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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Nice writeup. I love the nice shots of the cabinets.

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@Jeff Waldron:

Thanks. Of all of the articles about arcade games that I have done, this is definitely up in the top five or higher of my favorites. They say, nothing easy is truly satisfying, and with about 8-10 hours just for this pricing evaluation post, it had better be worth it ;)

Tracking down good versions of all of the arcade cabinets photos was tough enough seeing as the ones on Klov usually suck.

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I knew Major Havoc was up there, but I didn’t know it was so up there. Guess I won’t be buying one anytime soon. Interesting game.

The only one I expected to see but didn’t was the Discs of Tron environmental. Mybe the price has gone down on that one thought.

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@Captain Wrong:

There are a lot of old arcade games that have a value right around the $1000-$2500 range. It could probably be argued, largely because of popularity, that DOT environmental would fit in the 15th or 14th slot.

If I get over 15 people wanting me to do a second list, I probably will and Discs of Tron will probably be at the top of the list.

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Marble Man prototype?

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I’m just wondering why only American games got ranked.

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@Ant:

Marble Madness II ie Marble Man was a prototype by Atari was it not?

@ Steve

I have spoken once or twice with collectors in England and other countries in Europe, but did not have an established enough relationship to ask them in depth about foreign arcade games from their perspective in those countries.

Plus, I couldn’t write about those arcades really if I wouldn’t know anything about them. I updated the post to include this as a ‘criteria’ none the less.

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Sorry, but $3000 for Star Wars cockpit? NO. You neglected to say that the version with the 27″ monitor is rare, and that’s probably where this insane price applies. Otherwise, Star Wars cockpits are not rare at all, and often sell for less than a grand.

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@RayB:

This is part of the reason I evaluated the most valuable arcades, because I don’t know everything and it was quite a learning experience for me. I hoped that collectors that may or may not be more knowledgable would help me with some of the information. I didn’t know that there were two different standard monitor sizes in Star Wars Cockpits.

It’s important for new collectors who stumble on this post to know what to look for and the different ranges of prices for these games.

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I’ve been whining about this list on the related KLOV post, but really do appreicate the work that went in to putting it together. Very interesting games to check out, and the write-ups and links offered are great. Thanks much for posting.

*** Why do so many “Jeffs” collect arcade games? ***

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@Jeff C:

I appreciate the comment. Seriously, Jeff’s will rule the arcade community.

I wish that I could motivate some of the other members to comment about the valuable games here. For those new collectors who are trying to gauge value, they would not benefit from the cumulative knowledge of these arcade guys. I know most of them get no personal value in trying to bring in new collectors to the fold, but that is key to sustaining this hobby. No one randomly reading this post will search out the arcade forum topics to compare, even if they can find them…

So, again, thanks for dropping by.

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Understood…
But in this case the title “15 most valuable classic arcade games” sounds a little bit unfair since it does not reflect the reality.
Maybe “15 most valuable classic arcade games in US” fits better.

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@Steve and others: Come on guys…give me a break. The guy wrote a BLOG POST on what he felt were in his opinion the most valuable games. Of course there is room for different viewpoints, opinions, demographics, or eras for that matter. That’s what a blog is for…to have fun discussing this stuff, not to nit-pick each other. Jeff, maybe next time you’ll have to title this type of post “The 15 games I thought would be cool to be the most valuable from my viewpoint as a classic arcade game fan from the early 80′s in the Midwest of the United States, that weren’t prototypes and yet may end up being more common than others not on the list except for the fact that they had uncommon variations in the hardware or software installed”

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Jeff
Woowwww…
Calm down boy. If you don’t like any critics whatsoever it makes no sense to have the comments space enabled. “That’s what comments are for…” Actually it does not make sense at all to share any thoughts into a blog if the owner doesn’t like feedbacks.
You talk about different opinions, viewpoints, etc. but it seems the “differences” you support should not differs so much from your standards…
My comments were only about the post accuracy; weren’t targeted to the blog owner; and I have the belief they were constructive. Too sad you are moving the discussion towards this “He has a blog, don’t hurt him, blablahhh…” stuff.

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@Steve:

Haven’t had this happen before.

If you look closely another collector ‘Jeff’ wrote a response to your comment. I know it’s easy to miss just by a quick glance.

I definitely welcome different opinions, and I want open discussion. I actually make a ton of little revisions to the valuable arcade game post after I published it. Most of them were in the criteria to hopefully be more specific.

