Saturday, January 25, 2014

Nintendo World Championship Cart DOESN'T sell for $99,902

One of the biggest, craziest auctions in a long, long time just ended for the sale of this beat up "Grey" Nintendo World Championship cartridge for sale by Stephen "Muresan" Ross. This cartridge is rare but it is obviously in really bad shape with a bad label and to add insult to injury, someone even wrote "Mario" on the front in blue ink. The history behind this interesting item is that it is one of several special competition cartridges made by Nintendo in 1990 as part of their "world" championship that toured twenty-nine cities across the United States and ended in Universal Studios Hollywood in California. 

These cartridges were played in the competitions and the players with the highest scores moved on to the final rounds. Former Nintendo employee, Howard Phillips, has recently come forward to say that around 150 of these cartridges were made (often mistakenly reported as 116 due to journalists using Wikipedia as a credible source) were made and distributed across the nation for the contest but only 90 of these carts were given to finalists in the competition. The remaining carts were returned to Nintendo and 26 were converted to the "Gold" Nintendo World Championship cartridges that were given away in a mail-in sweepstakes contest found  in the back of the July/August 1990 volume of Nintendo Power. A few of the remaining grey NWC cartridges even made their way into the ownership of various Nintendo employees.
Amusing side note is that they even used special controllers for the event.
The particular history of this rather infamous "Mario" cart is that it was the first NWC for auction and showed up in its current condition on a usenet newsgroup and for about $400 several years ago, was traded to hardcore trader, DreamTR, and was more recently sold for around $5,000 to Muresan. That is a pretty average price for this item; Grey NWC's show up on eBay all the time and usually sell for around $8,000. I've personally seen them for sale at $12,000 at the TooManyGames Convention in 2011.
I love the "Mario" NWC cart. It is so bad.
 The "Mario" NWC cartridge has caught the mainstream media's attention and has even been reported on BBC, cnet, and TIME. Things got really crazy when it became the headline story on AOL. The price SKYROCKETED. It was listed at 5k and ended 328 bids later on Jan 25, 2014 at6:55 PM EST with a closing price of $99,902. I know I'm supposed to be "impartial" but screw that, $99,902 is too much. This beats the crap out of the previous highest price paid for a video game, a sealed copy of Stadium Events for $75,000 late last year.

After the auction ended, things took a turn for the south. At 7:38 PM EST Muresan informed the forums that the top bidder had backed out, claiming that their 2 year-old had placed the bid without their knowledge on their account. I wasn't aware that 2 year-olds could enter a bid amount, review, and confirm the bid... on two separate bidding occasions...

Needless to say, things are getting complicated. This means that Muresan now has a chance to offer the other bidders if they want to buy it but that is going to be a long, arduous process as it is likely that several of their 2 year-olds also unknowingly placed bids on the items. Actually, the entire list of bidders, complete with highest bid, feedback, and number of times they bid, was released by JosephLeo with permission by Muresan. Wow, one bidder bid over a hundred times jacking the price up by $30,000.

The long and the short of it was that Muresan got trolled. The unprecedented  publicity spread the word and the wolves smelled easy prey so they pounced. This gets problematic when investment websites pick up on this story and say that this is a "safe" investment, that you are guaranteed to make money on it.

This auction is going to make it to all the news outlets and alter the public's perception of rare games and their value but they aren't going to know the whole story. The fact is that this is just a shill bidders' version of a bad joke. From now on, most people will claim that NWC can fetch as much as $100,000 but in honesty, it is not worth that much. This auction will have long-lasting and far-reaching effects on the game collecting community and market. People looking to make a quick buck will be attracted by the promise of riches and fortune. Demand will increase for these rare items with a limited supply resulting in a spike in price. This is compounded by the fact that people with deep-pockets, sometimes called whales, will begin to turn their attention to the market and be able to make these absurd purchases and have the money to back it up.

My sympathies go out to Muresan and I wish him the best of luck with this nightmare of getting the money.

You can follow the entire thread on's forums where I'm sure updates will be posted as they happen.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, it should be $200,000.

Bandit said...

Wow! Cool!

Salmononius2 said...

Yeah, I saw this on the news on Friday and went saw it at around 4000, then I looked again tonight and saw it jumped to a hundred grand. I knew that the numbers seemed a bit fishy.

Port said...

It's a shame that muresan got what amounted to unnecessary attention from the idiot media. He's been around a long time. I remember him buying his Stadium Events when dl-collectibles cashed out years ago. You know, when you could actually see bidder names on eBay. -.-

This won't change anything. The complete Stadium Events $13k lot from 3-4? years ago proved that. It may put another game in the light consciousness of society for a bit but it will fall out just as quickly as it came in, ultimately. Game collecting will be entirely unaffected and continue on its slow but steady upward trend until it inevitably crashes.

And oh god, NA. Good to see it sucks just as much as it always has and it hasn't changed. What a cesspool.

Salmononius2 said...

It does look like some people are capitalizing on the publicity right now. A copy of NWC Gray just sold for 17.5k:

Makes me wish I was a hardcore gamer 25 years ago who won one of these :)

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

golden cart is today on ebay for same prize $100k and 4 days still left! wow :D

Anonymous said...

The guy was a flake. He up bidded and bailed and bragged about it being him

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