The Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES) arrived in North America over 30 years ago in 1991, capturing the hearts of many gamers young and old. Nearly 50 million units were sold worldwide with roughly 23 million of those being in the western hemisphere.
There were 717 different games that were officially released for the SNES in North America. Pack-in games like Super Mario World are of course pretty common to find being sold in retro game stores and online since so many were produced. However, not every title was popular, and some games are a lot harder to find copies of for sale.
We’ve put together a list of ten of the rarest SNES games that cost a pretty penny to buy nowadays.
This list will focus exclusively on NTSC (North American) game prices; since PAL (European/Japanese) games had entirely different releases, it is difficult to compare. Additionally, the list is focused only on official retail releases; “not for resale” carts or exclusive competition carts are not included here.
Mega Man X3 – $300
Mega Man X3 is the third game in the Mega Man X series and was released in 1996. Like many other games in the series, players navigate eight action-platforming stages.
The game was released fairly late into the SNES’s life cycle, and there was a pretty limited print at the time. Mega Man continued to grow in popularity over the years, so many fans who didn’t have this game would be eager to add it to their collection.
It’s not too difficult to find copies of Mega Man X3 on the market, but they have recently sold in the high $200 to low $300 range.
Castlevania: Dracula X – $300
Castlevania: Dracula X was released in late 1995. It featured the same gameplay and story as Castlevania: Rondo of Blood (which was released on the PC Engine Super CD-ROM) but with altered levels due to the limitations of the SNES cartridges.
Like Mega Man X3, Castlevania: Dracula X saw a limited print release, launched pretty late into the SNES’s life cycle, and the series grew in popularity over time making it sought after by new fans.
Copies of this game have recently been sold for around $300 or more.
Earthbound – $325
Earthbound wasn’t exactly destined to succeed. It was the second game in the Mother series, which was previously exclusive to Japan.
Not only was the franchise unfamiliar to the American audience, the game’s marketing included a lot of toilet humor, and at the time in 1995, many players were interested in more mature JRPGs such as Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy. It’s no wonder why so few copies were sold; in fact, it’s estimated that fewer than 150,000 copies were sold in North America.
Earthbound and the rest of the Mother series ended up becoming more of a cult classic in the years after its release, possibly due to Ness’s inclusion in the Super Smash Bros. series and a growing fan community. Now, copies sell for roughly $300-$350 on average.
Metal Warriors – $350
Metal Warriors was a side-scrolling run and gun game that was released in 1995 (notice a trend here with the late releases?) by LucasArts. It was developed by the same team who created Zombies Ate My Neighbors, but this game was set in the future with various types of mecha suits.
Like many of the others on this list, there weren’t a ton of copies produced. Metal Warriors looked and played great for a SNES game, though, so many collectors find it worth owning a copy of.
Carts of Metal Warriors typically fetch around $350-400 or so nowadays.
Harvest Moon – $400
Little did anyone know that when the original Harvest Moon was released on the SNES in 1997 that would kickstart one of the most popular video game genres. Producer Yasuhiro Wada wanted to create a roleplaying game that didn’t involve combat, and because of his love of the countryside, the first farming simulator was born.
Harvest Moon sold fairly well for how late it was released in the SNES’s life, selling over 100,000 copies. Because the Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons franchise would become one of the most popular series of all time, the original game is sought after by collectors and fans.
Recently sold Harvest Moon carts have sold for roughly $400 or more.
Final Fight Guy – $450
Final Fight Guy was a bit of an odd release, and many people might not know this version of the game even exists. Final Fight was a SNES port of the arcade beat-em-up, but this port of the game removed features from the original arcade release such as multiplayer, a level, and the playable fighter Guy.
Three years later, a revised version of the game was released called Final Fight Guy. As the title suggests, it adds Guy back as a playable character along with other features, such as multiple difficulty settings. This revision was originally only available as a Blockbuster rental, but then later was released in retail stores in limited numbers.
Because of this odd release, Final Fight Guy pops up for sale every now and then and sells for around $450 on average.
Pocky & Rocky 2 – $500
Pocky & Rocky 2 was a shoot-em-up sequel to the original Pocky & Rocky developed by Natsume. It built upon the first game by adding unique attacks to the second player character to assist with gameplay.
The game was received very positively by both critics and consumers. It didn’t have such a limited release or boom in popularity as some of the other games on this list, but for some reason, copies of Pocky & Rocky 2 are quite expensive to buy today.
Recently sold copies of the game have gone for up to $500.
Hagane: The Final Conflict – $1,000+
Hagane: The Final Conflict was a unique side-scrolling platformer because it took place in a futuristic world but featured traditional Japanese samurai characters. One of the most standout features of the game was the large variety of weapons and attacks that players could use throughout the levels.
Nowadays, copies of Hagane: The Final Conflict are somewhat rare and extremely expensive. Some collectors believe this may be a result of false inflation, but that doesn’t change the fact that buying a copy will set you back nearly a grand or more.
The NTSC version of the game seems to be much rarer than its PAL counterpart, and there is some uncertainty whether or not the game was limited as a Blockbuster exclusive in North America or not. Regardless, recent copies over the past few months have sold for over anywhere from $950 up to $1,300.
Aero Fighters – $1,000+
Aero Fighters was released on the SNES in 1993 as a vertically scrolling shooting game. It was a port of a successful arcade game, but the SNES version had worse graphics and sound effects, and it suffered from slowdown due to cart limitations.
Even though it wasn’t a fantastic game, there are some theories as to why it is so expensive now. Its lack of commercial success of course is one explanation. Another is that back in 2007, famous author John Green and his YouTuber son Hank Green made a video in which they accidentally read the title as “Nerd Fighters.” This could have potentially brought the game into the eyes of a modern mainstream audience and drive up the price.
Recently sold copies of Aero Fighters have sold for anywhere between $975 and $1,499, so get ready to write a big check if you ever want to add this one to your collection.
Exertainment Mountain Bike Rally / Speed Racer – $1600+
Exertainment Mountain Bike Rally / Speed Racer might be one of the most peculiar SNES games ever released. Both games in this title had separate releases, but it’s the version that combines them onto one cartridge that is so rare.
The combo cart of racing games came packed in with Life Fitness’s “Exertainment” stationary bike, and the game could actually be used with the exercise machine; pedaling on the bike controlled the speed of the vehicles in the games. And…that was the only way to actually be able to play the game.
Because the Exertainment stationary bikes were so expensive at the time, there probably weren’t very many copies of the game in circulation. Additionally, it seemed more geared towards casual consumers than a more hardcore gaming audience, meaning many copies might not be around anymore.
If you’re trying to add the Exertainment Mountain Bike Rally / Speed Racer cart to your personal collection, you’ll have to keep a very close eye out for copies being sold. The most recent recorded sale was this past March, and it went for just over $1,600. Before that, the last recorded copy was sold back in 2017, so this rare game doesn’t show up very often.