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Let’s-a-go! Super Mario 64 smashes records to become first $1 million game

July 14, 2021

Let’s-a-go! Super Mario 64 smashes records to become first $1 million game

A near-mint copy of 1996 Nintendo game Super Mario 64 sold for US $1.56 million over the weekend, making it the most expensive game ever sold and the first to sell for over $1 million at auction.

A near-mint copy of 1996 Nintendo game Super Mario 64 sold for US $1.56 million over the weekend, making it the most expensive game ever sold and the first to sell for over $1 million at auction.

The sale broke the previous record of US $870,000 for a copy of 1988’s The Legend of Zelda for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) – set only two days earlier. 

Both games scored very highly on the ‘Wata’ grading scale, used to measure the condition of collectible video games up to a maximum of ten points.,

The record-breaking Super Mario 64 copy received a 9.8, while the second-placed The Legend of Zelda cartridge earned a respectable 9.

The condition of the game is only one of the factors attributed to its eye-watering price tag, however Super Mario 64 is also considered a milestone in the video game industry’s transition into the third dimension.

It featured a range of innovative characteristics (such as a camera players could maneuver independently on their on-screen avatar and the inclusion of a ‘hub world’ which linked players to the game’s many levels) which went on to become staples of the platformer genre.

Even so, some experts were astounded that a game which sold millions of copies world-wide went on to become the first game to break that million dollar barrier.

The sale comes as video game collectibles – and collectibles more generally – continue to attract higher and higher prices from avid buyers, spurred on by nostalgia.

Even bad video games have fetched astronomical prices in the past few years. In 2015, one collector paid US $108,000 for a copy of the E.T. The Extra Terrestrial video game created for the Atari 2600 in 1982.

The game was a monumental flop and is partly credited with triggering the 1983 video game crash. Even its creators tried to distance themselves from it by burying unsold cartridges in a New Mexico landfill site.

Video games attracting big money

In 2020, global video game revenues surged 20% to reach US $175 billion and carried related businesses (such as video game streaming services like Twitch) along in the updraft.

Investors appeared to take notice of this trend. Market data aggregator and platform InvestGame found dealmaking activity in the sector spiked to US $33.6 billion in 2020.

The previous calendar year also set a record for venture capital and corporate investor inflows, which reached US $5.9 billion in the 12-month block

Meanwhile, streaming pioneer and TV disruptor Netflix is also reportedly investigating a video game offering as it looks to claw back declining market share, poached by rivals like Disney+ and Warner Bros. Discovery.

InvestGame expects institutional investors will continue to increase their allocation to the sector in the year ahead as valuations in both public and private markets are tipped to climb further.

 

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