Got $90,000 burning a hole in your pocket? If so, you seemingly have a rare opportunity to buy one of the rarest Atari 2600 games out there.
aliens (not to be confused with the infamous movie-licensed Atari 2600 flop) ET) was a genuine Atari 2600 game sold in early 1984 at the end of the 2600’s commercial existence. But the cartridge was almost completely unknown even among the Atari collector community until October 2011. Then a copy appeared as a contribution to the Personal Computer Museum of Canada in Brantford, Ontario.
With a little research, the museum’s curators were able to determine that the game’s creator, Skill Screen Games, was centered around the Banting family of Burlington, Ontario (making this the only Canadian-produced Atari 2600 game, to boot) . The Bantings, hoping to capitalize on the Atari craze and the ongoing hype surrounding the ET film, hired a programmer named Herman Quast to write a simple two-player maze game for the Atari 2600, with plans to sell that game through distributors before the 1983 holiday season.
After a release delay in early 1984, the great video game crash of 1983 had virtually eliminated any chance of an unknown (and quite derivative) game gaining interest from distributors. But the Bantings decided to push through with their investment, producing about 100 cartridges and selling them door-to-door in the area, the makers said.
How much is it worth?
Fast forward to 2011, when this unknown and unannounced game made its way to the museum. After tracking down the creators and backing up the ROM for archiving and distribution, the curators produced a run of 100 “Special Edition” carts for the collector’s market. The museum has since owned two more original cartridges for the game and discovered a fourth currently owned by developer Herman Quast.
But this is seemingly the first time a copy of this little-known gaming rarity has gone up for sale. The seller, who has had a perfect feedback rating on eBay for years, says they “purchased this game from a seller who found this game in the Brantford area close to the production site. I paid a premium price for it myself and it It’s very hard for me to make this choice, but I thought I’d give the world a chance to get their hands on a truly unique piece of gaming history.”
Without previous sales for aliens on record, it’s hard to say if this cartridge is actually worth $90,000, even for the most intense Atari collectors. Retro gaming expert Racketboy estimated his worth at $7,000 to $15,000 in October 2018. That rating put it a little lower air raidanother oddly shaped, incredibly rare Atari cartridge that sold for over $33,000 in 2012.
Even for $90,000, aliensThe asking price is under the $100,000 earned for an immaculate, sticker-sealed test market copy of Super Mario Bros. earlier this year. But that was a (so far) unique find that represents one of the most highly regarded and culturally significant games of all time. While aliens has an interesting history, it’s not a game that evokes nostalgic memories or anything more than historical curiosity for just about everyone.
For what it’s worth, it looks like this eBay listing has already ended and then been relisted, ostensibly due to a fraudulent buyer. So serious bidders interested in spending $90,000 on just a single Atari cartridge, please.