forum member had three copies and sold them for $250 each (with the game itself sealed).
- See Latest Maximum Carnage Box Set on eBay
The Expensive Japanese Megadrive Imports
Eliminate Down: $450 – $1000
Even though most people won’t enjoy it as much as MUSHA or the Thunder Force series, Eliminate Down is one of the better (and most difficult) 2D shooters on the Megadrive. It was developed and published by a pair of obscure companies: Aprinet and Soft Vision, of which before this, Aprinet’s Megadrive development history only consisted of golf and pachinko games. Despite their lack of commercial success or shooter experience, they managed to produce one of the best shmups on Sega’s platform and an essential title to play for any fan of the genre.
This horizontal-scrolling shooter features highly-detailed sci-fi graphics and the game shines by having constant action, creative mini-bosses and bosses on every stage, and a good soundtrack. Eliminate Down also innovates with major fights and attacks that feel fresh and interesting.
With more attention being brought to the Genesis shmup library, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Eliminate Down has been climbing in value over the years. At the beginning of the decade, you could score this import for around $200. In 2013, the value climbed to $400 range before heading toward the $1000 range recently. There is a Korean release as well that was released by Samsung, but is even rarer than the Japanese release.
- See Eliminate Down on eBay
Acclaim Japanese Releases: $300 – $800
Batman Forever, Justice League, Maximum Carnage, Virtual Bart, WWF Raw, Judge Dread
These games are all plentiful and dirt cheap in the US, but in Japan, only a few copies of these games were released. Most of these games were published by Acclaim during the last days of the Genesis and the publisher actually took some extra European game boxes, stuck on a new T number and a barcode on the box, and a Japanese cartridge for the quick and dirty release. Now they are simply collectors pieces.
It is very difficult to get solid prices on these games as they rarely appear. Every so often one will show up on Japan’s Yahoo auctions or eBay.
- See Recent Batman Forever Game on eBay
- See Recent Justice League Game on eBay
Battle Mania Daiginjo / Battle Mania 2: $325 – $600
The Japan-only sequel to the quirky shooter, Trouble Shooter (known as Battle Mania outside the US and is featured later in this guide) improved greatly over the original game, but was deemed too niche to bring outside of Japan.
Much like its predecessor, it features two jet pack-equipped anime girls to shoot up the battlefield. In addition to some improved gameplay, controls, level designs, and sprites, Battle Mania Daiginjo also featured some anime cutscenes that were rather impressive for the stock Megadrive hardware.
Overall, this is a true import gem for those that enjoy quirky shooters and appreciate some anime style and humor. Much like other rare shmups on the platform, prices have been climbing quickly. Previously available for $90 to $245 in 2013, it’s now nearly 3 times that value in 2017.
- Check for Battle Mania Daiginjo on eBay
Alien Soldier: $378 – $500
Most Sega Genesis fans remember Gunstar Heroes as the premier run-and-gun shooter from Treasure. Inside the US, this is definitely the case, but our friends in Europe and Japan were privileged to experience a challenging and impressive game by the name of Alien Soldier. (see both Alien Soldier and Gunstar Heroes featured in our Best Genesis Action Platformers Guide)
As usual, Treasure really put a lot of creativity into Alien Soldier’s graphics and animation. The characters are large, extremely detailed and fluidly animated. And as opposed to most other side-scrolling shooters, the levels are notably short and easy before reaching a boss. This results in the game being a rush that seems to push the Megadrive to its limit more and more with each fight.
The cartridge is very difficult to find in either region and the boss-laden game will also show you that it is just as hard to complete as well. Because of its Treasure pedigree and being one of the best Mega Drive games not brought to the US, it has been climbing in value over the last decade. Just 5 years ago you could score Alien Soldier for between $80 and $180, but now you’re looking at three to four times that amount for an original copy.
- Check for Alien Soldier on eBay
Panorama Cotton: $170 – $300
This pseudo 3D shooter had incredible psychedelic backgrounds, making the Megadrive hardware do things that the Nintendo fanboys claimed were impossible on the Sega machine. The Cotton series has always been popular with the hardcore shooter crowd and this colorful and innovative installment doesn’t disappoint. Panorama Cotton was also not released in PAL or US regions as well, presumably for similar reasons to why Battle Mania Daiginjo not getting localized.
