Rare Nintendo cartridge going for thousands on eBay

A super rare Nintendo game cartridge could sell for a small fortune in an eBay auction. With just over 24 hours to go, the game collectors call "the holy grail" is fetching over $20,000.

This Nintendo World Championship cartridge for the Nintendo Entertainment System was given out at the first Nintendo World Championships tournament in 1990. With only 116 cartridges in circulation, the auction is attracting both collectors and casual gamers alike. (Via eBay)

But as far as mint condition goes, this prize has seen better days.

With the original label ripped off, all that remains is the word "Mario" handwritten in pen. (Via eBay)

It's an odd game to be so highly-valued: The cartridge holds only the first levels of three different games, and gameplay lasts just under seven minutes. But enthusiasts say it's about what the game and the Championships signified.

"Battling the best, with the magic of the mind, in six minutes, 21 seconds of intense action and when that smoke clears, three world champions will stand tall as the best in the world." (Via Nintendo)

"It was the first significant video game competition of its kind in the U.S., but it also represented something larger. Video games and Nintendo had now become an everyday part of children’s lives, and now, there was no turning back." (Via YouTube / Pat the NES punk)

There's only one game valued above the Championships cartridge in the world of video game collecting: Stadium Events. According to Computer and Video Games, there's likely to only be 10 copies on the market.

And in 2010, a copy went for over $40,000 on eBay, though the buyer never completed the transaction. The Championships cartridge could go for even more, if it were one of the 26 golden copies given away through a Nintendo Power magazine contest. (Via Kotaku)

But even with the gray plastic and missing label, this cartridge would set a record. According to PriceCharting, a gold copy of the game went for a mere $18,000 in 2009.

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