What is quite possibly the world’s most valuable single production videogame is currently up for sale. But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s more valuable than it really is.
Stadium Events is the rarest game that was actually sold in stores for the Nintendo Entertainment System, and the copy currently being auctioned by seller “menaceone” on eBay is about the best, most pristine copy in existence: It’s still in its factory shrink-wrap, and it’s been given a grade of 85 out of 100 by the Video Game Authority, which authenticates and grades collectibles. It’s currently sealed in an acrylic slab for preservation, which also proves that it’s an authentic sealed copy.
The seller told GameSpot that he is a former Nintendo employee who got this game from the company back during the NES era.
How much will it sell for? It’s hard to say, exactly, because it’s been many years since a sealed Stadium Events was sold publicly. In January 2011, a sealed copy sold for a record high of $22,800. But demand for collectible games has exploded since then. In fact, if you look at the eBay auction today, you’ll see a current high bid of over $91,000.
Wow! Crazy! It will never sell for that much.
Sadly, what often happens when an eBay auction for a rare videogame like this starts drawing attention, the auction gets trolled. Bidders, some using burner accounts, start placing bids they never intend to follow through on. If you look at the item’s bidding history, you can see where the legitimate bids end and the trolling starts: Right around the $30,000 mark, where bidders start placing a series of incremental bids just to poke the item’s price up a little higher bit by bit.
Yes, whichever jokester loses this game of Russian roulette is technically legally obligated to purchase the item, but in reality the worst risk they’re running is getting an Unpaid Item strike on their eBay account.
This has happened a few times recently: Witness the profoundly ugly copy of Nintendo World Championships , estimated to be worth about $5,000, but bid up by trolls to just under $100,000. Later, the seller said that the game was sold privately for $5,000, the price at which he had set the auction’s original opening bid. The 11,000-game collection that the Guinness Book called the “world’s biggest” was auctioned on another site called GameGavel for over $750,000, but to this day it has not yet sold at any price.
What can be especially frustrating about these trolled auctions is the inevitable wave of incorrect news reports that follow, suggesting that the item in question has “sold” for the wildly inflated, unrealistic, fraudulent bid amount, without even a caveat.
Is there anything that can be done about this? Potentially: Remember that copy of Action Comics issue 1, the first comic book to feature Superman, that sold for $3.2 million on eBay, a record price for any comic? In that case, only pre-approved bidders could place bids. This is a standard feature of eBay, although it does require more work on the part of the seller.
Nobody’s going to impulse-buy a Stadium Events like it was a pack of gum at the checkout line. The number of videogame collectors who are prepared to make a legitimate five-figure bid on a rare item such as this is small, and they’d certainly be willing to take the extra step of securing pre-approval before placing a bid.