The original Super Mario Bros. broke new ground when it was first released on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) back in 1985, and it looks like even three decades later it’s still setting new records. Recently, an unopened copy of the retro platformer with a 9.4 (near mint) grade sold for a ridiculous $114,000 USD to an unknown buyer. The kicker? The previous record for the most expensive video game ever sold was also Super Mario Bros. – a sealed first edition that sold in February 2019 for $100,150 USD.
#HeritageLIVE Super result for highest-graded Super Mario Bros. – Wata 9.4 A+ Sealed [Hangtab, 3 Code, Mid-Production], NES Nintendo 1985 USA: $114,000 at Heritage Auctions!!https://t.co/q190oZxtAY#Comics #VideoGames #SuperMarioBros pic.twitter.com/OWKsyYW1L6
— Heritage Auctions (@HeritageAuction) July 10, 2020
According to Heritage Auctions, the auction house that handled this massive transaction, the cardboard hangtab was a major factor in this copy’s extreme price – cardboard was the first batch of cartridge casings tested in the United States before it was switched to plastic.
“There are four sub-variants of the plastic sealed cardboard hangtab box (this particular copy of Super Mario Bros. being the “3 Code” variant) that were produced within the span of one year. Each sub-variant of the cardboard hangtab black box, produced within that timeframe, had a production period of just a few months; a drop in the bucket compared to the title’s overall production run,” explains Heritage in the product’s description.
Heritage went on to clarify that Super Mario Bros. in particular is the highest-selling NES game of all time, most likely due to a combination of nostalgia and its status as the first entry in the Super Mario franchise.
This impressive feat is yet another indicator of how old video games are cementing themselves as another staple collectible, like comics or baseball cards. An unopened copy of Kid Icarus sold for $9,000 USD back in August 2019, and if you look around you’ll find countless other old games going for prices well over the thousands.
Maybe this information has convinced you to consider hanging onto those old games you have sitting in a cabinet or closet somewhere – I know that I’ll be holding onto all of my cartridges and discs for years to come.