Nintendo’s portable jump into glasses-free 3D, the Nintendo 3DS had an extremely slow start and was looking like a rough moment for Nintendo. After a price drop and some exciting releases, though, sales rebounded and the 3DS family would go on to become one of Nintendo’s most successful systems.
And like many Nintendo systems before and after it, it’s home to many fantastic games in some of Nintendo’s most iconic franchises.
As always, though, not every game is as readily accessible for dedicated players. Many games, for one reason or another, become exceedingly rare or expensive and exist as “prized possessions” among collectors. Here are 10 of the rarest and most expensive 3DS games that’ll more than likely set your wallet on fire.
As is the case with previous articles, all prices are sourced from PriceCharting. Used prices are based on their “Loose Price” listing, while new prices are based on their “New Price” listing. Entries are ranked from lowest to highest by their respective “new” price.
10. Scribblenauts Unlimited [Special Edition]
$270 New | $150 Used
“Special Edition” versions of games are a lock to end up on lists like these, so let’s just go ahead and rip the Band-Aid off right away. Scribblenauts Unlimited is by no means a rare or expensive game on any of the several systems it’s available for, but a “Special Edition” will always be a harder find.
In the case of Scribblenauts Unlimited, the 3DS version was the only one to receive a “Special Edition,” and it came with a 3DS jacket resembling the main character Maxwell and a special stylus…in the form of a pencil…okay, come on, that’s really cute. I don’t even play Scribblenauts and I’d buy that…well, maybe not for THIS much money.
Even a used copy of the game will bring you down $150, while a new copy pushes up to $270. Just trying to find the stylus itself will set you back $140…which shouldn’t be too surprising with how adorable it is. If you’re looking for the game itself, the good news is that it’s readily available on many other platforms for a much cheaper price. You’d probably be much better off looking around there…maybe next time, pencil stylus.
9. Etrian Mystery Dungeon [Soundtrack Bundle]
$320 New | $170 Used
In its original form, Etrian Mystery Dungeon already fetches a pretty high price. The Standard Edition goes for $80 used and $143 new, which already sounds pretty massive, right? Now, factor in that a bundle exists that includes a soundtrack alongside the game. You can only imagine how much higher the price goes when that’s taken into account…heh heh, get it? Account? Money? Accounting? Okay, fine, I’ll stop.
But historically, Atlus has had pretty limited print runs when localizing games, and those print runs are most likely even smaller when it’s a “Special Edition.” As a result, used copies of this soundtrack bundle land at $170, while a new copy jumps up to $320. It’s probably best to go with the Standard Edition on this one…or pray that said Standard Edition falls down a peg or two as far as its price is concerned.
8. Frogger 3D [Case Bundle]
$350 New | $200 Used
That’s right, what better way to ring in that new Nintendo 3DS (or, *ahem*, that New Nintendo 3DS) than with the legend of our time, Frogger…in 3D! An extra layer of dimensionality was everything gamers could ever ask for out of Frogger, making this an incredibly necessary game in the 3DS’s first year of its life.
What’s more, publisher Konami made their own “Special Edition” of the game that came with a hard case for the 3DS. That’s certainly nice and all, but Frogger, you’re not a cute pencil stylus so you’re a little less cool. And don’t give me that “respect your elders” crap, either; Maxwell’s got you beat on this one.
If you’re truly interested in Frogger 3D’s “Case Bundle”, you’re gonna have to pay $200 for a used copy, or $350 if you want to find a new copy. The good news here is that the Standard Edition is much more reasonable if you’re really looking to grab this. The bad news is that the game is not all that exciting, so you might want to think twice before spending your money on it. Sorry, Frogger, I’ll respect my elders but I have to call a spade a spade, too…don’t give me that look.
7. Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Treasure
$371 New | $153 Used
The 3DS was home to many a great rhythm game, top-lined by the fantastic Theatrhythm Final Fantasy games, but Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Treasure was one that flew under the radar. Published by Sega, this was a clever mixture of the rhythm and puzzle genres about an art thief in Paris searching for secrets of his past. Despite being a pretty creative game, it seemed to fall by the wayside a bit, which makes it a pretty rare title on Nintendo’s 3D handheld.
A used copy will already put you down $153, but buying the game new will go for an even greater $371. It’s a shame this one slipped through the cracks and became so expensive because it’s such a clever take on the rhythm genre. Your best bet is to hope that the price goes down, or that Sega somehow remembers the game exists long enough to reissue it on current systems. Especially since that abridged iOS version of the game is long gone…and yes, I know what you’re thinking, that was a thing.
6. Yo-Kai Watch 3
$400 New | $336 Used
Oh, poor Yo-Kai Watch. You could’ve been so much more than you were. A franchise not too dissimilar to Pokemon, Yo-Kai Watch was touted as a potential “killer” in the “mon” genre but couldn’t quite reach the heights of the title it was so heavily inspired by. Already not too huge in the West, Yo-Kai Watch 3 also had the displeasure of being released at a terrible time: though Japan got the game in 2016, it wasn’t localized in the West until February 2019.
By that point, the 3DS was gasping for air, and gamers were more interested in titles like Kingdom Hearts III and the Resident Evil 2 remake. Thus, it became a commercial failure — and it even contributed to Level-5 exiting the international publishing market for several years afterward — though its struggles did lead to it fetching a pretty handsome sum among 3DS games.
