With the E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo (June 16-18) now revealing the latest video game launches in Los Angeles, video game collectors shouldn’t forget Mario, the world’s favourite Italian plumber and star of the best-selling video game franchise of all time.
Our customers love to buy and sell collectables on eBay, and are always keen to find the next trend. As a former collectors’ magazine Editor I’d say the answer at the moment is obvious: “It’s a-me, Mario!” Mario has appeared in over 200 games; and 210 million units of the Mario games series have been sold since he first appeared in Donkey Kong in 1981. That sounds an awful lot, but some of these games are now scarce and have become highly valuable.
If you are looking for some fun collectibles that are in demand, “Let’s a’ go!” Starting at the extreme end, some Super Nintendo Entertainment Systems (SNES) cartridge games have become almost legendary for their extreme rarity, and of course Mario appears in them all. Take the 1991 Nintendo Campus Challenge, produced especially for college gaming events. Mario appeared twice on this NES Cartridge in Mario 3 and Dr Mario. After appearing at college gaming events all copies were supposedly destroyed; but one at least is known to still exist and sold quite recently for almost £13,000.
Also rarer than a day when Princess Peach isn’t being kidnapped is the 1990 Nintendo World Championships golden cartridge. Super Mario Bros is one of the games on this sought-after item, of which only 26 were produced. Expect to pay £13,500 or thereabouts for one in perfect condition. And it’s a similar story for Nintendo Powerfest 94 cartridges. It featured part of Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels, and the Mushroom Cup in Super Mario Kart and today it’s worth £6,000+.
Of the more straightforward games, but still rare as Yoshi’s teeth, a sealed SNES PAL format copy of Super Mario World , in a vanishingly rare yellow box edition, with its Nintendo red strip and astonishingly mint, sold for over £8k in a major bidding war on eBay in 2012. PAL Super Mario All Stars and Super Mario Kart cartridges with the red strip are also valuable. It’s being mint and sealed that makes many such games so valuable.
There are also more common games that are increasing in price. Let’s have a look at items you actually have a chance of finding in your attic. The 1996 Super Mario RPG game Legend of the Seven Stars is an attractive game, which is particularly interesting for Mario fans as it sees Bowser fighting on Mario’s side. It’s still quite common, but a fun playable game so there are not so many mint and boxed. Expect to pay around £130 for a minter.
Finally, and slightly more affordable still, are some Mario titles on other Nintendo platforms. For the Nintendo 64, Yoshi’s Story International Version (essentially a Japanese language demo) sells for £260; and Mario Party 3, because it came near the end of Nintendo 64’s life and didn’t sell in huge numbers, is much sought after in good condition. Today it’s fetching £150 plus and currently on the up. And if you are fond of the old Gameboy, Super Mario Land and Super Mario Land Greatest Hits are worth around £100 in good condition. “Mama Mia!”