Released in 1989 in Japan and North America and in 1990 in Europe, the Nintendo Game Boy isn’t a nostalgic gaming console as much as it is an instantly recognisable symbol of the 90s and all it held. After-all, this underdog console, which received middling reviews upon release, grew to outsell the competition based on its huge library of titles alone.
So which of these titles has remained prized by fans all these decades later, so much so that enthusiasts would go to the ends of the Earth to track a copy down? Read on to find out!
Chikyu Kaiho Gun ZAS – $740
When you think of aesthetically beautiful video games, you probably think of No Man’s Sky or Elder Scrolls, rather than anything available to play on the Game Boy. Nevertheless, 1992’s Chikyu Kaiho Gun ZAS was considered cutting-edge in its looks at the time and is still thought of as a stunning game today. This Japan-exclusive game is a meticulously-designed shoot-em-up that has gained a reputation as a hidden gem for the console, owing to the fact that it was never released worldwide.
Today, Chikyu Kaiho Gun ZAS is one of the most in-demand ports on the market, with enthusiasts scrambling to add it to their collection, and it has a minimum secondhand cartridge price of $210. As for the complete game including the box, you can expect to pay over $700 to own it for yourself!
Jimmy Connors Tennis (American Version) – $390
Plenty of video games develop loyal fanbases that continue to play a title long after its release, but those games are rarely tennis themed. Jimmy Connors Tennis was originally released to the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1993 before being released to the Game Boy (plus the Atari Lynx) later that year. The game was released in several different countries on the Game Boy and received favourable reviews, but it is the American edition specifically that stuck in the hearts of fans.
The North American run of Jimmy Connors Tennis was smaller than you might expect. As a result, enthusiasts set about snapping up copies of this game whenever they could, leading to an incredibly high secondhand price of $100 for the cartridge alone and almost $400 for the complete game and packaging.
Avenging Spirit (European Version) – $390
1992’s Avenging Spirit has a pretty morose title and a premise that sees you possess several other creatures in order to solve a mystery. Therefore, it’s no surprise that gamers were equally puzzled by both box designs the game was released with, from the gun-wielding gangster that emblazoned the North American cover to the European choice of an adorable chibi ghost.
Though neither design properly reflects Avenging Spirit’s actual mysterious tone, it was the European box that fans went wild for, with its value jumping from $40 to $600 between 2014 and 2015. The fervour has calmed down a little since though, as the 2022 value is closer to $400.
Toxic Crusaders – $310
The 80s and early 90s were a weird time. In no other decade could low budget splatter horror flick The Toxic Avenger – with its themes of child murder, sexual assault and human trafficking – be turned into a wholesome kid’s cartoon with a message of protecting our planet. However, even more unbelievable is the fact that this cartoon was then turned into a game for the Game Boy.
Not many copies of the 1992 Toxic Crusaders game still exist today, but given The Toxic Avenger’s status as major cult icon, it makes sense that any and all associated merch is highly sought after by horror fans. Subsequently, the resale value for a complete copy of the Game Boy game consistently sits pretty at around $300.
F1 Pole Position – $800
Shortcuts and cost-saving measures have been a part of game development since its beginning, so the fact that Ubisoft took the successful Nakajima Satoru F-1 Hero GB ’92 and rebranded it as the slightly less wordy Pole Position One isn’t really noteworthy. However, what is unusual is how doubtful Ubisoft was about the success of its new localisation, releasing only a limited amount of copies.
This alone would lead to a high resale price for collectors, but the 1992 PAL region release of Pole Position One had the extra quirk of a black band along the bottom of the cover, which enthusiasts were quick to snap up. These “black label” editions have been known to fetch up to $800!
King James Bible – $340
The Bible might be the most famous book in the world, but it doesn’t follow that the 1994 Game Boy cartridge of the King James Bible is equally lauded. Nevertheless, this unique curio is fiercely sought after by collectors, who want the questionable delights of reading the good book in a far more cumbersome and less intuitive way. As might be expected, while this was released on a Game Boy cartridge it wasn’t a game at all, but made the handheld console an early form of e-reader.
Not too many King James Bible cartridges still exist, and so one without the box will still most likely fetch $150 or above on the resale market. A complete copy, with the box and all associated bits and bobs, has been known to sell for up to $340.
Sumo Fighter – $1,500
Sumo Fighter is another American Game Boy game that began its life as a Japanese release. Originally called Sumo Fighter: Tōkaidō Basho, the game first came out in 1991, before hitting American shores and shelves in 1993. The player controls a Sumo wrestler travelling and fighting his way through ancient Japan, on a quest to save the city of Kyoto.
While the original Japanese release is fairly easy to find, the North American version has become a lot of collectors’ white whale, with a cartridge-only resale price of around $200! As for a copy in like new, in-the-box condition, enthusiasts can expect to pay a whopping $1,500!
