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A forgotten trove of rare video games could now be worth six figures

Among the trove of games was an original version of the cult hit Chrono Trigger.
Screenshot from NPR
Among the trove of games was an original version of the cult hit Chrono Trigger.

When a Nebraska video game store closed in 1998, hundreds of sealed Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis cartridges were placed in storage. After their rediscovery last year, 173 of the most interesting items have now been appraised.

What are they? In something of a video game nerd's fantasy, the objects in question are hundreds of games for some of the most iconic consoles from the '90s.

  • The treasure trove has been in storage since around the time Mark Odorisio closed his video game shop in Nebraska.
  • He put the collection into storage and figured he would come back to it some time later.
  • Fans of vintage games were very excited when a video surfaced on YouTube last year of the find.

Want more on video games? Listen to Consider This on how Mortal Kombat conquered gaming.

What's the big deal? With the help of his brother, Tim Odorisio, and another video game store owner, Mark's collection was taken out of storage, graded and authenticated. And there are some gems in there.

  • Here's how Tim recalled the conversation: "I said, 'Mark, you need to make a decision about these games. What's your plan?' He said, 'Well, I was just going to keep them and then when I died, it would go to the kids.' I go, 'We can't ... your heart's in the right place, but your mind sucks.'"
  • Enter Chris Thompson, the owner of a chain of video game stores in Nebraska. He's the one who made the shaky YouTube video above. He helped the Odorisio brothers get the games graded and authenticated. He's gathered the 173 most mint items and is calling it the Nebraska Collection.
  • One of the buzziest items in the group is a nearly perfectly preserved copy of the game Chrono Trigger — a cult classic roleplaying game.
  • "The game itself is just this amazing masterpiece of the video roleplaying game genre that ... a lot of people would say is the best video game RPG ever made. Basically, this is as nice a copy of this particular game as you will ever see," said Chris Kohler, a collector and the editorial director at Digital Eclipse.

So, what now?

  • Kohler says the Nebraska Collection may have missed the spike in sales for vintage games during the early days of the pandemic, but that single games can still sell for $10,000. He predicts the collection will net somewhere in the six-figure range.
  • It's unclear how the games will be sold, but in a recent video, Thompson says the games in the Nebraska Collection will not be available for individual sale — though someone could take all 173 games for a large sum.

Learn more:

The radio version of this story was produced by Megan Lim and edited by Patrick Jarenwattananon contributed to this story

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Manuela López Restrepo
Manuela López Restrepo is a producer and writer at All Things Considered. She's been at NPR since graduating from The University of Maryland, and has worked at shows like Morning Edition and It's Been A Minute. She lives in Brooklyn with her cat Martin.