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10 Classic Video Games Still Raking In Cash

Stocks in this article: EA SNE MSFT TTWO ZNGA FB

6. Kizuna Encounter
Format: SNK Neo Geo
Highest price ever paid: $10,000

See if you can follow this series of caveats to a big game payday.

SNK made a ton of fighting games, including Samurai Showdown and King of Fighters, but Kizuna Encounter was basically its Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter I when it was released in 1996: It was the sequel to a game called Savage Reign and players could tag characters in and out of a fight, similar to games in the popular Marvel vs. Capcom series.

It's brilliant, but it's not always worth much of anything. The arcade version is still widely available here in the U.S. and sells for about $50, or 75% less than its original price. The Japanese home version of the game is also pretty easy to come by and won't cost a buyer much.

The real money's in the European home version of Kizuna Encounter, which is absolutely identical to the Japanese version in every way except its packaging and instructions. That's right: You're paying thousands of dollars for English-language packaging on a game you can pick up without breaking a $100 bill here in the states.

Welcome to video game collecting, where minutiae pays big.

5. Super Sidekicks 4: Ultimate 11
Format: SNK Neo Geo
Highest price ever paid: $10,000

Generally speaking, sports games just don't increase in value.

That copy of Madden NFL '13 gamers just shelled out $60 for last month will be worth a third of that or less by this time next year. Rules change, features change, players change, but the sports game maker's prime directive never changes: Squeeze 'em for every dime.

Super Sidekicks 4 broke that mold in 1996 not because it did anything particularly clever by letting players use one of 80 national teams to compete for the world title, but because it made the game in such limited supply. The console had a decade's worth of life left in it, but for reasons unknown SNK decided not to make too many versions of a game showcasing the world's most popular sport. As a result, this game is really hard to find and is valued at close to five digits whenever it appears.

4. Nintendo PowerFest 94
Format: Super Nintendo
Highest price ever paid: $12,000

Nintendo loved itself a game competition, and its super-sized PowerFest conventions were great places to hold them.

When it came time to hold its competition in 1994, Nintendo made 30 cartridges containing playable portions of Super Mario: Lost Levels, Super Mario Kart and Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball. Each player had six minutes to get a high score, and the top scores were invited to San Diego for the finals.

The cartridges weren't supposed to survive the festival, but two distinct copies did: one from the preliminaries and one from the finals. The last time a copy changed hands, back in July, it did so for $12,000. That's basically how much you can charge when there are no other options on the table.

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