Walking through the vendor aisles at the Video Game Summit this year, I came upon something that I haven’t seen with my own eyes since probably 1991 or 1992. Sitting together with a bunch of other classic video game memorabilia was a 1989 Super Mario Doll from Applause. Immediately after seeing it I was hit with a surge of nostalgia, followed by the suspicion that the thing was going to cost me a arm and a leg. Anything Super Mario Bros usually fetches a pretty high price, but I decided I would ask the vendor to see how bad the sticker shock was anyway.
“Hey man! Is that a vintage Mario Doll there?” I said.
“Yeah! He’s missing his hat, but he’s from the 80’s.” He replied.
“How much are you asking for him?” I said, getting ready to be hit with an absolutely ridiculous price.
“20 bucks.” said the seller.
“That’s it?!” I said.
Usually I don’t let my poker face show like that, but I was pretty happy with the price and decided to pick it up.
The first time I saw this Mario doll was at a video game rental store located in Crystal Lake, IL called Video Game Adventures. The store itself was pretty amazing, featuring a vast library of games to rent for all consoles and even handhelds. Games with blue tags only cost a dollar to rent for the weekend, where newer black tagged games cost 2 dollars to rent.
Located up front at the register was a glass display case with used Nintendo games and along with those games was the same Mario doll keeping watch over the grey cart goodness. I immediately asked if it was for sale, but the owner explained to me that it was gift to her from her daughter in celebration that she opened up the store. I can tell you that I coveted that thing every time I visited that store. Sadly, one day we went to Video Game Adventures to pick up some games for the weekend and the store was gone! It pretty much vanished without a trace and I was crushed.
I explained this same story to the vendor and I could tell that he felt really happy that he was able to hook me up with my long lost little buddy. I think I made his day as much as he made mine. Sure, by today’s standards this Mario doll looks pretty goofy; but this was my childhood Mario and I’m really pleased to finally have one.