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Thread: Sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. sells for $100,150 (insane game auction price thread)

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    Quote Originally Posted by gbpxl View Post
    I never understood the fetishization of toys/video games where there is value in just having them in your posession still in the shrinkwrap. I could see doing that with a game like Stadium Events or some other crappy game I dont wanna play. Hard to get into the mind of someone trying to get every NES game sealed.
    It's a combination of a bunch of different things - different reasons for different people, who think differently about these things.

    Some people obviously just want it because everyone else seems to.

    Other people might want it as a representation of, or return to, their younger selves. Lots of disappointment in consumerism throughout life - you see something to buy, think it's going to make you happy, then you get it and it doesn't live up to your hopes. Maybe having something sealed represents that state of expectation someone is in before getting it...and with something as popular as this, there's the idea that maybe the dream doesn't disappoint? That what's waiting in that sealed box is something that will live up to expectations? Kind of like a time capsule, I guess.

    It's also possibly the closest thing available to the "original". Shigeru Miyamoto's sketches, or whatever - something brand new, as it existed in 1985, is a piece of history. The Mona Lisa is only popular because everyone says it is - and Super Mario Bros. was kind of a revolution, at the time, that is still reverberating today. Who wouldn't want a copy of the first movie shown in a theater, for example? The first wax cylinder upon which a piece of music was released / sold? Especially if you were there at the time and have fond memories of it yourself.

    Maybe later generations will come by and have no personal connection to that moment in time and think it's ridiculous, the way we have no idea how old tin soldiers or kewpie dolls could ever be worth it for someone. A lot of it might just be people wanting to return to the wide-eyed innocence of youth - to a simpler time when things were better for them and the world. They might not even be able to think through their emotions; it might just be instinct. I dunno.
    You are startled by a grim snarl. Before you, you see 1 Red dragon. Will your stalwart band choose to (F)ight or (R)un?

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    Personally, I don't see nearly as much value in sealed games as these nutty auctions seem to be pulling in/laundering. To me, video games are meant to be played, not just looked at as static objects. A sealed Mario game might be nice to display in a museum like the Smithsonian, but my ideas for the museum I've long been hoping to open someday involve allowing early computers and video game systems to be experienced by attendees in a curated fashion, not just having everything locked inside display cases with "DO NOT TOUCH" signs in front of them.
    -Adam

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    Quote Originally Posted by calthaer View Post
    It's a combination of a bunch of different things - different reasons for different people, who think differently about these things.

    Some people obviously just want it because everyone else seems to.
    People tend to want to own collector items in the best possible condition, and new items are considered to be in better condition than used items. Plus with a sealed game you know it to be fully complete, there's no inserts missing or incorrect variants(like original or greatest hits versions) just pieced together from different copies later on. If you had the choice to buy a new copy of a game or a used copy of the same game, at the same price, you'll probably choose the new one. There's more demand for new copies and less available than used ones, so they're worth more.

    When collectors are complaining about sealed games, it's really just complaints about the pricing with them. I don't really hear many people complain about the game simply because it's a new copy. Plenty of collectors have multiple copies of games too so they can always play the titles they also own sealed.

    As for why they're so much more valuable than used copies, that I don't get. Even with Super Mario Bros, as I heard someone else mention, this isn't even the original version of the game as that would be the Famicom version. That should be the valuable version if it's about historical significance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    As for why they're so much more valuable than used copies, that I don't get. Even with Super Mario Bros, as I heard someone else mention, this isn't even the original version of the game as that would be the Famicom version. That should be the valuable version if it's about historical significance.
    Ah, but this is the key: "Especially if you were there at the time and have fond memories of it yourself."

    The Japanese versions of Nintendo games don't hold any emotional significance for most people - it doesn't take them back to their single-digit-year-old self, standing in the aisle of their department or toy store, gazing longingly at the items and wishing you could take them home and play them. People are trying to recapture a feeling from their now-distant past - and they're willing to pay handsomely to have their heartstrings pulled that way. And, because these games were widely popular, there are a lot of people competing for that feeling.

    It can't possibly be rational, these prices - it's emotional and irrational.
    You are startled by a grim snarl. Before you, you see 1 Red dragon. Will your stalwart band choose to (F)ight or (R)un?

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    You can't bring the plastic with you. The prices people pay for this crap is completely irrational.

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    Quote Originally Posted by calthaer View Post
    Ah, but this is the key: "Especially if you were there at the time and have fond memories of it yourself."
    But for people who actually lived through that time, they tend to remember the pricing and just how common it all was back then. Older people often undervalue antiques and collectibles because they consider them to be common items that were easily available. It's really newer collectors who just discover something and start buying into it that tend to view things as rare obscurities of another time. I tended to look at items that way from before I was born back when I was a kid, I loved looking through antique stores and flea markets back then thinking so many old things were just amazing, and I automatically believed whatever pricing was listed on them.

