Rare Super Mario Bros Fetches Record Price

By Ben Hamill - July 16 2020
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Rare Super Mario Bros Fetches Record Price

Gaming isn’t what it used to be. And whoever still considers it a pastime of the lazy, troubled, or even the unemployed, needs to get their quacking ducks in a row, because a rare version of the original 1985 Super Mario Bros release has just been sold for an incredible US$114,000 from underneath the auctioneer’s gavel – the most ever forked out for a video game. 

The cartridge (those were the days!) was reportedly still sealed in its original packaging. This, incidentally, added immensely to the value of the game, as the packaging too, was at the time of the game’s initial release way back when, only in circulation for a limited time.

The previous record for a game gone to the highest bidder was when a different copy of Super Mario Bros was sold for US$100,000.

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There’s Something About Mario

Said Heritage Actions video games director Valarie McLeckie of the record sale, that if any game was going to be sold for “that” kind of money, then that game was going to be a rare version of Super Mario Bros. The game is, after all, considered one of the most successful video games franchises ever created. Mario was the first platformer hero, and Super Mario Bros the first platformer game. Mario, it soon became clear, would be destined to become so much more than just another pixelated plumber.

But what is it exactly that makes Mario to be so quintessentially and naturally loveable? Isn’t he no more than an unassuming plumber with a knack for losing track of his girlfriend, the forever-to-be-found Peach?

A huge contributor to Mario’s likeability, and by the same token the popularity of the franchise, is that Mario basically saved the video games industry from itself after the massive game market crash of 1983. And it’s precisely this “year” that leads the keen observer to the reason anyone would be willing to spend the cost of a small home in rural England on a nearly-four-decades-old video game cartridge.

The Value Of Nostalgia

Two things sell, and nostalgia is one of them. According to Piers Harding-Rolls, who is an expert in gaming and all things vintage gaming paraphernalia at research company Amper Analysis, the value of unopened, brand spanking new “old stock” still in the original packaging, has skyrocketed over the last 20 years.

And the reason for this is as simple as a longing for childhood years spent gaming away at the old classics. Since many of those who enjoyed games like Super Mario Bros “way back then” are now in their 30s and 40s (read: spending power), the old classics are selling for more moolah now than ever before.

Now whoever thought plumbing so terrifically profitable a trade?

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