15 most valuable classic arcade games

Back in June I had this idea, what are the most valuable arcade games? If there was a list of the 10 most valuable arcade games, what would they be and what would the prices be? The more I researched, I could hardly narrow my list down to just 10 arcade games, so I ended up with a final list of 15.

This list is highly subjective, one rare valuable arcade game is worth some amount to one collector and a different value to another collector. I will try to explain my criteria for this top fifteen list of most valuable arcades so read on.

Most Valuable Arcade Games Stars

Most valuable rare arcade games criteria

As I built this list of rare arcade games I took a couple of factors into consideration. Listed below is my ‘criteria’ that I used as the context to write this post.

Number 1 – The arcade game that is worth the most money might not be the most desirable and that is why the list isn’t formatted as #1 is the highest price. I tried to find a nice balance between interested collectors and price, and in some cases the small group of people interested in a game might pay more, but another game might be more desirable because it has a larger following.

I hear of a lot more people who would like to own a Cosmic Chasm, but there are only three rumored Blaster Cockpits to have ever been produced and therefore would bring in more money. But again, the audience interested in those Blasters is smaller.

But my definition of ‘valuable’ is generally – which games would bring in the most coin when sold between collectors. This list is not the most ‘desirable’, or the most ‘popular’ list of games so don’t confuse it as such. That is why you won’t see me list Ms. Pac-man, Donkey Kong, Tempest and down the chart. Everyone knows what games are most popular, just look at the rumored production numbers for games and you can tell which were generally the most popular. Plus, most of those most ‘popular’ games only bring $400-$600 depending on condition, hardly the class of price I will be listing below.

Number 2 – I ended up leaving prototype games off this list. Prototype games would include Agent X and Akka Arrh, but I decided that this list should be for games that were actually put into some form of production. I have a list right now in my notes of the most valuable prototype games, Marble Man is there as well as some other cool ones. Maybe in the future.

Number 3 – I left off the super rare laser disc games. It was my opinion as well as a couple of others that laser disc arcade games may bring in big money, but they are also only of interest to a certain type of arcade collector. So you won’t see the Freedom Fighters and the Esh Aurunmillas on this list either. Dragon’s Lair, Space Ace etc. could have made this list based on popularity alone, but the prices currently for those laser disc games fall a little bit lower than #15, so they didn’t quite make the cut.

Number 4 – This list is mostly for ‘classic arcade games’. In my definition, the years for that range of games would probably be 1970-1988 or so. Definitely no games after the 90’s. This list doesn’t evaluate gameplay only value. Everyone knows which games are most popular, they’re your Donkey Kongs and Ms. Pac-mans, I didn’t feel like that ground needed to be revisited. A good portion of these games are valuable because the general player didn’t like that particular arcade and no operators bought them.

Number 5 – By default this post is geared towards the American market. All of these games are the American versions / American bread games. European arcades and beyond should have their own context and out of the scope of this post.

As an additional note, I also acknowledge that some games after the 90’s are worth more used because they cost more new than the games on this list. In the end, it comes down to a POV, take it or leave it.

Who did I ask?

Well, I’m going to keep that to myself, but lets just say that this list circulated the corners of the US, from Chicago to Florida to California, with input from 5-10 prominent collectors. The list changed drastically from the start to the end, this has been one of my most involved posts as well as one of the most interesting.

The values of Classic Arcade Games are time sensitive

Worth noting. The values for this list of the top fifteen arcade games probably have dropped in the last five years with the market for game prices. Also, these prices may only be applicable right now and another year from now will probably be worth the same. Take a look at the original publish date for this list of rare games and take that into consideration when considering a purchase. But, either way, if you find one of these games stored away in the upper story of a decrepit barn (2x Computer Space pickup from a barn here in Indiana! story on the Klov Forums), you are going to get a lot more money back than your cost to pick one up.

