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Ballblaɀer's collection: 2600, 5200, Vectrex, and...


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#21 RickR

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Posted 24 April 2016 - 11:52 PM

My "Superman" looks just like that one!  Thanks for the info, I had no idea there was a corrected bug in the game.

 

I also have "A Game of Concentration", and "Fun With Numbers".  Both missing end labels.  But nice to know they are rare, or scarce at least. 

 

Great info, nicely done.


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#22 Ballblaɀer

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Posted 29 April 2016 - 11:39 PM

I had quite the eBay score this past week.  I was doing my usual Atari searching two weeks ago when a fairly nice looking lot of 2600/5200 games went up for sale.

 

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So, a mixed lot of about 50 games.  Pretty standard-looking, with some quality stuff mixed in: an Atari Video Cube, the Mario Bros. label variation I was missing, a clean-looking Sorcerer's Apprentice to upgrade the poor one that I had...  not bad!  Sure, there are a number of games with writing on the labels, but all in all... nice lot.

 

Then, in an instant... I saw it.  A heavenly chorus reverberated in my ears...

 

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I got tunnel vision.... suddenly, I could see only the boxed 2800 Super Breakout.  The reality around me started to break down a bit, I think -- it's hard to remember exactly.

 

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             [ATARI 2800 BOX DESIRE INTENSIFIES]

 

Then I notice the seller... it's a Salvation Army ARC less than 10 miles from where I live!  HOW?!  I've never seen a 2800 box on eBay USA in my months and months and months of looking, and now there's one being sold by a seller less than a 20 minute drive away?  Turns out they *also* had a separate lot with a 2800 console, so... perhaps someone brought their collection from Japan here?  Who knows.  Whatever -- I immediately realize that I have a secret weapon; an ace up my sleeve... not having to pay shipping if I win!

 

Anyway, to make a longer story slightly less long, I won the auction for a great deal less than I was prepared to pay.  I was (and remain!) super excited about that fact; I might very well make back most (all?) of what I spent by selling the duplicate games and the boxes I don't want.

 

So, Wednesday rolls around and I go to the Salvation Army location to make my pick-up.  They'd packed everything up nice and tightly since they assumed they'd be shipping it out to someone.  I just needed to make sure the 2800 box was in there before I drove off with my winnings.  Once I saw that it was tucked in there, I left on cloud nine.

 

Later on that evening I opened the box back up to have my first look.  Okay, nice, nice... lots of upgrades to some games in my collection, a few label variations, good... some good trade bait...

 

Then I get to the beautiful, glorious Super Breakout box.  It's a little bit rough, but it's all good where it counts:

26449038540_5b3c2c3488_z.jpg

 

I wasn't expecting the manual, so that was a nice bonus!  The box, I'll probably either flatten or try to re-shape a bit, but it's plenty good enough for me as-is.

 

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For some reason the end of the cartridge itself is all chewed up... but it's no big loss since it's not a label unique to Japan.

 

Okay, let's look at these other boxes.  Any japanese stickers on the backs?  Man, that'd be sweet.  Nah, no such luck.  Okay, wait, I have three loose copies of Amidar here... what's in the Amidar box, then?  Please don't tell me it's a fourth copy of crappy Amidar...

 

I pick the box up -- it's HEAVY.  What the?  MY GOD...  IT'S FULL OF STARS MANUALS!

 

The corner of one catches my eye.  HOLY S#!...

 

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Suddenly I find myself riffling through a stack of about 50 manuals, and glints of silver keep catching my eye.  This is crazy!

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I didn't even have time to start wondering where the boxes for these might be, because my fingers stop on one of the two pieces of 2800 paraphernalia I was most wanting:

 

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THE 2800 CONSOLE OWNER'S MANUAL.  The one thing that I didn't get with my 2800 that I'd really, really wished it had come with.  And now, here's one that's fallen into my lap totally out of the blue.  Serendipity!

 

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"Table of Contents"

(learning Japanese I think I'm learning Japanese I really think so...)

 

26628192122_f2985ea282_c.jpgI

 

It even still has the insert sheet explaining how to hook it up with a switchbox.

 

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I'd love to see a Sears Video Arcade II manual now, just to compare!