The game on its own is rare enough (about 5,000 copies were produced), but if you really want to show everyone up, try to find the game with the rare Panorama tea cup that was available initially for free to anyone that sent in a coupon to the publisher. Only about 300 of those tea cups exist and its presence with the game can nearly triple the overall value.
- Check for Panorama Cotton on eBay
The Expensive PAL Megadrive Games
Fatal Fury 2: $250 – $1,000
This one might come as a surprise as the North American version is so common, but the PAL version of Fatal Fury was actually an exclusive to the Australian market. There is supposedly a few copies of a European version of the game circulating, it wasn’t made available for public sale. (although keep an eye out!)
Most boxed copies have gone for the $500 range over the years (including this copy without a manual for sale for $570 AU / $430 USD). However, there were copies that have sold for $1000 in the past
- Check for Fatal Fury 2 (PAL) on eBay
Megaman: The Wily Wars: $300 – $500
The Wily Wars served as a compilation of remakes of the first three Megaman games in addition to an extra “Wily Tower” gameplay mode which let the Blue Bomber battle a fresh batch of robot bosses before facing Wily in the final castle. The compilation features an upgrade to the original games’ visuals, as well as arranged music. However, one of the most exciting features at the time was that the compilation provided battery back-up for each game to resume your progress.
This classic Mega Man complication was also available in North America on the Sega Channel, but only saw a true retail release in Japan and PAL territories. It is the only Megaman game to be released on the Megadrive and one of the few on a Sega platform.
- Check for Megaman: The Wily Wars on eBay
Nightmare Circus: $180 – $230
A less exciting game that originated on the Sega Channel was this oddity from Funcom. Nightmare Circus is a side-scrolling beat-em-up that was hampered by unresponsive controls and shoddy hit detection. Adding to the frustration was its odd setup in which the stages are never-ending — you are trapped there with constantly-respawning enemies until you die or reset the system.
Originally scheduled for a North American physical release in 1995, it was cancelled due to the Genesis being on its way out in lieu of the Saturn and the game not meeting quality controls. It found a home on the Sega Channel on-demand service before getting a Brazilian release in 1996 via TecToy, even in its unfinished state. Nightmare Circus has seemingly becoming one of the more infamous PAL-exclusive Tec Toy releases, with some publications during its development believing it to be a “potential Donkey Kong Country-killer.” Oh, how wrong they were.
- Check for Nightmare Circus on eBay
Daze Before Christmas : $100 – $320
It’s not too often you see a video game with a holiday theme, but Daze Before Christmas is simple platforming game where you play as Santa and can also switch to his evil twin, “Anti Claus” by drinking a cup of coffee.
This game was also developed by Funcom and published by Sunsoft. It had a very small print run and additional runs were cancelled due to quality issues and Sunsoft USA being on the brink of bankruptcy. With all these struggles, it seems that the game was only released in Australia on the Megadrive.
It was also revealed by the lead programmer that the game used a lot of the code from the Funcom-developed game based on the movie We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story.
- Check for Daze Before Christmas on eBay
Treasured Standard USA Releases
M.U.S.H.A.: $180 – $400
Shmup fans are always willing to pay good money for a quality shooter and on the Genesis, MUSHA is main target on the platform. The game earns its strong reputation which through great sound, graphics, and gameplay. You play a character in a mech (as opposed to a space ship) with the ability to pick up smaller ships to accompany you as power-ups. These smaller ships can take damage for you and fire in a variety of methods.
Coming from the Aleste series of shooters from Compile, MUSHA was relatively popular in Japan but the game never caught on stateside until well after the 16-bit generation was over. On a side note, it was never released in Europe, so importing is especially appealing over there.
As you can see from the historical values above, this one has been climbing the charts for quite a while. Currently, loose copies are in the $180 range, while complete vary between $270 and $400.
- Check for MUSHA on eBay
- Check for MUSHA on Amazon.com
Crusader of Centy: $140 – $580
Crusader of Centy is an Action RPG that has the look and feel of an old-school Zelda game with a more youthful sense of style, but still containing a challenge. Originally published as Ragnacenty in Japan (and Soleil in PAL regions) by Sega but published in the US by Atlus, Crusader of Centy also presents a compelling narrative that touches on moral issues and pulls at heart strings.
Altus is known for doing some smaller print runs for its games and this one is no different, commanding a higher price tag than other similar Megadrive Action RPGs, such as Light Crusader or LandStalker. Usually their games have a bit more of a cult following after them, but Crusader is a bit more low profile — just gradually creeping up in value until taking off after being featured in our 2013 guide – increasing almost 400% in the last four years.
