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Valuable games that might be in your closet

Vintage video games have become more popular than ever as older generations of players seek to reclaim their old after-school activities. These old school gamers will find that most retro video games aren't worth a whole lot, but there may be a few buried in your closet that are worth quite a few bucks. We're skipping the ultra-rare exclusive stuff and focusing on games you may have just picked up at a store 'cause you were bored or titles that have been in your collection for years that you never noticed. Since eBay numbers always fluctuate, these prices are based on Video Game Prices & Values' current data (mind you, these numbers can change over time as well). In terms of pricing, we're focusing on loose games you've probably actually played. Sealed and complete games, with their boxes and manuals included, often command even higher prices.

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Stadium Events, U.S. version (NES) - $7,500

As the rarest commercially-released NES game, Stadium Events only hit a few stores in 1987 and sold under 200 copies. Shortly after its release, Nintendo pulled the game and re-released it with its new accessory, the Power Pad. Before you get too excited, only the NTSC version, released in the United States, is rare. The UK's PAL version is pretty common and isn't worth as much. Copies of this crazy rare game are still known to pop up at thrift shops, so keep your eyes open.

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The Flintstones: Surprise at Dinosaur Peak (NES) - $650

By the time Dinosaur Peak was released in 1994, gamers were already three years into the life-changing Super Nintendo Entertainment System and had mostly lost interest in 8-bit gaming. Not only was Dinosaur Peak one of the last NES games to be released, but after 27 years of reruns, interest in The Flintstones wasn't exactly at its peak during this time either. If you happened to be a devotee of either dying home consoles or caveman hijinks, you may have hit the jackpot.

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Outback Joey (Sega Genesis) - $1,950

Before the Wii Fit tried to get tubby gamers off the couch, there was Sega's Heartbeat Personal Trainer, a rare variation of the Sega Genesis console, which incorporated movement-based controls instead of the usual gamepad. Only 1,000 Heartbeat Personal Trainers were produced, and each came bundled with Outback Joey, a game that monitored your heartbeat to control a kangaroo. Decades ahead of its time and the obesity epidemic, the Heartbeat Personal Trainer missed the usual gaming audience and remains relatively obscure. Its packaged game, Outback Joey, ended up being put with the other Genesis titles in most people's collections and is now worth a pretty penny.

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Air Raid (Atari 2600) - $2,800

The vast majority of Atari games don't have any real value today, but if you have a copy of Air Raid, you have a piece of history. No one knows how many copies were released, and the company that produced the game, Men-a-Vision, never made another title. Boxed copies of this UFO-invader game have sold for over $30,000, but even loose carts catch a few thousand. The cartridge's unique shape should help it stand out from other Atari games in people's collections.

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Magical Chase (TurboGrafx-16) - $4,075

Magical Chase is a side-scroller starring an adorable witch, released at the very end of the TurboGrafx-16's production in 1993. While the game was good enough to be re-released on other platforms, collectors are still willing to pay good money for the original release, which sold poorly during its initial store run.

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The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, gray "not for resale" version (Nintendo 64) - $1,325

This one is for the hardcore collectors. If you were friends with someone who worked at a game store or a Toys "R" Us back in the early 2000s, they may have been sent home with a demo cart of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask from their in-store machines. Most of these games were incomplete prototypes of the final product, and not worth playing unless you're a completist. Fortunately for your wallet, many modern collectors are completists, and Zelda fanatics are typically even more intense. Working retail never looked so rewarding.

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Eli's Ladder (Atari 2600) - $1,500

If you want to make bank, build a time machine, and use it to buy this weird and educational video game. Eli's Ladder is another rare example of a valuable Atari title which originally saw limited sales, mostly because it taught math instead of making things explode with spaceship lasers. The game's producer, Simage, never made any other titles, but the one they did make left a huge impression on collectors.

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Little Samson (NES) - $920

Another game released around the end of the Nintendo Entertainment System's lifespan, Little Samson saw poor sales in 1992, and wasn't noticed until many years later. In addition to being a rare title, it's one of the few valuable games that's actually a lot of fun to play, with critics comparing it to Adventure Island and Mega Man. Alas, most retro gamers will never know the pleasure—unless a digital release ever happens on modern consoles, which will undoubtedly drop the price of this gem of a collector's item.