Tag Archives: Mario

Mint Condition of Famous Game Sells Big

Have you ever thought, “yeah, I would spend over $100,000 for a video game.” Well, one person thought the money was well spend.

An original mint condition Super Mario Bros was sold at an auction on Thursday for $100,150 to a group of people that plan on sharing the game among each other.

This is the most expensive game to have been sold since the unique Nintendo World Championships cartridge was sold for $100,088 on eBay back in 2014.

This version of Super Mario Bros, is a  version that was used during the early test launch. So most likely, any version that you and I may have of Mario is not going to sell for that much. The same goes for most of our favorites and no, Fortnite isn’t one of them.

The question is now, could a game that is graded as mint, sell for over $1 million. A lot of people in the gaming world believe that we could see that in our lifetimes.

The question is that what would be the game to reach that mark. Could it be an arcade game like PAC-Man or could it be another Mario game or could a game that we don’t expect like the failed E.T. games that were reportedly buried because of how bad they were.

We just have to wait for the moment when one of these games hits the auction block.

$45 Time Machine

Almost everyone is looking for the one thing that will act as a time machine to transport them back to their childhood. For many people that time machine comes in the form of a Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64, Atari or PlayStation. In a world dominated by the Xbox One and the PlayStation Four, the simplicity and nostalgia that these vintage systems bring to the player is priceless.

Radford University junior and business finance major Taylor Easter has turned his passion for retro games into a fairly lucrative small business. Taylor began his business while working on expanding his own game collection. While scouring yard sales and pawnshops, he’d often come across fairly priced duplicates of games that he already had. He began selling these in order to turn a profit, thus beginning Taylor’s Retro Games. Realizing what a gold mine the gaming industry could be, Taylor began setting up shop, even obtaining a table at a video game convention (during which he made enough money to pay off his car).

Taylor's Retro Games! Graphic by McKenzie Gibbons
Taylor’s Retro Games! Graphic by McKenzie Gibbons

Taylor’s strategy is easy to follow. Before going out and buying merchandise, he checks the prices of games on websites such as Amazon and eBay. “I try not to make purchases unless I’m paying 1/3 of its value so I can triple my money,” Taylor says.

Currently Taylor has many consoles in stock, including the Nintendo 64, PlayStation One and Two, Atari, Intellivision, and Sega Dreamcast and Genesis, in addition to some handheld systems. His game inventory includes fan favorites like Super Mario and Pokémon.

So how do Taylor’s prices stack up against big name companies selling the same merchandise?

DKOldies is currently selling a Nintendo 64 for a whopping $74.99, while the slightly more honestly priced Luckie Games is selling one for $61.64. Taylor’s price is a far more reasonable $45. The fact that Taylor has found a way to spend money to make money, and still be able to sell his merchandise at completely respectable prices, says a lot about his character and savvy business skills.

While business is booming now, Taylor imagines that his gaming business will take a backseat once he graduates from RU, becoming more of a hobby than an income. Those desperately searching for a piece of their childhood to buy back at a fair price should make their purchases while Taylor’s Retro Games is still operating.

To contact Taylor, simply e-mail him at taylorsretrogames@gmail.com. For those looking for a game that he doesn’t have in stock, Taylor takes requests and will keep his eye out for the games you desire.

Mario A.I. can do for himself

Everyone’s favorite Italian plumber is getting a new life in a project created by a trio of computer scientists from the University of Tübingen, Germany. The research team created a Mario on his way to self-actualization by way of artificial intelligence.

The team released the Mario A.I. as a video project called “Mario Lives!” for the annual video competition organized by the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (a nonprofit scientific society).

“As most of you know, this is Mario,” one researched explains within the video. “But what you do not know is that this Mario has become aware of himself and his environment — at least to a certain extent.” You can watch the video here in order see Mario learn and react to his world as he works through the Super Mario World game where he originated. The researcher adds that Mario “starts out with knowledge of his body then registers additional context to his knowledge base.”

