There is currently a factory sealed copy of extremely rare (there are only two copies in near-mint condition on Earth) NES game Stadium Events listed on eBay. It's reached a bidding high of $US100,000, and it still has six days to go. Unfortunately, there is likely foul play involved.
As Wired outlines, auctions like these have a history of attracting trolls. This auction is, according to GameSpot, definitely legit — an ultra rare sports game recalled days after its 1987 launch being sold by a former Nintendo employee — but it's happening on the Internet, paradise of consequence-free pranks.
Wired's report points to Stadium Events' bidding history, which blasts off into ludicrous land right around the $US30,000 mark. At that point, a single user begins incrementally escalating the price over and over and over, all the way up to $US90,000. This user has only ever bid on one item — this one — and all they stand to receive for not ponying up is a strike against their eBay account. So basically, a slap on the wrist, a "boo-hoo" from behind a brick wall of feigned empathy. Big whoop. A couple other "buyers" use the same tactic to carry it up to $US100,000 and beyond.
This is hardly the first time something like this has happened. As Wired points out:
"This has happened a few times recently: Witness the profoundly ugly copy of Nintendo World Championships, estimated to be worth about $US5,000, but bid up by trolls to just under $US100,000. Later, the seller said that the game was sold privately for $US5,000, the price at which he had set the auction's original opening bid. The 11,000-game collection that the Guinness Book called the 'world's biggest' was auctioned on another site called GameGavel for over $US750,000, but to this day it has not yet sold at any price."
And yet, websites report that games have "sold" for Stupidly Outrageous Sum Of Money, and no one's the wiser. Another troll job in the bag. Drinks on me back at the Troll Enclave.
So keep your eyes peeled for this stuff. Don't always believe what you see. Even if you're not directly feeding the trolls, sometimes they're feeding off you.