Think today's video games are expensive?
They've got nothing on this ordinary-looking mid-90s Neo Geo game. It just sold for a staggering $30,000, reports Kotaku, making it quite possibly the most valuable game on the platform.
The recipient of the $30,000 (or thereabouts; he's understandably reticent with the precise amount) was one Michael DiCioccio, a serious Neo Geo collector, and the game in question is Aero Fighters 3, the American-market version of Sonic Wings 3, a Japanese shooter released in 1995 in arcades and on the Neo Geo.
Sonic Wings 3 isn't a particularly expensive game by collector standards, being readily available around the $50-100 mark. But copies of Aero Fighters 3 are a tad more valuable, it turns out. The vast price differential is attributable, says Kotaku, to the fact that although a handful of copies of the U.S. version of the game were produced, they were never actually released to stores, and have been sitting locked away in a storage unit for the past decade and a half.
DiCioccio found out about the existence of the hoard from a former employee of Neo Geo maker SNK, and somehow -- details here are a little unclear, but we fondly imagine him hanging from a ceiling, Mission Impossible-style -- was able to get hold of two of them. Once confirmed as authentic, he sold one (in a Pittsburgh airport, as it happens) for the aforementioned 30 grand.
Want one for yourself? The second copy is for sale, DiCioccio says — but only to "a serious party who is interested in owning a piece of history…acquiring this game will not be cheap."
We don't think he's kidding.