In the world of video game collecting, some titles are considered more valuable than others due to their rarity, historical importance or unique features. One such game recently made headlines when a rare copy of a Sega Mega Drive game, « Lakers vs Celtics and the NBA Playoffs », sold online for nearly $10,000.
« Lakers vs Celtics and the NBA Playoffs » occupies an intriguing status in the world of video game collecting. The North American version of this game is far from rare, with Sega Genesis NTSC copies regularly found on eBay for between $5 and $20. The European version, on the other hand, is a highly sought-after collector’s item. This is a PAL version of the game which, despite being rated 88% by British magazine CVG, was never officially launched in Europe.
This European version of the game has become one of the ‘holy grails’ for Mega Drive collectors due to its rarity. Interestingly, the game was about to be launched, but was withdrawn at the last minute. A small number of copies are said to have made it out of EA’s warehouse despite this setback, making them extremely valuable to collectors.
The reason for the game’s cancellation is said to be EA’s difficulties in obtaining the NBA license for European markets. However, this problem has been resolved in time for the launch of the game’s sequel, « Bulls vs Lakers ».
To add to the intrigue, the total number of existing PAL copies is the subject of debate. At least 13 copies of the game are known to exist, but an internal EA dashboard quoted by Eurogamer suggests that up to 192 copies may have been sold.
A crucial detail for collectors is that the game cartridge for both NTSC and PAL versions is identical and compatible with Mega Drive / Genesis consoles in both regions. This means that the value of the PAL version of « Lakers vs Celtics and the NBA Playoffs » lies solely in its packaging, making it a unique and highly sought-after collector’s item.