Unopened copy of 1987 Nintendo game should fetch $10000 at auction

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“Fewer than 10” factory-sealed copies are known to exist, according to the auctioneers.

Golly, really Batman…


It must be true then,I reckon.


I loved that game. I wish they would do a reboot.


They made a well received game called “Kid Icarus: Uprising” for the Nintendo 3DS.

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This is one of those things that I don’t understand. Why would you pay that much for some cellophane and cardboard? You can pick up a nice used copy for ~$15 on eBay or, if you are so inclined, you can find the ROM online and play it in an emulator or burn it on a cart if you have the hankering to play on real hardware.

There’s even a website that lets you play it for free in Flash or Java.

Kid Icarus

The only conclusion that I can draw is that Gen X’ers or Elder Millennials have reached the point where they have enough disposable income that they can waste it on silly attempts at recapturing their youth.

We used to mock the Boomers for that.


It may well be true - there was an early copy of Super Mario Bros that went for some $30k a couple years ago, apparently only one of a dozen known sealed boxed copies in that condition. In this case, true or not, it has previously sold for $11K, so…

Of course, “known to exist” is doing a fair amount of work, here. There are plenty of pristine, boxed '80s games sitting around, forgotten, that people don’t pay attention to, because the assumption is that they’re worth less than what they paid for them, adjusted for inflation.

Rarity. Rarity and the assumption that some other sucker will pay more a few years down the line. Utility value doesn’t come into it at all (opening the box destroys the value, after all), and nostalgia plays only a minor role, ultimately.


Bah, I knew a few people who had unopened copies of Kid Icarus.

Of course, this was when it was released, and right up until the moment they opened it. :grin:


It was a rhetorical question… I know that having it in the cellophane makes people consider it a “rarity”. But if you pause and consider it from a functional, rational and utilitarian standpoint, you’re paying 10K for a nickels worth of Cellophane and cardboard plus a Nintendo cartridge that you can’t actually play.

These were mass market consumer products. Nothing about them is rare or even uncommon. You can buy a used copy on eBay for $15 right now. It’s completely subjective. Ironically, this will likely make some guy who owns an old warehouse in Tokyo trot out a couple dozen cases of the game and tank its value (or so I hope). Even if that doesn’t happen, the value is going to tank eventually when all the people to whom this might have an emotional resonance are dead; something that happens eventually with all collectibles that have no functional use. Collectibles are a lousy investment.

This has happened a couple of times with the classic car market. Pre-war car prices started to crater as the Greatest Generation passed and Muscle car values are starting to drop as the Boomers follow suit.


Well, I don’t think anyone paid 10,000 guilders for a tulip bulb just for its beauty (or edibility), nor $19,000 for some bits in a computer because they do… absolutely nothing. Considering it from a “functional, rational and utilitarian standpoint” is… meaningless, really, because those are totally irrelevant to the world of collectibles.

Of course the value is highly precarious, but I think the decision to buy isn’t just nostalgia - the nostalgia helps convince people that this is something that will continue to be valuable. Which, as you point out, is guaranteed not to be the case. (Especially given that the value of these game carts is in part because so few people recognize their current value and will throw away/donate old games that they do find rather than sell them. The more recognition of their value, the more that will show up for sale.)

The same thing happens with “proper” antiques, though - they go through periods where a particular style or period is fashionable (or not) and the price can skyrocket or it can become near worthless. (One only needs to watch a single episode of “Antiques Roadshow” to see how arbitrary the value placed on them really is.) This happens even from one generation to the next as well. I wouldn’t expect video games to hold value very well, but I wouldn’t expect the cans/bottles/bottle caps of long-discontinued beer brands to have any value either, yet they do.

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There’s a huge difference between a Chippendale sideboard or a Ming vase and a Nintendo cartridge. Those can be used and admired. Simply using the cartridge reduces it to very nearly worthless. Like I said, these are a mass market item. Tens or hundreds of thousands of this particular game were manufactured. Ephemera, like old beer cans and things that were disposable, I can see holding a value. They became uncommon simply because they were designed to be disposed of. Something like video game cartridges are far more durable.

I suppose it’s the mindset that I don’t understand. I once had a co-worker, a gentleman in his mid-60’s, who invested his 401K in Beanie babies at the height of that craze in the nineties. He would hear no naysayers on the subject. As I recall he passed away about 5 years ago in his 80’s, slumped over his desk, as he was unable to retire.


You can’t use or admire a bitcoin, though, which I’d suggest is more similar.

Which is why the game cartridges themselves aren’t generally worth anything. It’s only in combination with the fragile, rarely-unopened boxes that they become valuable. (Or, in the case of the game “Stadium Events,” people have paid $10,000 just for the empty box, apparently. A box with a game and instruction manual goes for more than four times that, but only 200 were ever sold.)

Oh ouch. I know people who bought into that craze, but not to a degree that had a huge impact on their finances. (Tellingly, they were also tempted to buy into pyramid schemes.)

You and me both.

The collector thing is a gene, and how it’s expressed, whether it’s coins, stamps, Ming vases, or Nintendo cartridges is sort of besides the point. None are essential to our lives. Yet I have the gene, and while it’s caused me to spend some money in some silly ways, I don’t feel it’s been significantly damaging to myself or others. What we do need to have as a society is probably more mechanisms to teach people to be aware of unhealthy expressions, such as sinking your retirement into Beanie Babies.

However as ridiculous as that sounds, if my brother had held out another decade before selling his Magic: The Gathering cards, he would have made waaaaay more bank (and he still did quite well for himself). The lesson being, it’s tough to predict which silly things will grow in value, and which will go bust. A diverse portfolio is more resilient, obviously.

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