A rare copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 has become the most expensive video game ever

Super Mario Bros. 3 $156,000 auction
(Image credit: Heritage Auctions)

Video games can be an expensive hobby, especially if you spend $156,000 on Super Mario Bros. 3 – a game that debuted in 1988 on the NES.

Well, one wealthy suitor managed to snag a copy of the game during a recent auction, paying well over two thousand times its original retail price. But how has the game commanded such an eye-wateringly high fee?

It’s rare to see an older game that’s not only in mint condition but hermetically sealed, which this copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 is – however, it’s the box art that really makes this version of the game so desirable to collectors.

As the listing from Heritage Auction reveals, “Copies of the game with ‘Bros.’ formatted to the left on the front of the box (on top of Mario’s glove) are very rarely found in sealed condition, and many collectors have been on the lookout for years, but often come up dry.”

Heritage Auction had sold another copy that had the same early production run box art in the past, though it sold for a frankly affordable $21,600 when compared to the latest sale. 

Cash money

It’s only fun to put astronomical prices into perspective, but this collector could have bought 316 PlayStation 5s (though you'd struggle to find more than one right now), or even shelled out for a 24K gold PS5 for a mere $10,000, which is probably located down the back of their sofa.

If you have a copy of Super Mario Bros. 3 with “Bros.” formatted to the left, then, you may just be sitting on a gold mine – provided the case doesn’t look like a dog’s dinner. The game is also available on the NES Classic Mini, which costs $59.99 / £49.99 / AU$99.

Via Kotaku

Adam Vjestica

Adam was formerly TRG's Hardware Editor. A law graduate with an exceptional track record in content creation and online engagement, Adam has penned scintillating copy for various technology sites and also established his very own award-nominated video games website. He’s previously worked at Nintendo of Europe as a Content Marketing Editor and once played Halo 5: Guardians for over 51 hours for charity. He is now an editor at The Shortcut.