Anything that can stir up conversation is a great thing. I don’t have to just take every suggestion, but I do seriously consider all. I was just glad you left a comment. And the fact that it is published will help others take into consideration the basis for the list and your opinion as well.

~Jeff Rothe :)

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@Jeff Rothe,

Actually my reply was addressed to Jeff Waldron who had a very strong and immature overreaction and shifted the discussion.

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I would have included ‘Atomic Castle’ from LCS. I had the great fortune to play a conversion in Chicago in the mid-80′s, and its a shame the game is extinct today. I’ve heard on the dragons-lair-project message boards that there is one laserdisc in existence and the owner is unknown and wishes to stay that way. I suppose a game has to be proven to exist before it can called valuable.
The game was truly stunning and a radical departure from the other games of the era, including other LDS games.

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@Kev:

That is the issue with Laser Disc games, they are almost like a whole other genre segment within the arcade games arena. They have specific values (Cube Quest is another one), and there are some games like this Atomic Castle, that were never even mentioned in my research. It would almost make more sense to do a list of the most valuable laser disc arcade games ever.

Thanks for the comment. If you find a photo, or have one already, send it my way, I’d be curious to see it. But sounds like if the owner doesn’t want to be known, then maybe photos don’t exist.

Update
For those of you curious to know more about the laser disc game Atomic Castle, Kevin was nice enough to provide some links

The Atomic Castle Flyer
http://www.arcadeflyers.com/?db=videodb&id=84&page=thumbs

And some screenshots of the arcade cabinet supposedly
http://www.dragons-lair-project.com/games/related/prototype/stern.asp

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Awesome reading, great job! If you update your list, here’s one you might consider adding. Only 20 dedicated cabinets were made: Cloak & Dagger.

Here’s a link to mine. I’ve turned down $4,500 offers for it and sold a different one for the $3k range (I forget the exact price, it’s been a while).

http://www.o-sd.com/arcadecollecting/forum/index.php?topic=83.0

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@Tim:

Actually I noted in my criteria that I didn’t include any Agent X stuff. Originally this was one of my top machines for worth, but since it was really only released as a prototype, people convinced me that prototype arcades should be a separate list. Cloak and Daggers were actually released, and those were conversion kits, so it wouldn’t actually be called Cloak and Dagger on my list.

But I realize that one of the 10-15 Agent X’s out there would bring around 5k depending on condition.

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There is only one real Agent X prototype known to exist (owned by Scott Evans) . My cabinet, as well as the 19 other production cabinets, are not Agent X’s, they are Cloak & Dagger and are part of a genuine production run that were sold to operators. The programmer’s comments on my page back that assertion up. Further evidence is that there is a production serial number plate on mine (and on the 20 others, I would assume, not having seen one). So if Inferno, the Blaster cockpit and other limited production run games qualify, so should Cloak & Dagger. =)

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@Steve:

Sorry man, wasn’t just singling you out on your comments. I was just pointing out that there have been a lot of comments (both here and on other discussion boards) that have sounded less like friendly debate and more like criticism to Jeff’s work. Sorry you took my sarcasm as a “strong and immature” response. That was not the intention of the comment. I wasn’t trying to flame your comments. Guess it’s just a difference of perception. I was just trying to remind everyone that Jeff put a lot of work into communicating what he and some select collectors believed where entries to this topic. And NO, I was not a contributor to the article. No harm intended.

@Jeff R:

Great article. I hope you do some follow-up articles or other topics with similar research and quality as this one. I’d be glad to offer an opinion on future lists if you like.

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for the most part I think Jeff’s story was dead on. I’ve owned a good number of the machines on this list and seen prices both high and low from the numbers he came up with so I think it’s a happy medium. People often forget that the truly collector quality examples of rare machines almost never hit places like ebay.. they change hands without anyone even knowing. Case in point what Chris got for his ZEKTOR in a supposedly down market. Ebay is down, scamming is down, but legit sales of primo games are right where they’ve always been.

