Boxed copy of Super Mario 64 sells for $1.56 million at auction

By Steven Rondina

|

Jul 12, 2021

Reading time: 2 min

Collectibles are back in vogue with the ballooning prices of Pokemon cards, and this is extending to video games as well.

In-box video games are skyrocketing in value right now and fetching absurd amounts of money on online auction sites. A pair of classic Nintendo games have sold for astronomical sums.

An in-box copy of The Legend of Zelda for the NES sold for a whopping $870,000 on Heritage Auctions. The game was rated at 9.0 by WATA Games, a company that rates in-box video games in the same way that Beckett and PSA rate trading cards. The copy of The Legend of Zelda was still in-box and shrink-wrapped.

While that is an astronomical sum of money for an in-box video game, it wasn’t necessarily surprising. In April, a copy of the original Super Mario Bros. for the NES with a 9.6 rating sold for $660,000 on the same site. This smashed the previous record for the most expensive video game of all time, which was set in November 2020 by an in-box copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 for the NES that sold for $156,000.

What was surprising was how much things jumped from there. Just a few days after the $870,000 The Legend of Zelda sold, a 9.8-rated copy of Super Mario 64 for the Nintendo 64 sold for $1.56 million.

The high price tag for the game sparked many questions regarding the legitimacy of the transaction, with some speculating that the high price tag was a front for some shady dealings. Regardless of the $1.56 million copy Mario 64, there’s no question that video games are quickly rising in popularity as a collector’s item.

What are the most expensive video games ever?

A number of video games have been sold as collectibles for huge sums of cash. Some of these were classic games that sold for very high prices, while others were exceedingly rare games that happened to be preserved. These are the most expensive video games sales ever:

  1. Super Mario 64 ($1.56 million)
  2. The Legend of Zelda ($870,000)
  3. Super Mario Bros. ($660,000)
  4. Super Mario Bros. 3 ($156,000)
  5. Super Mario Bros. ($114,000)
  6. Super Mario Bros. ($100,150)
  7. Pokemon Red ($84,000)
  8. Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! ($50,400)
  9. Stadium Events ($41,300)
  10. Air Raid ($33,433)

The top eight games are decades-old classic titles that were unopened and preserved in almost perfect condition.  The final two on the list, Stadium Events and Air Raid, are lesser-known titles that were put into limited production. 

Stadium events for the NES utilized an interactive floor mat similar to the ones that became standard with Dance Dance Revolution that was later pulled from stores by Nintendo. Air Raid is an Atari 2600 game that was produced in limited quantities, with only a few in-box copies of the game still existing today.

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