Heritage sets two new auction records for vintage video game consoles and arcade cabinets

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Heritage sets two new auction records for vintage video game consoles and arcade cabinets
Nintendo Entertainment System Deluxe Set Console - VGA 85 NM+ Unopened [with R.O.B., Gyromite, Duck Hunt, and Zapper], NES Nintendo 1986 USA.

DALLAS, TX.- Heritage continues to set the standard for how the video game world goes to auction, and that includes how to shatter world records. In recent years the auction house has set records with eye-watering prices for pristine copies of Legend of Zelda ($870,000), Super Mario 64 ($1.56 million) and more, but it was an array of vintage consoles that led its November 3 - 4 Video Games Signature® Auction. The event produced two new records for video game consoles and arcade machines.

The auction topped $1.8 million in sales, with strong results for high-grade copies of many of the most desirable games in the collector market. But the session dedicated to consoles in this event set it apart from previous Heritage auctions in the category. The highest price paid for a commercially available video game console was realized at Heritage on Nov. 3: The Nintendo Entertainment System Deluxe Set Console from 1986, graded 85 NM+ by VGA, sold for $120,000. This is the console that revived the entire home console market in North America following a 1983 industry crash, making it one of the most important gaming systems in the history of the industry. While the console was an incredible success culturally and financially, unopened examples are ultra-rare, and this is especially true for the amazing Deluxe Set offered by Heritage, which included the NES console, two controllers, a Zapper light gun, the R.O.B. (Robotic Operating Buddy) and two boxed games: Gyromite and Duck Hunt.

The other record set in the auction was the highest price paid for an arcade video game — and this one happens to be the world's first arcade cabinet and the first commercially produced video game. While most casual game fans would likely name Pong as the first arcade and home console game, or perhaps Magnavox's arcade-opener Odyssey, an entire history precedes them (including a cast of characters and companies connected to both); the first genuine arcade video game, housed in a stunning futuristic custom fiberglass cabinet, was released in 1971, months prior to Pong and Odyssey, and was called Computer Space.

This trailblazing creation emerged from the brilliant minds of Syzygy Engineering/Atari co-founders Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney. Inspired by Steve Russell's 1962 Spacewar! computer game, Bushnell and Dabney worked tirelessly to bring this game to life. The result? A fun shooter, and given its appearance, an iconic sight in itself; the game makes appearances in Soylent Green (1973) and Jaws (1975).

An excellent and fully functioning 1973 example of Computer Space, in an ultra-rare green cabinet, sold at Heritage on Nov. 3 for a record-breaking $45,600.

"This event was a walk through video game history, with the first dedicated video game console session we've ever had," says Valarie Spiegel, Heritage's Managing Director of Video Games. "The sale of the first commercially available video game alongside an early edition of the Nintendo Entertainment System — Nintendo's breakout US console — exemplifies the enduring value and nostalgia associated with the rich, early narrative of gaming's ascension into mainstream culture."

Halcyon's Interactive Laser Disc System Prototype Game Console made an appearance in the event and realized $22,800. Developed by Rob Dyer of the landmark-making RDI Video Systems, creators of Dragon's Lair, the rare Halcyon prototype offered by Heritage represented a pivotal break in traditional gaming through its laser-disc technology, which delivered a quality of graphics and gameplay well ahead of its time.

Video games, the usual focus in this collector category, performed well in the event. A sealed 1990 Super Mario Bros. 3 graded 9.4 A+ by CGC sold for $108,000; a sealed 1987 Legend of Zelda graded 9.4 A+ by CGC sold for $48,000. Heritage hailed the king of survivor horror with a copy of PlayStation's 1996 Resident Evil; this sealed ridged longbox first production, graded 9.6 A+ by Wata, brought $38,400. A CGC-graded 9.8 A++ of Nintendo's 1997 Mario Kart 64 (collectors sometimes refer to this as the "red label" version) sold for $36,000.

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