A very lucky gamer struck videogame gold when he found a copy of one of the rarest and most valuable NES cartridges in the world sitting in a box in his basement, just days away from being shipped off to Goodwill.
It was only a few weeks ago that a woman listed an old NES system with five cartridges on eBay and found to her surprise that the final selling price reached around $13,000. It wasn't the NES that drove the bidding, it was one of the games: Specifically, Stadium Events, one of the rarest NES releases of all time. Only about 2000 copies were distributed, of which an estimated 200 sold before a change in strategy led Nintendo to recall the game. Less than 20 of those are believed to still exist.
Seeing the unknown gamer mom's big windfall, a Kansas man named Dave decided to dig through his own collection of old NES titles to see if he too was in possession of any hidden treasures. Turns out the pile of gold he was sitting on was even more valuable than that of the woman who inspired him: Dave's copy of Stadium Events was brand new, still sealed and tagged with the original $29.99 price.
"We had quite a collection (185+ games) that has sat in our basement for over 20 years," he told Yahoo! Games. "The games were on a list to be brought to Goodwill - in fact, within a month, Goodwill was going to have them."
It's widely believed that only two factory sealed copies of the game still exist, so when Dave listed the game on eBay the bidding went completely through the roof, eventually selling for a sweet $41,300. "After taxes and tithing, the rest of our part will be going to a retirement account that has been decimated by the dot-com bomb, 9/11, and the recent market problems," he said. "Not very sexy, but needed."
It was a fluke that led Dave to uncover his incredibly valuable game, but it was an even bigger fluke that left it sealed and sitting in his basement in the first place. He didn't bother opening the game because Stadium Events required a special floor mat controller to play which wasn't available when he bought it and ultimately never came to market at all. "We never got around to returning the game," he said. "Lucky us!"
That's one way to put it. And while this is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime find, the Goodwill trip is nonetheless off: Dave says he's going to auction off the rest of his NES on eBay too.