Collecting Super Nintendo Not For Resale (NFR) games is a nearly non-existent niche hobby even though you can easily and regularly find these games on eBay for the exact same price as their normal counterparts. People just don’t know about these hidden gems.
These Not For Resale items were given to stores to display in kiosks. Prospective buyers could come into the store and play around with the game a bit and then decide whether or not to purchase it. After a certain point, the stores were supposed to either return them to Nintendo or destroy them. Most just gave them away or threw them out. The exact numbers of these cartridges that survive today is unknown but is expected to be rather low.
What you need to know about these NFR carts is that they are exactly identical to their retail counterparts in every way except for a different front label and a sticker stuck on the back saying NOT FOR RESALE DEMO GAME ONLY PROPERTY OF NINTENDO”.
Unlike Nintendo 64 NFR games, SNES NFR games have the same content as the regular versions. There is no hidden beta content, no unique save states, nothing really unique about them except for the front label.
The front label of every NFR cartridge is identical to the final retail release label except with two notable differences. The first difference is a uniform diagonal white box with the words “Not for Resale” in red on the right hand side of every label. The second difference is the at top of the label at the part that folds over the top of the cartridge, instead of the usual name of the game we instead find a white top that simply states “Not for Resale - Demo Only” in red. This is a lie, it is the full game not a demo.
Opening the cartridges themselves yields little clues. Some of the cartridges do have what are known as “glob tops”. Glob tops are what were used before the the Super FX chip was finalized. Some retail copies also contain glob tops as opposed to the finalized chip. This is more of an interesting aside and does not affect the value, so please do not try to pry open your cart. I have seen way too many damaged pieces.
Here is a list of all 14 the SNES NFR cartridges that have these unique labels along with an average price range for which they sell for on eBay:
List of Super Nintendo Not for Resale Cartridges
- Contra III: The Alien Wars | Price Range: $30-$60
- Donkey Kong Country | Price Range: $40-$120
- Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double | Price Range: $50-$100
- Ken Griffey Jr.'s Winning Run | Price Range: $5-$15
- Killer Instinct | Price Range: $20-$90
- Mortal Kombat II | Price Range: $120-$300
- NCAA Basketball | Price Range: $5-$25
- StarFox | Price Range: $10-$90
- Street Fighter II | Price Range: $20-$50
- Street Fighter II: Turbo | Price Range: $40-$60
- Stunt Race FX | Price Range: $50-$80
- Tetris Attack | Price Range: $30-$40
- Turtles IV: Turtles in Time | Price Range: $150-$200
- Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island | Price Range: $50-$80
There are only 14 pieces to complete the set, which makes it a relatively easy goal for collectors. There are a few other NFR games but they are just normal carts with the back sticker attached. I have never known anyone willing to pay any more than the average price of a normal cartridge without the sticker for these NFR’s so I chose not to include them in this article. That and there is no agreed upon list of those type of NFR cartridges with only the back sticker.
SNES NFR cartridges are cheap, they are under-appreciated, and they will go up in price for a few reasons: they are Nintendo, they are hard to find, and they have a unique story.
It will be easy to go onto eBay and corner the market on these items. They are often listed improperly and they are often listed for low prices. I suggest that any beginning collector stake their claim and consider this as a possible first “complete set” to strive to complete. The price is low, the supply goes unnoticed, and these are some truly unique and rare items. Good luck finding all 14, it shouldn’t be that hard.
This article chose not to include the two competition cartridges, Donkey Kong Country Competition and StarFox Super Weekend, even though they both say "Not for Resale" on the front cover. We did this because they have very different origins than other Not for Resale games and the content on the cartridges is completely different than the regular game.