An extremely rare Nintendo World Championship cartridge was sold on eBay for $99,902. After 382, the NES World Championship cart now holds the record for the world's most expensive video game.
The NES World Championship cart is a plain gray cartridge with a torn label. The cartridge may not be aesthetically pleasing but for gamers, its importance and rarity is easily recognized. According to RacketBoy, the Nintendo World Championship cartridge comes in two varieties, standard gray and gold. The gray cartridges were given away to finalists competing in regional tournaments across the United States, with a total run of 90 units. The gold NES World Championship cart is even rarer, given away in a competition, with 26 known copies in existence. Each copy contains timed versions of "Super Mario Bros," "Rad Racer" and "Tetris."
The cart was sold on eBay by user muresan who says the game was purchased between 2004 and 2005. According to muresan the NES World Championship cart was bought at "an Alt Newsgroups auction held back in 1998 and purchased by thomaser in Norway. He traded to DreamTR, who sold to me maybe around 2004/05." The user notes the condition of the cart, including the torn label, saying, "This is quite unfortunate but happened many decades ago by this point in time. No one knows the exact number of this cart (as each NWC cart was individually labeled upon production) as it appears in the upper left-hand corner of the cart label. This is known as the infamous "Mario" NWC cart that someone probably wrote on there long ago not having a clue what they actually had."
Some Kotaku commenters have raised concerns about the bidding, as there may have been fake bids to drive up the price. The commenters point out that NES World Championship carts in better condition have sold for around $8,000 while the extremely rare gold version sells for around $15,000. Another NES World Championship cart, containing the label, was listed on eBay and currently has a bid price of $6,600 with six days left for the auction.
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The NES World Championship cart is among the most coveted games, joining the incredibly rare "Stadium Events" and the test version of "The Legend of Zelda," which sold for $55,000, as the world's highest-selling video game. "Stadium Events" was released by Bandai but quickly recalled and the game previously set the record for the world's high-selling, first in 2010 at $41,300 and again in 2012 after it sold on eBay for $75,000. If the bidding holds up, the $99,902 price sets a new record for the most expensive video game.