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The Rarest Sega Genesis Game Probably Isn't What You Expect

As we navigate a world where everything can and will be permanently documented on the internet, the concept of rare and lost media becomes more and more fascinating. Lost media videos on YouTube tend to garner millions of views, with a notable example being Nick Robinson's excellent account of the decade-long hunt for the McDonald's eCDP game for Nintendo DS. There are also several active online communities, such as the Lost Media Wiki, where folks dedicate a huge chunk of their time to trying to recover the unrecoverable.

Truly rare or lost video games tend to be limited to older consoles with small, purely physical releases. The rarest games are usually Atari titles, such as one copy of "Air Raid" which ended up selling for $10,000, due to ROM releases for the console family sometimes numbering in the single digits. If you have a bunch of Atari games in your attic, stick them into Google. You might be surprised by what you find.

The Sega Genesis, also known as the Mega Drive outside North America, also has its own trove of collectible ROMs and hidden gems, such as the action platformer "Gargoyles," based on the cult classic 90s cartoon of the same name.

However, the most sought after Sega Genesis game is definitely not from the franchise that you might expect.

What happened to Tetris for the Sega Genesis?

Yes, you're reading that correctly. "Tetris", the "Tetris," is one of the rarest games you can get on Sega Genesis. In fact, the very possibility of acquiring the game at all is up for debate. One of the best selling, most universally recognisable franchises of all time, "Tetris" was scheduled to come to the Sega Genesis in 1989 but was ultimately canned due to licensing issues following Nintendo's acquisition of the console rights. It's rumored that fewer than 10 copies were printed, according to Kotaku, and even those copies weren't officially released, making this a truly rare find. You either had to be there at the time, or you'll need to have a serious wad of cash in your pocket.

Even if you manage to pick the game up, good luck playing it. The game is region-locked to the Japanese Sega Mega Drive, meaning you'll also need to dig one of those up. Luckily, they don't cost nearly as much.