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The Rarest N64 Game Isn't What You'd Expect

To be a physical copy, or not to be a physical copy, that is the question. It's hard to say if physical media is superior, no matter how many all-digital consoles are produced (and cancelled). However, several game generations ago, the only answer (and option) was physical media. And, with physical media came the prospect of owning a super rare version of a title, especially rare titles for the Nintendo systems

When you think about uncommon N64 games, your mind may jump to early Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time versions that utilized Islamic chants in the Fire Temple music. What could be rarer than a cartridge with music that was removed from all subsequent versions — and ports — to avoid religious references? Well ... quite a few games, actually, but one title rules above them all in scarcity. You will never guess what it is. Prepare to be amazed and confused.

Honorable Mention: Stunt Racer 64

Many video game and movie rental services offer the option to either rent or buy their stock. Imagine if a publisher teamed up with a rental service so you could only rent or buy a game through one store? Now you know why Stunt Racer 64 is likely so rare.

Stunt Racer 64, as the title suggests, is a racing game where you compete against opponents and pull off slick stunts. The better you perform and more stunts you land, the more money you earn to buy new cars and upgrades. What set Stunt Racer 64 apart from other games was its Blockbuster exclusive status. Not only did this limit the number of copies produced, but the nature of Blockbuster games meant complete copies were even scarcer.

Thanks to the inherent chaos of renting (and buying) from rental stores like Blockbuster, Stunt Racer 64's prices reflect its rarity. A loose cartridge costs around $270, with boxes and manuals not far behind. If you want everything in one package, that will set you back almost $700, and if you want it in mint condition, that will require around $1,900.

Runner-up: Yoshi's Story: International Version

Yoshi's Story influenced the titular character Yoshi and his standalone games. Titles such as Yoshi's Crafted World try to recreate the children's storybook aesthetic of the original game. However, the impact left by the original isn't what makes it so coveted, mostly because Yoshi's Story isn't rare — Yoshi's Story: International Version is. There's a difference.

Officially, Yoshi's Story: International Version never released. The game was provided to U.S. retail businesses with Nintendo 64 demo kiosks. Cartridges are immediately identifiable thanks to the words "International Version" printed above the title, as well as a "Not for resale" sticker. Why is it called the "International Version?" Because the game text is in Japanese, even though the cartridge is only compatible with American N64 consoles.

Primarily,Yoshi's Story: International Version is so scarce because it's unclear how many cartridges were created. Since the game is the crown jewel of many collections, few aficionados are willing to part with it, so prices and stock fluctuate wildly and randomly. At the time of this writing, you can purchase one loose game (there's no such thing as a Yoshi's Story: International Version manual or box) for about $440. Two people are even attempting to sell their copies on eBay for $1,500 and $15,000 (or best offer).

Winner: ClayFighter: Sculptor's Cut

ClayFighter was a series of fighting games for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. While the name is a play on Street Fighter, its general design was more akin to Mortal Kombat. ClayFighter's gimmick was that every character was a digitized claymation model. Imagine if someone made a fighting game out of Ray Harryhousen creatures, only instead of cyclops and dinosaurs, you had evil snowmen and Elvis impersonators duking it out.

Fast forward to the Nintendo 64, and Interplay Productions published a new ClayFighter game called ClayFighter 63 ⅓. But, the company didn't stop there. Interplay printed 20,000 copies of an updated version — complete with new characters — called ClayFighter: Sculptor's Cut. Then, Interplay sold those copies to Blockbuster Video so gamers could only rent Sculptor's Cut, never own it. That is the '90s equivalent of the Justice League Snyder cut.

No one could purchase the already rare ClayFighter: Sculptor's Cut until Blockbuster phased out N64 rentals. But since then, anything Sculptor's Cut related has demanded a high price. The cartridge alone will set you back about $570, but for the game, box, and manual, prepare to pay anywhere between $2,500 and $4,200. Rental games were often mistreated, so intact Sculptor's Cut boxes and manuals are essentially gaming holy grails.