Amazing Tater – $1,200
In 1991’s Amazing Tater, you play as… well, a potato, tasked with solving puzzles to open differently configured gates. Though this might seem like a pretty basic concept, Amazing Tater is actually the third game in a series, following on from 1989’s Kwirk and its sequel Spud’s Adventure (released earlier in 1991).
Amazing Tater didn’t gain a foothold in the US the way that Kwirk had before it, so not many copies were sold. The game seemed destined for obscurity until 2012, when its secondhand cartridge price jumped dramatically from $130 to $800! Now, in order to take home a complete copy of the game, you’ll have to shell out over $1,000!
Mega Man V – $500
The Mega Man series actually predates the Game Boy, with the original game being released first on the NES back in 1987. By the time the Game Boy was the dominant console, the franchise was already on its fifth instalment. This led many fans and critics to believe it was a lazy cash grab when Mega Man V came to the Game Boy in 1994, two years after its NES release.
However, Mega Man V actually took longer to develop than the previous four games, and this effort showed in both its aesthetic and its gameplay. Maybe that is why the game is so prized today, with a secondhand price of $500 for a complete, boxed copy and $55 for the cartridge alone.
Spud’s Adventure – $730
Released in 1991, Spud’s Adventure should be an unremarkable middle franchise instalment, wedged between the more popular Kwirk and the more advanced Amazing Tater. Following a simultaneous release in Japan and North America, the overhead RPG fell into relative obscurity, before becoming an object of collector interest in the early 2010s.
2012 saw the value of a secondhand Spud’s Adventure cartridge jump from $15 to $100, while the complete game’s resale price grew to over $700! In the wake of this renewed interest, Spud’s Adventure has often been called the rarest Game Boy game around.
Trip World – $2,000
Trip World is a sweet and charming platformer which follows an adorable, shapeshifting protagonist as he searches for the stolen and lost flower of peace. The game was first released in Japan in 1992 and hit shelves in Europe in 1992, but was never granted a US release.
Though players were not enchanted with Trip World at the time of its release, the game’s lack of American sales did actually help it in the long run, as its scarcity has led to immensely high resale prices. In order to secure a complete secondhand copy of Trip World, you’ll need to shell out over $2000!
Kid Dracula – $735
1993’s Kid Dracula is an interesting game for a number of reasons. On top of being simultaneously a sequel to (and remake of) the Japanese game Demon Castle Special: Kid Dracula, it is also a Castlevania spin-off, with a watered-down gothic aesthetic designed to appeal to younger kids.
Kid Dracula was released in Japan and North America exclusively in 1993, and it developed a small cult following but didn’t make any major waves. Nowadays though, you can expect to pay between $70 and $300 for just the cartridge alone, while the complete boxed game sells for over $700 secondhand.
Bubsy 2 – $350
1994’s simple-titled Bubsy 2 is the sequel to the much more cleverly monikered 1993 game Bubsy in Claws Encounters of the Furred Kind. In Bubsy 2 sees the characters break into a hotly anticipated theme park on the eve of its opening day, to play and make mischief. Several more Bubsy games have been released since; the most recent, Bubsy: Paws on Fire!, came to Nintendo Switch, Playstation 4 and PC in 2019.
Though Bubsy is hardly the most iconic character to come out of a 90s Game Boy game, the franchise’s endurance led to Bubsy 2 being re-released on Steam in 2015. However, those who want to play it in its original form can expect to pay $12 for the cartridge secondhand, or $350 for the whole game.
Castlevania II Belmont’s Revenge – $700
Originally released in Japan as Akumajō Dracula, the Castlevania series began with the 1986 game for NES. Sequel Castlevania II: Belmont’s Revenge arrived in 1991, and is one of three Castlevania games released on the original Game Boy. It’s a major fan favourite thanks to its imaginative and unique stages and sub-weapons, which broke the pattern established by the original title.
Given the fact that the second Castlevania game was both much loved and widely circulated, there’s not really a scarcity problem for collectors. Lone cartridges can be bought secondhand for as little as $35, and even opened boxed copies top out at just over $300. However, the game’s enduring popularity is betrayed by the price of a secondhand unopened game, which can fetch up to $700.
Hammerin’ Harry: Ghost Building Company – $550
The Hammerin’ Harry franchise has eight instalments and follows its heroic title character as he protects his humble hometown from the greedy developers who want to bulldoze it. The 1992 entry into the series, called Hammerin’ Harry Ghost Building Company or Carpenter Genzo: Ghost Kingdom in some countries, is not a video game about either a ghostly construction company staffed by lingering spirits or the story of a man who builds ghosts for a living. A logical choice of title, then.
Hammerin’ Harry didn’t land on American shores until he was brought to the PSP in 2009, so many collectors were unaware of this series of side-scrolling brawlers until its secondhand cartridge price began to creep up. Nowadays, you can expect to pay around $160 for just a Ghost Building Company cartridge, and $550 for the whole boxed game, opened.