Rare Nintendo 1978 Cocktail Othello Arcade Game

Just over a week ago a piece of arcade game history came up for sale on eBay in Chicago Illinois. A rare 1978 Computer Othello, Nintendo’s first arcade game, created some buzz in the blogosphere. But none of them had anything interesting to say other than “Doi, here it is, it’s overpriced.”

Nintendo Computer Othello – Little known history about this arcade import

I can see why they didn’t have anything interesting to say. After about a half hour of searching, I didn’t find out anything of much interest either and I’m still waiting back for an official comment on the possession origins of the game.

There is a little thumbnail of the original Othello flyer that came from Wikipedia, but even Dan at arcadeflyers.com doesn’t have the original (hence no larger view) one yet.

Nintendo Computer Othello Flyers

At $1,200, considering what that item is, that price is probably about right for the right person, and that right person is not the general collector sphere. It didn’t sell the first time around, I should just try to pop in when I’m up there next month. Here are the photos from the auction;

Nintendo Computer Othello eBay Auction - Photo 1Nintendo Computer Othello eBay Auction - Photo 2Nintendo Computer Othello eBay Auction - Photo 3

If there was anyone / anything that would know more about Computer Othello it would be Isao Yamazaki and the people that put together the Nintendo Museum back in March / April of 2007. How many were made, how many Othello’s were imported etc. It is a good possibility that the exhibit had the flyer, which could be how the little thumbnail appeared.

Nintendo Museum Osaka Japan - Photo 1Nintendo Museum Osaka Japan - Photo 2
Photos via videogameden.com

I couldn’t figure out who Isao was, was he involved with Nintendo corporate when they expanded into the video game realm? If you are more knowledgeable, let us know the connection or if you have seen a larger image of the flyer somewhere.

Think the game is way overpriced? I’d like to hear a good intellectual argument on what price it should be…

Here are some similar arcade posts

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I'd say it's overpriced. Consider:

1) The overall market
2) The niche market
3) The game itself

1) the overall arcade market is way, way down right now. That's going to hurt the resale price of pretty much every coin op out there today. There are a few exceptions (many in your post about the most expensive games) but overall even those are selling for less than they might have 3-5 years ago.

2) Someone who's a die-hard Nintendo collector, die-hard obscure coin op collector, or some mixture of both will help keep the price from going too far down moreso than the other two categories. However, the game isn't widely known, which will shrink the niche market down some more and possibly also shrink the price down with it. Tough to say, it only takes two really interested parties to drive the price way up.

3) Computer Othello is, for lack of a better term, a dud. Nobody will buy the game to actually play it. It's a conversation peice, a museum piece. It's a piece that holds bragging rights and not much more.

It would be surprising to see it sell for more than $800 at the very most.

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I think that it goes without saying, any smart collector knows rare does not equal valuable, isn't really of note.

I certainly agree with your point that this Othello has a niche demand inside of a niche hobby, and it has less of an interest because the game is not at all interesting. It certainly is a museum piece.

But I do think that the profile of Nintendo is high, especially now, and the claim to fame of being the 'first Nintendo arcade game', plus the collecting recognition in Nintendo games from King of Kong I still think that this price isn't too far off base.

To me, the price should be lower since it doesn't work. I think it should be down to at least $1000 because it is non working, maybe as low as your $800, but possibly not. I certainly don't think the style of the cabinet really has much to do with it. But they would probably garner more value if they took the time to market this item in multiple places, place high in Google for those searches and potentially advertise / list the game on other cross over collector sites and hobbyist periodicals. The eBay crowd has seen it now at $1200, and they didn't bite. To max that value, more effort would be necessary.

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I don't care how rare it is… That thing sure is very "U-G-L-Y"… Would be very interested in checking it out though. What I'm finding out is 'Rare" doesn't mean "valuable". Maybe donate it to FunSpot and write off the $1200+ on their taxes.

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It's the same generic table (with a different base) that Nintendo used in a number of their games, including Donkey Kong. Nothing wrong with it, you rarely see a really impressive looking cocktail table. 🙂

But I would agree that rare doesn't = valuable. It's simply supply vs demand. If there are only 12 Computer Othello tables out there and 2 interested buyers, wellsir, you've got yourself a rare, inexpensive game.

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that is awesome man ive never even seen that around here and i see it here on this blog i would of said it was not overpriced but considering that it doesnt work like someone said maybe it is. maybe the person should restore it or something and then sell if he does restore it he might have to sell it at a lower price considering it had to be restored but i would say a great price would be 600

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$1,200 for ANY non-working game is ridiculous! Not for EDOT, not for Computer Space, or anything. I don’t care WHAT it is!
Hell, I own a game nobody knows about called Star Invaders that works. Maybe I can get $2,000 for it??

Gimme a break, people!

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@Dan Tofalo: But $800 for a non working Computer Space wouldn’t be out of the question. That has a lot more demand, but I don’t think you can say its worth something like $300-$400 non working. It is still a really unique piece.

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