We all know that video game collecting is a thing. But this is absolutely next level.
First released in 1985 for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), this sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. has become the most expensive video game of all time.
Taking 29 bids before the anonymous winner was able to cart away the prize, the record-breaking US$114,000 bid bested the previous record of US$100,150 which was also another copy of Super Mario Bros.
The biggest difference with this version is the presence of a cardboard hangtab which dates this specific copy of Super Mario Bros. older most copies of the game which came after.
Heritage Auctions, who brokered the deal, explains this best –
What’s the deal with cardboard hangtabs? one may, understandably, wonder. Cardboard hangtabs were originally used on the US test market copies of black box games, back before plastic was used to seal each game. As Nintendo began to further establish their company in the US, their packaging was updated almost continuously. Strangely, the addition of the plastic wrap came before the box cutting die was altered to remove the cardboard hangtab. This rendered the functionality of the cardboard hangtab completely useless, since it was under the plastic seal.
There are four sub-variants of the plastic sealed cardboard hangtab box (this particular copy of Super Mario Bros. being the “3 Code” variant) that were produced within the span of one year. Each sub-variant of the cardboard hangtab black box, produced within that timeframe, had a production period of just a few months; a drop in the bucket compared to the title’s overall production run.
In short, a cardboard hangtab copy of any early Nintendo Entertainment System game brings a certain air of “vintage” unrivaled by its successors.
That kind of willpower to holdout not selling off this copy of Super Mario Bros. after 35 years is also a feat in itself.
Gerald currently straddles between his love of video games and board gaming. There’s nothing that interests him more than trying out the newest and fanciest gadget in town as well. He dreams of publishing a board game sometime in the future!