Mario explores his world with thoughts and feelings. Graphic from ABC News
Mario explores his world with thoughts and feelings. Graphic from ABC News

Mario learns from his own experiences within the game world and from natural language prompts and suggestions given to him by the researchers, as seen in the video. He can explore the level on his own and make discoveries that he reports back to a human observer. An example shown in the video: the researcher asks Mario what a Goomba is (one of Mario’s enemies) and he reports that he doesn’t know. After he’s killed one, though, and his answer changes: “If I jump on Goomba, then it certainly dies.”

His responses are not scripted, but in fact born from a set of words and feelings generated by the A.I. programming. Researchers gave the plumber a rudimentary sense of self and the capacity to learn through techniques from Cognitive Modeling to design “artificial self-organized cognitive systems that learn multimodal modular sensorimotor bodyspace representations for effective learning and behavior.”

This all too human ability to learn and respond will allow Mario to eventually advance from asking ‘how’ and ‘what’ to asking ‘why’ — something top members of the scientific community have expressed deep concerns about. Stephen Hawking has a chilling view on AIs in an interview with John Oliver, recounting a joke on the power of this technology. He stated more explicitly to the BBC “the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”

Whether you believe in the horror story that Hawking has pictured or the light-hearted fun of the potential shown through the “Mario Lives!” project, these advancements are exciting news for the scientific community.

Weekly Time Wasters: Volcanic explosions and spider dog!

This video is just beautiful. What’s not to like, there’s volcanic explosion, a massive shockwave, and a man trying not to swear like a sailor!

This video game mash-up shows us just how absurd some of our favorite video games would be in real life. Perhaps bad graphics can be a good thing.

You could lose entire days in Roller Coaster Tycoon, just imagine if it was a 4 dimensional game!

It’s official, we love Mutant Giant Spider Dog! Who doesn’t love a sinister idea with an adorable twist?

Retro gaming corner: Partying with Mario Party

Photo from Creative Commons

Mario Party is a game that managed to survive the decades fighting on through the changes in the market. It’s about time the original 1998 game was looked over and was held to today’s standards.

Game Play:

Game play is fairly straightforward. It is more or less like a board game. You pick your character and map, and then you move to the beginning square. Each player rolls to see who gets to go first. From there, players roll to see how many spaces they can move. Some spaces are traps that take away coins, while others trigger events or mini games. At the end of each round, a four person mini game is triggered. In this mini game, players compete to win coins. In some cases, the mini game takes coins from the players who lose and gives them to their opponent. As you move around the map, coins become important. They allow you to buy stars, a key for winning. The person with the most stars wins.

The four-player mini games can get rather intense as people battle to gain and/or keep their coins, desperate to save enough to buy a star. A lot more strategy is used in these mini game battles than one would think. You are sometimes better off not running head-first into whatever mini game, but taking your time and waiting for the other players to mess up.

Bonus stars add a complex element to the game. The game records how many coins you earn throughout the match and tallies them up. The person with the most total coins wins the coin star. There is also a mini game star for the person who gets the most coins from mini games, and a happening star for the person who triggered the most events. This bonus star component makes it harder to predict who will win.

The Good:

It is perhaps one of the funnest and most intense four-person games out there. You become so immersed within your character that it becomes hard not to scream at the top of your lungs when something bad happens to them. The mini games are fun and quick, leaving no doubt as to who the winner is in the end.

The Bad:

Since this review is based on current-day standards, the graphics are horrible and come out stretched and pixelated on most TVs. You can adjust it on most TVs, but not enough to make that much of a difference. Every time you fail to have enough money to buy a star, Toad makes the single most annoying sound in the world. By the end of the game, Toad and his family are in risk of being destroyed just because he can’t stop making that whining noise. The game’s music is horrible and cheesy, hardly comparing to today’s games. Controls with the Nintendo 64 are clunky and painful for the games that use the joystick portion.

Final Thoughts:

Even with all of its flaws, compared to current games, it is still among the most amusing and challenging games to play, though all of that depends on who you play with. It might not have the flair or the style of modern games, but there is just something about that nostalgic feel of watching 64-bit characters beating the crap out of each. Other than that it is just, well, amazing.

Whim Rating: 4.5/5