The SEGA Genesis, released in North America in 1989, is a 16-bit home video game console. As the third home console released by Sega, the Genesis is renowned as one of the most beloved gaming platforms of the 1990s, rivaling the success of huge brands of the time like Nintendo.
The Genesis’ iconic games catalog has ensured its status as an iconic piece of gaming history, encouraging many to build collections of old SEGA Genesis games. Here are the top 10 rarest and most valuable SEGA Genesis games, and how much they would cost you to pick up.
All the prices listed below are courtesy of PriceCharting. A game’s new price refers to how much it would cost to pick up a brand new, sealed copy of the game. Meanwhile, a game’s “Loose Price” refers to how much it would cost to buy a used copy of just the game itself. Entries are listed in order from lowest to highest based on their “new” prices.
10. Splatterhouse 3
$716 New | $78 Used
The original Splatterhouse was a violent beat-em-up style arcade game published by Namco in 1988, inspired by the influx of American horror and slasher films that were popular in the 80s. While the first Splatterhouse was only ported to PC, the game’s subsequent sequels Splatterhouse 2 and 3 were both released on the SEGA Genesis.
Although the Splatterhouse games were certainly popular, their production numbers weren’t helped by the graphic nature of the games. This, along with the collectible nature of the series itself, has made new copies of Splatterhouse games quite expensive. Additionally, Splatterhouse 3 was the only game in the series to be released in North America first rather than Europe, so its increasingly limited production numbers in the States have made it even rarer.
9. Paprium Limited Edition
$727 New | $282 Used
Paprium stands out from other games on this list as its rarity is not a product of time; Paprium is a side-scrolling beat-em-up released for the SEGA Genesis in 2020 by WaterMelon, as the result of a 2012 crowd-funding campaign. After multiple years of delay, the game was finally released with both a “Classic” edition and a “Limited” edition.
The limited edition features artwork mimicking later-era North American Genesis game releases, and a lower quantity of them were produced than the classic version. In 2021, WaterMelon announced that all copies they had produced of the game had sold out, which has led to the extremely high cost for both new and used versions of the game.
8. Aero the Acro-Bat 2
$740 new | $88 Used
Aero the Acro-Bat is the second game in the platforming series developed by Iguana Entertainment in 1994, starring the winged protagonist Aero as he explores various worlds in an effort to halt the evil plans of Edgar Ektor and his henchman Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel.
The game is part of a larger series including the original Aero the Acro-Bat, as well as spin-off games starring Zero, making it appealing to collectors interested in owning the full series. But much like many of the other games on this list, Aero the Acro-Bat 2’s high price point comes from the game’s rarity, as time has resulted in copies of the Aero sequel being hard to track down.
7. Elemental Master
$740 New | $103 Used
Elemental Master is a auto scrolling shooter developed by TechnoSoft in Japan in 1990, releasing in North America three years later. The game was released to extremely positive reviews, and is still beloved by fans for its simple yet addictive gameplay mechanics, as well as its timeless synth rock soundtrack.
Elemental Master is arguably one of the most iconic shooters of the SEGA Genesis era, and copies of it can be extremely difficult to find in the wild. Thus, new copies of the game can be sold for up to nearly $750, while a used copy can go for over $100.
6. The Punisher
$837 New | $107 Used
The Punisher is a 1993 beat-em-up arcade game by Capcom that was ported to the SEGA Genesis a year later. The game stars Marvel Comics’ The Punisher, as well as other iconic Marvel characters like S.H.I.E.L.D agent Nick Fury. The Genesis port of The Punisher was released to mixed reviews as it suffered from poor sales, a downgrade in graphics and sound quality from the original arcade version, less on-screen enemies and content.
The console port also censored some of the more taboo aspects of the arcade version, such as removing more violent scenes, removing an animation of Nick Fury smoking a cigar, and adding more clothes to previously scantily-clad female enemies.
