A copy of Nintendo World Championships 1990 owned by none other than "Gamemaster" Howard Phillips has recently sold on eBay for an incredible US $17,367.

The game was listed as part of a unique package being offered by Howard, including an all-access badge he wore during the original competition in 1990 and a full press kit. It comes with a certificate of authenticity signed by the man himself. The copy is version NWC #0126 and personally belonged to the legendary Nintendo employee.

The game is considered to be one of the rarest NES games in existence and has fetched similarly high prices in previous auctions. Only 116 copies of the game were ever manufactured, 90 of which feature the standard grey casing. The other 26 cartridges are gold like The Legend of Zelda NES cartridge. Each cartridge contains a manual electric switch, which determines the time limit of the game.

The eBay product description provides more background on the origins of the cartridge:

A cartridge originally produced as a balanced, multi-discipline competition test for the 1990 Nintendo World Championships, this incredibly rare game cart featured scoring challenge stage samplers of Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer and Tetris. Given a time limit of six minutes and 21 seconds, players were challenged to collect 50 coins in Mario, race a custom track in Rad Racer, and score as high as possible in Tetris.

Howard openly expressed in his listing's information that he really hopes that the lucky winner is an enthusiastic collector and not just a reseller.

We were lucky enough to interview Howard a little while ago and get a great insight into his time with the Japanese games giant; it's astonishing how much of an impact he really had on Nintendo's fortunes in North America.

Do you think $17,000 is too much for a copy of a rare video game, even one as rare as Nintendo World Championships 1990? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

[via nintendoage.com]