 

Anyway, this lot is where many of my latest additions to my trade list come from.  I don't know if I'll ever get so lucky again.  One can only hope!


Edited by Ballblaɀer, 29 April 2016 - 11:50 PM.

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#23 StormSurge

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Posted 30 April 2016 - 11:31 AM

That is awesome!!

I was bidding on the console for a bit before it far exceeded my limits. The only reason I had searched for it was because of your posts!

Congrats on the fantastic haul!!! Well-deserved!
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#24 Ballblaɀer

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Posted 30 April 2016 - 04:48 PM

The only reason I had searched for it was because of your posts!

 

...

 

BRB, deleting all my posts.

 

:rofl:

 

 

Congrats on the fantastic haul!!! Well-deserved!

 

Thanks.  Totally a lucky break.  The auction listing didn't even mention manuals, let alone picture them.  I'm trying my hardest not to dwell on what became of the other 2800 boxes that went with the manuals!  "Don't look a gift Auction in the mouth," or something!


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#25 Clint Thompson

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Posted 02 May 2016 - 06:53 AM

Really love the manual designs, gives a futuristic design feeling or vibe! Congrats on the pickup =)


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2600 - 7800 - 800XL - 130XE - Lynx - Jaguar

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#26 Ballblaɀer

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 12:37 AM

Over this past weekend I was at my childhood home, and I knew there were some hidden treasures waiting to be found.  It took some poking around the dusty basement, but I found pretty much everything I was looking for.  Here are two of the things I was most hoping to find:

 

26200105964_72a4152f0f_z.jpg26201238673_b243f01638_c.jpg26738045201_4616979f5c_b.jpg

I've got some LR44 batteries coming in the mail, but until they arrive these Nintendo Game & Watch beauties will have to remain untested.  I see no reason why they won't still work -- fingers crossed, anyway.

 

What I *didn't* know was that I saved the boxes and documentation, too!  I am typically *not* a box collector, but for whatever reason I hung onto these.

 

26201238363_757c4d7b30_c.jpg26738044841_11bd716ab5_c.jpg

 

26738044591_0231563f17.jpg

 

Jeez, Nintendo -- want to be a little more descriptively specific about the potential danger to babies?

 

More handheld goodness to come in the next few days!


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#27 jmjustin6

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 12:46 AM

I guess we know where Nintendo got the design for the Nintendo ds. I dont think i have ever played donkey kong 2

I remember playing the mario bros one and loved it. Now those things are a little to pricey for me to remember the fun
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#28 Ballblaɀer

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Posted 04 May 2016 - 09:36 PM

Two more handheld games found that still work after all these years:

 

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I always loved the design of the Konami handhelds.  If I had unlimited collection space (and a lot more money!) I'd look into picking up more of these, among others.  In any case, these still work, but the linear polarizing film has degraded a bit, meaning that the LCD graphics appear very light.  The only way to fix this is to replace the film/filter with something taken from a new/preserved game, unfortunately.

 

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And once again, I inexplicably saved some of the packaging for these.  If only I'd done the same for all my Atari stuff back in the day!

 

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Edited by Ballblaɀer, 04 May 2016 - 09:38 PM.

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#29 Ballblaɀer

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Posted 05 May 2016 - 11:43 PM

Okay, rounding out the handheld electronic games from home...

 

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Fact: Tiger's Electronic Bowling is loud enough to wake the dead.  Or at least this particular one is!

 

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Marble Madness was the one game I just could not get working, and that's a big disappointment as I remember having tons of fun with it back in the day.  It may not be *totally* dead, as every now and then it makes a sad little crunch of a buzz when I try to turn it on... probably it's just pining for the fjords, though.  Don't leave batteries inside your games, kids!

 

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This little thing went with me EVERYWHERE, for years.  This is another one that must wait for the LR44s to arrive to be tested.  Really hoping Epoch Man will live on!  Epic, man.

 

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Mattel's Auto Race (1976), the ancestor of them all.  Gotta figure out a better way to clean it -- the textured plastic surface just seems to have absorbed dirt.  I'm also hoping that I'll eventually find the battery compartment door...

 

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I'll need to ask my soldering-capable friend to re-attach one of the battery connector wires, but I think it'll be okay once it's fixed.  Hoping so, anyway.

