Scott Amos found the game in the attic of his childhood home in Reno this past Mother’s Day after his mom asked him to pick up a few boxes of his childhood stuff. Among the contents was a Nintendo game cartridge for Kid Icarus, still in the bag from J.C. Penney’s catalog department three decades earlier.
No one has a recollection of purchasing the game, but the Dec. 8, 1988, purchase date hints that it may have been intended as a Christmas present.
“All the family has been trying to come up with a hypothesis,” Amos said. “(My mom) thinks she put it there and never got it back out, and then it ended up in the attic.”
The game sold for $38.45 after taxes – more than $80 in today’s dollars.
Even after seeing the game still in its original packaging, Amos didn’t think much of its worth. He left it on the kitchen counter, well within reach of his two young daughters.
“It was kind of funny – I saw it was sealed, and I thought it was worth a couple hundred dollars,” Amos said. “I go to work the next day and emailed a couple of experts. One of them wrote me back within 30 minutes and said, ‘You have an Easter egg.'”
He immediately called his wife to put the game in a more secure location.
“I didn’t want the kids pulling it down or coloring on it,” Amos said.
“Kid Icarus is one of the hardest NES titles to find in sealed condition,” said Valarie McLeckie, video game consignment director at Heritage Auctions, in a news release.
“To find a sealed copy ‘in the wild,’ so to speak, not to mention one in such a nice condition and one with such transparent provenance, is both an unusual and rather historic occurrence. We feel that the provenance will add a significant premium for serious collectors.”
The game, based loosely on Greek mythology, follows a cupid-like protagonist named Pit attempting to rescue Palutena, the goddess of light, who is imprisoned by the evil Medusa.
“Get ready for the action and adventure of Greek Mythology translated to the Video Age,” the game’s packaging says. “Will you survive to restore Palutena’s light and return it to ‘Angel Land’? Only you know.”
Amos said he doesn’t recall ever owning his own copy: “I can remember the game. My neighbor down the street had it. I remember it being hard, and I was never that good of a gamer guy.”