In case you didn’t know, recently a rare copy of Super Mario Bros sold for $114,000 with Heritage Auctions. This is the highest price ever paid for a single game, and I can’t really believe that anyone would pay it to be honest. The game has some truly ridiculous stats to it, so let’s dive in and discuss them before this becomes all about money.
The key reasons that this game sold for such a high price are its age, and the evidence of that. You can tell that it was one of the copies from the game’s initial run because it’s sealed in plastic, but also has a cardboard hang tab. You may not know why that hang tab exists, but basically it was put onto the boxes of games to make them easier to display in glass cabinets. This allowed clerks to open up the cabinet and easily pick up the game, which could have been stolen for a fair bit back in the day.
Heritage Auctions explained that this game was graded at 9.4 in quality, which is near-perfect. Personally I’d expect this of a game that is still sealed, but clearly there was some wear and tear on that hang tab, otherwise it should have been a 10.
Usually I’d dive in with some comparable stats, but I’m just in awe of how much these old games are worth now. A quick look on Ebay shows that you can pick up similar quality copies of other games for about £500, and now I’m beginning to wonder if they’re worth buying. The longer we hold onto our sealed copies of games, the more they might be worth. Obviously some games, and editions, will be worth more than others, but right now is the prime time to be picking up some gems that will only increase in value.
I can’t wait until we have regular dedicated game auctions where items like this come up. It will be so baffling for all the usual auction attendees, but anyone with half a brain in the games industry will instantly know the value of what they’re looking at.