- Check for Crusader of Centy on eBay
- Check for Crusader of Centy on Amazon.com
Splatterhouse 2: $60 – $260
The Splatterhouse series is well-known for being the precursor to the survival horror genre and being one of the first solid examples of a gory game that actually had solid gameplay to back it up (in the style of the 2D beatemup). The original arcade game’s most high-profile port was on the TurboGrafx–16, but the sequel was welcomed onto the Sega Genesis in 1992.
Interestingly enough, Splatterhouse 3 commanded a higher premium over this second installment up until a few years ago. Splatterhouse 2 has essentially doubled in value since 2013 while its sequel has increased just gradually.
- Check for Splatterhouse 2 on eBay
- Check for Splatterhouse 2 on Amazon.com
Truxton: $40 – $225
This arcade vertical shooter from Toaplan was an early release for the Genesis/Mega Drive, hitting shelves not long after the debut of the console. The game still looks great and it will ooze nostalgia as Truxton feels a bit more classic than then the rest of the Genesis shmup library, feeling right at home with other Toaplan shmups on the console such as Fire Shark, Hellfire, and Grind Stormer (V – V).
As the Genesis is gaining more of a resurgence as a strong Shmup console, Truxton is becoming a necessary purchase and driving up demand without seeing many of those same copies being parted with later.
- Check for Truxton on eBay
- Check for Truxton on Amazon.com
Castlevania Bloodlines: $53 – $210
Bloodlines is the only Castlevania title to be released on the Genesis and retains the classic feel of the NES trilogy, yet with the added power of the Genesis. The graphics aren’t as detailed or colorful as the SNES version, but it pushed the capabilities of the Genesis to achieve many effects that otherwise wouldn’t be possible on the system.
Many of the bosses are very large and are composed of many sprites that combined into one entity. Being innovative in both gameplay and graphical effects, Bloodlines has many features that make it stand out, including the option of two playable characters with distinctly different play styles. In the end, Bloodlines is typically ranked relatively highly in both the Castlevania franchise and the Genesis action library.
- Check for Castlevania Bloodlines on eBay
- Check for Castlevania Bloodlines on Amazon.com
Trouble Shooter: $64 – $202
While M.U.S.H.A and Truxton rank rather high on the list of best Genesis / Megadrive shmups, Trouble Shooter leans more towards the rare oddity in the genre’s library. It has a quirky art style and sense of humor that is reminiscent of 90s anime and distinguishes itself from other Genesis/Mega Drive shooters by featuring two jetpack-wearing heroines instead of a space ship. You can choose your weapons at the beginning of the level and you have the ability to have both girls focus their aim forward or one fire backwards and one fire forward.
As fans of the scrolling shooter genre have built out their Genesis library, they have noticed than Trouble Shooter can be hard to stumble upon. Over the last few years, it has made its ways out of obscurity and become more of a collectors item.
- Check for Trouble Shooter on eBay
- Check for Trouble Shooter on Amazon.com
The Punisher: $55 – $200
Licensed beat-em-ups were all the rage in the 90s and The Punisher jumped on the bandwagon, but with a rather limited Genesis/Megadrive-exclusive port of the arcade game. Interestingly enough, The Punisher was one of the few games Capcom published on the Genesis (they usually favored Nintendo’s platforms and let Sega port some arcade titles like Strider). Instead of porting it themselves, they outsourced the work to Sculptured Software.
A lot of graphical cuts had to be made and while the port played fine, it wasn’t especially great. Despite it being the only console port of the arcade game, it was a late release for the console (1995) and didn’t sell that well. Now it is a bit of a challenge to track down — especially in complete condition, which included a temporary tattoo that is often missing in listings on eBay.
- Check for The Punisher on eBay
- Check for The Punisher on Amazon.com
Mega Turrican: $55 – $200
The Turrican series came to fame on the Commodore 64 and the Amiga platforms and is heavily inspired by the likes of Metroid (huge levels to explore and morph-ball function) and Psycho-Nics Oscar (visual design and weapons). Mega Turrican is technically a sequel to Turrican II, which was rebranded as Universal Soldier (based on the 1992 film) on the Genesis. Other than this interesting licensing move, Mega Turrican is the only game in the series to land on a Sega platform.
