Remember when a super rare sticker sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. on NES sold for $100,150 USD last February? Well, another copy of the exact same game (in a similar condition) has now broken this record - going for the sum of $114,000 USD (this roughly equates to £90,000). That makes this particular copy the most expensive video game ever sold.
Why exactly did this US retail version go for more, you ask? Apart from its sealed state and 9.4 out of 10 grade, it's all to do with the cardboard hangtabs. Heritage Auctions explains the appeal and history of these variants underneath the listing:
What's the deal with cardboard hangtabs? one may, understandably, wonder.
Cardboard hangtabs were originally used on the US test market copies of black box games, back before plastic was used to seal each game. As Nintendo began to further establish their company in the US, their packaging was updated almost continuously. Strangely, the addition of the plastic wrap came before the box cutting die was altered to remove the cardboard hangtab. This rendered the functionality of the cardboard hangtab completely useless, since it was under the plastic seal.
There are four sub-variants of the plastic sealed cardboard hangtab box (this particular copy of Super Mario Bros. being the "3 Code" variant) that were produced within the span of one year. Each sub-variant of the cardboard hangtab black box, produced within that timeframe, had a production period of just a few months; a drop in the bucket compared to the title's overall production run.
In short, a cardboard hangtab copy of any early Nintendo Entertainment System game brings a certain air of "vintage" unrivaled by its successors.
Part of the interest is also the fact it's a copy of Super Mario Bros. - an iconic game from 1985 that's sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and happens to be the highest-selling NES game of all time. The winner of this latest auction wishes to remain anonymous - fingers crossed it's going to a collector's home.
If you would like to revisit the original Super Mario Bros. release, but don't fancy forking out 100k or don't have access to an original copy of the game, the good news it's playable on Nintendo's Switch Online subscription service.