Game publisher 2K is leading the way into the next console generation with a higher $70 price tag for NBA 2K21. All AAA games may adopt this higher price, but that’s nothing compared with this copy of Super Mario Bros. It’s the most expensive video game in history, having just sold for a whopping $114,000 at auction.
Before you raid your parents’ attic in search of your old NES game collection, this is a very special copy of the original Super Mario Bros. cartridge. It dates to 1985, and the vast majority of cartridges were produced later. In the early days, Nintendo’s packaging was subtly different, which sets these early games apart.
Last year, a slightly older copy of Super Mario Bros. set a record after selling for $100,150. That was a test market copy of the game, which only sold in a handful of cities like New York and Los Angeles. It didn’t have any shrink-wrap and was instead sealed with a small Nintendo sticker. This game sold for so much largely because the sticker was still intact.
The new record holder is similar. It’s still unopened, but it’s not a test market box. Instead, this is from a different very early run of Super Mario Bros. that features shrink wrap and a cardboard hangtab. Stores were supposed to pop the middle out and hand the tab on a wall hook like an action figure. These tabs often broke, so Nintendo did away with the design quickly. This copy of the game, however, still has the hangtab intact. So, quite rare indeed.
Heritage Auctions, which sells numerous vintage video games, rated this copy of Super Mario Bros. at 9.4 out of 10. That means it’s in almost perfect condition — a lower-quality 8.0 copy of the same game sold for over $40,000 just a few months ago. So, you can see how much difference the condition can make in the world of high-end video game collectibles.
The buyer, who remains anonymous, is willing to entertain offers for the rare game, according to Heritage Auctions. Although, it’s unlikely anyone will offer enough to convince someone who just spent $114,000 on a video game to sell it… at least not until it has appreciated in value a bit more.
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