Even if you’re looking for a used copy of the game, you’ll have to give up $336 to get it. On the same flip of the coin — ha, yeah, like I was actually gonna stop making money puns — a new copy lands you at $400. It’s a shame because these games are not too bad and could be worthy of your time…but are they truly worthy of that much money? You’ll probably have to wait until a giant price drop…or pray that Level-5’s return to localization means Yo-Kai Watch 4 will finally come to the West.
5. Alien Chaos 3D
$536 New | $135 Used
Time to get really obscure on you with this one. Alien Chaos 3D is a 2D shooter (ha ha, ironic, isn’t it?) from Ludosity, who you may know better as the team behind the recent Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl games. As Ludosity is already a small developer and was even smaller when this game was released in 2012, it initially received an eShop-only release, only having a small print run of physical copies. Be glad at least a few exist — with the eShop’s closure this year, it would’ve been lost to time otherwise — but let it be known that you’re gonna need a lot of money to have it for yourself.
Just searching for a used copy will force you to give up a pretty decent $135. Going for a new copy is a totally different story, though, as you’ll have to pay $536 for one. It’s a shame that it’s so hard to find because, under the radar, Alien Chaos 3D is a pretty decent little game. The key word, though, is “little,” and unfortunately, the price of the game is anything but “little.” Good luck waiting for this one to receive a price drop.
4. Fire Emblem Fates [Special Edition]
$650 New | $326 Used
It wouldn’t be a proper “rarest and most expensive” Nintendo games list without adding a first-party game or two, right? The Special Edition of Fire Emblem Fates feels fitting on a list such as this; as it was released as three separate “games” accounting for the full story, this Special Edition was the only way to get all three titles — Birthright, Conquest, and the downloadable Revelation — in one complete package. And with the aforementioned closure of the eShop, you might find it even harder to access Revelation nowadays. Thus, good luck finding all of Fire Emblem Fates in one place for a decent price.
If you want this bundle in used condition, you’ll still have to give up $326, while getting a fully new copy will go for an asinine $650. The Special Edition will also net you a steelbook, an artbook, and a poster of the game’s key art as well as a map of Nohr and Hoshido so you won’t have to ask for directions. Considering the steep price, even though you’re gonna miss out on the third story, it’s probably best to just buy the games separately if you want to experience most of what Fire Emblem Fates has to offer.
3. Nintendo 3DS Guide: Louvre
$779 New | $459 Used
Sometimes, when making these lists, a game comes along that makes you just tilt your head to the side like a confused puppy. Nintendo 3DS Guide: Louvre is exactly what it sounds like: a piece of software for the 3DS that lets players virtually explore the Louvre.
Originally, it was exclusive to rentable 3DS units at the museum that could be used as a tour guide, but it eventually got an eShop release so users could explore the Louvre without having to travel to Paris. It even got a physical release, but as it was never available in America (it seemed to have only been available in the Louvre’s gift shop), it became incredibly expensive.
Used copies of the game run for $459, while new copies will go up to roughly $779. I mean, sure, it definitely beats the amount of money it would cost to fly to Paris and visit the Louvre, but $459 is unreal for any video game, especially one such as this. Perhaps there’s a YouTube video inside the Louvre that can get the point across as well as the 3DS can, without all the money a trip would cost.
2. Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire Dual Pack
$1,366 New | $46 Used
Surprise surprise, Pokemon makes an appearance on the list thanks to a dual pack. With the release of Pokemon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire in 2014, Nintendo chose to release a double pack containing both releases in one convenient place.
This is a common practice that Nintendo continues to do when yearly Pokemon games are released, and after a while, each bundle becomes somewhat “rare” or “expensive.” This isn’t because the games themselves are hard to find or expensive on their own, but largely because it’s hard to find the bundles complete in the original box.
The good news is that a used copy of this dual pack is only $46. The bad news is that a proper “new” copy of it lands all the way up at $1,366. Any time a game’s price starts jumping into the thousands, you can’t help but just let out a deep sigh. The only thing helping Pokemon’s case here is that a used copy is affordable, meaning you can still get both games in one place without much hassle. That said, if you’re an extreme collector or someone who HAS to have the game mint in the box, get ready to cut off an arm and a leg to get this one.
1. Barbie: Groom and Glam Pups
$5,021 New | $735 Used
Is writing about Barbie: Groom and Glam Pups for my job the ultimate sign that I’ve made it in life? This game is exactly what you think it is: Barbie gets to groom and nurture her own puppy. Interestingly, the Wii and DS versions of the game are nowhere near as expensive as the 3DS version, and even the new prices for both are incredibly affordable.
It probably helps that, while THQ published those versions of the game, Little Orbit handled the publishing of the 3DS version. Beyond being a smaller publisher, the physical North American release was apparently only available in Canada, which helps drive its value through the roof.
Even if you just want a used copy of this game, you’ll have to spend around $735 on it. Take a deep breath before I reveal what a new copy costs, though, because it’s absolute nonsense: a new copy of Barbie: Groom and Glam Pups for the Nintendo 3DS costs $5,021.
If you’re keeping score at home, I’d rank that among the top 10 worst sentences I’ve ever said or typed in my life. At that point, if a handheld Barbie video game is trying to take $5,000 from you, that could be grounds for legal action. You’re better off just finding any other piece of Barbie media to spend time with, like the ever-popular new Barbie movie for example…isn’t that supposed to be coming to Max soon? Whatever happened to that?
Anyway, what are some other rare or expensive 3DS games you can think of? Sound off in the comments below!