Who knows whether the world of video games as we know it would exist if it hadn’t been for the success of the first-ever “Super Mario Bros” on the Nintendo in the 1980s? It was the game that took video game consoles from “nice to have” to “must-have.” When children saw their friends playing through the unlikely adventures of the moustache-wearing Italian plumber in his fantasy land of mushrooms and princesses, they wanted a copy of their own. In two years time, Mario will turn 40, and yet the video game series he stars in is still thriving. It’s officially the longest-running and most prolific game series of all time.
Such has been the success of the “Mario” series that the iconic character, accompanied by his brother Luigi, has found success outside the confines of game cartridges and consoles. There have been two separate “Mario” animated series and even a live-action movie starring Bob Hoskins in the 1990s. The film was not a success, making less at the box office than it cost to make, but the fact a studio even made it at all demonstrates the character’s popularity. It’s perhaps enjoyed more success at online slots websites. While there hasn’t been an “official” online slots adaptation of the character, a blatant knock-off version appears in a slot called “Plumber,” which has proven to be popular at places like the new Irish Rose Slots website. Nintendo has shown signs of changing its attitude towards online slots and casino products in recent years, so we might see an official product in the near future. That’s even more likely in light of the record that’s just been broken.
Like baseball cards, action figures, movie posters, and anything else from the world of entertainment that might be considered collectable, old video games are valuable. Not every game is valuable, but if you have something that’s rare, popular, and ideally still in its original packaging, you could be sitting on an extremely useful nest egg without even knowing it. Perhaps what we’re about to tell you will make it a good time to go rummaging through your draws to check if you’re holding onto something a collector might be interested in. At the start of April 2021, an original copy of “Super Mario Bros” for the first Nintendo Entertainment System sold at auction for an astonishing $660,000. This didn’t so much break the previous record for the most expensive video game ever as utterly destroy it.
Once you’ve got over the initial shock of seeing that figure, here’s another incredible statistic. The copy of the game that sold for $660,000 broke a record that was set by another “Mario” game. The previous record was held by a sealed, pristine-condition copy of “Super Mario Bros. 3,” which sold for $156,000 in November 2020. Prior to that, the record was an American-made copy of the first “Super Mario Bros,” which sold for £114,000 in July 2019. Even before that, the world record was $100,150 for yet another copy of the first “Super Mario Bros” in February 2019. That means the four most expensive video games ever sold anywhere in the world are “Mario” games. There’s isn’t another series that even comes close to it.
The new record is more than four times higher than the previous record. That suggests there’s something special about this particular version of the game – and there is. Aside from being a pristine copy of the cartridge that’s never been opened or played, there are a few other factors that go in its favour when it comes to being a desirable prize for collectors. It’s a “black box” copy of the game and still has its original cardboard hangtag attached. It also comes from an extremely limited run of the game. The first run of games didn’t have the distinctive “Gake Pak NES-GP” code printed on the packaging, which this one does. However, Nintendo began adding their trademark symbol to game packaging in 1987. This version doesn’t have the symbol printed on it. It is, therefore, one of likely only a few hundred copies that were published between the nationwide American release for consoles in late 1986 and the introduction of the new packaging in early 1987. It’s also the oldest sealed copy of the game ever to be auctioned. It’s possible that there’s still an older one out there somewhere. If there is, there’s every reason to believe that it might attract seven figures at auction. That’s a powerful motivating factor for someone to cash in on their asset.
In the case of this game, the seller (who wishes to remain anonymous) isn’t even a gamer. They were bought the game as a Christmas present in 1986 – probably for around $25 – but didn’t even have a Nintendo console to play it on. Because of that, it was put in the bottom of a drawer and forgotten about for decades. Only when the seller moved house recently did they realise that they still had the game and decided to check its value online out of curiosity. They were already excited by the prospect of perhaps making as much as $100,000 for their unwanted Christmas gift. The sum it eventually sold for was beyond their wildest dreams.
Before any of our readers get too excited about the possibility of becoming rich from their unwanted old games, it’s important to remember a few things. The idea of keeping something in pristine condition in case it later became valuable didn’t really occur to most collectors until the 1990s, so while anything older than that might be valuable, your 1990s copy of “Tomb Raider” for the PlayStation probably isn’t worth all that much. Also, anything not associated with “Mario” probably won’t bring you life-changing money. While this is the fourth “Mario” game to break into the six-figure range, nothing else ever has. That’s bad news for fans of “Sonic the Hedgehog,” but the spiky blue character’s time seemingly hasn’t come yet. Sales like this happen very rarely. In 99 out of 100 cases, the best thing to do with a brand new video game is open the box and play with it. There are always exceptions, though, and this incredibly valuable game is about as exceptional as they come!