    For people remembering actual items they saw in stores, would that include very specific rare variants that wouldn't have been available in many locations or for a long period of time? Wouldn't people most likely want the same version they saw as a kid which would probably be a more common version? There would be less demand for specific rare versions and more demand for common versions.

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    That's one way of looking at things - remembering them as common and not wanting to pay a lot. But it's not the only way. I once watched that "Nintendo Quest" documentary, and it's...kind of hard to watch. That guy's collecting is so devoid of joy it's a little disturbing...and it's obvious that he has some childhood issues he's trying to paper over with this "quest" of his - maybe trying to recapture the good parts of his childhood and forget the bad? I don't necessarily understand that guy's motivations, but I do recognize he has them.

    There's something going on with people who pay $600k for an old video game. I don't myself understand it, but I can't necessarily say they don't have their reasons for it. They may not be rational reasons, they may not be my reasons - but there is some line of thinking in their head that makes that price seem justified. Maybe they have a ton of money and that price seems reasonable to them (cheaper than a McLaren, after all). Maybe they're so desperate to have it for some personal reason that they'd mortgage the house to get it. I don't know. Would be interesting to ask them.
    You are startled by a grim snarl. Before you, you see 1 Red dragon. Will your stalwart band choose to (F)ight or (R)un?

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    Over the past few years, whenever I buy a game I leave it sealed until the minute I want to sit down and play it for the first time. Why open it before that? It is not like they come with nice manuals to read anymore. This has helped me on more than one occasion when I have found a game sitting around that I never got around to playing but people are paying stupid money for. I will sell off the sealed game and buy something that I will play. One that I remember doing that with was Xenoblade Chronicles for the Wii. I ordered it but never played it because I believe I gave my grandson my Wii. I found it in a drawer on day and sold it for something like $100.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Yakapucci View Post
    Why open it before that?
    I basically do the same as you, only opening games before I want to play them, but there's still a chance they could be defective somehow. Disc manufacturing errors sometimes happen, though it's very rare.

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    We've seen similar things happening with other popular collectibles. A LeBron James rookie card in fantastic condition just sold for 5.3 million which equaled a Mantle or a Ruth or something like that. There aren't anymore of these being made and with all the technology we have these days it's incredibly difficult to make even passable copies. It may seem like complete nonsense and depending on the circumstance I may agree but now NFTs are selling for untold millions let alone things you can actually hold in your hand.

    I'm pretty sure I heard a pair of Kanye's shoes just sold for one or two million. Strange days.

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    And now, Heritage has other classic Nintendo games getting in on the money launderin' action:

    Ultra-Rare Zelda Cart Fetching 6 Digits Before Auction Even Begins

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    ..........aaaaaaaaand it apparently sold for $870,000..........

    When will it end?! How long before a slabbed sealed copy of Combat for Atari 2600 sells for a million bucks??!!?!?!?!?!?
    Last edited by AdamAnt316; 07-10-2021 at 09:47 PM.

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    Well, it wasn't Combat (or Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack for the Intellivision, another guess of mine), but the megabuck threshold has been thoroughly shattered, and mere days after the previous record was set:

    Sealed Super Mario 64 sells for more than $1.5 million

    Has the collecting world gone mad?! Have the people gaming (pun unintended, I swear) the PPP loan program found a great new way to 'sanitize' their ill-gotten money rather than spending it on Lamborghinis? Either way, I'm rather at a loss for words yet again, waiting for the next (expensive) shoe to drop..........

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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamAnt316 View Post
    Well, it wasn't Combat (or Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack for the Intellivision, another guess of mine), but the megabuck threshold has been thoroughly shattered, and mere days after the previous record was set:

    Sealed Super Mario 64 sells for more than $1.5 million

    Has the collecting world gone mad?! Have the people gaming (pun unintended, I swear) the PPP loan program found a great new way to 'sanitize' their ill-gotten money rather than spending it on Lamborghinis? Either way, I'm rather at a loss for words yet again, waiting for the next (expensive) shoe to drop..........
    You know, in one of these threads about current price trends, I was mocked for suggesting that some CEO out there was driving up prices, but I mean really, not many people have 1.5 mil lying around...

    Rich man's hobby that has outpaced what most of us can afford. I've had to stop caring about box condition years ago, to now just being happy to get the cartridge. I still need disc based games to be CIB but I am sure it wont be long before I am happy just to get a loose disc of a game.

    part of the problem is that the current trend of digital games and the throw-away/obsolete within 3 years has made the older games appear to be a lot more valuable in terms of how long they'll last. People are looking at 30 year old games and thinking "well this is a game that will last another 30 years and I can still enjoy them with my kids and their kids" versus a PS4 game that might not even be playable 10 years from now.

