An old, beat-up game cartridge for the first Nintendo Entertainment System has received bids of more than $6,000 on eBay with more than a day of bidding left to go as of Friday – but it isn’t just any game.
Nintendo only manufactured 116 units of Nintendo World Championships for the NES Champs gaming competition hosted across U.S. cities in 1990. Players competed against each other to score points in shortened versions of Mario, Tetris and Rad Racer. After collecting 50 coins in Mario, racing one track in Rad Racer, and playing a timed round of Tetris, players’ scores were added together to determine winners.
Nintendo World Championships has grown in value since 1990, and the golden cartridge version of the game is considered the most valuable Nintendo game ever produced. Nintendo produced other popular games like the original Legend of Zelda in rare golden cartridge units.
The cartridge currently on eBay is the standard grey, and is in fairly rough shape – the label has been torn off and it its place written in pen is simply “Mario,” making its already sizable price even more impressive.
“Obviously, you’ll immediately notice the ripped label,” eBay seller muresan wrote. “This is quite unfortunate but happened many decades ago by this point in time. No one knows the exact number of this cart (as each NWC cart was individually labeled upon production) as it appears in the upper left-hand corner of the cart label.”
“This is known as the infamous “Mario” NWC cart that someone probably wrote on there long ago not having a clue what they actually had. Still, case in point, this is an authentic, original NWC cart from the championship back in the early 90s. The cart plays just fine and may some day be worth much more if someone decides to investigate a forensics lab’s involvement to see if they can determine the official number by running tests on the cart,” muresan said.
The BBC reports another unit in better condition sold on eBay for $11,000 in 2011.