While March 31, 2021 may have been the day Mario died, the iconic plumber appears to be still very much alive when it comes to auctions. A sealed copy of the original Super Mario Bros. has sold for a whopping $660,000, comfortably beating previous records.
As reported by Heritage Auctions (via The Verge), a sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. from 1985 for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) has been auctioned for $660,000, making it the most expensive game sold to date. It beat the previous record held by Super Mario Bros. 3 by over $500,000. That title sold for a measly $156,000 back in 2020. Prior to that, a mint copy of the same Super Mario Bros. was sold for $114,000.
Explaining the historical significance of the game, Heritage Auctions went on to say that:
Super Mario Bros. - Wata 9.6 A+ Sealed [Hangtab, 1 Code, Mid-Production], NES Nintendo 1985 USA. In our July 2020 Signature Auction a Wata 9.4 A+ sealed hangtab, "3 code" copy of Super Mario Bros. was thrust into the limelight when it sold for an impressive price of $114,000, breaking the world record for the most expensive video game ever sold at the time. We're confident that an even fiercer competition is brewing for this copy. Not only is this the finest plastic-sealed copy with a perforated cardboard hangtab we've ever offered of any black box title, it is also the oldest sealed copy of Super Mario Bros. we've ever had the opportunity to offer. This is only the fourth version of Super Mario Bros. ever produced, and its window of production was remarkably short. Just to paint a better picture of how short this really was -- the nationwide release for the console came in mid to late 1986, and black box games distributed for that release did not have the "Game Pak NES-GP" code. It's worth mentioning that Nintendo managed to add the trademark symbol to the Nintendo Entertainment System on their game boxes by the beginning of 1987. That certainly doesn't leave much time at all for this variant to be produced in-between the two!
It is important to note that the title is not particularly unplayable in this day and age. In fact, it is available on the Game & Watch, and even if you didn't manage to nab one, you can play it on the Nintendo Switch Online service without forking out half a million bucks. Although, of course, a sealed physical copy of a nearly 40-year-old game has its own value, but whether or not it is worth $660,000 is undoubtedly in the eye of the beholder.