    And I saw the writing on the wall at least a decade ago with that stuff and I knew that modern games were being designed to be enjoyed for a year and then thrown away to make room for the newest edition. same thing happening with consoles now as well. course if youre on this website youve known all this for a while too
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    That's not a crazy theory; cornering the market is definitely something that happens, although given what people said about this niche market it seems like it'd be promotional for the sealed games market as a whole, rather than an attempt to cash in on lesser-graded pieces. About what calthaer was saying, I think we're witnessing the moment that retro games collecting transcends the "personal" into the "cultural." There aren't many people still around from when Da Vinci was painting. Yet appreciation or even a kind of nostalgia for his art is a heartfelt thing for many. There also are Saudi princes who will spend outrageous sums on a heavily overpainted Christian religious painting of Jesus without sending a clear signal that they share that value. By the clock, Indiana Jones and The Lost Ark sits halfway between us and the pulp works of a generation earlier that it was referencing. I suppose it will be more or less accidental which things are valued in the farther future, depending on what's trending. You can find lots of things from the 30s (or most any age) that are pretty cool but not currently "worth" a lot on the market, and the same goes for the mini pulp nostalgia boom of the 80s. History repeats itself with Stranger Things and nostalgia for the 80s.

    I've probably said it before, but this is the illusion of preservation vs. the reality. Games are too complicated to be considered "preserved" like a coin, card, or comic book, especially if they're unopened. I think it's miserable that we always have to trade off real preservation measures (like dumping rare game discs) against the monetary hit. My hat's off to people who have made that hard choice for the betterment of the cultural preservation of games, when it applies.

    On the plus side, the forum is lively again! Good to see you all.

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    I still think it's about money laundering or some type of similar scheme, something about diversifying assets. Video games are different from valuable art, mentioning Da Vinci or some other considered masters as an example, as these were always considered expensive luxury items even when new. Valuable paintings were originally sold through specific authorized dealers, and sales records were kept to establish provenance through each buyer, even hundreds of years ago. It's not usually general paintings sold at random shops or on street corners that become valuable, at least not by that much in the millions. Other extremely valuable items like vintage Rolex watches were also aimed as luxury items originally. Most items that become extremely valuable(like six figures plus) started out as very valuable in the first place, or were very limited and rare to begin with, or at least were meant to be disposable so if mass produced at all they're still extremely rare to find at all and even more rare to find in excellent condition. With old comic books or sports cards that's what applies as these were basically meant for kids to play with and throw away, or some food items like sealed cereal boxes or chocolate bars which most people wouldn't even keep for long when new, and it's mostly just old comics or sports cards that can be six figures plus.

    Video games are different, they were mass produced and aimed at general consumers so there's no reason why they should be selling for so much, especially common games with high print runs.

    It's starting to get the same way with sealed VHS tapes as they're being graded now, and even common tapes are going for high prices. Here's a sealed copy of the Super Mario Bros movie on VHS. Is this really worth five figures?
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/AWU-VHS-GRA...orig_cvip=true

    It's just ridiculous with how almost everything is being graded and slabbed now. It's like seeing future beanie babies in the making.

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    When you get right down to it, though, there probably were more "useful" things Da Vinci's clients could have spent the money on. Even though there are people with a practical outlook like you, all it really takes are a few people willing to boost up the prices for one reason or another. In investing this is called a "greater fool game." Personally, when I got into this hobby I got a lot of junk and I threw around (for the time) lots of money. For the most part I think my bets were right, if we're talking about what things were worth then versus now, but it still does distress me a bit that what should be mass culture, like you say, is quickly becoming unreachable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamAnt316 View Post
    Well, it wasn't Combat (or Las Vegas Poker & Blackjack for the Intellivision, another guess of mine), but the megabuck threshold has been thoroughly shattered, and mere days after the previous record was set:

    Sealed Super Mario 64 sells for more than $1.5 million

    Has the collecting world gone mad?! Have the people gaming (pun unintended, I swear) the PPP loan program found a great new way to 'sanitize' their ill-gotten money rather than spending it on Lamborghinis? Either way, I'm rather at a loss for words yet again, waiting for the next (expensive) shoe to drop..........
    What bizarro world where a boxed sm64 become a collectable given it's a very common game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tron 2.0 View Post
    What bizarro world where a boxed sm64 become a collectable given it's a very common game.
    The "unopened" aspect of it is what makes it rare. Like, who buys SM64 in 1996 or 1997 and says, "gonna wait 25 gears to sell this and become a millionaire." very few, if anyone, had that foresight
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    Quote Originally Posted by gbpxl View Post
    The "unopened" aspect of it is what makes it rare. Like, who buys SM64 in 1996 or 1997 and says, "gonna wait 25 gears to sell this and become a millionaire." very few, if anyone, had that foresight
    You can literally say that about every sealed game that exists today, yet games with a far lower print run are worth far less than this. Multiple sealed copies of Stadium Events have turned up, including a sealed case of copies, when that only had a very small print run and was actually recalled from stores shortly after release. That's worth far less than this, a copy of a highly successful game that was in demand and never recalled.

    You can also literally buy sealed food items from decades ago, same argument about who buys to never use, only these have a shelf life and you'd expect unused ones to have been thrown away if never consumed. Saying SM64 is rare to find, even new, is just not true.

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