Now, the debate about what should be on the list could go on for years :) Me personally, I consider games like splat, mystic marathon and blaster cockpits to be prototypes, not general release games. All of the known examples (in these three cases no more than 2 of each) are XP Prototype marked machines so myself I wouldn’t count them. If it didn’t get a general public release then off the list :) If we include protos then the list gets harder because there’s a huge list of rare proto games that are almost impossible to put a value on and they all pretty much fit the same bill so it’s almost pointless to attempt to rank them. The sweet spot is the rare AND desirable game which I think is where Jeff was going with his list. There’s oodles of rare machines that don’t draw any interest or dollars. I’ve had a couple dozen of those through time such as Fantasy, Zzyzzyxx, Wiping, Fast Freddie etc and while they’re easily as rare as a dedicated Havoc they are essentially worth the value of the pcb inside. Overall I think it’s a well thought out post and list and while a few games here and there could be swapped for equally deserving candidates that’s a debate that could go on forever. The more important thing to me is that it provoked thought and discussion about the games themselves which is something we don’t see so much anymore!

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I have actually played the Warrior Game in an arcade some time around 1982/83. To me it is the best video game ver made. The Sit down star wars is a very close second.

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Nice Article!
As a child of the 70′s I grew up playing everything I could get my hands on. And I played all these games in the arcade (with the exception of War of the Worlds and Splat).
I can tell you first hand that Major Havoc was a great game! For all those people out there that play the wonky emulation I have this to say “YOU MUST PLAY WITH A SPINNER!” There is no way around this! Would you play Robotron without two joysticks!? It is the only way.
I also played Inferno at the local 7/11. I really liked the tiered play field and seem to remember it having a unique controller of some sort (I guess I could Google it to really find out!).
Mystic Marathon was rather lame, although it did use some stock Williams sounds that always grabbed my attention.
Warrior was always fun. I know that the emu on this one is confusing also, considering the “pits” you fell into are only on the background art, not rendered on the monitor.
If you didn’t realize it, The Vectrex had a great version of Cosmic Chasm available. Probably a little easier to come by than the arcade version…
On a side note, I have to mention that Turkey Shoot by Williams was also a personal fave of mine, and I haven’t seen one since it’s debut. I remember the pinpoint accuracy it required, and the great “Gobble” button which froze the turkeys in their tracks. Has anyone out there seen a working example lately?
I know this is about “valuable games” but I must mention that Gravitar is still my all time favorite! Hard as Hell and a true test of skill!
Thanks for your time, Andy

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@Tim:

When I wrote this post, I knew that there would be a ton of different opinions. I chose collectors who had usually 10 plus years experience and were experts on the values of all games and their respective worth(s) that have changed over that decade long period.

Joe Magiera is a Agent X / Cloak and Dagger expert. I have met him in person, and trust his opinion above anyone else. His breakdown is similar to yours, 20 cabs, but more like a 7 / 13 split. His research has always been amazing and it is this that I based my information off of. I quoted the email he sent me in my Agent X artwork section.

If you have a scan of your back door sheet, or have a link to it online and / or some other exact quoted proof of the 19/1 breakdown, that is great, send it along to me. Otherwise, really what it comes down to is a matter of opinion in history and I chose Joe’s.

If you want to send along anything, I can make an honorable mention here, but the top 15 are solidified in stone now that it has been a couple of months. In the future, if you want to be part of another list I do like this and you feel like you have comprehensive and historical knowledge of games over a long period of times, that would be great.

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@Joe:

Artwork on Warrior is great. I like how it breaks the square dimensions by using the color of the cabinet for the base color on the overlay and makes the graphics seem like they are stand alone with the Skulls and the castle scene. I wish the sideart was the same way, appealing to look more than like a decal, but to each his own. I’ve never played this in person so I can’t really comment on that. But from what I can see, it may have some minor visual similarities (not gameplay) with Warlords which is a game I love.

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@Brian Jones:

It’s tough to nail down what is a true ‘prototype’ and what is a general release game. That is where the debate comes in. To me, you share prototypes with friends and well known industry associates (operators). They are kind of the same as on location test machines in my mind. That is my definition of ‘prototype’.

I was told that games like Splat and Mystic Marathon made it past testing stages and were actually promoted with flyers and the like, but operators didn’t buy them based on the timeline of the arcade industry crash. That is the opinion that I based this information on.

But really, information perpetuates itself. I wasn’t an operator in the 80′s, and no one here was either as far as I know. True history gets a little lost and all the best I can do is make best guesstimates based on the contextual facts.

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@Andy

I know Joe Magiera in Chicago has a Turkey Shoot, with working feathers in the front pane of glass. I was thinking that Troy Akey had a Turkey Shoot as well…but I didn’t see it at his party so maybe I had him confused with someone else in Chicago.

