He closed a video game shop decades ago. His games could sell for M.

He closed a video game shop decades ago. His games could sell for $1M.

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As he was packing up his Nebraska video game store more than two decades ago, Mark Odorisio considered what to do with the hundreds of games that had not even made it onto the shelves before the business closed. His best options were to hold a sale for the leftover games or to store them for the future.

“Screw the fire sale,” Mark recalled thinking in 1998. “I’d rather take a chance that … these games might be worth something.”

Mark placed more than 300 sealed games into boxes and moved them to an Omaha storage unit. As 23 years passed, Mark lost track of what the games were worth and decided he would pass them on to his nieces and nephews.

But in 2021, Mark’s older brother, Tim, found the vintage games in the warehouse and was curious about their worth. The ’90s-era games, including “Chrono Trigger” and “Mortal Kombat,” were still in near-perfect condition. He said he sought out guidance at an Omaha video game store, where the employees were shocked at what Tim had brought them.

The Odorisios eventually had the video games appraised, and about 170 of them were found to be rare and in good condition. Gameroom, the store where Tim took the games in 2021, is helping the Odorisios sell the collection, which was recently posted online.

Mark said he’s hoping to sell the games for nearly $1 million — a figure much higher than he had expected when he stored them.

“I didn’t think they were going to be worth anything during my lifetime,” Mark, 62, told The Washington Post.

Mark opened Game Street in Omaha in 1994, primarily selling games for Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. But his store started losing money a few years later, so he closed it in 1998 and pivoted into work as a book and magazine distributor.

In the summer of 2021, Tim was in the storage unit checking the value of his old basketball cards — Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki and Paul Pierce — when he saw the boxes of video games and checked on some titles online. Opened versions of Mark’s games were selling for a few hundred dollars each, Tim said. That fall, Tim took a box of the games to Gameroom.

A few weeks later, Tim said he spoke with employees at Wata, a grading company based in Santa Ana, Calif. Tim recalled them estimating that the games could sell for about $1 million if they were graded, a process that involves inspectors rating a game between zero and 10 based on its condition. Games that receive a higher score typically sell for more money.

After that meeting, Mark told Tim that he thought the games might sell for $100,000.

“We might have to add a zero to that,” Tim, who is now 71, recalled telling Mark.

In November 2021, Gameroom owner Chris Thompson visited the Odorisios’ storage unit and recorded a video of the stash. The plastic-wrapped games created a glare against the room’s lights. Thompson displayed copies of “Chrono Trigger,” “Final Fantasy III” and “Sunset Riders.”

“I bet you’re wondering, where did all this stuff come from? Where are we?” Thompson asked on the video. “I don’t know if I should tell you.”

When Thompson uploaded the video to YouTube in February 2022, he said he thought viewers would criticize the poor video quality. Instead, Thompson said he watched the number of views increase until he fell asleep around 4:30 a.m. When he woke up about five hours later, he said the video had been viewed nearly 200,000 times — and his inbox was full of requests to purchase the games.

“A lot of people wanted to fly down with a briefcase full of money and just buy the whole collection,” said Thompson, 40.

The Odorisios had not yet decided what to do with the games, so they asked to remain anonymous as the collection drew attention in the gaming community. Thompson outlined their options: take an offer now, sell the games after they were graded or wait to see whether the games increased in value.

In April 2022, Mark loaded about 15 boxes of games into his minivan and drove about 1,550 miles to the grading company’s headquarters in California.

One of the most valuable games in the collection is “Chrono Trigger,” a Japanese role-playing game that follows characters who travel through time to prevent world destruction. Wata, the grading company, has only graded 26 copies of the Super Nintendo game that was released in 1995, according to its population reports.

Wata had never even graded nine games in Mark’s collection, including “Uncharted Waters,” “Battle Blaze” and “The Combatribes.”

Scott Endsley, the owner of a video game grading company in Kansas City, Kan., told The Post that “Chrono Trigger” alone could sell for more than $50,000. Other games could also sell for tens of thousands of dollars, he said.

“There’s not tons of copies of any of these things out there,” Endsley said. “When you buy a video game, you open it up and you play it, right? Having sealed video games is pretty rare anyway, but then to get one of these types of titles is pretty unusual.”

Mark returned to California this past summer to pick up the games. Many rated a 9.0 or above, including the marquee games “Chrono Trigger,” “Sonic the Hedgehog 3,” “Street Fighter II: Champion Edition” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time,” all of which rated 9.8. Mark drove back to Omaha and stored the games in a vault.

Thompson agreed to sell the games in hopes of giving his store exposure; he announced the collection last month. Tim said an auction house offered to buy the games for about $500,000, but he and Mark are hoping to sell the collection for at least $700,000.

Plus, they’re considering waiting to sell the games in anticipation that their value will increase — a move Endsley said could pay off.

“There’s always going to be people looking to recapture their childhood,” he said.

For the past two decades, Mark has dreamed about living in a lake house in the Midwest, where he could fish and relax by the water. If he sells the video games soon, he plans to realize that dream.

“I have started to fantasize a little bit about it,” Mark said.

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