Mario, being one of the longest-running video game franchises, has a whole battalion’s worth of games across tens of systems. With that kind of size, there are a bunch of incredibly rare titles. Now, quite a few of the rarest Mario games are from the old cartridge era, back when complete in-box packaging was often thrown away.
Those are quite expensive, but there are also limited editions and special variants, which can be even more rare. If you find an old Mario NES game out in the wild, check to see if it’s a special variant. You might get a good deal out of it.
All values are based on PriceCharting’s complete price at the time of writing. When no complete price is available, the loose price will be used. There are no duplicates, so the rarest version of a certain game will be the only one included.
10 Super Mario 64 Not For Resale – $200
A gaming variant that’s existed for a long time is the Not For Resale one. These labels can go on bundled-in games or in regards to many Nintendo first-party titles; the situation’s much more unique. The Not For Resale carts and discs were often in demo kiosks in video game stores.
This means the only people who had access to these special units were employees of EB Games, GameStop, and whatnot. This makes any Not For Resale demo kiosk game hard to find and heavily coveted. Super Mario 64 is no exception, with it being the defining game of the N64 console. It’s the rarest Not For Resale Mario game, but there are even more rare variants.
9 Super Mario Bros 3 Left Bros – $212
This variant is pretty odd and easily missable by many sellers. Super Mario Bros 3 has one of the most iconic Nintendo box arts, with Raccoon Mario flying. Most remember the Bros in the title being huddled towards the right, next to the 3. However, that’s not what the original units looked like.
The launch shipments of Super Mario Bros 3 actually had the Bros in the title towards the left. It’s visible on the box and cartridge, and this difference makes it valuable to collectors. With the variant still obscure, you can definitely get one from a local store for cheap if they don’t know it’s worth.
8 Paper Mario – $238
It’s a bit of a surprise that Paper Mario is the rarest complete in-box N64 Mario game. One might assume Mario Party 3 would take the top spot due to the series always being a bit pricey, especially in the GameCube era. While that game is the second-rarest N64 Mario, it’s understandable why Paper Mario would demand a higher price.
Mario Party was incredibly popular back in the N64 days, while Paper Mario was more niche. This is especially true for the first game, as its sequel sold much better and was more well-received. Paper Mario was also one of the last first-party N64 games, launched in February of 2001. This is a hallmark of an expensive game and lines up with the similarly expensive early 2001 title Conker’s Bad Fur Day.
7 Mario Bros 5 Screw – $265
Another variant that’s actually on a whole lot of classic NES games is the 5 Screw one. Typically on the back of most NES titles, you will see three screws holding the cartridge together. However, the launch units of many early NES games actually had five screws on the cartridge.
This small difference makes these versions highly sought after, with the most expensive being Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, costing well over two grand. The 5 Screw version of Mario Bros costs about $30 above the regular one when complete in-box, making it the third most expensive NES Mario title.
6 Super Mario Bros 5 Screw – $316
The 5 Screw variant strikes again, this time in Super Mario Bros. This one only costs about $15 more than the regular one, and there’s a good reason for it. The original Super Mario Bros was a pack-in game for most NES systems.
It was often bundled in with other titles like Duck Hunt, so with this factor, not many people bought the game separately. A complete in-box Super Mario Bros already costs $300 on its own, so a rarer variant is just going to add a little extra to the price.
5 Super Mario RPG – $362
One of the greatest RPGs of the 90s has to be Super Mario RPG for the SNES. Developed by Square, it had a great cast of unique characters and solid writing to boot. Unfortunately, it was launched just months before the launch of the Nintendo 64, making the title essentially guaranteed to be rare.
In fact, it was the last Mario game for the SNES in both America and Japan. Mario RPG being unavailable on Switch Online is also a likely reason why it’s so expensive. Even when the remake comes out, the price is unlikely to drop because it is a full-on remake instead of a regular port of the SNES title.
4 Mario’s Tennis – $443
The Virtual Boy is one of the most notorious failed consoles of all time. With its poor sales, it’s bound to have many rare games. Mario’s Tennis, however, is the most odd of the bunch. One, it’s a pack-in game, so most didn’t buy it separately, but you couldn’t even buy it that way traditionally.
Boxes for Mario’s Tennis were exclusively at Blockbuster. When that business was selling its Virtual Boy inventory, the games came along with the boxes. The two-for-one punch of a pack-in game and Blockbuster exclusivity is why the price for this title is ridiculous.
3 Mario’s Time Machine – $500
Like Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario, Mario’s Time Machine was launched in the dying days of the NES. It’s actually the last Mario game for the system if you don’t count Wario’s Woods. While the game itself isn’t good by any stretch, this factoid makes the title desirable to collectors.
It’s also actually rare, and you’ll struggle to find it out in the wild. You can find Mario Is Missing from time to time, but you’ll hardly ever find a Mario’s Time Machine. Let alone a copy that’s complete in-box.
2 Super Mario World – $740
Super Mario World is regarded as one of the best games of all time. It was an incredible launch title for the SNES but also a pack-in game for most systems. This is bound to make individual boxed copies extremely rare.
Along with Mario World being such an all-time great title, this makes the boxes alone worth a ton of money. It’s to the point where there are counterfeit boxes that you need to watch out for. Game stores already have to watch out for fake cartridges, but now fake boxes as well.
1 Mario Kart 8 Limited Edition – $1,099
The rarest North American Mario game is something you probably didn’t expect. It’s the Wii U Limited Edition version of Mario Kart 8. You could not buy this product online, and heck, even at most retailers. You could only buy it in one place, and that location was Nintendo New York.
This is a specialty store in New York City, and only 350 copies of the Limited Edition were distributed. This makes the Limited Edition vastly more rare than any other Mario game. Keep in mind this is the American Limited Edition with a red box. There’s a UK Limited Edition with a blue box that’s peanuts in price compared to the counterpart.
NEXT: Mario Kart: Every Game In The Series, Officially Ranked