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Mint-condition Harvest Moon SNES game sells for record amount (update)

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Some lucky eBay buyer's pockets got a whole lot lighter

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A new and sealed copy of the first Harvest Moon game for Super Nintendo has sold for $3,783.33 on eBay. That's the highest price fetched for a vintage game on publisher Natsume's eBay store, which sells a mix of mint condition releases and current plush toys.

Natsume listed the item for auction one week ago; the winning bid was placed just 17 seconds before the period ended. The game had not been involved in a bidding war prior to this last minute offer; the highest offer on the eBay listing prior to its conclusion was for $1,225, placed one day into the auction.

Harvest Moon is one of several mint-condition older games Natsume has unloaded from its "vault" onto eBay. The company established the practice back in December and has since sold sealed copies of a variety of older, cult classic releases at astounding prices.

At the end of December, one buyer paid $1,691.66 for an untouched copy of Pocky & Rocky for SNES. In January, Natsume sold a copy of Lufia 2: Rise of the Sinistrals, another '90s SNES game, for $806.

In an interview with Tiny Cartridge, a Natsume community manager named CeeCee explained that the company had "kept copies around of games for a variety of reasons."

"Review copies before digital distribution was a thing, warranty needs, etc," she said. "Over time, these copies slowly added up until we had a fairly extensive collection of classic titles, just not in large numbers for any singular game."

Harvest Moon is a fan favorite series — one which Natsume continues to retain the license to in North America. Yet the developer of the Harvest Moon, or Bokujo Monogatari, series is Marvelous Entertainment. Marvelous and co-publisher XSEED formed Marvelous USA in 2014, a new publishing imprint in the U.S.

Marvelous USA now holds the rights to publishing all Harvest Moon releases, but Natsume still owns the Harvest Moon name in the U.S. This discrepancy means that all future games called Harvest Moon in the West are actually Natsume originals, not the games by Marvelous that fans recognize.

Marvelous USA now releases the Japanese Harvest Moon games under different titles in the U.S. The latest game in Marvelous' Bokujo Monogatari series launched in the West in 2015; it went by the name Story of Seasons stateside. Last month, Natsume released Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories for mobile devices and Windows PC.

Fans looking for a Harvest Moon-style game have been flocking to Stardew Valley, an indie game in the vein of the farming RPG series that's recently found success on Steam. For more on that game, check out our overview below.

Update: Graham Markay, Natsume's vice president of operations at Natsume, told Polygon that the popularity of Harvest Moon and other classic games on eBay has been "a surprise."

"Our goal was to offer some extra inventory of titles we had to our fans and grow our eBay store," he said. "It was never about the money...but that is a nice surprise."