Stadium Events History and Identifying Rarest NES Game

It isn’t the gameplay that makes the 1987  Stadium Events so sought after. The game was actually re-released in 1988 with a new title: World Class Track Meet. For the truly rare version of Stadium Events, the rarest licensed Nintendo Entertainment System game of all time is finding a North American edition with its original title, for only about 10 to 11 copies have ever been spotted.

The game was originally test marketed in the United States by publisher Bandai as part of their Family Fitness line of games, designed for use with their Family Fun and Fitness Pad (similar to the Dance, Dance, Revolution dance pad).

Rumor has it that only 2,000 copies of the game were manufactured, and only 200 of those ever shipped to retail, selling exclusively at Woolworths in the North-East part of the United States. Quickly after the games were sent to stores, Nintendo bought up the North American rights to the Family Fun and Fitness pad, repackaging and re-releasing it as the Nintendo Power Pad.

Once Nintendo owned the rights, all of the Family Fun games in North America were recalled including those 200 copies of Stadium Events. Word around the collector's community is that only those few copies that were sold in a couple of days before the recall are actually out in circulation, the rest were all destroyed to make way for Nintendo’s repackaged version, World Class Track Meet.

So far only a handful of copies of Stadium Events have ever been spotted. Since most folks tossed the packaging back in the day, finding a copy with the original box and manual was unheard of until recently.

The repackaged version, World Class Track Meet is actually a quite common NES game, having been sold by itself and packaged with the NES Power Pad bundle on the same cartridge as Super Mario. Bros and Duck Hunt.

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The Foreign Versions of Stadium Events

Packshot © Namco Bandai

The most sought after version of Stadium Events is the North American edition. The game cartridge alone sells anywhere from $500 to $1,2000, but with an original box and manual, the highest price it has sold for was over $13,000.

However, the game wasn't limited to North America. The Family Fitness edition was also shipped to West Germany and Sweden in 1988. In these territories the game was widely available and never recalled as Bandai retained the international rights to the Family Fun and Fitness Pad. While these copies are one of the harder to find NES games, valued around $200, their rarity is nowhere near that of the North American version.

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How to Know if Your Copy of Stadium Events Is Legit

Once you know the identifiers of spotting a legitimate rate edition of Stadium Events, it's easy to know if the seller has an original copy or the more common foreign edition. Just follow these simple rules:.

Rule 1: If it's easy to find, it's not rare. Collectors have been trying to hunt out this title for over 20 years, with only a few actual copies ever spotted.

At the writing of this article, there are 30 different auctions on eBay, all claiming to be legitimate versions of the rare Stadium Events. Since only about 10 to 20 copies of the game have ever been seen, the majority of these look like they are foreign versions or all-out scams. Of all 30 only one actually looks legitimate.

Rule 2: If purchasing from an auction site or places that offer used games, first check the sellers rating. If they have a zero rating from previous buyers or several negatives, then be cautious. Many scammers often create phony profiles and drop them after the first or several scams put their ratings in the negatives, and then quickly create a new profile to continue ripping folks off.

Rule 3: Avoid Craigslist for all collectibles valued over $200 (if you can afford to lose even that much). Craigslist is famous for scams. While there are some honest folk out there looking to avoid eBay fees and wanting to sell locally, it's unlikely that $1,000+ mint in box copy of Stadium Events you find posted there is legit.

Other Craigslist Rules:

  • Avoid picking up a Craigslist item from the seller's home. Arrange a public place to meet, like a restaurant or bar. If the item is too large for this and you absolutely have to go to the seller's home, bring a friend or two with you (safety in numbers). Just tell the seller they are there to help you move the item.
  • Don't purchase from out-of-towners who post on local sections of Craigslist, especially international sellers. Often scam artists will post ads in towns they do not live in, and even other counties. If you fall for this, once you mail them your money you might as well kiss it goodbye forever.

Rule 4: Learn to Identify A Legit Copy of Stadium Events (see next step)

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Rule 4: Learn to Identify A Legit Copy of Stadium Events

To say "legit" copy isn't truly accurate, while the non-rare versions of Stadium Events are actually official releases of the game, they were commonly available in West Germany and Sweden. In the collectibles market they still do bring in some value, averaging around $200 for a copy in good condition, but they are nowhere near the value or rarity of a North American copy of the game.

In Feb of 2010, when an unknowing eBay seller posted a near perfect copy of the game complete with box and manual (the only complete version found) and ended up selling it for $13,105, the story blew up in the press. All over the country everyone, including non-gamers, were talking about it and searching attics and eBay for lost retro gaming gold.

The result has been a flood of foreign versions of Stadium Events popping up, trying to palm themselves off as the North American rarity, with rip-off prices upwards of $10,000. If you're truly serious about buying a legitimately rare version of the game, then learn the following identifiers.

North American Stadium Event Identifiers:

While most of the text on the box and cartridge are written in English, on the less rare international versions, a line of text in the orange stripe just below the title "Stadium Events" and above the words "Nintendo Entertainment System" that should be written in English only.

The line should always read as..."Licensed by Nintendo for play on the"

If this one line of text is written in any other language, then it is not the rare North American version.

The circular "Nintendo Seal of Quality" is vastly different on the North American version than it is on European games. On NES games in North America the Nintendo Seal of Quality.

North American Seal of Quality:

  • Circle-shaped
  • Color of the box is showing though the hollow circle with the text printed over it
  • Text reads: "This seal is your assurance that Nintendo has approved and guaranteed the quality of this product"

European Seal of Quality:

  • Oval shaped
  • The inside of the oval is white with gold text
  • Text reads: "Official Nintendo Seal of Quality"

The lower right corner of the box front should have the item number. International versions of the game have no printing on the lower right corner, or the letter "B".

Note: Even if the photo of the game that accompanies the online action follows all of these identifiers, ask for additional images to be sent to you. Several sellers are using images of the legit version that they've swiped from legit copies to try and deceive potential buyers. If the seller refuses to send additional images then you've likely come across another scam.