As for the rest of those games that you mentioned and enjoyed playing growing up, have you been to CAX in California? Usually it takes place around May, and has all of these rare games available to play to your heart’s delight. I don’t know that Mystic Marathon has ever been there, or Splat!, since only a couple working copies of those exist, but Inferno is there every year I believe.

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Enjoyed reading this.

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Thank you. I appreciate that. It was fun to write.

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I had for some time, 3 star wars cockpit games and 2 return of the jedi stand ups, but sold them. I am trying to find the person who bought them and buy them back. I used them in my 2 arcades for a long time and they worked great, but I read that some believe only a few cockpit star wars still exsist and I had 3 wow. Please let me know more.

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I had a small collection for a while. Before Ebay started driving up prices, you could find vintage cabs for relatively cheap.

I’m kicking myself that I let my buddy buy (from a local wearhouse) not one but TWO major havok cabs for $150 each because I didn’t want the hassle of maintaining the vector displays. Arg.

Surprised that Star Trek cockpit version didn’t make the list. Cool vector game with real captain kirk chair!

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Wow, I forgot about the Star Trek sit down! Great cabinet! We had one at the arcade I worked at in Denver back in 83 or 4 that was converted into a 1942 of all things (not sure how they did the vector monitor switch out?) we also had a very rare Professor Pac-Man! Great posts everyone!

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Sorry, I forgot something. TX-1, what a great driving game! I can’t remember another game from that era that didn’t involve you just blowing past cars (ala Pole Position) and instead let you jockey for position! Not sure how rare they are, but I imagine the 3 monitor layout makes them a bitch to move!

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hi ,
how about making a most popular list with ms pac-man temest , etc . with prices,
gary

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Stern’s Dark Planet is another rare machine. A friend of mine found one a few years ago and it’s the only one I’ve ever seen.

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How ’bout RADAR SCOPE ? btw Where can I FIND ONE !!? lol

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I never understood why Major Havoc’s are so expensive.

Maybe it was just where I lived, but Major Havoc was pretty common.

And I think the only reason for Aztarac’s popularity could be compared to a painting – when the artist dies, the value goes up. Especially under Tim Stryker’s circumstances.

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That is a great read! Thanx for putting the time in to come up with it. I’ve enjoyed video games ever since the hey day of Chuckie Cheese, but still have only played Star Wars and a cockpit Sinistar from your list.
Ha, my tweak would have to include the ultimate game of all time!!!! Robotron 2084!!!

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This is great, and I really appreciate all of the information that you shared in this post!

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Amazing list Jeff. So much great discussion around these games. I have loved old arcades for a long time, but did not know about a few of these. It is great to see so many people passionate about these games.

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Thanks Zach. This list could probably be re-visited for the current economic state I'm sure….but the values of some of these games are relatively economy proof. Its really a matter of the higher end buyers, finding them, and if they have one or not / currently buying.

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Good list but sad the cockpit style game by Williams Sinistar didn,t make the list, from what i saw with the Blaster cockpit they appear the same except for a few added extras on Sinistar………..

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The Blaster monitor story was confirmed by Jarvis at CAX during a panel Q/A.

According to him – and this is heresy:

It ejected the monitor from the pseudo-chassis (where the tube was held in formed plastic) into a donkey kong machine. It happened when the plastic cooled and shrunk squeezing the tube from it’s housing – violently. Machines were modified afterwards.

That’s what I heard from the source tho. Might even be on the vid of him speaking – but I haven’t cued it up in a while.

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i always loved playing atari’s fast freddie i wonder how much there worth today would love to buy that game

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Fast Freddie is a really awesome cabinet, and hard to find one in good condition. $400-$600 depending on condition and buyer, it would be hard to command the lower end of that range though with even a really nice non working game.

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I recently was given an Atari Fast Freddie arcade game in great shape. What does one of these games go for? thanks

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I’ve only heard about half of the games on this list. But what about the classics like crazy climber, circus charley, star castle, battlezone. These are the real classics to me

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The fact that most of us know those arcades you just listed is part of the reason they aren’t on this list. More of them were made, making them less scarce, and more of a pool originally for what made it through to today.

‘Classic’ Arcade games would really be anything from late 70′s, until mid 80′s. Arguably somewhere from ’78-’86/’87.

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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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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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@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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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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