One of the best-selling and best-rated video games of all time just set another record: The most expensive sale of a video game at auction ever.
An unopened, highly graded copy of "Super Mario 64," the 1996 flagship title of the Nintendo 64 console and beloved video game icon Mario's first foray into 3D gaming, sold for $1.56 million at auction on Sunday, according to Heritage Auctions.
Heritage Auctions noted that it's the first time a single video game has sold for more than $1 million. The sale topped a record set two days ago when a copy of "The Legend of Zelda" sold for $870,000 on Friday.
"After the record-breaking sale of the first game in the Zelda series on Friday, the possibility of surpassing $1 million on a single video game seemed like a goal that would need to wait for another auction," Valarie McLeckie, video games specialist for Heritage Auctions, said in a statement.
"We were shocked to see that it turned out to be in the same one!" McLeckie added. "We are proud to have been a part of this historic event."
"Super Mario 64" sold nearly 12 million copies after its release in 1996, making it the best-selling game on the Nintendo 64 console. While a far cry from 1985's "Super Mario Bros.," which sold more than 58 million copies worldwide, "Super Mario 64" is widely considered to be one of the most influential games of all time, setting the precedent for a number of popular 3D platforming games for years to come.
Tim Schafer, the founder of video game developer Double Fine Productions, said when he first played "Super Mario 64," that “it was like an epiphany, that’s what I would say: Mario 64 was an epiphany.”
"Anyone who makes 3-D games who says they’ve not borrowed something from Mario or Zelda is lying," Dan Houser, a video game producer behind the "Grand Theft Auto" series told the New York Times in 2012.
"It defined the 3D platformer as a genre,” Tom Hall, a veteran video game designer best known for his work on "Doom," told VG 24/7. "The industry hadn’t really figured out 3D platforming yet, and here it was, a masterwork that set the standard. And it kinda kicked the butt of everything on the N64 after it.”
The game can still be found high on many lists of "the greatest games of all time" – IGN ranked it No. 10 out of 100, Polygon ranked it No. 16 out of 500, and the game still holds a 94 rating on Metacritic.
For those gamers who want to scratch that nostalgic itch but might not have $1.56 million to spare, Nintendo re-released the game as part of Super Mario 3D All-Stars in 2020, alongside two other fan favorites: "Super Mario Sunshine" (2002) and "Super Mario Galaxy" (2007).