One gamer’s trash…

You may have treasure in your closet. You know that one game you hurriedly bought, never even opened, and completely forgot about when the next AAA game released? Turns out, that game–even if it’s one of the crappiest games imaginable–might’ve appreciate in value with the passing of time. It’s entirely possible that there’s a piece of shrink-wrapped gold lying dormant in your game library, just waiting to be unearthed and sold to shrewd game collectors. And we’re not talking ancient Atari games or cherished PS1 classics–these are all rarities made for this current console generation.

The following titles aren’t even limited collector’s editions, mind you. No, these are the games that fetch overblown prices even without cool pack-ins and art books to sweeten the deal. To put things in perspective, we’ve compiled the lowest-yet-still-nutty Amazon prices of these sought-after games. As you peruse this article, think to yourself: Could you have ever guessed that the cost of these games would climb up instead of plummeting down?

Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-earth II (PC)

Mint – $180
Used – $60

A licensed game is like a ticking time bomb: Once your contract expires, all production of your project dies with it. That’s the fate that befell this Lord of the Rings real-time-strategy game, which was well received by fans of both the fantasy series and the genre. It had it all: orcs, dwarves, elves, macro- and micromanagement–even Hugo Weaving (aka Elrond and Agent Smith) reprised his role from the films and provided the game’s narration. Sadly, any hope for digital distribution vanished when New Line Cinema stripped the LOTR license from EA and gave it to Warner Bros. Interactive. As Gandalf would say, “You shall not… play this game at a reasonable priiiiiiice!”

Metroid Prime: Trilogy (Wii)

Mint – $201
Used – $75

We love the Metroid Prime series as much as anyone, but even we have to admit that this pricing is ridiculous. This compilation revamped the GameCube’s Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes with some features seen in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, then plopped all three stellar games onto a single Wii disc. Dubbed a “Collector’s Edition” even though it was the only version of its kind, the collection even came in a spiffy tin case. Yet despite the trilogy’s popularity, Nintendo seems to have way under-printed the compilation, evidenced by the fact that even used copies go for some serious moolah.

Walk It Out (Wii)

Mint – $100
Used – $52

We’ve never played this Wii fitness game, but we like to imagine that it endlessly loops Unk’s anthemic rap song as you exercise. Sadly, this isn’t the case, and this looks to be one of the most painfully boring games ever made, where the player literally marches in place on a Wii Balance Board or dance mat to simulate a walk through a park. Yet it seems that some buyers would rather spend a Benjamin on what is, in our estimation, Wii shovelware than take a walk in an actual park. Hey, if you’ve got that kind of money, feel free to do whatever you want with it. As long as it involves Unk, that is.

NBA Elite 11 (PS3)

Mint – $2,250
Used – $995

We must be mind-readers, because it seems we correctly predicted your reaction of “WTF?!” to the above pricing. Blame Electronic Arts for the ludicrous price. The teams that made the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions were ordered to completely reboot the entire franchise, with only a scant 18 months of development time to do so. This soul-crushing deadline took its toll on the final product, which was such a glitch-ridden mess that EA axed the whole project at the eleventh hour. Unfortunately, a miniscule number of copies had already gone out to retailers, and were accidentally sold to members of the public. No one among them could’ve known that they’d just purchased what is now one of game collecting’s Holy Grails.

Konami Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol Encore (Wii)

Mint – $120
Used – $34

Were Simon Cowell in charge of reviewing this game, which features his own likeness and voice alongside Randy Jackson and Paula Abdul, we imagine he’d judge it as “absolutely rubbish.” Gamers seem to agree: A brand-new PS2 version of the game retails for a measly buck-fifty. And yet, against all reason, an unopened copy of the Wii version will cost you 80 times that. Konami has since ditched the American Idol branding, so there’s no chance that this game will ever see new copies–but still, that kind of rarity can’t explain the ridiculous inflation of the Wii game’s price. Maybe Wii owners just really love competition shows that revolve around crushed dreams.

One Piece: Unlimited Adventure (Wii)

Mint – $180
Used – $75

Anime games have an unfortunate history of doing poor-to-okay sales at release, then becoming increasingly hard to find as series fans snag the remaining copies. This One Piece brawler is one such game, offering a fun mix of beat-‘em-up action and a butt-ton of playable characters in the lighthearted versus mode. Followers of the show adored the game while everyone else ignored it, which led Namco Bandai to exclude the US with the release of the game’s sequel, One Piece: Unlimited Cruise. That makes this the last One Piece Wii game in the states, which explains the above-average asking price.

Crash of the Titans (360)

Mint – $100
Used – $21

Crash Bandicoot has it rough these days. After reaching near-official mascot levels of popularity on the original PlayStation, gamers all but forgot he existed during the subsequent console generations. Across the board, recent efforts starring the orange marsupial have crashed and burned–but somehow, the Xbox 360 version of this 2007 platformer managed to retain a shred of dignity through increased pricing. Maybe it’s the fact that you could hijack and ride on the backs of mighty beasts–or maybe it’s that, at the time, nobody thought to buy a 360 game starring a not-so-gracefully-aging platformer.

Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust (PS3)

Mint – $75
Used – $16

Try to imagine paying $75 for a mound of feces pressed into the shape of a disc. Congratulations, you’ve just simulated the act of buying a factory-sealed PS3 copy of the most recent Leisure Suit Larry game. Even to a franchise as lewd and cheesy as Larry’s, this game was a disgrace, failing to even offer the series’ trademark smut as a reward for your perverted puzzle-solving. Our only hope is that Codemasters deliberately printed as few PS3 copies as possible, creating a rare collector’s item in exchange for making the world a better place–at least, better than it would’ve been with a full production run.