 

Finally, the centerpiece of my handheld collection...

 

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It's not in perfect shape, but it's full of great memories.

 

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The last time I tried to turn this thing on was probably 15+ years ago.  4 C batteries later...

 

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Success!  It still runs like the day it was manufactured.  :thumb:


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#30 RickR

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 07:52 AM

Wow! Nice stuff!

Try dish soap water and a soft toothbrush on that dirty auto race.

#31 Ballblaɀer

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Posted 06 May 2016 - 08:25 AM

Thanks!  I'll try the toothbrush and dish soap method and report back.  It definitely needs something a touch more abrasive than usual.



#32 Ballblaɀer

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 11:23 AM

Let's change gears and look at a few of my favorite carts from my favorite system, the 5200.

 

Many folks are familiar with the two SuperSystem games Atari released with no title on the cartridge.  Anywhere.  At all.  Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus, both Lucasfilm Games games, were unleashed upon the world during Atari's mid-80s limbo: after the sale of Atari Inc and after the discontinuation of the 5200, but before the major resurgence (sorta) of Atari Corp.  The music in Ballblazer and the 3D/fractal landscapes in RoF were both things that made a big impression on me as a kid -- I could tell that some serious work had gone into these games.  They're also both a ton of fun to play.

 

The surprise that shows up in the later levels of RoF! also made a big impression on me as a kid -- but I don't want to spoil it for anyone who's never played it... :D

 

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It's hard to tell with the lighting in these photos, but these cartridges have dull gray labels that Atari Corp was using for their 5200 games in 1985-1987 -- both their new games and re-releases.  They were almost certainly cheaper than the previously-used reflective silver style labels.  I think the labels look really sharp without a title, honestly, though I think I'd love them even more if they were the older silver labels.  And -- if Atari had done the proper thing (in my opinion) from the start and put end labels on their 5200 cartridges... they'd be pretty much perfect.

 

Now, have a look at this beauty!

 

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Yep, that's Vanguard -- re-released in 1986 in the same gray, title-less style.  I've only ever seen a few of these, though they're probably not as uncommon as I hope they are.  By my count, Atari re-released 16 of their games in the mid-80s with gray Atari Corp labels, but this is the only other one known to feature the artwork with no title.  My favorite thing about it (other than the clean artwork design): because the game title isn't present on the cartridge, the asterisk next to the the Centuri licensed trademark ends up referring to nothing.

 

Rumors of a Space Invaders re-release in the same title-less style persist, but I'll believe it when I see one.

 

I've never seen a satisfactory answer to the "why no title on these releases?" question.  Someone wondered on AA whether it was related to the Lucasfilm license agreement -- I could see that, sure, but then what about the Vanguard re-release?

 

Look closer at the cartridge label design: Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus have artwork that's exactly as wide as the text up top, but Vanguard does not.  Strange -- why would that be?  Now, think back for a moment to my post about some Atari Corp re-releases for the 2600.  If you remember, they appeared to be using their own instruction manual covers as the basis for the re-release label artwork.

 

Let's now look at some 5200 boxes/manuals.  Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus have unique boxes and manuals that were designed in or before 1984 -- that's another story for a different day.  The cartridge labels' artwork appear to be square crops of the box art -- they're nearly identical, with just a bit trimmed off the top and bottom.  With Vanguard's box/manual design, on the other hand... the square crop can't be as neatly done since the ships extend outside the main artwork border (in that same faux-3D style that shows up on many Atari Corp re-releases for the 2600).  But it looks like they did it anyway, as that's exactly how the art appears on the re-release cartridge!  So was Atari Corp doing the same thing with the 5200 title-less cartridge label artwork?  Essentially lifting the artwork from older boxes and manuals?  I say yes.

 

My final bit of evidence (for now!) is subtle.  Compare the re-release Vanguard cartridges to the first-release cartridges for Vanguard.  One obvious difference was already mentioned: the spaceships are fully contained within the artwork and aren't straddling the artwork border.  But on top of that, look at some of the detail in the artwork itself, especially that horizontal orange glow below the lower left of the player's ship.  On the originally release carts the horizontal glow appears more sharply defined -- there's a distinct LINE, and some of the background detail even shows through the orange glow.  But on the re-release cart, we see the same indistinct orange blotch that shows up on the Vanguard box and and manual.

