Nintendo World Championships 1990 NES cartridge appears in $130,000 eBay auction

How much would you pay for a perfectly preserved piece of gaming nostalgia? One eBay seller is going for a massive score with an NES Nintendo World Championships cartridge.

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The Nintendo World Championships events were pretty legendary. An early attempt at any kind of officialized video game competition this side of the high score record keeping at Twin Galaxies, the NWC events have come and gone in sporadic bursts since the 1990s. Perhaps more importantly, special cartridges were made specifically for competition at the Nintendo World Championships and each of them is a treasured piece based on their condition. One seller is going for the gold though. A perfect condition Nintendo World Championships 1990 cartridge has been spotted on Ebay for $130,000.

eBay seller Just Press Play Online put up a page for their Nintendo World Championships NWC 1990 Grey NES Competition Cartridge, which was last updated on April 1, 2020 and currently has around 140 watchers. Sealed and graded at a 6.0 by Wata games, the cartridge is in pretty good shape for being a 30-year-old cartridge. It’s not out of the ordinary to see unofficial reproduction cartridges for sale in various auctions, but the real deal is far more valuable and sought after.

The Nintendo World Championships were far from the first to do it, but they represent one of the earliest known legitimate forms of esports.
The Nintendo World Championships were far from the first to do it, but they represent one of the earliest known legitimate forms of esports.

The 1990 Nintendo World Championships Competition cartridges were made specifically for the competition and feature special timed and scored versions of various Nintendo games such as the first Super Mario Bros., Rad Racer, and Tetris. It’s unknown how many original cartridges were produced, but there are supposedly a total of 116 original cartridges in circulation altogether: 90 gray cartridges were given to participants and 26 gold cartridges were given to high-placing performers, according to an article at Atari HQ. $130,000 may seem like a lot, but given the very limited number of official and numbered cartridges out in the wild, it’s considered one of the holy grails of gaming history.

The Nintendo World Championships have happened a few times since their original incarnation, often in conjunction with supporting and hyping new games such as Super Mario Odyssey in the 2017 NWCs, but the original Nintendo World Championships competition cartridges represent one of Nintendo’s rare attempts at an early form of esports. It’s hard to say if $130,000 NES cartridge will sell, but such a rare piece is arguably worth the asking price. Be sure to check out the rare SNES PlayStation CD-ROM prototype console which also sold in auction recently for over $360,000.

News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. When he's not handing out beatdowns in the latest fighting games, exploring video game history, or playing through RPGs with his partner, he's searching for new food and drinks in the constant pursuit of good times with good people inside and outside the South Texas area. You can also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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