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The Rarest Legend Of Zelda Game Isn't What You'd Expect

There's pretty much no such thing as an unpopular Nintendo franchise. Super Mario and Pokemon obviously lead the pack in terms of fame and fortune, and The Legend of Zelda isn't far behind. That last series might seemingly reinvent the geography and history of Hyrule with every entry, but audiences can't get enough of Nintendo's premier open-world dungeon crawling adventure franchise. More importantly, fans will pay top dollar for rare Zelda items, especially rare games.


While it may seem like Nintendo's only recently had trouble keeping up with demand, the company has a history of producing limited stock, like that time it manufactured just 20,000 copies of ClayFighter: Sculptor's Cut. Given The Legend of Zelda's money-printing popularity, you might assume Nintendo would do everything and anything to keep store shelves stocked with Zelda, and usually it does.

However, that mindset only applies to mass-produced Zelda games. One Legend of Zelda game is so rare, it blows other rare video games out of the water. Yes, not even the hard-to-find Powerfest 94 is a match for this title.

The Legend of Zelda NES prototype cartridge is the rarest game on the planet

The Nintendo Entertainment System (or NES for short) started Nintendo down the path of video game stardom, and The Legend of Zelda solidified Nintendo's fame thanks to the then-novel feature of save files. Games don't magically spring up from the aether fully formed, however. Developers first have to produce a prototype, and the original Legend of Zelda was no different.


In 2012, an ebay user by the name of tjcurtin1 — real name Tom Curtin — sold the one and only Legend of Zelda NES prototype cart for a massive $150,000. According to Curtin, only one Zelda prototype cartridge exists in the world, and at the time, he was selling it. He even posted a video to show it was the real deal. Sure, his video has all the quality of an old potato, but it gets the job done.

Not even the second rarest Zelda game — which was used to test repaired NES consoles — comes anywhere close to this original prototype cartridge in terms of rarity or price.