 

So... what's the deal?  My best guess is that Atari Taiwan wasn't given the original cartridge artwork and design files for one reason or another, so they were forced to use box & manual artwork to make their own from scratch.  It's more noticeable with some of the 2600 re-releases, but seeing what looks like the same thing happening with the no-title 5200 carts lends stronger support to this theory, I think.


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#33 Ballblaɀer

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 09:35 PM

Back to the 2600...

 

Wacky foreign cartridge time?  Wacky foreign cartridge time!  I'm not really a collector of boxed cartridges -- or PAL cartridges, for that matter -- but I now have two in my collection, and I haven't yet decided whether I'll keep/trade/sell them.  Here's the first one:

 

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Wha... what in the name of Nolan Bushnell is that?!

 

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Ahhhhh, say no more.  "There's your answer, fishbulb!"  Taiwan seems to have a fairly convoluted history of producing unique and sometimes unusual Atari 2600 products.  Some excellent work has gone into untangling how many of the various manufacturers are related -- the best-written explanation I've come across was published in the Digital Press Guide (and was re-posted over at AA last year).

 

Anyway, let's take a closer look.  First, we have the cartridge shell: these are commonly known as "V-Case" games, due to the triangle/V-styled shape at the top of the cart.  It's a multi-game cartridge that features three sliding DIP switches, where the user can position them to choose from eight games.  Simple yet clever, and especially so when compared to Atari's official multi-cart (32-in-1), where the only way to choose games was to cycle through them one by one BY TURNING YOUR CONSOLE ON AND OFF.  Pure insanity, and a fantastic way to wear out your power switch really fast.

 

So, what's actually on this cart?  Let's take a look at the box...

 

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Oh.  Huh.  Okay.  That's... not a lot of help.  Even close-up it's not really clear what some of those are supposed to be.  But at least we know it's "FOR USE WITH THE VIDEO COMPUTER GAMES."  Let's try the back of the box, instead!

 

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If that arrow is to be believed, it's got some pretty familiar titles, except for "Mafia".  Man, I wanted to play some "Chinese Konfu", or "Cow Boy", or "Airbone Assault"!  :D

 

Well, guess what?  Big surprise: that arrow is not to be believed.  It's a generic box, and NONE of those six lists matches the cart that's inside.  Let's check the cart's end label -- that'll tell us:

 

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Okay, enough screwing around -- WHAT GAMES ARE ACTUALLY ON THE CART?!

  • "Base Attack" is Z-Tack, by BOMB.  Unexpected.
  • "Missile Attack" is Missile Control, by Video Gems, a Hong Kong publisher that distributed games in Europe.  It's a PAL *original* game, and it's actually quite good, I think!  Difficulty ramps up fast, though.
  • "Sky Diver" is Parachute, by Home Vision.  Another PAL *original* game, sold in Germany as Vom Himmel durch die Hölle, which translates to "From Heavens, Through Hell".  Badass!  The gameplay music is... well, it's worth a listen.  It sounds a bit of a mess, but it's meant to be the main theme from the 1962 movie The Longest Day -- written by Paul Anka!  And... guess who adopted the theme as their own regimental march?  The Canadian Airborne Regiment (1968-1995)!  That is some stellar work, Home Vision programmer guy.
  • "Circus (See Saw)" is Circus Atari... but it uses a joystick instead of paddles!  Yeah, that's not gonna be a good time.  It's not as bad as you might think, but it's not good, either.
  • "Mega Force" is Mega Force, by 20th Century Fox.  An okay game. 
  • "Tank City" is... Thunderground, by Sega.  I would have guessed Combat, or Battlezone, or Robot Tank.  Or the last few seasons of Philadelphia 76ers basketball!  Another somewhat unexpected title.
  • "Volley Ball" is... RealSports Volleyball.  Yawn.
  • "Tennis II" is... Tennis, by Activision.  Meh.

Pretty neat, all things considered!  Admittedly, I bought this and the other game (coming soon!) at a great price with a plan to re-sell, but... I'm not sure how I can part with this.  It's got an interesting back story, a few fun games that can't generally be found anywhere local, and it's in decent condition, too.

