Sealed Super Mario 64 game breaks record, sells for $1.5m at auction

TLDR; someone just made a lot of money selling a sealed copy of a very old Super Mario game.


Super Mario 64 released way back in 1996 for the N64 and was a monumental achievement for Nintendo. It was the first Super Mario game to feature 3D graphics and is widely considered one of the most influential titles of all time.

Super Mario 64 is widely considered one of the best games of all time. Now, a mint condition copy of the game has just become the most expensive video game ever sold.

Super Mario 64 made 3D legitimately feel like the future of gaming. Nintendo, in just one try, made Mario's movement in 3D feel natural at a time when the rest of the video game industry was grappling with how to get their characters to move in this relatively new space.

Having said that, would you believe that a mint condition copy of one of the best games of all time just sold for upwards of $1.5 million?

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Super Mario 64 breaks past previous records to set a new one

Heritage Auctions' record-breaking sale involves a single piece of the classic 3D platforming video game, Super Mario 64.

Video game collectors are some of the most dedicated individuals on the planet. Most are willing to spend enormous amounts of cash in their pursuit of copies of some of the rarest games. However, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single copy of a video game isn't exactly common, more so if we're talking about amounts north of a million dollars, which is exactly what happened recently.

A sealed and graded copy of 1996's Super Mario 64 recently sold for $1.56 million, which makes it the most expensive game ever sold.

The boxed US copy of Super Mario 64 was sold during the Video Game Signature Auction by Heritage Auctions, which was held from July 9 to July 11. Now, before you go ahead and think of pulling out your copy of Super Mario 64 with the hopes of cashing in on it, you might want to reconsider if it's not unopened, graded, and sealed.

One of the biggest reasons for the price of the Super Mario 64 copy was the 9.8 grading by Wata Games, which meant that it was in "Like New" condition.

When you consider that the game has been out on the market for more than two decades, the chances of there being an unopened copy of Super Mario 64 are minuscule. You'd probably have a better chance of winning the lottery. This also only goes to show just how much money some video game collectors are willing to spend just to get something that probably nobody else in the world has.

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What is surprising here is how much more expensive the copy graded at 9.8 is compared to the same copy that was graded at 9.6.

Whereas the former was sold for a record-breaking price of $1.56 million, the latter was sold only for $13,200. Not only that, but a copy of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, which is arguably just as iconic and influential as Super Mario 64, with the same Wata grading of 9.8, sold for "only" $870,000 at auction, which is almost half the price.

We see two possible explanations for why this extremely rare copy of Super Mario 64 just sold for a copious amount of cash.

The first is Heritage Auctions' recent sale of a 1990 US release copy of the original The Legend of Zelda for $870,000. It might have only been graded at 9.0, but you have to consider the game's age and rarity as well. It's understandable why the copy sold for as much despite not being in as good of a condition.

The second is a sealed Super Mario Bros. copy with a 9.6 rating sold for $660,000 just a few months ago, which could have driven the price of the game even higher.

Will the price of vintage video games increase in the future?

It will be interesting to see just how much more expensive copies of rare video games will sell in the future.

The thing about collectibles is that you'll never know just how much they can sell for, if they ever will. Just like anything, video games will only sell for how much someone is willing to pay for them. In this case, someone did pay more than a million dollars to secure the mint condition copy of Super Mario 64, but what if no one is willing to buy your collectible?

If you plan on investing a huge sum of money in a Wada-graded rare video game in hopes of making a profit out of it, we recommend that you proceed with caution.

Now, if you are willing to take a risk, the upside is that the demand for Wada-graded video games has only increased in recent years and the bubble is showing no signs of popping anytime soon.

If nothing else, the prices of vintage video games in relatively good condition should only climb. If you happen to be an older gamer with copies of now-vintage gaming titles, we recommend checking out how much they could be worth.

Ray Ampoloquio
Ray is based in the Philippines. He is a lifelong gamer and a PC hardware enthusiast. He builds and repairs laptops and computers for friends and family in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.