Earlier this year, an unopened copy of the original Super Mario Bros. game for NES sold online for $100,150. Not only that, but this version of the game is the only “sticker sealed” copy in existence, and was given a 9.4 Near Mint score and Seal Rating A++ from Wata Games.
As one of the best versions of one of the top video games, it’s no surprise this copy sold as it did. This copy was maintained in such prime condition, with over 34 years since release, that I’m surprised it didn’t trade for more! Regardless, this situation shows just how passionate some gamers can be, and how much effort they’re willing to put into their favorite hobby.
This got me thinking - what other pieces of rare memorabilia are out there? What types of gaming media will bring people (and money!) in just as this Mario game did? Well, I did some searching, and here’s what I’ve dug up - some alluring pieces of gaming industry history that any gamer would love to have.
Net Yaroze PlayStation Kit
The Net Yaroze PlayStation Kit was an aspiring game developer’s dream machine. Launching in Japan in 1996 and everywhere else in 1997, this system had no form of region-lock, came in black matte, and contained a software development kit. That’s right, those who paid $750 for this machine could develop their very own PlayStation games. The device came with two controllers to try these creations, and developers could even put them on discs to share them with the world.
At the time of release, the Net Yaroze wasn’t sold in stores. Buyers could only purchase via mail order, though Sony provided some versions to universities in Japan, the UK, and France. Notably, this device didn’t have nearly as many features as the official PlayStation development kit from Sony, either. The company did host a forum for developers to share their titles, though, with a lot of them releasing on demo discs in the Official UK PlayStation Magazine.
On eBay, a self-proclaimed “brand new” version of this console is going for $12,500 now.
Of course, with the indie scene we have nowadays, there’s no reason anybody would need this machine. That said, the Yaroze exists as sort of a precursor to the industry we enjoy now, and it should always be appreciated for that.
The Oldsmobile Expression
While the now defunct Oldsmobile brand isn’t one you’d associate with gaming, the company definitely dabbled.
In January of 1990, the company premiered a sleek, futuristic sedan called the Oldsmobile Expression at the Chicago Auto Show. Interestingly, the vehicle had six seats, a VCR, a head-up-display, and a built-in NES.
You read me correctly, the back two seats held NES controllers and a display for the system. This was an official collaboration between Nintendo and the car company - one that would have made waves if it had ever released. Unfortunately, the vehicle died as a prototype, and will forever live on in our memories as what could have been.
Nowadays, this isn’t anything special. We have Nintendo’s own Switch to do things like play games in a car! But, at the time, the Expression was unlike anything anyone had ever seen. Could you imagine taking road trips in this thing? It would have been any kid’s dream come true.
Vault-Tec Aviator Watch
A limited edition Vault-Tec Aviator watch released around a year before Fallout 4. Only 500 of these devices were made, and the official Bethesda page for the thing doesn’t even exist anymore.
These watches come in black, with bands of real leather on top of a scratch-resistant glass. They’re water-resistant up to 100 meters, and look damn cool. I’m surprised at how few of them are available, especially considering the fact that they aren’t tied to any one game in the franchise. Instead, they’re just Fallout-themed, so even if you hate Bethesda’s first-person take on the games, you can still feel justified in having one of these. If you’re willing to spend hundreds of dollars on one, that is.
This watch in mint condition with its box is selling for $999 on eBay right now, though a few others are selling for much cheaper.
Stadium Events NES
In 1987, Bandai published a little-known game called Stadium Events for the NES as a part of the Family Fun Fitness franchise. In it, players could participate in a few different track events, like the hundred-meter dash or the triple jump, thanks to an attachable mat used as a controller.
The game didn’t have time to grow a following, however, as it was pulled from release almost immediately due to Nintendo wanting to rebrand it into their own first-party property. This new version was called World Class Track Meet, with the mat extension being renamed to the “Power Pad.”
Since this situation went down, Stadium Events has been considered one of the rarest NES games in existence. Nobody knows how many copies were sold. However, sealed editions of the game are selling for around $3,000 as of this writing, though one went for $35,100. In fact, ESPN published a long-winded tale on such a title, and how it affected the lives of multiple families.
This story makes you wonder what sorts of games will pop up from this generation over the next few decades. Maybe someone will leak a playable version of Scalebound one day, or the rumored Xbox portable machine might make itself known at an auction somewhere. No matter how it’s released, you can be sure collectors will get their hands on these things somehow. That’s just what they do.