In popular culture, the Pokemon franchise has been one of the most recognized leaders for decades. Breaking the frontiers of gaming to reach millions of people, even one’s who have not played any of these titles, know who Pikachu, Bulbasaur, and Charmander are at least.

The charismatic creatures called Pokemon are icons, rivaling the popularity of characters such as Mickey Mouse, Batman, and even Nintendo’s own Mario to name a few, and have had a massive amount of products in their name since launch, such as series, movies, toys, cards, clothing, and of course, games.

That is why it is very striking that the video games developed by GameFreak, both GameBoy and DS cartridges, are at such high prices nowadays. This seems to make no sense since the games sold millions of cartridges, and the game prices require some explanation.

Why Are Pokémon Games For GBA And Nintendo DS So Expensive?

Old Pokémon games are so expensive because demand far exceeds the supply. Being such a popular series, New fans are falling in love with the series and past players are holding on to their collections.

And because of this, those who own original games do not want to sell them, at least not at low prices. 

In general, Nintendo has always marketed its titles at a higher cost compared to its competitors, Microsoft and Sony PlayStation, not only because gamers who buy Nintendo consoles are usually in it for the exclusive games, but also because the production cost is higher.

As we all know, the Japanese company manufactures its games in cartridge format, which is 60% more expensive to produce than the Blu-Ray discs used by other consoles. Factor in the bigger the size of the game in terms of storage, the more expensive the cartridge will be to create, which is one of the reasons why Nintendo video games have always been more valuable.

Back to the main topic, Pokemon games have been no exception to that business model. A few of them received a cheaper re-release once the original reached a certain number of sales, but they are still hard to find.

And the very mechanics of the game itself that cause add to the shortage in the markets.

All Pokemon titles invite the player to catch them all, a challenge that we have all tried at some point in time, but being such long games, many of us end up abandoning them. But of course, we would never let them go.

Current Prices Of Pokemon GameBoy Games

It was on the GameBoy that the first generation of Pokemon was born, with the international release of the successful Pokémon Red Version and Blue Version in 1996. For the first time, players could experience being a Pokemon trainer in the Kanto region. 

Being a cartridge reading console more than 30 years old, along with the public demand for the original, has made the price of this Pokemon release rise very high, especially the Red Version.

One copy even sold in its original packaging in near-mint condition for over $80,000 at a Heritage Auctions auction in 2020. An insane price. 

Of course, this case was an outlier due to the exceptional quality of the product, but equally original Game Boy game cartridges often fetch a high price on online marketplaces despite being somewhat worn.

On sites like eBay, retro games like Pokemon Red can be found for over $300 in its original box, along with its companion games, Pokemon Blue and Pokemon Yellow, which are a bit below those prices. 

On the other hand, another hit title in the series that arrived on the GameBoy Advance in 2004, Pokemon Emerald, costs around $200.

It should be noted that you can also find cartridges of all these versions that have not been out of their box or are in almost perfect condition, but like any collector’s item, they are worth thousands of dollars.

Current Prices Of Nintendo DS Pokemon Games

The DS is undoubtedly the most popular portable console in history, and also the most profitable, as it sold 154.02 million models. And millions of those sales are due to Pokemon.

Many children and young people (okay adults too) bought a DS just to play with Pikachu and the hundreds of other Pokemon of the fourth and fifth generations. 

In the market, these games are expensive, used cartridges alone can be found for up to $50, and those that come in their original box exceed the $100 barrier, while the copies that remain sealed are close to $1000, an amount that some titles exceed considerably.  

Contrary to the GameBoy cartridges, Pokemon games for this handheld are not at such high prices, mostly because the DS is more recent, but they still have almost the same value as a game of the current generation of consoles.

On the DS, what many consider to be the best games in the series were released, such as Pokemon Pearl & Platinum, Pokemon Diamond, Pokemon HeartGold & SoulSilver, Pokemon Black & White, and Black & White 2. 

A special case occurred with the special Pokemon HeartGold & SoulSilver bundles, which included a small Ho-Oh figure for HeartGold and a Lugia figure for SoulSilver. Included in both packs was the PokeWalker, a small retro device with which players could take their Pokemon out for a “walk” in real life.

For obvious reasons, they are quite difficult to find nowadays, costing up to $4000 each.

Alternatives To Playing Pokemon Games Of The Past Without Retro Consoles

If what you want is the nostalgia of becoming a Pokemon trainer in the regions of Kanto, Johto, and Sinnoh, but are not willing to pay, there are other ways to get them cheap.

You can collect many of the games digitally through the Nintendo 3DS EShop, where some games are ported. Although the reality is that in March this year, Nintendo will stop supporting the digital store for both 3DS and Wii U, so it is not a very appealing option. 

For its part, Switch offers remakes of Pokemon Pearl and Pokemon Diamond, released in 2021, but no other classic titles are available in the catalog as of yet. 

The most common way to relive those games is through an emulator, either through your PC or your Smartphone, of course, the experience is not nearly the same as playing it on an original console, but it still remains one of the most popular methods, any legality aside.

With the games in ROM format, the possibilities are endless. Of course, we are not encouraging the enjoyment of a product that should be paid for, but emulation is not exactly a secret anymore. There are even hundreds of pages that are only dedicated to sharing Pokemon ROMs.

Pokemon games are also sold on the market with some “cheating”, especially on online sites where fake bootleg cartridges are offered in which the ROMS of the original games were copied.

These copies work perfectly on any DS, from the first phat style to the 3DS. They are found at fairly affordable prices, although they do not offer the long-term stability of an original cartridge, and are just as illegal as emulating yourself.

A similar practice to this is given with the R4, the DS cards in which you can copy any game in the console’s catalog by yourself or with the help of an expert. 

These are just a few ways to enjoy past Pokemon games today. But if you are one of those who want the original cartridge, either because you are a fan of the series or a collector, you will have to browse the online markets in search of an original copy in good condition.

Are Pokemon Games For GameBoy Advance And DS Worth Buying Today?

Absolutely, the satisfaction of owning one of the original Pokemon games makes them worth every penny. Beyond their rarity, which over the years is increasing, are the hours of fun they offer you, no matter which game and on which console.

Pokemon has synonymous with quality entertainment, a feature that many fans of the series know is worth the price of admission.