First Super Mario Bros. 3 video game prototype headed to Heritage Auctions

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First Super Mario Bros. 3 video game prototype headed to Heritage Auctions
Super Mario Bros. 3 — Wata-Certified Prototype, NES Nintendo 1990 USA is the first video game prototype developed by Nintendo.

DALLAS, TX.- A certified prototype for Super Mario Bros. 3 – one of the most influential video game titles ever created – will be one of the biggest attractions in Heritage Auctions' Comics Auction Sept. 10-13.

Super Mario Bros. 3 — Wata-Certified Prototype, NES Nintendo 1990 USA is the first video game prototype developed by Nintendo, and the first prototype for a Mario game, that Heritage Auctions has ever has offered.

"We are undoubtedly on the verge of a historic sale as far as the Super Mario Bros. 3 prototype is concerned,” Heritage Auctions Video Games Director Valarie McLeckie said. "Historically, Nintendo has always ensured all internal production materials never leave the company's walls. Prototypes, especially those as important as this one, are usually kept indefinitely, destroyed or dismantled for parts once their purpose to the developers has been fulfilled. With that in mind, it's difficult to say when we will be able to offer another Nintendo-developed video game prototype — if ever.”

Despite its relatively late release on the Nintendo Entertainment System NES, Super Mario Bros. 3 was so groundbreaking that it sold more than 17 million units in its time and holds down the third spot on the bestsellers list for the NES. As such, the historical significance of this prototype can not be overstated.

Its physical construct consists of a gutted Kid Icarus cartridge, sections of which were cut away to expose the EPROMs (Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory) which make up the "heart” of the prototype. It can be assumed this prototype is from one of final stages of the game's development, based on the dates handwritten on the EPROMs' labels. "Super 3” has been handwritten in blue marker across the front of the cartridge by one of the developers. Since prototypes were created only for internal purposes, there were no universal standards for their creation. As such, this received a certification of authenticity rather than a grade, which follows Wata's usual practice for prototypes.

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