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Plugged In

Rare NES game passes $30,000 mark on eBay, keeps climbing

Plugged In

Only 116 copies of the ultra-rare Nintendo World Championships cartridge for the original Nintendo Entertainment System are known to exist, one of which is existing right now on eBay.

You wouldn’t really know it based on the cartridge’s rough look, however. The label’s been torn off, replaced by the word ‘Mario’, presumably to let the owner hide the treasure in plain sight. Who’d want some busted up ‘Mario’ game, anyway?

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A mint-condition copy (Credit: JJ Hendricks, Wikimedia)

If you knew what lurked inside, you would definitely want this thing. Nintendo World Championships dates back to 1990, when it was created specifically for use in a tournament. The game features small, playable chunks of Super Mario Brothers, Tetris and Rad Racer. As Wired points out, this busted up version isn’t quite as sexy to collectors as the 26 gold-plated versions, which were given away by Nintendo Power magazine back in the day.

But it’s still something – and its price has been skyrocketing since word first broke of the auction. Initial bidding started at $5,000, but as of this writing it’s passed the $12,000 mark. (Update: it's now over $30,000!).

That’s impressive, though it’s got a long way to go to match the most expensive video game ever: an exceedingly rare prototype copy of The Legend of Zelda for the NES, which fetched an astounding $55,000 at auction in 2012. Prior to that, a copy of the NES Stadium Events held the record of $41,300.

The Nintendo World Championships cart still has a day left. Any guesses as to how high it goes?

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