 

Of course, it *is* PAL format, which means my TV cuts off a number of the top and bottom scanlines.  But the picture doesn't roll, so at least the games remain mostly playable.  I just spent 30 minutes playing Parachute and Missile Control, and I'm heading back for more now!  :thumb:


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#34 Arenafoot

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Posted 19 May 2016 - 09:43 PM

River Raid II??????


consoles I own: Atari 2600 Vader & Jr. (short rainbow) w/box, GCE Vectrex, Radio Shack CoCo2 (64k) w/box, Intellivision, NES, SNES, N64 (x3), Xbox (Halo Ed.), PS1 (x3), PS2 slim, Wii, Mattel HyperScan (x2) handhelds I own: Microvision w/box, Electronic Football (by Sears) w/box, Tomytronic Pac-Man w/ box, Entex PacMan2, Coleco Donkey Kong tabletop w/box (w/ Coleco "Perma-Power" Adapter), & all MGA Classic Arcade's and Jakk's Pacific/TV Games Plug-n-Play.


#35 LeeJ07

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Posted 20 May 2016 - 05:34 AM

Over this past weekend I was at my childhood home, and I knew there were some hidden treasures waiting to be found.  It took some poking around the dusty basement, but I found pretty much everything I was looking for.  Here are two of the things I was most hoping to find:
 
26200105964_72a4152f0f_z.jpg26201238673_b243f01638_c.jpg26738045201_4616979f5c_b.jpg
I've got some LR44 batteries coming in the mail, but until they arrive these Nintendo Game & Watch beauties will have to remain untested.  I see no reason why they won't still work -- fingers crossed, anyway.
 
What I *didn't* know was that I saved the boxes and documentation, too!  I am typically *not* a box collector, but for whatever reason I hung onto these.
 
26201238363_757c4d7b30_c.jpg26738044841_11bd716ab5_c.jpg
 
26738044591_0231563f17.jpg
 
Jeez, Nintendo -- want to be a little more descriptively specific about the potential danger to babies?
 
More handheld goodness to come in the next few days!


I am completely lusting for those!!!
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"I'd buy that for a dollar!" -Smash T.V.

#36 RickR

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Posted 21 May 2016 - 07:52 PM

Posting this just for Ballblazer.

 

I have three Outlaw carts (actually 4 -- I also have a Sears "Gunslinger").  But look...all three have different labels.  AtariAge lists the picture label and the red label, but no mention of the yellow.  I'm going to guess red is the oldest just based on the font.

 

 

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#37 Ballblaɀer

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Posted 22 May 2016 - 01:57 PM

My guess is that red would be oldest since they continued to use the registered trademark ® symbol from the yellow/gold version on the picture labels.  I believe the red outlaw end label also has a ™ symbol.

 

There's one more weird official Outlaw cart that I know about -- this one from New Zealand, distributed by Atari Monaco.  Would love to pick one of those up eventually.

 

Now, about this Gunslinger you have... is that a picture label or a text label?  If picture, I'm 110% in trading/buying.  Let me know!


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#38 RickR

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Posted 22 May 2016 - 02:40 PM

Nope, text.  Sorry to disappoint. 

 

I've decided to keep Gunslinger and the yellow text outlaw.  The other two go into the duplicates/for-trade box.


Edited by RickR, 22 May 2016 - 02:41 PM.


#39 LeeJ07

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 04:00 PM

Hey, Rick, my copy of Outlaw is a gold/yellow text label. You say that isn't listed on AtariAge?

Edited by LeeJ07, 23 May 2016 - 04:16 PM.

"I'd buy that for a dollar!" -Smash T.V.

#40 Ballblaɀer

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Posted 23 May 2016 - 10:59 PM

AtariAge is an invaluable site, but it's far from comprehensive.  Just as one example: the text label for Brain Games was released in at least four different colors, and AtariAge makes no distinction between any of them.  It's a pretty minor difference in the grand scheme of things, of course, but I find it interesting all the same.  FWIW, Atarimania lists the outlaw red text as 1978 and the yellow/gold text as 1979.

 

For the most complete guides to what's out there, check out Atarimania.com and videogamevariations.com (still under construction, but 2600 Atari/Activision/Imagic and a number of other publishers are essentially complete now).


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