Hot Wheels: Beat That (Wii)

Mint – $85
Used – $4

When you stop to think about it, Hot Wheels collectors are an incredibly weird bunch. Something in their brain compels them to pay thousands of dollars for plastic toy cars–some of which cost more than buying a brand new motor vehicle. So it seems a little less outrageous to pay $85 dollars for a Hot Wheels video game–but not by much. This is another strange instance where the unopened Wii version has accrued bizarre amounts of value–value that apparently gets obliterated without the plastic shrink-wrap.

Dokapon Kingdom (Wii)

Mint – $95
Used – $33

This one actually looks like a lot of fun. It’s a shame, then, that our snobby preference for buying unused games, mixed with an unwillingness to spend large sums of money on individual discs, makes playing this nigh impossible. Dokapon is actually a port of a PS2 game that blended board game and RPG elements together, with a cutesy coat of anime paint. Think Mario Party, but with knights instead of plumbers and battles instead of minigames. Like many Atlus titles, it had a limited print run–and when you combine rarity with quality, the price of unopened copies can only go one direction: up.

Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon (360)

Mint – $120
Used – $75

Unlike Crash, Spyro has seen great success as of late, with the Skylanders franchise a resounding hit amongst children and children-at-heart. But we have difficulty believing that demand alone could fuel the price increase of 2008’s Dawn of the Dragon. A possible explanation for the inflated price would be the timing of its release: 2008 was also the year that publisher Sierra Entertainment shuttered, making this the last game they ever put out. It’s too bad that the swan song for this legendary PC developer ended being an unexceptional platformer starring a PS1 hero.

Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3 (Wii)

Mint – $150
Used – $35

Brace yourself, because this one’s a bit confusing. Despite what the name would suggest, this fighting game is not part of the Dragon Ball Z: Budokai franchise, and therefore isn’t a part of the recent and readily available Budokai: HD Collection. Whereas Budokai was developed by Dimps, the Budokai Tenkaichi series is the work of Japanese developer Spike. Prior to 2010, Atari handled the publishing duties for Tenkaichi in the states, before eventually handing the keys to Namco Bandai. That means that the few copies already out there are now and forever the only copies, a concept that makes avid collectors drool all over their money piles.

Dead Rising [Japan Import] (360)

Mint – $620
Used – $25

Exxxxxxxxxcuse us? For a game that currently retails for $9.06 in the US, paying over $600 for an imported copy seems… strange. You’d think the extravagant asking price would be caused by some scandalous content in the Japanese version, which was cut when the game made it to Western shores. But nope–the Japanese release is the one that’s censored, with all traces of zombie limb dismemberment or decapitations being removed in this version. So unless we put a premium on censorship, what is it that makes this non-Platinum Edition version from overseas so freaking expensive? We honestly have no idea, and we’re not about to pay up to find out.

Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)

Mint – $89
Used – $77

Of all the games on this list, this one might be the only one with a justifiable price. Xenoblade Chronicles has been heralded by many as the last great Wii game, and any English localization was hotly anticipated for years after the game’s 2010 release in Japan. When fan demand (specifically the “Operation Rainfall” movement) finally spurred Nintendo to release the game stateside, two years had elapsed, and the already-limited release had very little fanfare. If you were astute enough to pick up a copy, you should thank your lucky stars–because this one is likely going to increase in price indefinitely, whether you’ve opened and played it or not.

F1 2009 (Wii)

Mint – $99
Used – $89

What is it about the Wii version of multiplatform games that bestows over-inflated value? Surely not the graphics–while they were perfectly serviceable, the visuals for this pole-position Wii racer paled in comparison to other PS3 and Xbox 360 franchises. Developer Codemasters apparently took this to heart, because from 2009 on, the Wii has been completely excluded from the F1 20XX franchise. That means that this is the last Formula One Wii game of its kind, and collectors are keen on snapping up the last in a series before they become increasingly difficult to find.

Fritz Chess (Wii)

Mint – $120
Used – $60

If you so desired, you could open up a new tab in your browser and find a free version of chess within milliseconds. So why anyone would willingly pay 120 bones for a Wii chess game–one that had a limited release for seemingly no reason–is beyond us. Now, granted, Fritz seems about as cool as chess games get, teaching the player the ins and out of strategy and recreating historical matches against the likes of Garry Kasparov and Paul Morphy. But then you realize that you can buy it on PC for $7. And that’s the exact moment when $120 for a Wii version of this selectively distributed game seems like true lunacy.

My Horse and Me: Riding for Gold (Wii)

Mint – $300
Used – $50

Come on, guys. Just because it’s rare, doesn’t mean you should pay the price of a console for a game about horses. You’re better than this. The game’s rarity is once again courtesy of Atari, who discontinued publishing of the game after its licensing agreement with the International Federation for Equestrian Sports expired. Somehow, we suspect that this grossly inflated price is all the dastardly work of B. Buttercup.

…another gamer's treasure

So, is it your lucky day? Do you just so happen to have a copy of one of these games, sitting alone and unopened, somewhere in your home? Let us know of your good fortune–and try to gauge whether the game’s worth sitting on or selling straightaway on eBay.

For more outlandish features, check out Ask GR Anything: What are the most expensive games in the world?
 and our list of the weirdest spin-offs in video game history.

By Lucas Sullivan