An anonymous buyer paid $ 1.56 million for a 25-year-old copy of Super Mario 64 in its original packaging, a record price for a video game, according to the auction house that sold it.
Heritage Auctions said it received 16 bids before and during Sunday’s live auction for the mint-condition Super Mario 3-D game, which sold for around $ 60 when it was released in 1996 and was the game the most sold for the Nintendo 64 Console.
The highest bid was $ 1.3 million, according to Heritage Auctions, which added a 20% buyer’s premium to the hammer price to bring the total to $ 1.56 million.
The price has sent shockwaves through gaming and collectibles circles, even after a recent surge in five- and six-figure sales of rare video games to investment-conscious buyers. The sale was announced just two days after Heritage Auctions said an early production copy of The Legend of Zelda from 1987 had sold for $ 870,000.
Valarie McLeckie, director of video game consignment at Heritage Auctions, said in an interview Monday that she was stunned by the outcome of the Mario 64 auction.
“I was caught off guard, to be completely honest with you,” she said. “Never in my wildest dreams did I expect that the prize that was realized would come true.”
The game, which was part of a private collection, is sealed inside a clear plastic case resembling the anti-theft boxes used by retail stores. It includes a certification from Wata Games, an authenticating company, attesting to its “like new” condition and factory sealed, in its original shrink wrap packaging.
Ms McLeckie said video game characters often evoke a sense of nostalgia, especially Mario, who along with his brother Luigi first appeared on Nintendo gamer screens in 1985 in super mario bros.
In the original game, Mario must save the peace-loving Mushroom People from the Koopa, a tribe of turtles known for their dark magic. The game has spawned an enduring theme song and multiple variations, including Super Mario 64, in which Mario faces an array of obstacles and adversaries as he attempts to save the kidnapped Princess Peach from the evil Bowser.
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“He’s like the Mickey Mouse of video games,” Ms. McLeckie said of Mario. “He’s so recognizable and really resonates with a huge audience of people.”
Chris Kohler, video game historian and editorial director of Digital Eclipse, a video game studio that creates collections of classic games, said in an interview Monday that he would have expected an older video game to compete for. the sales record. He said collectors can find copies of Super Mario 64 – not in mint condition but with the original box – for much less.
“That’s what blew me away about this sale,” he said.
Mr Kohler said he remembers spending part of his first salary on Super Mario 64 when it was released.
“If you had told me then that someone was going to buy a seal for $ 1.5 million in 25 years, I don’t know what I would have done,” he said. .
Many buyers are new to the video game collection and have moved on from comics and coins, according to Kohler.
Don’t expect a buyer’s unboxing video, which the auction house declined to identify. Ms McLeckie laughed when asked if the collector would actually play the game.
“I can say for sure that they will leave it as it is,” she said.
In April, an unopened copy of Super Mario Bros. which had been purchased in 1986 as a Christmas present but left in a desk drawer brought in $ 660,000, a record at the time, according to Heritage Auctions, which also brokered the sale.
Then on Friday, a 1987 edition of The Legend of Zelda sold for $ 870,000. Heritage Auctions said it was one of two sealed copies of the game’s early production runs that had been authenticated.
As sales records continue to plummet, the resulting frenzy has sent serious and casual gamers rummaging through their drawers and closets.
“As you can imagine,” Ms. McLeckie said, “I got a lot of inquiries this morning from hopefuls their video game is perhaps worth $ 1 million.”