The $13,000 Nintendo Game

Imagine cleaning out your children’s closet and finding a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), dating back from the mid-to-late 1980s.  You put it and the pile of games up for auction on eBay — and a few days later, the auction breaks through the $10,000 barrier.  That’s exactly what happened to one North Carolina woman earlier this year.

Stadium Events, a game created for early versions of the NES, was a simple track and field game with one twist — instead of using a controller (and your hands) to move your athlete, you used used an accessory called the Family Fun Fitness mat — and your feet.  The game made its way into a few Woolworth’s across North America, with roughly 2,000 copies distributed for retail sale. But soon after, Nintendo acquired the rights to the technology behind the Family Fun Fitness mat, re-branding it as the Power Pad.  Nintendo recalled the existing copies of Stadium Events and later reissued it under the name World Class Track Meet, an otherwise identical game. All said and done, roughly two hundred copies of Stadium Events are believed to have made it into the hands of consumers.

The lady who listed the game — along with the rest of the NES games and gear she found laying around — apparently had no idea of its value.  But she did start a trend.  After reading about the windfall auction, a man from Kansas went through his own stash, finding a factory-sealed version of Stadium Events.  He sold it on eBay as well, netting over $40,000.  It’s believed to be one of only two still-sealed games in existence.

Why was his copy still sealed?  Because when he bought it, he did not have the Family Fun Fitness mat (and never could find one subsequently).  He never got around to returning the game.

Bonus fact: Amateur treasure hunting is not limited to one’s closets and attics.  Earlier this month, a British hospital chef found over 50,000 Roman coins, dating back over 1700 years, buried in a field in the southwest of England.  The coins are worth roughly $1 million.

Related: Want your very own copy of the game? Amazon has one for sale — for a mere $2,000.

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