In recent weeks, we’ve seen one retro Nintendo game after another shatter the record for the most expensive video game sold at auction. At the start of July, a copy of The Legend of Zelda went for $870,000. Days later, a mint version of Super Mario 64 sold for $1.56 million. Now another Nintendo collectible has set a sales record, but this one is a bit different.
Over the weekend, a special commemorative edition of a Game & Watch system sold for approximately $9,100 on Yahoo Japan. As most Nintendo fans know, the Game & Watch predates the far more successful Game Boy. What makes this unit unique is that it was commissioned by Game & Watch creator Gunpei Yokoi after Nintendo sold more than 20,000 million units of the handheld. Before this weekend, this version of the console had never come on the market before.
What’s unclear is just how many units of the commemorative edition Game Nintendo produced. According to Beforemario, a blog devoted to games and toys the company made between the 1960s and 1980s, the unit is “extremely” rare. “If I had to guess, I would say there were more than three made [one for each of the individuals pictured on the plaque], but again, just a guess,” John Hardie, the director of the National Videogame Museum in Fresco, Texas, told Ars Technica.
Given the current state of the video game collectibles market, what seems like a one-of-a-kind historical artifact selling for so little is surprising. Part of that could be the result of the Game & Watch market. As Ars Technica points out, you can find common versions of the handheld for about $50. Rarer variants like the Ballon Fight one can go for as much as $2,000 if they’re in good condition.
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