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.
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.
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.
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.
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.