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An old copy of The Legend of Zelda sold for $4,000 because it has ramen branding

The Legend of Zelda
(Image credit: Nintendo)

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, 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 and reported by Kotaku, the collectible recently sold for an astonishing 453,000 yen (roughly $3,966 USD at the time of writing) at a Yahoo Japan auction. 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.

The Legend of Zelda

This is the "Charumera Zelda" that was sold at an auction for 453,000 yen (roughly $4000) (Image credit: Yahoo! Japan)

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.

Jordan Gerblick

After scoring a degree in English from ASU, I worked in - *shudders* - content management while freelancing for places like SFX Magazine, Screen Rant, Game Revolution, and MMORPG. Now, as GamesRadar's Arizona-based Staff Writer, I'm responsible for managing the site's western regional executive branch, AKA my apartment, and writing about whatever horror game I'm too afraid to finish.