Near mint-condition Super Mario 64 sets record for most expensive video game


The winning bid for a sealed edition of Super Mario 64.

Heritage Auctions

luza studios/iStock Unreleased/Getty Images

Yesterday, a sealed copy of Super Mario 64 with a WATA 9.8 A++ rating sold at auction for a staggering $1,560,000, almost double the worth of the previous record holder for the world’s most expensive video game... which was set only two days prior.

On Friday, the “earliest sealed copy one could realistically hope to obtain” of The Legend of Zelda for NES went for an impressive $870,000. “The cultural significance of this title and its importance to the history of video games is paramount, and the condition of this copy is just so breathtaking that we're really at a loss here,” reads Heritage Auctions’ description for the copy of the Nintendo 64 classic. While we can honestly concede that, yes, a mint-condition, in-box Super Mario 64 is most certainly an impressive find, our wind was knocked out more by the $1.5 million price tag doled out for the piece of video game history.

As The Verge notes, the price tag attached to the world’s “most expensive video game” has skyrocketed over the past 12 months — just barely a year ago, a copy of Super Mario Bros. netted a record-making $115,000. Since then, sealed editions of Super Mario Bros. 3 and another edition of the original franchise title went for a respective $156K and $660K before The Legend of Zelda (briefly) supplanted the series’ record on Friday. $1.5 million feels like a difficult number to top for a video game, but then again, the recent track record seems to indicate that anything is possible.

Worth more than what the author of this article will make in his entire life.Heritage Auctions

The new owner knows they can play the game for free, right? — Truly, $1.5 million is a lot of money to throw down on a video game... especially when it’s a video game you can essentially play for free online right this very moment.

Thanks to a serious, unpaid labor of love, Super Mario 64 in all its glory is somehow still unofficially available via your internet browser. We assume it’s only a matter of time before Nintendo hits the makers with a cease and desist, but given that the version has been online since late April, who knows with this one? In any case, while we know whoever bought the mint-condition physical copy did so for the collectibility and market value, we like to think it’s simply because they didn’t know a freeware version exists. Millionaires hypothetically wasting away their money is a very satisfying thought exercise.