Forget Mario Remasters: This Prototype Proves Gamers Will Splurge

If you thought $60 was too much for a humdrum remaster, you’ll never guess how much someone just spent on a Super Mario Bros 3. prototype.


Mario continues to be a goldmine for Nintendo. | Source: Barone Firenze /

  • Mario remasters have caused some backlash for the price.
  • But one limited edition title proves gamers will pay anyways.
  • When Mario’s involved, the price is almost always right.

The Super Mario 3D All-Stars collection was announced to some acclaim, but a lot of complaints. For one, the pack of three is receiving a pretty lackluster HD treatment (Mario 64 isn’t even in widescreen), and Nintendo is only releasing the collection for a limited time.

That said, Mario sells titles. Even with these complaints, gamers are still buying the package in droves, with it selling out at just about every retailer.

But if you thought $60 was too much for this humdrum rerelease, you’ll never guess how much someone just spent on a Super Mario Bros 3. prototype.

Mario Sells… Always

If you guessed $31,200, congrats. That’s right; this weekend saw the auction of a Super Mario Bros. 3 prototype NES cartridge for a price 520x one of the three Mario remasters. If that’s not ridiculous, I don’t know what is.

This isn’t any piece of memorabilia, either. The prototype cartridge features a torn picture of Kid Icarus with “Super 3” written in marker. Part of the cartridge is destroyed to stuff in EPROMs, which contain the actual playable part of the Mario 3 prototype.

Super Mario Bros 3
About as good as it gets. | Source: Heritage Auctions

Not only that, but the prototype is WATA-certified, meaning it’s certified legit and even comes in one of their protective cases. It’s entirely one-of-a-kind, and the first Mario prototype offered by Heritage Auctions – the group in charge of selling it off.

Paying Top Dollar

For reference, only three other cartridges have sold for more. One is a Super Mario Bros. 3 cartridge with the “Bros.” justified on the left side. That means it’s from the earliest run of production. The next is a Super Mario Bros. cartridge with a cardboard hang tab. Finally, there’s the plastic-wrap sealed copy of the same game, given a near-perfect 9.4 WATA score, with the cardboard hang tab and all. The most recent offer for this title was a whopping $150,000.

Limited items are always bound to sell, and a rare prototype is no different. Nintendo is obviously trying to create artificial demand with its finite 3d All-Stars collection copies. It seems to have worked, considering the title is all but sold out physically. However, let’s remember that $60 is nothing for a scarce title. We could be up against multiple tens of thousands instead.

Last modified: September 23, 2020 2:31 PM
Blockchain and gaming journalist. Feels most at home with a controller and something to learn about. Likes emerging things, music, motion graphics, video editing, photography, and YouTube. Contact Max: [email protected], reach out on LinkedIn or Youtube.
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