I am hoping that this list of rare valuable arcade games brings in a lot of feedback, and I look forward to what people think. I know there are probably a lot of arcade collectors who wouldn’t pay these prices, please don’t leave comments telling me such. I know there is a certain class of collector who only looks for the most valuable / fun games and this list is geared more towards them.

Background info about the games

Trying to think of some background information to accompany the rare arcade game and the associated price value I decided to just include some interesting links / snippets of information about the game that are my most favorite. If you have something you think should be added to this list, drop me a line, information or games. I will be keeping the list at the 15 most valuable games, but who knows, depending on popularity I may do the next 15 most rare arcade games. When I compiled my initial pool I had over 75 games, so there is plenty of room to expand.

If you have a link about one of these games below that you think would be of some value to introduce it to the unaware populace, please, leave a comment or send me an email.

The 15 most valuable arcade games in existence

A couple of notes. VAPS = The Video Arcade Preservation Society, and GGDB = The Great Game Database. These are services online that allow you to register the arcade games you have purely to show them off and for collectors to use for reference data in research projects like this one:) Usually the lists have the exact same collectors registering their games, so the numbers for these arcades will be about the same. Those amounts for these games are hardly conclusive of the machines that exist and in this post are not used at all in determining the value, but gives you a least a small idea of the scarcity of these machines and helps the mind wander about the actual supply and demand.

You will notice two different cabinets of Blaster made this list. I could have made those two arcade games one item but because of the great disparity in price, if I had listed them as a range of 4-12k in price, that wouldn’t have been accurate and would have gone against the goal of this list. If the two Blaster two prices had been separated by only 2-3k thousand, I probably would have combined them.

Cinematronics' Cosmic Chasm

1. Cinematronics’ Cosmic Chasm

Worth / Price Tag: $6,500
Owners
VAPS – 3
GGDB – 1

Know nothing about this game?
Cosmic Chasm was made by company called Cinematronics who also made more well known hits such as Dragon’s Lair, Space Wars and Rip Off. Originally a console arcade game Cinematronics decided they would make Cosmic Chasm into an arcade game. But alas, it was produced in 1983 while Cinematronics was in bankruptcy and never got a widespread fan following. Desired by a number of collectors, there are only a handful out there hence why this game is so valuable.

I think Cosmic Chasm tops the list in value because it has a nice mix of demand and actual value. I think this game is driven more by the myth of how many existed, the fact that it is one of Cinematronics last arcade games, and that it is a vector which brings in a certain demographic of collector.

Links

Williams' Blaster Cockpit

2. Williams’ Blaster Cockpit

Worth / Price Tag: $12,000!!!
Owners
VAPS – 0
Looks like no one owns a wooden version
GGDB – 1
None listed specifically. Mark Capps says he has a Blaster, and we know it’s a cockpit.

Know nothing about this game?
I personally love the upright wooden Blaster cabinet much more than the Cockpit, and the regular upright made this list at number 6. However, with only maybe three to five ever made, and the fact that Blaster is a fairly well known Williams game mostly as a Duramold this oversize cabinet still has a lot of interest. The fact that there are so few puts the price for an almost complete cabinet over the top. It is debatable how much interest in this Blaster cockpit there would be, I could see this one down one or two places on this list. But at 12k in value, it’s hard to argue.

Links

Nutting Associates' Computer Space

3. Nutting Associates’ Computer Space

Worth / Price Tag: $5,000
Owners
VAPS – 23
Not all unique owners
GGDB – 5

Know nothing about this game?
What is Computer Space? Only one of the first if not the first arcade game ever. Now Iconic, Computer Space has a molded fiberglass shape and was created by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney who later founded a little company called Atari.

Links

Centuri's Aztarac

4. Centuri’s Aztarac

Worth / Price Tag: $4,000
Owners
VAPS – 3
GGDB – 4

Know nothing about this game?
Aztarac is unique in that is has a bubble over the monitor with the bezel coming out towards the player that gives a nice warp to the graphics and gameplay. .

