Rare NES Games: Things That Every Gamer Should Know About

rare nes games

The Nintendo Entertainment System is one of the most popular consoles ever. NES has birthed some timeless classics like Super Mario Bros and the Legend of Zelda. With that kind of popularity, it’s not really surprising that the console and games have so many loyal fans.

Even if the graphics look out of place by today’s standards, the games were part of many people’s lives growing up. That’s also why fans demanded a re-release. The NES Classic Edition was officially released on November 10, 2016. It had some improvements over the original.

Besides a smaller size, the games were preloaded in the system, so there’s no need to buy cartridges.

Why are rare NES games expensive? It’s supply and demand.

Some games are very difficult to find, which eventually drive up the price, but it totally makes sense. If you want to know some NES games that are considered rare, below is the list.

List of Rare and Uncommon NES Games


1. Snow Brothers

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Snow Brothers was released in 1990 by Toaplan. It has a lot of similarities with another game called Bubble Bobble that was released about 4 years prior. 2-player support is available, either can take the role as Tom or Nick. \

The objective of this game is you have to throw snow at the opponents. The enemies have to be fully covered and they will become snowballs as a result. When an enemy gets covered in snow but not fully, it will cause it to freeze. It can’t move until the snow melts away.

After an enemy goes into frozen mode, you can roll and turn it into a snowball. Any other enemy that happens to come along the way will also be destroyed by the snowball.

Moreover, you can try to get rid of the enemies by hitting them with a snowball. Once they’re gone, the player will be rewarded with money that will fall from the sky.

Another challenge you’ll encounter is a boss, which will come up in every 10 levels. The boss has a unique ability to protect itself against snowballs. It takes a few hits, but you should be able to defeat it in the end.

2. Bonk’s Adventure

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This is another rare game that can be played on the Nintendo Entertainment System. It’s about Bonk who has a journey in the dinosaur land. He’s on quest to find the Moon Princess.

It may remind you of the back story of Super Mario because in this game, the princess is also kidnapped by an evil character named the King Drool. The interesting part of this game is Bon uses his head to do the rescue.

Yep, his head is as hard as a rock. It’s very big in proportion to his body. He uses it to take down the enemies that constantly pop up throughout the journey. Not just the story, but the gameplay is also reminiscent of Mario except it has its own monsters and ways to deal with them.

If you want to try another game with side-scrolling platforming, this can be an option. It will take you to a prehistoric era filled with monsters and traps.

3. Mega Man 5

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Mega Man 5 offers a similar gameplay as the previous titles. On this game, the character would use all his abilities to get through a set of stages. The life meter decreases when he gets hits, but it can go back by taking energy capsules found along the way. They are either from the defeated enemies or from the levels you manage to complete.

There’s a mega weapon on his arm that can be used countless times. Also, compared to the previous game, here the Mega Man can utilize charged shots to cause a bigger impact. At the end of each stage, you’ll come cross a boss.

Your task is to take down the master and collect a super weapon, which can later be used to damage enemies. Master weapons are different in their use compared to the mega buster. They have to be constantly refilled following depletion.

There are many other useful power-ups that you can use to win the game, including energy tanks. By the way, at some stages, you’ll meet Rush, the Mega Man’s loyal dog. Just like his master, this dog also has special skills that can help you throughout the game.

4. Dragon Fighter

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This rare NES game has a good gameplay. By the way, this game is a side-scrolling platformer, so it will surely look familiar to you. The main character is a magical human fighter. What’s interesting is he can turn into a dragon with new abilities. When he’s in the original form, he can jump and attack using his sword.

On the screen, there’s a metamorphosis gauge right below the life meter. It can be replenished by defeating enemies found along the way. Once you see it flashing, that means he’s ready to turn into the dragon form.

All it takes to finish the step is by pressing the up button and followed by the A button shortly after. The dragon form also has special skills, like flying and shooting fire breath. Keep in mind that you won’t be in this form forever since the gauge will decrease gradually.

Once it’s depleted, the character will go back to being a human. Besides the sword, another way to attack in this form is using a projectile. Just press and hold the B button to execute it.

5. Panic Restaurant

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This platform video game was developed by EIM. It was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System. It takes place in a restaurant with the main chef named Cookie. It turns out that his restaurant is cursed and he has to do something to get rid of monsters that are trying to take over.

Interestingly, he handles these little critters using kitchen utensils instead of actual weapons like guns and swords. The player needs to eliminate the enemies before he gets the chance to meet the mastermind behind all this mess, Ohdove.

There are a few facts you should know about the game. First, it has a total of 6 levels. Second, it’s translated from Japanese to English. Third, for USA release, there was a slight change to the title screen background.

