Scott Amos says his mom’s been after him to get his childhood junk out of her Reno, Nevada, attic since he moved out on his own more than 20 years ago, and now, his whole family’s glad he did.
When he went through one of the boxes, he came across a rare unopened copy of the Nintendo Entertainment System game “Kid Icarus” that has been sold at auction for $9,000, including the buyer’s premium.
The shrink-wrapped cartridge was still in a JCPenney bag along with a receipt showing that it was purchased in December 1988, when Amos was 9.
Amos says the game has been the talk of the family since he picked up the boxes for Mother’s Day.
“Our only theory is that it was a Christmas present my mom bought for us and never actually gave to us,” he said.
His mom didn’t remember it, and when he told her about it, she said, “I paid $34.99 for a stupid video game?”
It was actually $38.45 with taxes and fees.
Amos, 40, said he knows nothing about video games or collecting, but he thought it might be worth a couple hundred dollars on eBay.
“I just left it on the kitchen counter, within reach of my two small kids or the dog or anything else,” Amos said. He contacted Wata Games, a Denver company that grades the condition of video games for collectors.
“He provided me some photos, and I said, ‘what you have there is something special, and it’s worth a pretty good chunk of change if it’s authentic,’ ” Wata Games CEO Deniz Kahn said.
“I remember calling my wife, and I’m like, ‘hey, you know that game I left? Please put it somewhere important. I don’t want the kids drawing on it or anything or opening it,’ ” Amos said.
Kahn told Amos that a “Kid Icarus” cartridge in similar shape sold for more than $10,000, but his company would have to see it to authenticate it.
“My biggest question was ‘how do you ship a $10,000 or possible $10,000 game?’ ” Amos said.
The mechanical engineer bought four packages of bubble wrap and swaddled the cartridge until it was about 2 feet around. Then he shipped it to Denver with lots of insurance.
Wata said that the game was real and that it was in great shape, especially after decades in a Reno attic.
It rated the box’s condition as an 8 out of 10 and the wrapper as an A (the highest grade is an A++). Wata charges a fee to evaluate games and put them in tamper-proof boxes, but they don’t make any money from the sale of the games.
Kahn connected Amos with Heritage Auctions, which sold the game.
“‘Kid Icarus’ is one of those really iconic titles for the Nintendo Entertainment System,” said Valarie McLeckie, video game consignment director at Heritage Auctions. “Finding a sealed copy in the wild is very difficult. It’s nigh to impossible because there’s less than 10 known sealed that are in the hands of collectors currently, and we don’t suspect that there are very many, if any, [more] that are still sealed.”
She said it’s even more rare to find a game that still has its original price tag and receipts.
Amos says he played “Kid Icarus” at a neighbor’s house a couple of times, but he all he remembers is that it was really hard.
“I probably did ask for it for Christmas, or my sister [did],” Amos said. “That’s a debate in my family, who it was really meant for.”
The siblings avoided family drama by agreeing to split the proceeds of the sale 50/50.
They planned to spend the money on something practical, like bills, Amos said, but they’ve decided to do something more memorable.
“Now we’ve all come to an agreement that it’s been such a family affair, we should continue the fun with a Disney vacation,” he said.
And of course, he said, they’ll take their mom and dad, who bought the game in the first place.