By Chris Morris
When it comes to collecting video games, JJ Hendricks knows his stuff.
Earlier this week, he completed a two-year quest to obtain one of the rarest of Nintendo cartridges in existence, shelling out over $12,000 to do so. But the story of how he finally got the collectible is even more fascinating than object itself.
At stake was a Nintendo PowerFest ’94 cartridge for the Super Nintendo, which was created specifically for a video game competition Nintendo held in the mid-90s across the U.S. and Canada. The cartridge contains tournament versions of three SNES games — Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels, Super Mario Kart and Ken Griffey, Jr. Baseball. A mere 32 were made, and while they were all supposed to be recycled after the tournament, it didn’t work out that way.
Only two are known to be in existence. When Hendricks wrote about that fact in 2010, he heard from a reader who was interested in selling his copy.
After verifying its authenticity, the two began negotiating. The seller wanted $50,000, which was way out of Hendricks’ budget. Things fell apart, but amicably. A year later, the seller reached out again, this time with a $25,000 price tag. Again, they couldn’t find a mutually acceptable compromise.