What is it that makes a game rare? Most of the time, it's a combination of age, quantity, and exclusivity, but in the case of these Xbox 360 games, it’s a combination of factors. Some titles become rare from almost the moment they go on sale, while others gradually generate an aura of mythos and appreciation long after first releasing, turning them into highly sought-after prizes for the keenest of collectors. From fancy limited editions to strangely elusive gems, here are some of the rarest and most valuable 360 games, along with some hints on how to find them.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Prestige Edition
received overwhelming praise from critics and fans alike in 2009, but that’s not what makes this version so worthwhile. The Prestige Edition of the game comes with fully functioning night vision goggles and a dummy head to display them on (plus the game itself, obviously). How many of your friends can honestly claim to own military grade equipment in their own home? This set may not be cheap, and almost impossible to find in new condition, but the goggles make for great conversation starters and party tricks.
Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes Premium Package (Japanese import)
More often than not, the best versions of a game don’t release in your preferred region of residence, which is when you have to resort to the complicated business of transnational imports. The of Metal Gear Sold V: Ground Zeroes (pictured above for PS3, as Xbox 360 promos are non-existent on the web) includes an action figure and a range of other items, but these premiums don’t come cheap. Still, for Solid Snake megafans, that figure sure would make for a majestic piece to spice up the living room. The downside is that you’ll need a Japanese Xbox 360 to play the game itself, but cool swag on display knows no language barriers.
BioShock Infinite Ultimate Songbird Edition
This ultra edition of BioShock Infinite isn’t too pricey when sold as used, making it a tempting offer for any fans of the acclaimed series. The included Songbird statue, on its own, is a gorgeous addition for any shelf, and the additional goodies included are just extra dollops of icing on the cake. Sadly, though, the included Murder of Crows vigor replica doesn’t actually give you the ability to command armies of birds from your fingertips. Superpowers or no superpowers, all that’s left for you to decide represents a fair price to pay for a Songbird protecting your home 24/7.
Mass Effect Collector’s Edition
This is another case of early believers reaping the benefits of a series-first collector’s edition. Thankfully, you can grab the Mass Effect Collector’s Edition without breaking the bank, with copies in good condition available for around $30 or less. That said, if you want it sealed and mint,, so the investment for this one really depends on what kind of collector you are. The catch? There aren’t a ton of copies floating around, which often indicates that the price is only going to go up as availability inevitably goes down.
Aliens vs. Predator: Hunter Edition
That’s a lot of money for a game that didn’t exactly receive glowing praise when it originally came out in 2009. This version of AvP comes with a hardcover Dark Horse graphic novel, a Weyland Yutani corporation badge sleeve, and a facehugger figure, among other physical and in-game treats. The facehugger replica is certainly a nice incentive for enthused followers of the Alien franchise, but if you want one, you better move fast. Complete copies, which could work in your favor if you have your own sealed version that you’re no longer attached to.
Fallout: New Vegas Collector’s Edition
If you’ve never taken a trip to the nuclear wastes of Las Vegas, you’re in for a treat. This not only includes Fallout: New Vegas, a great game you can get lost in for hundreds of hours, but also some replica poker chips, a deck of playing cards, a hardcover graphic novel, and a documentary DVD about the making of the game. Over $150 is a big sum of money for a game, even a special edition like this, but for trying to recreate the ambience of a New Vegas casino in your own home, you could do a lot worse than this. At the time of writing, there’s a used Collector’s Edition copy of Fallout: New Vegas on sale for $5. For the price of a Nuka Cola, it could be yours by the end of the week.
DragonBall Z Ultimate Tenkaichi Collector's Edition Xbox 360 (Australian import)
Why is this Australian collector’s edition of so costly? Maybe it’s the Super Saiyan Gohan figurine, or the fact that it’s ridiculously hard to find no matter where you look online. One thing’s for sure: if you’re an Australian gamer sitting on a complete collector’s edition - especially in brand new or mint condition - you’re in possession of a rare slice of Xbox 360 gaming history, and one that could bring in a big haul if you’re willing to part ways with it.
