It’s easy to take video games for granted when they’re on shelves and easily available, but next thing you know that once $10 copy of No More Heroes in the Wii bargain bins is no more! And finding a used copy $40 or so on a random Sunday trip to the mall is considered to be a lucky day. Same goes for video games available for purchase on digital outlets, sure the price never hikes and you can download any given time, but digital games do get delisted (I had no idea that Tetris of all games had been delisted from the eShop due to licensing issues!). Right now you can find some of the rarest and most expensive Nintendo games right at your fingertips on the Virtual Console.
In the past you’d have to fork out hundreds, if not close to a thousand, dollars on these games, but thanks to the eShop you can download them right now for mere pocket change. Digital distribution has its blessings for sure.
If you’re not fussy about owning physical copies and just want the privilege of playing these games to scratch of your gaming bucket list, you can grab these games right now and enjoy them in fully optimised and perfectly emulated glory on your 3DS and/or Wii U.
Here are three otherwise expensive and rare Nintendo games that you can own right now with just lunch money. We’ve even listed their current ebay value to make sure you don’t take their very affordable eShop availability for granted!
Platform: Game Boy
Store: 3DS eShop
Current Ebay Value: $AU 300-$AU 400 (loose cartridge only)
I’ll be honest: I only discovered this game yesterday as I was scrolling through the Virtual Console before bed!
At first I thought that, like most old school Game Boy games, it would be a silly old minimalist puzzle game of some sort. Upon viewing its eShop store page, Trip World looked like a visually detailed action platformer. A little bit of research showed that it was a rare and expensive game, not to mention largely unknown back when it released for the Game Boy in 1993, and still remains obscure despite being on the eShop! After looking at the crazy prices on ebay, I didn’t hesitate to download this off the eShop for just $AU 4.50!
Trip World is actually a really cool game, it resembles Kirby in both visuals and gameplay (given the transformations) but all in all it’s a unique little gem that any fan of classic platformers would enjoy. For a classic (monochrome) Game Boy game the graphics are positively fantastic with fluid sprites and detailed backgrounds, featuring some cool monster designs based on Japanese folklore and fairy tales. It’s a short and sweet platform adventure that is meant to be clocked in a sitting, featuring some fun bosses. The whole experience doesn’t outstay its welcome, making it a game that would be fun to revisit from time to time.
Platform: Game Boy Color
Store: 3DS eShop
Current Ebay Value: $AU 2000 (complete mint copy), $AU 300-$AU 600 (loose cartridge only)
Okay this adventure platformer is by WayForward, a non-Japanese company, but it’s totally worth mentioning given that this game was released after the Game Boy Advance launch. Naturally myself and most others skipped on it because we were too busy playing the likes of Castlevania: Circle of the Moon and Rayman Advance on our shiny new Game Boy Advance to even consider Shantae. It certainly looked cool, but I wasn’t drawn to it. Boy would I regret that later since the limited print of Shantae meant that prices would sky rocket, all the way up to $AU 2000 in 2016!
Thankfully, Nintendo graciously released Shantae on the eShop and I purchased it on the day of release. This here is a vibrant, colorful, and imaginative adventure with a ton of personality. Shantae really pushed the Game Boy Color hardware to its very limits, sporting some of the best graphics and animation you will ever see on the platform. There’s been plenty of bigger and better sequels Shantae on Nintendo platforms in recent years, but the original still holds up as a solid adventure with heaps of gameplay and level design variety.
I will always maintain that the Game Boy Color is my favorite Nintendo handheld ever, with games like Metal Gear Solid: Ghost Babel, Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX, Pokemon Yellow, Mario Tennis, Harvest Moon, Street Fighter Alpha, Pokemon Pinball, Pokemon Gold/Silver, and of course Shantae.
Sin and Punishment
Platform: Nintendo 64
Store: Wii U eShop
Current Ebay Value: $AU 80-$AU 150 (loose cartridge and complete)
I honestly didn’t really care much for the Nintendo 64 back in the day, as most of my preferred games were on the Saturn or PlayStation, but towards the end of the Nintendo 64 lifespan was a wickedly cool looking game called Sin and Punishment. Released only in Japan, Sin and Punishment grabbed the attention of the the rail shooter fan in me. Now granted, the original cartridge isn’t the most expensive commodity on ebay, but you also have to factor in the purchase of a Japanese console and all that 110V NTSC razz. So really, the fully optimised Virtual Console release for the Wii U is the best way to go.
I love this game as it’s something I can pick up any time and enjoy, much like Panzer Dragoon and Star Fox. It’s got a great style going for it, a cool and edgy art style that wasn’t really commonplace in the Nintendo 64 library. Plus it’s by Treasure, the very same company that gave us the excellent Gunstar Heroes and it shows. If you’re a fan of Treasure and endlessly re-playable rail shooters, then you absolutely have to own Sin and Punishment on the Wii U. Great pacing, explosive action, huge bosses, epic set pieces, and all around just plain cool. They don’t make too many games like Sin and Punishment.
There you have it! Three rare gems you can enjoy without the need of selling your house, all thanks to the Virtual Console on the eShop.