The record for the most expensive game ever purchased now goes to a sealed cartridge of Super Mario 64, which sold at an auction for $1.56 million. The Nintendo platformer originally released in 1996 alongside the Nintendo 64 has fewer than five copies in such good condition, according to the auction house, with this cartridge receiving a 9.8 A++ rating from videogame collectable company WataGames.
The coveted cartridge was auctioned off at Heritage Auctions in Dallas and was bid on by 16 people over a three-day period. This purchase broke the record for the highest amount paid for a single video game, surpassing the previous record holder: $870,000 for an unopened copy of The Legend of Zelda. This previous record was set on Friday and quickly broken two days later with the Super Mario 64 auction.
The rarity of this Super Mario 64 cartridge is what attracted most bidders, since a different copy of the game with a 9.6 A++ rating sold for $13,200 at the same auction. Being the first 3D platformer in the Super Mario Bros. franchise, Super Mario 64 is known for its impact on the 3D platformer genre and is beloved by Nintendo fans.
Despite a remastered version of the game being available on the Nintendo Switch with Super Mario 3D All-Stars, the cartridges auctioned off at these events are more often used as collectors items rather than outlets to play the original game. With that staggering of a price, however, many are unsure as to whether or not the sale seems worth it or fair. There are still many sealed first prints of Super Mario 64 according to Kelsey Lewin, a director at California’s Video Game History Foundation.
These copies are only getting older and therefore more expensive over time. The steep price definitely puts into question whether or not it was worth it and what that effect will have on the market for coveted old videogame cartridges.