Never underestimate just how much money some people are willing to part with for a pristine slice of their lost youth. So while in tales of yore treasure chests may have been made of sea-weathered hardwood and buried on remote desert islands, nowadays they’re pretty much just plastic storage tubs taking up space in the top of your cupboard. Exhibit A: A pair of mint-condition Pokémon Game Boy games went to auction in the US recently, and managed to fetch the truly eye-watering sum of just under $220,000. Two hundred and twenty thousand dollars. My god.
The story goes that the pair of cartridges – the beyond-iconic Red and Yellow versions of the game released in 1998 – went under the hammer through the US-based Heritage Auctions on November 20th local time.
Though both were expected to fetch massive price tags, the final sale price exceed all expectations. The Pokémon Red cartridge wound up selling for a whopping USD$84,000 (AUD$114,051), while the Yellow version went for slightly less at USD$78,000 (AUD$105,904.50). Both prices eclipsed the previous world record mark for Game Boy collectibles.
Two graded and sealed Pokemon Game Boy games sold for $84,000 and $78,000 today in @HeritageAuction video game auction, both records for price paid for a Game Boy collectible. pic.twitter.com/wBP4ybeKxN
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) November 20, 2020
Before you start heaving yourself into that pile of crap from your childhood that you simply couldn’t bring yourself to throw out, these particular games went for a packet for a very good reason.
Both games were still factory sealed, and in a condition that Heritage Auctions described as being in “unrivalled” condition. The game boxes had been independently certified by professional grading company WataGames, who gave both a near-perfect 9.8 rating.
That pristine condition makes them an extremely rare, and sought-after, commodity among the collecting community. And that is ultimately what pushed the sale price so high.
Interestingly enough, that wasn’t the only gaming world record set in that round of auctions. Heritage also sold a pristine-condition and exceptionally rare original Super Mario Bros 3 NES game for a whopping USD$156,000 (AUD$211,809). A world record price for a single video game, and a result that was five times higher than its estimated sale price.
#heritageLive: WORLD RECORD!! Super Mario Bros. 3 – Wata 9.2 A+ Sealed ["Bros." Left, First Production], NES Nintendo 1990 USA brings $156,000 – more than five times its estimate and the highest price ever paid for a video game. #AuctionUpdate #VideoGames #SuperMarioBros pic.twitter.com/7v3wykH63u
— Heritage Auctions (@HeritageAuction) November 20, 2020
The rarity there, is that the game box features the “Bros” formatted left, overlapping with Mario’s glove. That quirk of formatting was quickly amended during the game’s initial production run, making the “right Bros” variant by far and way the more common one.
So there ya go. A very decent pay day, you’ve gotta say.