News Article

Rare Nintendo World Championships Cartridge Eventually Fetches $99,902

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Update: Buyer backs out

Update: The buyer has apparently backed out of the purchase, claiming the bid was a "mistake". Here's what the seller had to say:

The unfortunate reality is the second I approached the winning buyer with payment options, they retracted their bid claiming it was a “mistake.” I’m not offering the item to other bidders in the auction to see if any of them are honorable individuals. It may take me a while but that’s about all I can do for now. It would be nice if eBay were more seller-friendly, rather than 100% buyer protection focused.


Original Story: Earlier this week we pointed your attention towards a super-rare Nintendo World Championships cartridge up for sale on eBay, one of just 90 of its design. It includes shortened, target-driven versions of Super Mario Bros., Tetris and Rad Racer, and these were used for the Championships around the U.S. in 1990, before becoming prizes for the winners.

These aren't even the rarest of these kinds of cartridges, as there are 26 gold-coloured equivalents that were contest giveaways at the time. Nevertheless, these grey cartridges can easily fetch over $10,000, even when in condition as lousy as this example; it functions, but its label is long gone, with "Mario" written crudely in pen.

Its shoddy condition hasn't prevented an enthusiastic bidding war on its eBay listing, however, and it has now been sold for $99,902 after 328 bids. That easily surpasses — almost doubles — the amount eventually fetched for this Legend of Zelda prototype cartridge, for example.

Despite the absence of its label, which includes the limited edition number, it's clear that the stars and market forces aligned to take this item to extraordinary heights. The new owner can presumably take the seller's suggestion to "investigate a forensics lab's involvement" to determine the number, as they clearly have plenty of cash to throw around.

It's amazing what value rarity and nostalgia can command. Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments below.

Thanks to Riley for the tip.

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User Comments (68)

Peach64

#2

Peach64 said:

Will be interesting to see if the winner actually pays. There's been perfect condition versions that have gone for far, far less.

A1234

#5

A1234 said:

lots of 9s and 0s - 90 designs, championships in 1990, fetches $99,902

Gioku

#7

Gioku said:

:O

...AVGN has one of those in better condition... I don't think he spent $99,902 on it, either...

seronja

#8

seronja said:

why would anybody give 100k $ for an old & bad video game instead of donating that money to feed the poor? this is truly insane...

unrandomsam

#13

unrandomsam said:

I don't why The Zelda prototype cartridge is something this site associated itself with because the only way it could leave Nintendo is if it was stolen.

ikki5

#15

ikki5 said:

none of the circuit boards in my NES cartridges are that bit.....

ningeek185

#24

ningeek185 said:

HOLY @#$&! I have never seen that much money spent on something video game related! I'm starting to doubt that the buyer even paid for that ridiculous amount of cash!

justlink

#28

justlink said:

umm, i paid.
No, i'm lying. I thought final bid had to pay. Like, it's automatically charged to ur bank account on ebay. I dont know because im 15 and barely use ebay

the_truth

#29

the_truth said:

I like how the writer of the article is presuming the winning bidder is going to pay up.

sleepinglion

#32

sleepinglion said:

Dear Lord...
retrousb sells better-looking replicas.
I know that's not the idea, but geez, this looks terrible.

SCAR392

#33

SCAR392 said:

I would rather buy NES Remix for $15, which is essentially the same thing.

unrandomsam

#34

unrandomsam said:

@justlink Not many bank accounts that would allow a transaction that large to go through without a manual check. You still have to manually choose to pay with paypal anyway (You can choose not to but it is not a good idea).

noctowl

#35

noctowl said:

If youre so concerned about charity, sell your video games and donate them.

ikki5

#36

ikki5 said:

@justlink

that's not how Ebay works. When you use Ebay and win an auction, you have this pay now option which then you select your payment method. It is not tied with your bank account directly as often time people use credit cards, paypal balance, or a direct deposit from the bank account. There is probably other ways but the majority use Paypal and would still require you to log into paypal in order to do a transaction.

TG1

#38

TG1 said:

This auction was obviously trolled - I'm surprised NL even reported on it.

2Sang

#39

2Sang said:

You know you need a new hobby when you spend $100k on a single video game. Maybe the guy who bought it is an eccentric billionaire.

Ryo_Hazuki-san

#42

Ryo_Hazuki-san said:

i sat there and watched the bid iw as so tempted do bid ;) just to retract it but... lol im not that evil!.... if lan di was selling the kart then maybe i would consider...

Undead_terror

#43

Undead_terror said:

HAHAHAHA....oh.........
I think this calls for a super facepalm
Untitled
So much money for that game and it's not even in good condition.

Dave24

#47

Dave24 said:

Great condition - now we know how to make money fast. Just buy repro and let your dog do the rest.

Blue-Thunder

#49

Blue-Thunder said:

Oh sorry I didn't mean to place that bit for $99,902.00 it was a mistake! To place a bid you have to do a couple of clicks not just one and the guy has 776 stars so he is not new to ebay. I hate time wasters like that, he must be a bit deranged.