The game’s lukewarm reception makes it no surprise that copies are not plentiful nowadays. However, Marvel characters like Fury remain pop culture icons even today, making the game attractive to Marvel fans and Genesis collectors alike.
5. Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel
$935 New | $135 Used
As mentioned earlier in the list, Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel is a spin-off game of the Aero the Acro-Bat series. The game was released in 1994 alongside Aero the Acro-Bat 2, and follows the same events from the perspective of Zero instead of Aero.
As a spin-off game, Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel was even less popular than his bat counterpart, and this lack of popularity upon release has led to few copies of the game remaining. In relation to this, Zero the Kamikaze Squirrel is the hardest game to find of the Aero trilogy, leading to its extremely high price point of over $900 for a new copy.
4. Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage [Collectors Edition]
$1357 New | $260 Used
Spider-Man and Venom: Maximum Carnage is a side-scrolling beat-em-up developed by Software Creations in 1994. The game is based off the 14-part comic book crossover series published by Marvel in 1993, which stars the legendary duo Spider-Man and Venom, as well as a plethora of other iconic Marvel characters including Captain America, Black Cat, Iron Fist, Morbius, and more.
Only 5000 copies of the Collector’s Edition were ever made. This edition includes a gorgeous red and black box featuring the title of the game, a red leather hardcover version of the comic, and the game itself. The rarity of the collector’s edition, quality and aesthetic appeal of the content it comes with, as well as the iconic characters that star in the game explain why new versions of this edition can easily sell for over $1000.
$1938 New | $300 Used
MUSHA is a scrolling shooter developed by Compile and released for the SEGA Genesis in 1990. Players take control of a flying mecha pilot tasked with destroying a supercomputer bent on destroying Earth. MUSHA was released at a time when scrolling shooters for the Genesis were being released en masse, and players were finding themselves a bit worn out with the genre. Thus, MUSHA’s reception was unremarkable at the time.
However, the game’s perception has gotten increasingly positive as time has passed, with a strong soundtrack and graphics considered ahead of the game’s time. The quality of MUSHA as a game itself is a large contributor to its cost, as its challenging yet addictive combat has made it a Genesis fan-favorite. This accompanied with the game’s initial poor sales performance explain its extremely high current price point.
2. Crusader of Centy
$3089 New | $472 Used
Crusader of Centy is an action-adventure game developed by Nextech and published by Sega and Atlus for the SEGA Genesis. The game features an overhead perspective of the main character Corona, who must fight enemies, solve puzzles, and explore the world around him alongside several animal allies (each with their own special abilities). The game was originally released in Japan in 1994, then in Europe and North America the following year.
Much like other games on his list, Crusader of Centy saw poor sales upon its initial release, however it was praised highly by critics for both its gameplay and graphics. The game was later discovered as a hidden gem by collectors, and its technical achievements as well as physical rarity have made it one of the most expensive games on the SEGA Genesis today.
1. Outback Joey
N/A New | $5441 Used
Outback Joey stands out from the rest of the games on this list, not just because of its outrageous price point at over $5000. It was developed by Western Technologies as a means of utilizing the HeartBeat Catalyst — a third-party exercise add-on for the SEGA Genesis that included body-mounted fitness sensors that tracked heart rate, motion, and sweat levels.
The game stars the kangaroo boxer Joey as he adventures through the Australian Outback to save his friends from poachers. Players would have to workout and regulate their heart rate in real life to help Joey progress through his journey — if the player’s heart rate got too high or low, Joey would become exhausted or lethargic, preventing him from jumping properly to complete the level.
Outback Joey and the HeartBeat Catalyst were exclusively sold together, and only 1000 units were ever produced, leading to the game itself being considered lost media for many years. This has made both Outback Joey and the HeartBeat Catalyst some of the rarest pieces of SEGA Genesis history in existence, to the point where new or complete versions of the game are virtually impossible to track down.
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