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Your Move: The Historically High Prices Of Video Games

I’m trying to rebuild my collection of classic consoles and games. I kept some of my older consoles, but others have been given away or sold over the years. I got a Nintendo 64 in 1996, but eventually it got sold to make way for a PlayStation 2. I’d like to have the N64 again, and if I had bought one a few years ago, I could have picked it up for $40 or so, including a few controllers. Now, if you look on eBay, you’re looking at three times that, minimum.

But it’s not just consoles that are selling for historically high prices. Classic game prices have shot up on eBay and Facebook Marketplace. Last week, a copy of the original Legend of Zelda, a sealed copy from an early production run in 1987, sold for $870,000. And then, last weekend, a sealed copy of 1996’s Super Mario 64 sold for an astounding $1.56 million, crushing the week-old record.

This specific sale is raising eyebrows, because unlike that specific copy of The Legend of Zelda, which was a rare example, sealed copies of Mario 64 aren’t terribly hard to find. Now, this specific copy was graded a 9.8A++, which is a grade even brand-new manufactured games often fail to meet, but even so, this is a jump so huge that it’s understandable that people might be discussing ways this sale might not be on the up-and-up.

Whatever the motivation, though, it’s a new benchmark for video game collectors. I’m just hoping that, eventually, I can get a Nintendo 64 and another copy of Mario 64 without having to take out a second mortgage.

Samuel McConnell is a games enthusiast who has been playing games in one form or another since 1991. He was born in northern Maine but quickly transplanted to Wichita.