Suffice to say, video game collectors have taken notice.
And for good reason. Gaming may be a relatively new entertainment form, but it certainly has appreciated quickly. Mint condition "classic" games and systems (which by definition can't be be more than about 40 years old) can sell for hundreds of dollars.
Sometimes, though, the price tag on gaming memorabilia hits the stratosphere. Rare games, hard-to-find collectibles, and sought-after giveaway items have established a niche market that can be incredibly lucrative. Check out these five valuable goodies -- if you can find them:
(Credit: Insomniac Games)
Ratchet & Clank Carbonox Statue
Value: $1,000 - $3,000
Created by the renowned artists at Gentle Giant, this Carbonox statue of the popular Sony characters was never made available to fans. Insomniac Games instead handed them out to employees and a very select few reporters, 457 in all. Fans quickly learned about it, though, and began clamoring for one.
They occasionally show up on eBay these days and are quickly snatched up. The rarest ones are unpainted and can sell for up to $2,500.
(Credit: Sony/Naughty Dog)
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves -- Fortune Hunter Edition
Value: $1,000 - $3,000
It's fitting that one of the most valuable collector's edition video games ever comes from the treasure-obsessed Uncharted series.
The Fortune Hunter edition of Uncharted 2 was made in extremely limited quantities and primarily offered as a prize for dedicated fans. While it includes a copy of the critically-praised title autographed by star Nolan North, what made it truly drool-worthy was the replica of the Phurba Dagger artifact and the collectible art book and case. Only 200 were made, and they occasionally pop up on eBay for -- what else -- a fortune.
Nintendo Stadium Events
Value: Up $40, 000, depending on condition
Long considered the most prized video game in history, a copy of Stadium Events hit eBay in 2010 and sold for a then-record $41,300. That total was later topped by a prototype cartridge of The Legend of Zelda, which sold for $55,000.
It's not that the game is super stylish or particularly fun, it's the fact that there are only 200 known copies of the game in existence. And to find one that's still sealed and in good condition is exceptionally rare.
While some widely released game systems can be worth some decent money, the real finds for collectors are prototype systems that never made it onto store shelves. The list is an extensive one -- and they're really hard to find -- but if you stumble across one, it could be worth big money.
Take, for example, the Atari Cosmos. Five prototypes were built in 1981 for this portable system, which used a sort of hologram to display games. It was pretty awful and never put into full production, but that scarcity makes it enormously valuable. Today, a functional Cosmos is valued at between $10,000 and $20,000.
The Chalice of Light
When it comes to a true video game collectible “Holy Grail,” you’d be hard pressed to find a more worthy nominee than The Chalice of Light. It even looks the part.
In the 1980s, just before the entire industry went off a cliff, Atari produced a series of ambitious SwordQuest games as a sort of real-world video game treasure hunt. Each game was set in a different elemental world -- Earth, Fire, Water, and Air -- and had a puzzle that had to be solved, with lucrative prizes for the winners along the way. Unfortunately, the whole thing tanked before the contest could wrap up.
The first prize, the Talisman of Penultimate Truth, was reportedly melted down and sold for scrap. The second -- and ultimately final -- prize was the Chalice of Light, a cup made of platinum and gold, adorned with rubies, sapphires, diamonds, pearls, citrines, and green jade. Gamer Michael Rideout was the winner, and he has held on to the Chalice ever since. What it's worth today is impossible to determine, but when he won it in 1982, it was valued at $25,000.
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