Links

Atari's Major Havoc

5. Atari’s Major Havoc

Worth / Price Tag: $4,000
Owners
VAPS – 24 (66 Total)
GGDB – 33 (36 Total)

Know nothing about this game?
I haven’t ever played Major Havoc, so I can’t comment personally on gameplay. I will say though that I love the design and artwork on the cabinet. A handful of subsequent vector games were based off of Major Havoc so it is quite an influential game in the history of arcade games.

Links

Williams' Blaster Upright

6. Williams’ Blaster Upright

Worth / Price Tag: $4,000
Owners
VAPS – 0
Looks like no one owns a wooden version, but I know Matt at the former Duramold.com does.
GGDB – 0
The Great Game Database doesn’t specify is the cabinet was wooden or not

Know nothing about this game?
I love, love the full sideart design that Williams did for their wooden Blaster. The color palette with the orange is a lot different from anything at the time.

Links

Williams' Splat

7. Williams’ Splat

Worth / Price Tag: $5,000
Owners
VAPS – 2
GGDB – 0

Know nothing about this game?
Another cool Williams cabinet, painted blue with a simple splatter logo on the side, the colors are refreshing. Splat! just happens to be about as rare as they come though, check out some of the links

Links

Williams' Inferno

8. Williams’ Inferno

Worth / Price Tag: $3,500
Owners
VAPS – 5
GGDB – 1

Know nothing about this game?
I haven’t heard too many positive things about Inferno gameplay, and the cabinet artwork and design leaves something to be desired for me. But being a Williams arcade game in a wooden cabinet with a low production run makes this a collectible piece none the less. There are even some myths, and they are myths, about their being a Williams Inferno Duramold

Links

Williams' Sinistar Duramold

9. Williams’ Sinistar Duramold

Worth / Price Tag: $4,000
Owners
VAPS – 1
GGDB – 0?
I know that both Kevin Ketchum and Matt of former Duramold.com own Duramold Sinstars

Know nothing about this game?
Don’t know what a Duramold cabinet is? They’re pretty cool, full size barrel shapes made out of plastic that Williams produced with two of their classics – Bubbles and Blaster. There were only a couple of the Sinistars made as test machines before Williams pulled the plug. There are myths that when the Duramold cabinets got hot and shrunk they ejected the monitors out the front. But that is an urban legend.

Links
Two Duramold Sinistars picked up last year in 2007.

Cinematronics' War of the Worlds

10. Cinematronics’ War of the Worlds

Worth / Price Tag: $3,500
Owners
VAPS – 2
GGDB – 4
Same guys, say conversions….so maybe no true dedicateds listed?

Know nothing about this game?
Classic story, classic game with the iconic Tripod aliens on the side, these are pretty hard to come by. One War of the Worlds was offered up for sale earlier this year for a pretty penny. But again, there are only a handful of these out there. Poorly received at the AMOA in 1982, there is said to only have been fewer than 10 of these arcades ever made. War of the Worlds may move later if I have time to put together a ‘Most valuable prototypes game list’ since large production was never done.

Links

Atari's I, Robot

11. Atari’s I, Robot

Worth / Price Tag: $2,500
Owners
VAPS – 26
GGDB – 11

Know nothing about this game?
I finally got to try I, Robot out in Chicago in July. A really different game experience, pretty fun. There are a ton of descriptions online of Atari’s I, Robot and the gameplay, but here are a couple of other fun links about the game.

Links

Atari's Quantum

12. Atari’s Quantum

Worth / Price Tag: $3,000
Owners
VAPS – 31
GGDB – 15

Know nothing about this game?
Classic Story. Food Fight and Quantum were produced by General Computer Corp as a settlement to a copyright infringement. GCC was selling enhancements to Atari’s Missile Command and selling them without permission. Both Food Fight had low production runs, with Quantum having a particularly poor gameplay reception. I have played Quantum, cool game, different style of gameplay. Not sure I’d want to own one myself, but a classic collectible arcade none the less.

