We all buy things that we never unpack. Normally, we pass those items on to someone who might need them. But some of us are smart enough not to do so and get rich instead.
This is exactly what occurred to a copy of the original Super Mario Bros. titled by its seller as 'Super Mario Bros. - Wata 9.6 A+ Sealed [Hangtab, 1 Code, Mid-Production], NES Nintendo 1985 USA.' According to a Eurogamer report that cites Heritage Auctions, this one happens to be the fourth version of Super Mario Bros. produced, with "Wata 9.6 A+" referring to this particular cartridge's condition rating from collectible grading company WataGames. The game was released in 1986.
"This particular copy was produced in late 1986, and it was one of the earliest copies produced that had plastic shrink wrap, rather than sticker seal," Heritage Auctions said in its report on the item. "By early 1987, Nintendo was producing a version that had another new variation to their original packaging (an additional 'code'). Since the production window for this copy and others like it was so short, finding another copy from this same production run in similar condition would be akin to looking for a single drop of water in an ocean. Never say never, but there's a good chance it can't be done."
Heritage Auctions says that the video game was bought as a Christmas gift, but it ended up in a drawer and was discovered only recently.
"It stayed in the bottom of my office desk this whole time since the day I bought it," the owner reportedly told the auction group. "I never thought anything about it."
Rare and limited releases are not uncommon, especially in the video game world, where various editions are made with different kinds of exclusive content. To that end, buying a rare item is not something extraordinary today. Keeping these things unopened for 35 years is a different thing completely, though.
At this point, you cannot really play a game cartridge for the original NES unless you still have that console (or a copycat console). Ultimately, this $660,000 game is a collectible that is not supposed to be unpacked but instead resold somewhere down the line.