Those of you who are long time readers of this site might remember that I usually don’t really like old-school RPGs. For example, I once referred to Final Fantasy VII as “Japanese menu torture”, and to celebrate Christmas one year, we revoked the seal of quality from the entire Phantasy Star series while also writing a detailed breakdown of everything we hate about the genre.
Sadly, the world as a whole doesn’t seem to embrace our completely logical argument that RPGs didn’t actually start adding gameplay until the late 90s, and as a result, many of the RPGs from the SNES era command high prices today. Which is why today we decided to look at some of the most valuable RPGs for the console, and in addition to revoking the seals of quality on account of them being boring-ass RPGs, we’ve provided a handy buyers guide showing how much it would cost to obtain these games, along with helpful suggestions of better uses for the money.
Paladin’s quest is a game about a Paladin, who goes on a quest, but is interrupted every two or three steps by belligerent slimes.
Price: $14, or about the price of a lunch at a nice Mexican restaurant. Either of these options will involve you picking stuff off of a menu, but only one of them offers choices that result in delicious nachos.
Not to mention a chance to finally put what you learned in 7th grade Spanish class to good use.
Final Fantasy II
Final Fantasy II (or IV, thanks to Square’s insane understanding of how numbers work) is a lot like Game of Thrones in that both share a fantasy setting, frequently kill off central characters, and the final act takes place on the moon (just wait for Book 7: A Moon Over My Hammy, doubters)
Price: A fully boxed and instructioned copy of Final Fantasy II sells for about $75. For that much money, you could buy enough keyboard neckties to have some Kindergarten take one of the most regrettable class photos of all time.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
Finally, a game for all of you Mario fans who have been waiting to experience the excitement of picking “Jump” off of a menu. Because, yes, that’s a thing you do in this game.
Price: If you’re willing to forgo a box and instructions, you can get a copy of Super Mario RPG for as little as $40. I’m not knowledgeable in such things, but friend of the site and occasional guest writer Bitterly Indifferent tells me this is enough to buy an orphan from an impoverished country that you can train to serve as a valet, or half an orphan from a less-impoverished country that you can train to serve as an end table. Bitterly also came up with the keyboard necktie class photo idea, so it’s entirely possible he just really hates children.
Breath of Fire
Breath of Fire features a protagonist who can turn into a dragon. Sadly, this does not turn all of your combat menu choices from things like “Fight” and “Magic” into “RAAAAAAAAAARRGGHHHH!” and “SCRREEEEEEEEEEEE!”.
Price: Copies of Breath of Fire go for about $25. Or you could just buy Skyrim, which is also an RPG featuring dragons, and is actually, you know, fun. Plus you’d still have enough money left over to get those nachos we were discussing back during Paladin’s Quest.
Suddenly, this is shaping up to be a much better evening.
Breath of Fire II
Breath of Fire II is an RPG so rare that for a while Stryker was convinced it was never actually released as a game, but only as a ROM uploaded to emulation sites as some kind of elaborate trick to identify game pirates. I guess in Stryker’s mind Capcom was going to host a SNES convention, and then have the FBI swoop in and arrest anyone who talked about how much they enjoyed playing BoF2. Or something. Stryker doesn’t always think these things through. Naturally, when someone came into his store with an actual copy to sell, he just HAD TO have it, and broke the bank with the highest payout in the history of his store, something like $12.
Price: Sadly, for those of you who didn’t own a failing used game store in the late 90s, you’ll probably have to look for it online, where complete copies of Breath of Fire 2 with box and instructions sell for a little over $100. Or, for a little less than that, you could get a surfing lesson, instead. There’s… no joke here. Surfing lessons just sound really fun.
Lufia & the Fortress of Doom
Lufia is most memorable for having an item called Sweet Water, which lowers the rate of random encounters to a level where you MIGHT not snap your controller in half after a few hours.
Price: A cartridge-only copy of Lufia will set you back $20. I couldn’t find anyone selling a complete copy presumably because, like me, everyone bought their copy of Lufia out of a bin of retired rental games at Blockbuster.