Dead or Alive 5 Collector’s Edition (Japanese import)
It’s not hard to see why this one didn’t make it out of Japan. The 3D mouse pad, as it’s called, is about as tasteful as a fart joke at a funeral, and the included cards don’t exactly elevate the level of class beyond the bundle’s somewhat tacky and altogether creepy vibe. If that’s your thing, go for it, but . Is a garish mouse pad and a Japanese version of a so-so fighting game really worth $100 of your money? That’s a question you’ll have to answer yourself.
Halo Reach Legendary Edition
Microsoft has a long history of producing increasingly complex Halo special editions, and the Halo Reach Legendary Edition is no exception. Open up the custom box and themed packaging and you’ll find a hand-painted Noble Team statue from McFarlane Toys, an embroidered patch, an artifact bag with a journey, and a complimentary selection of in-game content. For so much extra stuff, both for play and display, the Halo Reach Legendary Edition is . Of course, that’s assuming you have room in your home to store its hefty casing and everything that’s found crammed within it.
Record of Agarest War: The Really Naughty Limited Edition
Oh boy. As the title implies, for strategy title Record of Agarest War has some, er, questionable inclusions. Like Dead or Alive 5, this one also has a “sensual” mouse pad (can these stop being a thing, please?), in addition to a special pillowcase, and some “highly suggestive” box art, because apparently the original art wasn’t suggestive enough. Oh, and there’s a soundtrack CD, which is presumably the only SFW part the entire thing. Luckily, it seems as though gamers are becoming increasingly happy to flog off their copies online, as used versions are now available to purchase relatively easily, following a dry period of nothing but extortionately priced new editions.
Gears of War 3 Epic Edition
Gears of War 3 was one of the most anticipated games of 2011, so it’s no surprise that Microsoft and Epic Games capitalised on that with the aptly titled. The piece’s magnum opus was a premium statue of jacked protagonist Marcus Fenix, but the deliciously detailed art book and COG tag replicas are also a big draw. In a strange turning of the tables, new editions of the product are currently selling for less than used versions, so now is a good time to exploit the opportunity and beat the system while you still can.
NBA Elite 11
Here it is. The rarest of rare. By all accounts, NBA Elite 11 doesn’t even officially exist as a video game. The mobile to console port was cancelled before it was due to release but, in the words of Jurassic Park’s Ian Malcolm, life finds a way, and of NBA Elite 11 managed to fall into circulation and eventually into the hands of some very lucky gamers. For Xbox collectors, acquiring NBA Elite 11 is certainly possible, but it comes with a major caveat. The only two Xbox copies going have to be purchased as part of a package of five, which together are being sold for $30,000. Basically, you either have to really want NBA Elite 11, or make do with not having it at all.
The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon
Spyro hasn’t had his own proper video game outing in yonks, so it’s natural that his (you know, before all that Skylanders nonsense) has turned into a treasured commodity. Used copies of Dawn of the Dragon aren’t too costly at all, but sealed editions involve a steep price jump up to around $90. For what is, let's be honest, a fairly middling game, we’re talking big bucks, and it’ll likely stay that high unless Spyro makes a fully fledged return to video games. Still, if Crash Bandicoot gets his own remaster, the possibility of another adventure with the purple teenage dragon isn’t out of the picture yet.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance Gold Edition
Ultimate Alliance has now been released and remastered for 11 different consoles over the last decade, but it’s the which remains a point of interest to collectors and fans. The Gold Edition of the game doesn’t even come with anything physical, but some on-disc cosmetics that can no longer be bought from the Xbox Live Market. That’s right, if the only way of securing those digital hero and villain packs is through owning a physical copy of Ultimate Alliance, which explains the high price value online. Alternatively, you could just enjoy the re-remastered version of the game on Xbox One for a fraction of the price.
Dead Space Ultra Limited Edition
The Ultra Limited Edition of Dead Space is , as EA manufactured only 1000 units of the product when it released in 2008, and it was even officially graded by the VGA (Video Game Authority) with an 85 rating out of 100. That means really, really rare, in case you had any doubts. In fact, there’s only two Xbox 360 copies going on Ebay right now, the cheapest of which comes from Europe with a price tag of over $800 (you don’t even want to know how much the second one costs). It’s a lot of money, but when you consider what’s inside (autographed lithographs and postcards, a 3D artbook, a massive hardcover graphic novel and more), you can begin to understand why this set is so in-demand.