Goodwill, Heritage Auctions find treasure in video games

An unopened copy of Nintendo’s Super Mario 64 has sold at auction for $1.56 million.

Heritage Auctions in Dallas said that the 1996 game sold Sunday, breaking its previous record price for the sale of a single video game.

A spokesman did not immediately respond to an inquiry about who purchased the game.

Super Mario 64 was the best-selling game on the Nintendo 64 and the first to feature the Mario character in 3D, the auction house said in a statement.

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The sale follows an unopened copy of Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda selling at auction Friday for $870,000. Valarie McLeckie, Heritage’s video game specialist, said the auction house was shocked to see a game sell for more than $1 million two days after the Zelda game broke its past record.

In April, the auction house sold an unopened copy of Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. that was bought in 1986 and forgotten about in a desk drawer for $660,000.

Goodwill North Central Texas got in on the video game auction game in June when Alex Juarez, a Goodwill North Central Texas ecommerce item processer, was searching through donated video games and came across a copy of the video game Air Raid.

In the game published for the Atari 2600 in 1982 by Men-A-Vision, players take control of an air ship defending Earth. The cartridge is distinct for its T-shaped design and blue coloring. Very few copies of the game were released, making it incredibly sought after by retro video game collectors despite its lackluster gameplay. In fact, only 13 known copies exist.

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Auctions for Air Raid began on on June 10 and lasted for one week. The game was added to 235 watchlists while live and sold for $10,590.79. Only 12 copies of the game have previously been found and sold, with one complete edition selling for $33,433.30 in 2012. A previous cartridge-only copy of Air Raid was sold on eBay in 2011 for $3,575.

With the $10,000 earned from the sale of this one item, Goodwill North Central Texas said it can provide day habilitation services for a year for one adult with disabilities; or provide 20 homeless individuals with job placement services and community resources; or help 10 at-risk youths earn their GED and a paycheck at the same time.

So check your closets and attics. You might have some old video game gold.

This story contains information from the Associated Press.