With very stylish graphics, a fantastic soundtrack, and a much more balanced difficulty level than its predecessors, Mega Turrican has steadily risen in popularity over the years. The developers, Factor 5, would go on to make other classics on other consoles, but this would be one of only two games they made on the Genesis. Their other game would be International Superstar Soccer Deluxe, which never received a US release.
- Check for Mega Turrican on eBay
- Check for Mega Turrican on Amazon.com
El Viento: $40 – $185
Wolf Team (who has a diverse history of games, but include the likes of Arcus Odyssey, Granada, Sol-Feace, and various entries in the Tales Of… series) created a trilogy of games on the Genesis and Sega CD known as the “Earnest Evans Series”, of which El Viento is the second installment. It’s a fast and furious action title that is quirky and interesting, but does have some rough edges and odd design choices. El Viento is certainly ambitious, attempting graphical feats that were unseen on the MD at the time, such as huge explosions and screen filling octopi.
It’s not a game for everyone, but I can see how fans of the Genesis and unpredictable action titles (fans of Strider will probably enjoy it) would like to add this to their collection. It was released in 1991 but unsurprisingly, had a fairly small print run. If you’d like to see a review that captures the game (and some of Wolf Team’s other work) check out this video.
- Check for El Viento on eBay
- Check for El Viento on Amazon.com
Gaiares: $35 – $175
Among the Genesis shooters, Gaiares rests relatively high among the bunch. The developers had no problem using the console’s color palette to generate some excellent looking visuals, especially with boss fights. What really sets Gaiares apart is the power up system. Following your ship is a Gradius-like option, but unlike Gradius you can launch it at an enemy and gain their unique type of firepower; repeated launches into the same enemy equals a more powerful version of said weapon. The game is not uncommon and can be tracked down relatively easily but a CIB version, raises the stakes of the investment.
- Shop for Gaiares on eBay
- Shop for Gaiares on Amazon.com
Zero The Kamikaze Squirrel: $50 – $170
Released in a time when anthropomorphic mascot platformers were plentiful, Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel was a pretty good gem that moves at a quick pace (though slower than the SNES version), combined with unique flying and acrobatic skills for its time.
A spin-off of Sunsoft’s Aero the Acro-bat series, one of Zero’s more interesting features is the large numbers of offensive action (such as limited shurikens and nun-chucks) and flying actions like diving and swooping. Its innovative features can be a bit tricky to control, but it stands out from the crowd of mascot action titles and is a nice way to round out a Genesis collection.
- Check for Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel on eBay
- Check for Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel on Amazon.com
Aero the Acro-bat 2: $25 – $170
Released around the same time as the aforementioned Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel, the second Aero the Acro-bat game improved the controls, speed, and diversity of the game drastically over the original.
Looking back, it is one of the most interesting oddball platformers on the Genesis, but it’s not surprising that its got lost among all the other platformers of the 16-bit era, leading to lackluster sales.
- Check for Aero the Acro-bat 2 on eBay
- Check for Aero the Acro-bat 2 on Amazon.com
Grind Stormer: $40 – $160
Known as “V – V” in Japan, this shmup from Toaplan saw a rather limited release on the North American Genesis. For the longest time, this release went under the radar, but as Shmup fans are building up their collections, this one is joining MUSHA at the top of the list. It’s not without its flaws, mainly a lack of polish that other games (Thunder Force 4, Eliminate Down) proved were possible on the console. This is not the best shooter around, but if you are a collector or a Toaplan fan then it’s worth tracking down.
Another factor to its rise in value is the high amount of faulty carts (a known problem with certain Tengen Genesis releases), making functional copies worth much more. They can be repaired though, so if you have the know how you could potentially save there.
- Check for Grind Stormer on eBay
- Check for Grind Stormer on Amazon.com
Splatterhouse 3: $57 – $155
Splatterhouse was the precursor to the survival horror genre and its third installment plays more akin to Double Dragon (but with more gore and violence, of course) than its sidescrolling predecessors. The game was also non-linear in the maze that you have to beat the time limit, which if you run out of time may not end the game, but changes the storyline and ending. Not many beat-em-ups on the console at that time approached this more open-style, making it ahead of its time.
Splatterhouse 3 was also the last game in the cult-classic series before the 2010 reboot of the series (which may have sparked interest in the previous games).
- Check for Splatterhouse 3 on eBay
- Check for Splatterhouse 3 on Amazon.com
Elemental Master: $45 – $193
TechnoSoft is well known for their Thunder Force series, bu