An original copy of The Legend of Zelda on Famicom fetched the equivalent of $4,000 at an auction because it was part of a limited-edition run of cartridges released in collaboration with an instant noodle brand.
For some context, the ramen-branded Zelda cartridge is a rare collectible called Charumera Zelda no Densetsu, named after the popular Japanese instant ramen company. According to Gaming Alexandria (opens in new tab), it was a limited release given to 1,500 winners of a 1986 giveaway from Nintendo and Myojo Charumera.
As flagged by Tales of Arise English translator Tom James (opens in new tab) and reported by Kotaku (opens in new tab), the collectible recently sold for an astonishing 453,000 yen (roughly $3,966 USD at the time of writing) at a Yahoo Japan auction (opens in new tab). That's a ton of money for any game, but especially one that's indistinguishable from its standard release counterpart aside from a sticker baring the name of a ramen brand. That's right - Gaming Alexandria obtained a copy of Charumera Zelda in February 2020 and found no differences from the retail version in the code.
Granted, it appears to be a pristine copy of the game, but the cartridge itself isn't even custom-branded! Nintendo and Charumera just slapped a different sticker on the thing for the giveaway, but it just goes to show how much the value of a limited edition thing can appreciate in certain communities regardless of its intrinsic value or even subjective coolness. The condition definitely matters too; just look at the standard, sealed NES Zelda that sold for $870,000 over the summer.
Here are the best retro consoles you can put under the tree this year without breaking the bank.