The 5 Rarest PS3 Games

The PlayStation 3 had a rough start, but it still managed to produce some incredibly rare titles, including some unusually rare sports games.

Hamstrung by a botched launch and a staggeringly high price point, the PlayStation 3 had a rough start. Add to that early losses to Microsoft’s wildly popular Xbox 360 and a data breach that led to a long outage of the PlayStation store in 2011, and it’s easy to write the system off. Despite these issues, the PS3 produced a wealth of games during its lifecycle.

There were system-defining classics like the Uncharted series, which have been ported to future PlayStation console generations with remakes and remasters. There are also less-heralded games that fell through the cracks. In the case of games with low print runs and high demand on the secondary market, that creates true collector’s items. It’s one of the few things the PS3 has in common with its most successful siblings.


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Demon’s Souls: Deluxe Edition

The base version of the game that invented the Soulslike genre isn’t difficult to find, as long as you’re willing to settle for a used copy. Its current asking price averages out to $18.37, a few dollars under the price it retailed for as part of the $20 PlayStation Greatest Hits line.

A price, harder-to-find edition of the game, the Deluxe Edition isn’t as loaded with extras as other special editions. The primary draw of Deluxe Edition is an exclusive 150+ page strategy guide, which will come in handy with a game as notoriously difficult as Demons Souls. There’s also a slip case to display the game box. Those extras will set customers back $108.82 for a complete copy. The disc alone costs $65.18, slightly less than the $69.99 list price of Demons Souls PS5 remake.


NCAA Football 14

NCAA Football 14 was the final installment in EA Sports’ long-running college football series, which dated back to the Sega Genesis Bill Walsh College Football games. The series was put on hiatus in 2013, due to legal disputes between the NCAA and players over the unpaid use of their likenesses. While some college teams have been part of modes in recent Madden NFL installments, there hasn’t been a dedicated NCAA game since.

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EA’s spring announcement that the series would return in a few years hasn’t dampened enthusiasm for NCAA Football 14. It’s rare that a sports game can hold an audience that long, but the ability to update rosters with current players helps. Complete-in-box copies go for $100. The disc alone commands $88.77.


Africa

A more realistic take on Pokémon Snap’s photography gameplay, Africa sends players on a safari and tasks them with taking pictures of African wildlife. While it has a unique premise, the prospect of going on safari wasn’t enough to entice PS3 owners into putting down games like Metal Gear Solid 4.

Africa not only failed to catch on with players, but it also received middling critical scores. Regardless, it’s since become a collector’s item in the years since gamers rejected its charms. Boxed copies go for $132. By itself, the disc costs $89. As pricey as that is, it’s still cheaper than an actual African safari trip.


JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is a manga and anime series that has a passionate fanbase in the US and Japan. In Japan, one-on-one fighter All Star Battle sold 500,000 copies on pre-orders alone and received a rare perfect score from video game magazine Famitsu. While the western fandom is always eager to call out a Jojo reference wherever they see one, it’s never moved beyond a cult following.

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The franchise’s niche appeal, coupled with a release in the PS3’s twilight, meant that game was destined to be hard to obtain for western collectors. PlayStation completists who may not know Jonathan Joestar from Joseph Joestar will need to spend nearly $180 to add a boxed copy to their collection. The disc alone goes for $116 at the moment.


NBA Elite 11

NBA Elite is so rare because no one should own a copy. The game was a reboot of EA’s venerable NBA Live series, which had lost ground to NBA 2K over the years. A disastrous demo exposed its game-breaking bugs, including Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum becoming stuck in the middle of the court in a T-pose while the game went on without him.

EA pulled the game from circulation, eventually canceling it entirely, something unheard of in annualized sports games (even WWE 2K20 made it to retail). Despite that, some copies made it into the hands of customers. In-box copies average $909.69. A loose disc offers a slight discount of $871.38. That assumes that anyone actually played the game, which seems unlikely given its extreme rarity and poor quality. New-in-box copies go for $950, meaning that no PS3 game will ever match Elite’s cursed rarity.

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