N64 Super Smash Bros. Variant Guide

Researched and written by Kassy – WATA Authenticator

Peer reviewed by Dan Gomez – Head of Research & Authentication

November 17, 2022


We are thrilled to introduce a new variant that we recently discovered for the iconic Super Smash Bros. on Nintendo 64. WATA has established there are two variants; one printed in USA and the other printed in Japan. Similar to how important identifying editions are in books, identifying printings for games is equally important from a historical and collecting standpoint. We’ve created a nifty guide to help you identify which print you own!

For sealed examples, there are only two ways we are able to identify the variants – the print contrast and the box flap types. The printed in USA box has high contrast, making it significantly darker, whereas the printed in Japan box has low contrast, making the box appear lighter. Take a look at the examples below:

One other difference that can be seen on sealed copies is the box flap type. Printed in USA boxes have locking flaps on both left and right sides. The Printed in Japan boxes have locking flaps only on the left side. This locking mechanism allows for the box flaps to lock into place once closed. 

For CIB (Complete In Box) examples, there are some additional indicators to differentiate these variants – one being the box flap codes. Even though “Printed in USA” is not definitively written anywhere on the box, the “U/” prefix in the code is what indicates the region in which it was printed.

Another characteristic the USA box has is a built-in cart pocket, while the Japan box has a removable cart tray. 

We are able to establish what we believe to be the printing order by examining the components each box contains. The printed in USA box tends to include earlier components much more consistently; with the biggest indication being the pixelated rating cartridge frequently being found with this variant. Pixelated ESRB ratings were present early in the N64 era, and later changed to a solid rating design. Contrarily, the printed in Japan boxes tend to include solid rating Players Choice cartridges. 

We’ve also identified two manual variants, each corresponding to their respective box variant. Apart from stating “Printed in USA” on the back of the manual, the USA manuals also contain the “U/” prefix similar to that one seen on the box flap. To further prove that the USA variant was produced first, the USA manual has a pixelated rating, while the Japan manuals has a solid rating. 

Here is a visual reference of the components typically found in each of the variants. The pixelated cart is exclusive to the USA box. The solid rating cart comes in both the USA and Japan boxes, and the Players Choice cart is exclusive to the Japan box. All things considered, the “Printed in USA” boxes were almost certainly produced first, while the “Printed in Japan” boxes being produced later.

Without further ado, here is the population distribution between the two prints. As you can see, one lucky collector out there owns the one and only factory sealed 9.8 across both prints (A++ to boot).  More generally, very few copies exist above a 9.2 A.

We hope you enjoyed reading this guide. Stay tuned for more guides from WATA in the near future!