Games We Love (4/5/23) -  Nintendo Black Box Games

Games We Love (4/5/23) - Nintendo Black Box Games

Games We Love - A Deep Dive Into Under-Appreciated Graded Video Games

Games We Love - Nintendo Black Box Games

April 5th, 2023 - Staff writer Lauren Sisselman discusses a handful of graded games that tell a compelling story or conjure feelings of nostalgia. This week covers Black Box NES titles!

When Nintendo launched the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985 to the North American market, they knew they were taking a gamble. But Nintendo was so sure of their product that they offered to buy back consoles and games that didn't sell. There are 30 unique titles that received the Black Box, and on top of that, there are numerous variations that go with them. These early NES games are some of the most collected NES games on the market, and here at Standard Gaming we have some of the best NES Black Box games on the market. Here’s just a sampling of some of our favorites.

WATA Graded Duck Hunt for NES

Duck Hunt WATA 8.5 CIB

For many of us, Duck Hunt was one of the first games we played on Nintendo. This game required the use of the infamous Nintendo Zapper Light Gun. This game helped popularize the accessory, even if the gun wasn’t always accurate! Duck Hunt is also notable for being an NES launch title, and would eventually become a part of the NES Delux Set. The game was so popular that over 25 million copies were sold – of course, many of those copies were likely included in the Delux Set, giving the game a somewhat unfair advantage! Yet still, Duck Hunt helped build a generation of players – myself included. While this game may not hold up as well as it did in the 1980s, it’s still an important piece of video game history.

This complete-in-box blue label CGC 8.5 has a grade breakdown of the following:

CIB Box Grade: 8.5
CIB Cart Grade: 8.0
CIB Manual Grade: 8.0
Overall Grade: 8.0

Duck Hunt is an iconic Nintendo game. The game was re-released on the Nintendo Wii U and uses the Wii remote as the new laser gun. While it was a fun trip down memory lane, nothing beats the feeling of the real thing. Duck Hunt is perfect for NES collectors, black box collectors, and vintage game enthusiasts.

WATA Graded Super Mario Bros. for NES

Super Mario Bros. WATA 9.4 A Seal

Without a doubt, Super Mario Bros was the game almost every single one of us played in the 1980s and 1990s. Nintendo’s mascot is a global icon, and Super Mario Bros would go on to birth one of the most popular video game franchises of all time. Mario and his friends would find cross-over appeal in cartoons, movies, comics, and of course toys. This was one of my favorite games to play growing up. My copy of Super Mario Bros was combined with Duck Hunt – which was a part of the original Nintendo Delux Set. Even though I had no idea what I was doing this game provided hours of fun when I wasn’t in school. The graphics, controls, and music are still fresh in my mind, and honestly, I still play this game on my Nintendo Switch. Over 40 million of the original NES game sold worldwide – an insane feat for any video game!

This sealed 9.4 A WATA-graded copy is as good as it gets. Few of these games remained sealed, especially in such an impressive collection. If there was any one game to buy where money wasn’t a barrier, this is it. In any grade, this game is a highlight for any collection. This game is perfect for high-grade collectors, Mario collectors, Luigi collectors, Princess Peach (Toadstool) collectors, NES completionists, and vintage collectors.

WATA Graded Pinball for NES

Pinball WATA 8.0 A Seal

Collecting pinball machines is a personal hobby of mine, but pinball machines are large and take up a ton of space. Virtual pinball is a great way to enjoy the game, but not all virtual pinball games are created equally! Nintendo’s Pinball was a launch title for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985 and is one of the better virtual pinball games to this day. The playfields are basic and there’s little in the way of excitement, but the controls for this game are perfect. Nintendo Pinball was re-released for the Nintendo Switch Online in the spring of 2022, and the game still holds up. The Switch’s controllers work exceptionally well with this game, and it is a lot of fun to play. Pinball is a personal favorite game of mine, and I’m glad it has become a collector's piece.

This sealed 8.0 A WATA-graded copy is a must-have. The box art depicts Mario with a board over his head, protecting him from those somewhat dangerous silver pinballs. This game is a part of the action series per the notation on the lefthand corner of the box – something later Nintendo games would stray from. This box also sports the round Nintendo seal. This is a great copy, and is perfect for pinball collectors, Mario collectors, black box collectors, and Nintendo completionists!

WATA Graded Donkey Kong Jr. for NES

Donkey Kong Jr. WATA 8.0 CIB

Originally an arcade platformer in 1982, Donkey Kong Jr. would be ported to several home consoles, including the Atari 2600, the ColecoVision, the Famicom Disk System, the Famicom, and the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1986. Donkey Kong Jr. was well received as an arcade game, and while the levels may be different from port to port, the console versions were also well received. This is still a great game and had a mini renaissance of its own upon release – how many of you had a chance to try the Donkey Kong Jr. cereal? Fans can still play this game on the Nintendo Switch thanks to the Arcade Archives.

This complete-in-box 8.0 features a round Nintendo seal in silver and presents very well. The grade breaks down as the following:

CIB Box Grade: 6.5
CIB Cart Grade: 9.6
CIB Manual Grade: 9.2
Overall Grade: 8.0

Donkey Kong Jr. is perfect for arcade collectors, Donkey Kong collectors, Donkey Kong Jr. collectors, Mario collectors, vintage collectors, and Nintendo completionists.

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Looking For More General Information on Graded Games?

· If any of the terminology used in this guide was confusing or new to you, please refer to our convenient glossary of terms here.
· Need more information about graded games in general? Check out this intro to the different types of certified video games here.