A sealed, mint, vintage copy of "Super Mario 64" just sold for an insane $1.5 million in a record-breaking auction, reports IGN. It made the old game from 1996 the most valuable of its kind in history. It even beat another game which also sold for an insane amount of money just hours prior. 

Super mario wink
(Photo : BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images)
An employee stands next to a screen displaying Nintendo game character Mario at a Nintendo store in Tokyo on November 5, 2020, after the gaming giant said its first-half net profit soared 243.6 percent on-year.

But.... why? To understand this phenomenon, you have to be familiar with the concept that makes old stuff valuable. First, it would do you good to get a brief historical background which shows just how valuable old video games can get. 

'Super Mario 64' To 'Legend of Zelda': The Most Valuable Vintage Games In History 

A certain list put up by TheGamer doesn't contain any title that can live up to that insane $1.5 million sale price mentioned earlier, but these games surely aren't cheap in their own right, too. 

At the top of the list is actually another "Mario" game: "Super Mario Bros." A lone copy of this game from 1994 is worth pennies on a normal day, but what separated this one from all the others is its condition: still factory shrink-wrapped, with the original $26.99 price tag inside. A buyer bought the game from a seller in Pennsylvania for over $30,000, and it eventually sold at an auction for $114,000. 

Here's another one: a gold-colored Nintendo SNES cartridge from 1990. Back then, there were 26 golden cartridges specially made for the Nintendo World Championships as prizes in a Nintendo Power Contest. Considered the absolute rarest SNES game cartridge in existence, it sold for over $100,000 on eBay in 2014. 

Going back to the "Super Mario 64" cartridge, the one it beat in terms of sale price was a sealed copy of "Legend of Zelda" from 1987. That one sold for $870,000 from a starting price of $110,000 and set the record, only to be broken just a few hours later. 

Read also: This TV Commercial For 'Super Mario 64' Is Super '90s

'Nostalgia Sells' 

When it comes to buying and selling antiques, this is the one phrase you need to be aware of. 

Old video games aren't as preserved as any other antique item. Very few copies of titles from the earliest years of gaming exist in physical form. Some of them can even only be heard of in stories (i.e. the mysterious arcade cabinet named "Polybius"). A fair number of people today grew up playing those games, and they want to relive the good memories they had; reports 8BitPickle

Nintendo 64 controller
(Photo : Phil Barker/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
A Nintendo 64 controller and Transfer Pak, taken on May 24, 2019.

As a result, if they're dedicated (and rich) enough, they would want to do anything and pay any amount just so they can own those old games again. That's the driving force behind most of the valuable vintage games out there. 

Of course, personal memories aren't the only deciding factor. Some games could prove to be extremely significant in a cultural sense. They might be the first-ever of their kind made, or the first ones to achieve commercial success. 

Super Mario 64, the First of many 3D Mario Games

Going back to the "Super Mario 64" game worth millions, you'll see the point. That game was the first time ever that the "Mario" franchise was rendered in full 3D. It then spawned a new era in the games industry, when real-time rendered 3D graphics started to kick off. Aside from that, it also helped make the classic Nintendo IP the best-selling game franchise in history. 

Based on those qualities, that "Super Mario 64" game is a cultural treasure. It made video games the way they are today. Sure, you can play the "Super Mario Bros." franchise on modern hardware, but seeing a game cartridge that quite literally inspired generations of gamers is just almost priceless. 

Now, think back to all of the old video game cartridges you've ever had as a kid; which one of those do you think would have sold for a million bucks? 

Related: TAG Heuer, Nintendo Collaborates to Bring Limited-Edition Super Mario Watch, Launching Next Week 

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Written by RJ Pierce 

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