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What is the rarest Pokemon Game Boy game?

The Pokemon video game series has been popular since it first launched in the late 1990s. While new Pokemon games are released frequently, the original games for the Game Boy remain highly sought-after by collectors. Some of the earliest Pokemon Game Boy titles are now extremely rare and valuable.

The Origins of Pokemon on Game Boy

The very first Pokemon video games – Pokemon Red and Pokemon Green – were released in Japan in 1996 for the Game Boy. The games were an instant success and a third enhanced version, Pokemon Blue, soon followed. When the games launched internationally in 1998, the Blue version was used as the basis for the Western releases of Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue.

The games take place in the fictional Kanto region, where players take on the role of a young Pokemon trainer. The goal is to catch and train Pokemon creatures and battle other trainers. The original games introduced many hallmark features of the Pokemon series like the starter Pokemon, Gym battles, and the Elite Four.

Why Are the Original Pokemon Games Valuable?

There are several factors that make the earliest Pokemon Game Boy releases so valuable to collectors today:

  • Nostalgia – Many fans remember these as the first Pokemon games they played, which makes them desirable.
  • Limited supply – Far fewer copies were produced back in the 1990s compared to today.
  • Good condition copies are rare – Original Game Boy cartridges have often worn out over time.
  • Importance and influence of the games – As the first entries in the popular franchise, they have historical significance.
  • Collectibility of retro games – There is a thriving collector’s market for old video games, especially rare, influential titles.

The Rarest and Most Valuable Pokemon Game Boy Games

Here are some of the rarest and most expensive Pokemon Game Boy games that collectors seek:

Pokemon Red/Green (Japan)

As the very first Pokemon releases, the Japanese Red and Green versions are incredibly rare and valuable. They were produced in very limited quantities in 1996. Mint condition copies in the original packaging can sell for over $10,000.

Pokemon Blue (Japan)

The enhanced Japanese Blue version is also extremely rare. It fixed bugs and balanced gameplay issues from Red/Green. Sealed copies in perfect condition can fetch prices of $5,000 or more.

Pokemon Red/Blue (USA)

Even the international releases of Red and Blue are highly valuable. These 1999 US releases sold millions of copies but few remain in pristine condition. Sealed copies sell for upwards of $1,000.

Pokemon Yellow

Pokemon Yellow, based on the anime, was released in late 1998. While not as rare as the original releases, this special Pikachu edition can still sell for over $500 brand new.

Pokemon Gold/Silver

The sequels to Red/Blue were released in 1999 in Japan and 2000 internationally. These games are growing in value, with mint copies selling for up to $400 due to high demand.

Other Rare and Valuable Pokemon Game Boy Games

Here are some other extremely valuable Pokemon Game Boy games and rarities:

  • Pokemon Green (North America Prototype) – Rumored to exist in a few copies, an unreleased NA port of the Japanese Green. An extremely holy grail item worth potentially $10,000+ if authenticated.
  • Competition cartridges – Special tournament editions of games with unlockable features. Very few were produced.
  • Demo cartridges – Review copies and press pre-release demos, usually with unique features. Extremely hard to find.
  • Notable misprints – A few defect cartridges with printing errors exist, such as the famed “Nintendo” edition of Red/Blue.

Current Market Prices for Rare Pokemon Games

Here is a table summarizing the current typical market values for the rarest Pokemon Game Boy games in both loose cartridge and sealed complete in box (CIB) condition:

Game Loose Price Sealed (CIB) Price
Pokemon Red/Green (Japan) $1,000 – $3,000 $10,000+
Pokemon Blue (Japan) $300 – $1,000 $5,000+
Pokemon Red/Blue (US) $50 – $150 $1,000+
Pokemon Yellow $25 – $100 $500+
Pokemon Gold/Silver $50 – $150 $400+

Prices vary greatly based on exact production dates, regional releases, label variations and overall condition. But this table gives a rough idea of the tremendous value these games hold on the collector’s market today.

Factors That Influence Rarity and Value

Some of the key factors that make a particular Pokemon Game Boy title rare and valuable are:

  • Age – The older, the rarer. Games from 1996-1999 are most valuable.
  • Region – Japanese or limited regional releases are rarer.
  • Editions – 1st print runs, special editions are most valuable.
  • Condition – Sealed and mint condition copies fetch much higher prices.
  • Packaging – Complete in box with manuals, inserts lifts values.
  • Manufacturing quirks – Misprints, defects can increase value.
  • Market demand – Popularity and nostalgia impact prices.

Outlook and Investment Potential

As the original Pokemon games become older and rarer, prices seem likely to continue rising for these iconic, historically important titles. More and more collectors are entering the retro gaming scene, driven by nostalgia and the potential for their childhood classics to gain value. The first Pokemon games seem like a relatively safe investment bet due to their securing standing in gaming history. As the supply dwindles and demand rises, expect to see even astronomical prices for the rarest of the rare Pokemon Game Boy games.


For Pokemon fans and collectors, the original Game Boy releases will always hold a special allure. The incredibly rare, still sealed copies of games like the Japanese Red, Green and Blue can fetch life-changing sums from the most dedicated collectors. Even loose used cartridges of games like Pokemon Red/Blue and Yellow carry significant value on the secondary market. As the retro gaming collector’s market continues expanding, these influential but increasingly rare games will likely only become more sought-after and valuable with each passing year.