A copy of one of the rarest ever video games is attracting near six-figure bids on eBay. The listing is for a sealed copy of Stadium Events on NES from 1987.
At the time of writing, the highest of 81 bids on the cartridge was $99,850, with three days remaining. That means that unless the auction is cancelled, the seller will face the maximum $750 fee from eBay, making this an expensive hoax if that is the case.
However, the game has a track record (pardon the pun) of going for high prices. Kotaku reports a 2010 sale of a used copy for $13,105, followed a couple of weeks later by an eBay sale of a sealed copy for $41,300. That sale fell through, but the following year an eBay sale at $22,800 was completed.
As things stand, that appears to be the second highest price ever paid for a video game, behind a $33,400 eBay sale of Air Raid on the Atari 2600, though it’s not clear if that sale was completed.
Two other Atari 2600 games, Birthday Mania and Gamma Attack, are arguably more valuable as only one copy is thought to exist of each. However, they’ve never been publicly sold, so their price is somewhat academic.
In any case, if the current Stadium Events sale goes through, it will shatter previous price records. It’s in the category where there are few enough copies to ensure a high price, but enough copies to have a market in sales.
The rarity comes because Stadium Events was originally produced under license by Bandai to use with a running pad accessory. Nintendo bought out the rights to the accessory just as the game was getting an initial soft launch in North America. Nintendo then decided to re-release the game under its own banner as World Class Track Meet.
As a result Stadium Events was quickly recalled, with estimates of only a couple of hundred copies reaching consumers. Only a handful are thought to still exist, with even fewer still sealed.