You’d think the original Super Mario Bros. NES game wouldn’t be worth that much money, considering how ubiquitous it was. And sure, a loose cart won’t cost much on the secondhand market. But when it comes to an original, fully-sealed copy protected against time itself? That’s when the money comes in. A 9.4-graded copy of Super Mario Bros., demonstrably from an early print run, just broke the record for a single video game sale. The auction for this copy ended at a whopping $114,000.
A sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. just sold at auction for $114,000, which is a new record for the sale of a single game. Bet the owners of the $100,000 one, which is an earlier printing, feel great today. pic.twitter.com/lVdcla8d19
— Chris Kohler (@kobunheat) July 10, 2020
Funnily enough, the original record-holder was a similar copy of Super Mario Bros.. Although, as Chris Kohler pointed out, the one that sold for less was technically slightly more rare. Auctions just be that way sometimes. Anyway, not only is this copy sealed and nearly perfect (that 9.4 rating is not an easy find), it’s also an earlier printing that has a hanger tab as part of the cardboard box. Later printings ditched the tab as shrink-wrapping became the standard. That said, this copy is an in-between version; it’s shrink-wrapped, but also still includes the tab.
So while a Super Mario Bros. NES cart is hardly a rare piece, there are certain conditions that make it one of the most highly sought-after games a collection can have. This is a distinct combination of popularity, rarity, and history that makes that number skyrocket.