Links

Cinematronics' Warrior

13. Cinematronics’ Warrior

Worth / Price Tag: $2,000
Owners
VAPS – 9
GGDB – 4

Know nothing about this game?
I haven’t ever seen a Cinematronics Warrior in person, but I think from the photos that the artwork is really cool. There is a classic theme of knights and castles in the artwork, swords, skulls, flames and the monitor backdrop is in color to give the black and white graphics some life.

Links

Atari's Star Wars Cockpit

14. Atari’s Star Wars Cockpit

Worth / Price Tag: $3,000
Owners
VAPS – 25
GGDB – 26

Know nothing about this game?
I don’t need to explain Star Wars. Star Wars is such a part of our culture, how could this amazingly designed cockpit not make the top 15 most valuable arcade games list. Beautiful artwork with a large prominent Darth Vader on the side of the cabinet, I wish I could have found photos from Rick Ford’s pickup from last summer on Klov, but these other links are cool none the less.

Links

Williams' Mystic Marathon

15. Williams’ Mystic Marathon

Worth / Price Tag: $1,500
Owners
VAPS – 1
Not listed – Matt of former Duramold.com
GGDB – 0

Know nothing about this game?
My favorite quote about all of these valuable games came on this, number 15 on this list;

Mystic Marathon is the most over hyped piece of dook in the history of video games.

Not well received, and extremely rare, the price on a Mystic Marathon is debatable because it is more of a collectible game than a game with enjoyable gameplay. Here is a link talking about the supposed terrible gameplay for this Williams game.

Links

What do you think?

I can’t wait to hear what some of you out there think? How close am I? Lets get a discussion going, maybe some of these games shouldn’t be on this list at all. I can’t wait.

Oh, and here are some of the resources I used for this post about the most valuable arcade games in existence

My Google searches on article about game values
  • rare arcade games
  • valuable arcade games
  • rare valuable arcade
  • price arcade games
  • worth rare arcade games
Links related to arcade values and information
Here are some similar arcade posts

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Comments
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Wow. That’s quite a list. IROBOT! I went to a school that had that in the cafeteria!

I am surprised you didn’t decide to include cocktails since you did include not just uprights but environmentals as well.

JOUST COCKTAIL! that’s a super rare and well popular game.
I would for certain have included that.
Only 400 ever made and rumored that only 160 are left in existence…
I saw ONE on ebay years ago and didn’t have the $3,000 to buy it… had I the money FOR CERTAIN I would have!!!

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@Kevin – The Joust cocktails aren’t worth that much. If you mean Joust Pinball, that is another story. But that is Joust Pinball, not the cocktail arcade game.

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Sorry for double post…
for those of you who don’t know it’s one of THREE
side-by-side cocktails.

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What about Firefox cockpits? They’re pretty rare, and the uprights still fetch a decent amount…

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Mike M. » They do alright, but they don’t fetch enough to make this top 15 list.

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Nice list and spot on I think. I sold a Mystic Marathon board back in 2003 for about $100 I think! How about Track and Field cocktail or Joust Cocktail?

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Gil » Track & Field / Joust are very desirable games, in both cocktail or upright form. But they aren’t ‘hyper’ rare, nor do they fall into the value category that say a Star Wars cockpit or the other games on this list. These arcades are on a completely different level.

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Hi, your website was just pointed out to me..it is interesting that you have Warrior on your list. I remember this game, and I have this game in my basement in perfect working order. So, to see it here as valued is very interesting.

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Well, it is certainly a hard game to find, and there are plenty of people looking to add Warrior to their collection. You’d have a line of buyers if you decided to sell.

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Where is 1986’s “Chiller”? Last time I’ve seen a dedicated one for sale was like 7 years ago and it went for about $1700. Good luck finding one now.