FantasiaWHT

#50

FantasiaWHT said:

I gave up on Ebay long ago, when they stopped treating sellers and buyers as sort-of-equals. I hope this seller sues the buyer.

KnightRider666

#52

KnightRider666 said:

What a waste of money. I think it's messed up that the buyer backed out. Ebay has has become completely buyer based. Sellers really get the short end of the stick, that's exactly why I've stopped selling anything online years ago.

Pj1

#53

Pj1 said:

Oh dear! the person who put that bid in should honor it and pay. Even if I had the money I wouldn't not had bought that game, its £60,000 in British money I could pay a large chunk off the mortgage for that and buy a nice new car and still maybe have some cash left over for a good holiday But really who is really going to pay that money for that cart that is so ripped?.

thesilverbrick

#54

thesilverbrick said:

@seronja So by your logic, nobody should ever buy a luxury item. All money spent on unnecessary items should go to the poor? Forget things like jewelry, movies, vacations and video games. Since you don't need them to survive, are you selfish for spending money on them instead of giving to the poor? Why don't you sell your game collection and give all the proceeds to those in need, then?

OorWullie

#55

OorWullie said:

I hope the seller doesn't have his Ebay bill coming round anytime soon as he will need to cover the fees of around $9,500 until they decide to refund them to his account.Along with Paypal they are a truly evil company and I long for the day a competitor comes along and puts them out of business!

A1234

#57

A1234 said:

the buyer says it is a mistake, but why wouldn't the seller still try to sell it? he wanted to sell it. sounds guilty. sounds like a fake. even if one would not pay, others would pay.

hypercoyote

#58

hypercoyote said:

@A1234 I agree. I thought it was shady that the label was torn off anyway. I wouldn't think it wouldn't be super difficult to make a counterfeit cartridge given the ROM is freely available. But when he said something about not offering it to the next buyer, that makes me wonder even more.

OorWullie

#59

OorWullie said:

@Platypus101 Haha more than likely yes but at least at the start they will have to be more seller friendly to establish themselves.I am speaking from experience, I have had thousands locked up in paypal for 6 months with no reason given and been talked to like I was the scum of the earth.

Platypus101

#60

Platypus101 said:

@OorWullie ouch! True, corporations, once established, do not tend to be people friendly. In this case it's even worse... Due to the fact that they are simply the arbiter. Their attitude, unwarranted :( I agree, there ought to be another option (other than Amazons Marketplace, which I rate at a whopping 5/10... They're sellers have such a mean streak). ;) hope your paypal/eBay issues clear up!

beingvasey

#61

beingvasey said:

Further proof that if you're going to sell/buy something that is worth an actual substantial amount - go to a real auction house (such as Heritage Auctions).

tanookisuit

#64

tanookisuit said:

@unrandomsam That yellow Zelda was Howard Philips copy and it legitimately left his hands into the wild long ago, it's not stolen. He even confirmed as much last year when a member of NintendoAge had it and him being a member there helped flesh the story out a bit.

As to this NWC it won't be paid. At NA I was bringing up the insanity pricing and a moderator there on the side flashed me a quote supposedly from the high bidder essentially saying cold day in hell to actually pay that price. I'm not surprised, stigma of it or not, those carts are worth like 10% of what that ended at.

c1pher_c0mplet

#65

c1pher_c0mplet said:

It was an accident... Ha, whatever. Regardless of opinions on bidding for high-priced luxury items, that really stinks for the seller that moron backed out with an incredibly lame excuse.

Mikau94

#66

Mikau94 said:

Agreed, the buyers can really screw the seller, and they do take advantage of buyer protection. I've stopped selling on ebay due to people claiming the items I've sent are broken on multiple occasions.

One guy backed out when I told him I would pay for return shipping, he would have taken the offer if he wasn't trying to scam me.The other guy bought a DS lite that I couldn't fix; he got mad when he tried to fix it and couldn't, stating that I didn't list all the problems even though I had listed it as "AS IS" and had never seen it working.

Now I deal on craigslist and with other local collectors and make 3/4 the amount but I get great deals since I work with other collectors and I have a blast.

Mizzah_Tee

#67

Mizzah_Tee said:

"It would be nice if eBay were more seller-friendly, rather than 100% buyer protection focused."

100% factual. As an eBay seller on occasion... I can attest to this FOOS.

mikeyman64

#68

mikeyman64 said:

eBay used to be pretty good about helping sellers out in situations like this, but even if they still were, there's really only so much they can do. The thing is, nobody signs a contract when they "buy" things. Sure, they agree to a statement, but nothing legally binding. It would be like going to the game store and making the employee ring up a big pile of stuff, but when it came time to ring your card, you say never mind and walk out.

The best eBay could do, and should do, is ban the buyer from the site and refund the seller any fees associated with the auction.

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