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Forget Mario Remasters: This Prototype Proves Gamers Will Splurge

Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:31 PM
Max Moeller
Last Updated September 23, 2020 2:31 PM
  • 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.