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    Super Mario Bros. 3 - Wata Certified Prototype, NES Nintendo 1990 USA. This may very well be one of the most influential video game titles that we have ever had the opportunity to offer in our auctions. While we have offered Nintendo-published prototypes previously, this is the first prototype of a video game that was developed by Nintendo that we have ever offered. Not to mention, this is also the first prototype we have ever offered of a video game starring Nintendo's mascot Mario! It's no surprise that it's taken as long as it has, as Nintendo has a history of being extremely diligent about preventing internal development tools from leaving their grounds.

    Despite the fact that this game was released just one year prior to the release of the Super Nintendo in the United States, Super Mario Bros. 3 managed to surge up the list of best-selling titles on the NES and secure its spot as the third-best-selling title on the system with more than 17 million copies sold worldwide. It's incredible to think that this cartridge contains data preceding the US release and was integral to the title's development.

    Wata has not assigned this prototype a grade, per their grading standards for prototypes, since there were no universal standards for developers who created these sorts of items for internal purposes only. We have often heard from prototype collectors that developers tended to repurpose spare parts lying around the company to fashion them into prototypes.

    As far as appearance goes, this is certainly one of the most unique-looking prototypes that we have been able to offer. True to tale, this prototype was made from a gutted cartridge for Kid Icarus. Sections of the cartridge have been cut away to expose the EPROMs (Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory). In every sense of the word, these EPROMs are the "heart" of the prototype, as they are what contain the pre-release data for Super Mario Bros. 3. Two of these are labeled to reflect this. Both are labeled in hand by one of the developers, the top "SM-3" and the bottom reading "SMB3" with February 1990 dates on both. It can be assumed that this indicates this cartridge is from one of the final stages of the game's development, considering it was released in the US in February. "Super 3" has been scrawled in what appears to be blue marker across the front of the cartridge on the Kid Icarus label, in a seemingly hurried and casual fashion by a Nintendo employee.

    The magnitude of the historical impact of this prototype is hard to convey with words alone. These days, Mario is as synonymous with the emotion of "joy" as other famous icons before him, and this was a vital step to his journey into our hearts. To hold this prototype in-hand feels like a true gift, and we're not sure when - if ever - we'll have the opportunity to offer this one-of-a-kind piece of history again.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2020
    10th-13th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 28
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 19,783

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