Rare and Expensive: RPGs You'll Pay Top Whack For

I spend quite a sizeable portion of my free time scouring eBay for retro RPGs I can get at a reasonable price. I find the whole activity quite a zen experience and regularly reach inner equilibrium by finding myself a good deal. However, my income is disappointly finite and justifying spending hundreds of pounds for a retro game is not really an option.

The most money I have ever spent myself on a retro RPG, so not including gifts, was £54.99 on a copy of Legend of Dragoon on Playstation 1. You may think that's an extortionate amount of money to spend on something that was released 11 years ago but it's small fry compared to some of the exceptionally rare retro RPGs haunting the second hand market.

The emergence of classic RPGs on platforms like PSN, XBLA and on Apple devices has started to drive second prices of those available down, but there are still hundreds of rare games out there that will never see a re-release and will continue to rise in price.

So if you are a new or intermediate collector, looking for a jewel in the crown of your RPG collection, here are my top five most wanted retro RPGs that I'll probably never be able to afford/justify.

5. Lufia & The Fortress of Doom - SNES - Taito, 1993
The first game in the Lufia series maybe didn't receive the critical acclaim lavished on Secret of Mana or Final Fantasy but there is still a place for it on any collector's shelf. The game never received a PAL outing and when searching for this, take care not to be confused with the PAL game 'Lufia'. This is actually, Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals called 'Lufia' in Europe for the above reason.

They're called the Sinistrals, an apt name as their intentions are wholly sinister

Expect to pay anything from about £80 upwards. These don't drop on eBay that regularly, so when they're boxed, more often on than not they're on a buy it now deal.

4. Secret of Mana 2/Seiken Densetsu 3 - SNES - Square, 1995
The much anticipated sequel to Secret of Mana, never received an English translation or a release outside of Japan yet you can still find copies of it on the bay for silly money. After a small amount of research I've ascertained that the NTSC US and PAL copies of 'Secret of Mana 2' are in fact custom built carts with a very accomplished translation of the game loaded on. Others have gone to the trouble of making some rather lovely packaging for it too.

Secret of Mana 2. The secret is, it's a fake.

If you've got money to burn, and I'm talking anything up to £225, then by all means pick this up. For me though, there's just something a little bit wrong about charging people hundreds of pounds for something that was knocked up in the bedroom of someone with far too much time on their hands.

3. Harvest Moon - SNES - Natsume/Nintendo, 1997/1998
Harvest Moon is one of those rare games you probably didn't realise was that rare if you owned it back in the day. Well, I hope for your sake if you did own it, you kept hold of it as the orignal 'farmville' is now one of the rarest, most expensive RPGs in the SNES RPG library. Latest iterations have never quite managed to capture the magic of the original despite all being decent games in their own right. I guess there's a lot to be said for the charm of 16-bit bovines.

It's a scientific fact that praying only works in video games.

Boxed copies fetch well over £100, with the cartridge alone going for in excess of £60 minimum. If you manage to track down a factory sealed copy with Nintendo seal be prepared to part with a sizeable percentage of your annual salary as seen in this auction for over £1100.

2. Chrono Trigger - SNES - Square, 1995
Without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest JRPG of all time. In my mind, nothing in the genre will ever surpass Chrono Trigger in terms of narrative and RPG design excellence. When you consider the talent involved in developing this game, it's easy to understand why it's still regarded as one of the best RPGs around. Kitase, Matsui, Sakaguchi, Toriyama, Uematsu, Horii, Tokita. If you haven't played what is essentially a game crafted from a genre defining dream team and aren't inspired too by the names listed then I'm not really sure why you're reading this blog.

No jokes. No half-baked captions. Boxed/Complete it's every collector's dream.

Don't hope to find this cheap. I saw the packaging alone go for just over £32 on ebay last week and finding a complete edition, NTSC only obviously as the game never released in Europe on SNES, will hit your wallet for at least £80. I think even then you're doing well. If new/sealed is more your bag, expect sellers to name their price. Currently shipping for a cool £731...

1. Earthbound - SNES- Nintendo, 1995
This is the holy grail for me. The one game that I need in my collection more than I need oxygen. It is, purely and simply, the pinnacle of any RPG collectors collection. If it isn't, then they're doing something horribly wrong. If you want to buy a copy of Earthbound (which is actually Mother 2, Mother 1 was never released outside of Japan) then please ensure the copy you buy is 100% complete with manual, map etc, but most importantly it MUST HAVE the scratch and sniff cards. If it doesn't, DO NOT BUY. Simple as. The scratch and sniff is one of the reasons you will pay top whack for this game and people will try and sell the game for the same price without. General rule: NO HOT DOG MUSTARD, NO SALE.

A present day RPG with bicycles, baseball bats and I assume, Bin Laden. Save the world.

You want this? You really want it? Cart only. £80 please. But you don't want that, you want the full package, otherwise, what's the point? Well, that'll be around £300. Don't believe me? Check this auction out. Two days left and we're already at £201. Brand new/sealed? A price? Name it basically. I'd estimate around £2,500 but feel free to prove me wrong.

Yep, they're all SNES games. Don't be surprised. If you ever want to make me jealous, feel free to post unboxing videos of you with your game in the comments thread. I won't hate you, I'll just post nude pictures of your Earthbound Zero. Fnar Fnar.

Until next time....

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