Cookie wasn’t actually the real name of the chef in the Japanese version. He was Naughty Kokkun. There are a few other differences, like in the Japanese, the main weapon is the chef’s head, while in US adaptation, the chef doesn’t use his head to fight the monsters, but he uses a clobber pan, instead.

6. Little Samson

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Little Samson is one of those rare NES games that have seen a rise in popularity due to their rarity. It was originally intended to capture the success of other NES games, but it failed to do so.

Despite the good graphics for the time of its release, it ended up not selling well. But now, it has turn into a valuable good. It’s definitely worth a try if you can get your hands on it. Although it plays like many other platforming games at that time, it still offers a unique experience.

There are several characters throughout the game, so you don’t stick with the same one in the beginning. The locations are another thing that will excite you about this game.

7. Gun-Nac

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Gun-Nac is a vertical scrolling space shooter game that you can play on this console. It made its debut in September, 1991. It has a similar gameplay as other games in this genre, so we’re sure you know how to control the spacecraft and destroy the enemies by firing shots.

Throughout the game, you’ll come across a variety of weapons as well as power ups to help handle more difficult enemies. Each level is packed with enemies, but they attack differently.

Also, you have to deal with bosses occasionally. There are some difficulty settings provided that you can choose to your liking. There’s also a hidden stage in case you need more challenge while playing.

8. Duck Tales 2

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Duck Tales 2 is a sequel to the original Duck Tales. This game was released in 1993. It offers the player a few levels that can be completed the way you want. On this game, Scrooge can talk to objects, like Cannons and Levels.

Another thing that sets it apart from the original is the intricacy of the level design. Besides, it contains a range of hidden gems that you can disclose. There are 5 stages you can play through along with another secret place.

It’s almost the same length as the previous game. There’s an option to adjust challenge settings, which make them playable by everyone, including little kids who just got into gaming.

FAQs – Rarest Games of Nintendo Entertaintment System

What NES games are worth money?

All the favorite classics are worth the money. Popular and rare NES games are two different things. Rare NES games are hard to find, so their prices may skyrocket.

Are they value for money? It depends.

If you take the role as a collector, then those rare games are value for money. But if you want to play NES games with unique gameplays, they are probably not the best choices considering many other games play similarly.

They use the same platforming, have similar back stories, etc. Games like Super Mario and Zelda are indeed worth it because they offer an awesome experience.

Besides, these games were big hits at their respective peaks, so if you just had your first Nintendo and want to get some games, it’s a good idea to start with the classics.

There are a lot of them. Besides the Legend of Zelda and Super Mario, you can also try Punch Out, Contra, Mega Man, to name a few.

How much did an NES cost in 1985?

Pricing of the NES was based on various sets. With no game, the console sold for $89.99, while with Super Mario bros. on, it was priced at $99.99.

There’s also another package known as the action set. This includes a control deck, 2 controllers, and a couple of games (Duck Hunt and Super Mario), and a NES zapper.

The most expensive package at that time was the Deluxe edition. It had a few more items, including the R.O.B, which was a toy robot accessory developed for the console.

How much did Mario cost in 1985?

The retail price of Super Mario during its release was about $25. It could be bought separately or with the console. For the record, Mario wasn’t part of the NES ‘deluxe’ set.

There were other games in that package, namely Gyromite and Duck Hunt. There were also additional accessories, R.O.B. and Zapper. If you’re curious about the prices of NES games, they sold for $9.99 to $59.99.

Are 5 screw nes games worth more?

Some of the 5 screw NES games are more expensive than the 3 screw counterparts. For those unaware, cartridges were originally assembled using 5 screws. This was later changed to 3 flathead screws only. Many believed that the decision was made to cut down on production costs.

However, some thought it was to increase security of the cartridges, so that they couldn’t be opened easily. Speaking of prices, some 5 screw games are more expensive than the 3 screw variants. It could be due to the rarity considering the former had a limited production run.

Final Thoughts


What’s the fuss with rare NES games? Well, these games are treated as fancy items by collectors, so the high prices shouldn’t surprise anyone. Retro games are already hard to find since the production of older consoles has been discontinued.

Among those games, some are even more difficult to find, which eventually affects their prices. Are these games worth-having? For a collector, they make awesome collectible pieces.

These games are limited in number, so any collector would feel lucky to have their hands on them. But in terms of gameplay, you may find that they are not really different from other games from that era. As a result, you won’t be compelled to buy.

Whatever the case might, it’s exciting to learn how some games can be valued so much compared to others. There should be a reason for that and these rare games usually have that appeal.

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