On more than one occasion we have found that collectors of video games or products based on them are willing to pay stratospheric amounts of money to keep the strangest or rarest of items. The latest case is a Super Mario Bros. 3 cartridge from NES that has sold for $31,200 at Heritage Auctions.
The point is that this cartridge is not a very common one, because it is actually a prototype of this classic Mario adventure that was created by Nintendo itself, being in turn the first cartridge of these characteristics that has come to be sold on the well-known auction page.
As you can see in detail in the image of this product in question, it is a cartridge discarded from Kid Icarus that was modified to introduce an EPROM (erasable programmable rom) of Super Mario Bros. 3. That’s why it appears drawn with marker the name “SMB-3” and the initials “SM-3” in two other parts.
All this is accompanied by the date of February 1990, the same time that the game was officially released in stores, so it is assumed that it is a cartridge with one of the latest versions that came to develop. This is the information provided by the auction house of Heritage Auctions:
This prototype was made from a gutted Kid Icarus cartridge. Some of the sections of the cartridge have been cut to expose the EPROM. In every sense of the word, these EPROMs are the “heart” of the prototype, since they are the ones that contain the data prior to the launch of Super Mario Bros. 3.Two of these are labeled to reflect this. Both are hand labeled by one of the developers, the top one “SM-3” and the bottom one “SMB-3” with dates from February 1990 in both cases. It can be assumed that this indicates that this cartridge corresponds to one of the final stages of the game’s development, considering that it was released in the United States in February. “Super 3” has been scribbled on what appears to be a blue marker on the front of the cartridge on the Kid Icarus label in a seemingly hasty and casual manner by a Nintendo employee.