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TheStreet Open House

10 Classic Video Games Still Raking In Cash

Stocks in this article: EASNEMSFTTTWOZNGAFB

9. Mr. Boston Clean Sweep
Format: Vectrex
Highest price ever paid: $7,200

It takes a special kind of geek to shell out the value of a used car on an unpopular game sponsored by an unpopular liquor and played on an unpopular console.

The Vectrex was a "portable" game console introduced in 1982, just before the video game crash of 1983, that used a controller the size of a cable remote to play black-and-white games consisting mostly of opposing geometric shapes on a cathode-ray tube screen the size of a stack of iPads. It was crude, cumbersome and not much to look at, but defunct liquor company Mr. Boston saw fit to create custom versions of the game Clean Sweep with its logo on the front and the mascot's top hat replacing a vacuum as the game's main character.

Only about five of these games are known to exist today. The Vectrex, however, is much easier to find after its creators put the console and its software into the public domain in the mid-1990s. Anyone who buys a copy of this game will have no problem tracking down a homebrew version of Vectrex to play it on. We're just not sure why they'd want to.

8. Neo Turf Masters
Format: SNK Neo Geo
Highest price ever paid: $8,000

Again, if you want to sell to old-school game geeks, it pays to get esoteric.

The Neo-Geo was a high-powered, cartridge-based arcade game when it debuted in 1990. Its games, including Fatal Fury, Metal Slug and Samurai Showdown were fast, richly colored and far more dense than the 2-D games of its time. It was also a home console whose games were identical to the arcade versions and blew away competitors such as the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo.

Unfortunately, its $400 to $650 price tag was prohibitive at best, while the $200 cost of each of its games was considered outlandish to folks paying $35 to $60 for SNES and Genesis games. Neo Turf Masters came along toward the end of the console's U.S. heyday in 1996 but has been a tough find in its console version for years. Gamers haven't exactly been denied a chance to play it, though, as a version was included in an SNK compilation for Sony's PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable and Nintendo's Wii, as well as in the Wii's Virtual Console.

The average player's not going to pay you a Hyundai Accent for this console game, but there are a bunch of retro game collectors out there who won't be as stingy.

7. Blockbuster World Video Game Championship II
Format: Sega Genesis
Highest price ever paid: $8,000

Hey, remember Blockbuster?

Time was, you'd go to the store with a $5 bill in your hand and come out with the game of your choice and a box of Mike and Ikes. Then you'd inevitably get charged $5 more when you couldn't beat the game in time and sneaked it back into the dropbox late.

Blockbuster loved this relationship with gamers and, in 1995, held in-store competitions where players could compete against each other on Donkey Kong Country Competition from Nintendo and Blockbuster World Video Game Championship II from Sega. Players could win the former, but Blockbuster was told to destroy all copies of the latter, which contained versions of the NBA Jam Tournament Edition and Judge Dredd games. The store managers were willing, but their disaffected, scantly paid '90s employees were totally weak and sneaked some copies out of the stores.

Years later, with Sega no longer making consoles and Blockbuster now just a costly branch of Dish Network (DISH), the Blockbuster World Video Game Championship II cartridges can breathe free and sell to the highest bidder.

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