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Willy – Chiller is definitely a game with a fair amount of demand, and can be difficult to find. That price was probably for a major city market, the value seems a touch high.

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i have a game that you don’t have on your list called Solar Fight which is a bootleg made of the game Ozma Wars (SNK’s first game from 1979) that was imported and disguised in regular wooden game cabinets. This game fetches for far higher than even Blaster Cockpit. The price tag is worth $50,000 because 1) the parts alone cost a LOT to replace, but the motherboard should be made from basically diamonds because it’s crazy valuable. You can’t get replacements for it. I wish I had pictures of mine of me playing it but I don’t. I need some. But yeah…. definitely the most rare thing I’ve EVER came across, and insanely lucky on what I bought it for.

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Surprised not to see Nintendo Battle Shark in the list, which is super rare….so rare that Klov doesnt even list it.
Alex at nintyarcade has one.

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This list was partially influenced by surveys to a handful of long time collectors who have had good fortune in owning rare + valuable arcade games. Nintendo Battle Shark wasn’t on the list, it is a very rare game – possibly even priceless. Hard to put a value on it, but also may only have a select audience of interest…

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Hi everyone. Awesome and informative page.

I’m in Toronto, Canada and I have a Williams Duramold. It’s in great shape and had been stored for about 15 years now. How many are currently reported to still exist?

I hope to hear from anyone that is familiar with this unique cabinet and how many are out there.

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Geoff – That is awesome, which Duramold do you have? Blaster? Bubbles?

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Sorry, I forgot to click “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail”.

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I believe that it was a blaster when I purchased it (many many years ago). Since then it was converted to Arkanoid then to (I believe) Time Soldiers (which it currently is). It’s been stored for a long time but I’m going to bring it to my condo and will check inside the back for serials and/or other info that will indicate what it started out as. It’s been so long since I bought it, and been through a couple conversions so I’m not entirely sure. It’s not blue so it was definitely not Bubbles. The entire control panel was rebuilt during each conversion and I put a lot of work into doing it well. I know it’s had many lives but I believe most of the internals are original (with the exception of the main board, panel, marquee, and any electricals that required an update). Would it be an insult to convert this gem to a mame cabinet? I see that others converted it to a five Williams game cabinet complete with marquee. Perhaps that’s a better choice although I’m not sure how to have five games running simultaneously in one cabinet (with using MAME).

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Greetings fellows, I have worked in arcade service and manufacturing, my query is about a Japanese made Tehkan Space Firebird. It looks unlike the Nintendo in shape and different artwork. I decided to not refurbish because I appreciate the cigarette burns and the aged look. If it were a painting I, again, would want to leave the appreciation to others.. It looks electronically sound. The pcb set has white and gold eproms. Should I recommission only the pcbs and the monitor? Any thoughts and knowledge are welcome as to establish it’s value.

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I’m a buddy of Alex’s. He actually has 2 Battle Sharks.
He also has an upright Nintendo Sheriff as well as a tall cocktail and has a regular cocktail on the way. He is working on reproducing a cab for the Nintendo Sky Skipper PCB he has too.

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One of the rarest machines is definitely the PolyPlay, build between 1985 and 1989 in East-Germany. It was the one and only arcade-machine build in former “DDR”. With an amount of about 2000 exemplares. Most of them are gone to the trash after the German reunion. Just a few still exist today and just a hand full still working.

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Enne » Interesting comment Enne, I had not heard of PolyPlay. Thanks for the comment.

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Your welcome mate. By the way, I have one of them. 😉

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I realize there are alot of original pac man and donkey Kong games out there. I am getting supposedly two early issue pac man and Kong games given to me for donation purposes. The machines are in perfect working condition and in excellent condition. We will probably list on ebay or Craigslist to sell. But I was wondering if there was a way to tell if they original issue machine. Thanks

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