Back in my senior year of high school, I traded in my Genesis, all my Genesis games, and most of my SNES collection to get a Playstation. The night before, I stayed up until about 4am so that I could beat Lufia before trading it in. Don’t ask me why. Anyway, for the $20 it would cost you to buy Lufia, you could recreate my experience and pick up a Playstation along a copy of the first PSX game I ever bought, Destruction Derby, which is way more fun than Lufia. As an added bonus, the Playstation you buy probably won’t become a “skipstation” after 6 months like mine did.
Lufia II: Rise of the Sinistrals
“Sinistrals” are the bad guys, in case the name wasn’t obvious enough. And I believe a “Lufia” is one of those spongy things that you use to wash yourself in the shower.
Price: A copy of Lufia II complete with box and instructions will set you back $130. That’s the same price as a two foot alligator, a predator so perfectly evolved it hasn’t really changed much since the age of the dinosaurs. Then all you have to do is dig a trench around your house – which will probably take less time and be more fun than playing all the way through Lufia II, add water, and suddenly you live in a fortress surrounded by an alligator-filled moat.
Secret of the Stars
Secret of the Stars was made by Tecmo, and is best known for it’s hilariously bad translation, and it’s auto-battle feature, which is essentially an admission that few people actually want to “play” this damn game.
Price: A recent scan of Ebay showed Secret of the Stars cartridges selling for $25, which is slightly more than the cost of a “variety pack” of Combos, featuring 18 bags of the greatest snack food known to man. And while I appreciate a game that has bosses with names like “BAD BUNNY”, you’ll never convince me that’s more important than the opportunity to try every flavor of Combos that currently exists.
Robotrek is such a derivative and unmemorable game that it doesn’t even get a little blurb on GameFAQs:
One unintended consequence of researching this article is that GameFAQs now thinks I like these damn games.
Price: Looks like you can get Robotrek for about $40. Or you could buy five or six cookie cakes, which is about the most you can safely eat in a year without giving yourself Type II Diabetes.
Although it’s considered by many to be Square’s greatest achievement, I never got into Chrono Trigger the way I did Final Fantasy VI. Maybe it’s because unlike FF6, I didn’t play Chrono Trigger until after Baldur’s Gate had already spoiled all other JRPGs for me. Or maybe it was the part where I got stuck in a rock fortress and had to fight the same “optional” battle against dinosaurs about 5,000 times. Yeah, it was probably that.
Price: Copies of the game go for $50 for just the cart, but seeing as the game is has been made available for the Playstation, the PS3, the Nintendo DS and even your phone, I’m assuming most people going the SNES route are collectors who are going to want a complete copy, which is closer to $120. In most cities, this is less than the fees you’d have to pay to adopt a kitten from the SPCA. So think about that, RPG enthusiasts – while you’re sitting there commanding a ridiculous frog-man to attack stuff with a sword, some adorable kitten is sitting alone, unloved, in a cage at an animal shelter.
All it wants to do is shower you with affection.
Despite being published by Nintendo and promoted pretty well, Earthbound didn’t put up huge sales numbers. But to the few people who have played it, it is a cult classic, beloved by fans for it’s humor, unusual weapons, and the parts where you mercilessly beat dogs with sticks until they become tame.
Price: Cartridge-only copies of Earthbound go for $155, while a complete one will set you back a reality-shattering $360. That’s only $40 less than the price of a brand-new PS4. But for the truly insane, there are also brand-new, unopened copies selling on Amazon for $6,000.
A quick scan of autotrader.com show that you can easily get a Porsche for that much money. Look, I’m not going to tell you how to spend your money, but one of those things is a car, says “Porsche” on it, and will get you laid. And the other is a 20 year old video game about children fighting space aliens, your enthusiasm for which will have everyone you know secretly thinking that you’re a weirdo. Don’t overthink this.
Anyway, it’s good to be back and updating the site again. New article on the 23rd, and we’ll see where it goes from there.