Super Mario Bros. 3 for the Nintendo Entertainment System is a classic, beloved by generations. It has many awards attached to its name already. Now, there is one more feather in Mario's cap; the most expensive video game sale ever, as part of the first-ever million-dollar video game auction.
Only Days after reporting on several record breaking auctions for Pokemon cards, Heritage Auctions has another milestone to share; a rare, high-quality, shrink-wrapped version of Super Mario Bros. 3 Left that sold at auction for $156,000.
To be clear, a ton of video games have sold for high prices before. One of the rarest games on the NES, Stadium Events - with reportedly only 200 copies of the game in existence - typically sells for about $40-$50,000 whenever it crops up for auction. Another rare title, The Nintendo World Championships cartridge, went for $52,000 at the same auction, due to the extremely limited quantity available despite a far lower grade.
What sets Super Mario Bros. 3 apart from those expensive games, however, is a few factors. First is the fact that it is a popular game that is still sealed. The sealed package also preserves the box and its insides; often the rarest items to find when collecting old video games.
See, a regular copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 without the box or instructions typically sells for $15 - $20, but with the instruction booklet, box, and insides of the box - from the cartridge holder to other adverts - is much harder to come by.
The box is also a rare variant as well. The word Bros. is on the left of the text, over Mario's hand, instead of its standard position in the center. The left box variant was only the original print run of Super Mario Bros. 3, and was quickly amended for future printings.
Throw on top of it a high-quality rating a Wata 9.2 A+. Wata, for those who don't know, is an organization that grades the quality of both loose and complete in box gaming collectibles. The higher the rating, the more value the product tends to have, especially if it is rare. A 5.0 Wata rating version of Super Mario Bros. 3, both sealed and with the rarer boxart, sold for only $20,000 at the auction ultimately due to the rating. The previous high for this version of the game was $38,800 at an auction earlier this summer.
Is it is no wonder some 20 collectors fought it out to pay a pretty penny for this rare piece of gaming nostalgia. The $156,000 price tag is now officially the highest price ever paid for a video game, shattering the Heritage foundation's previous record of $117,000 for a sealed copy of the original Super Mario Bros.
Man, video games are an expensive hobby to get into sometimes, especially collecting them.