Jump to content
Ballblaɀer

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

Recommended Posts

Outstanding post, as usual.

 

Thanks... I'm especially happy with this ROTLA post since I don't think anyone has ever tried to really figure this weirdness out before.  Matching up the date stamp with the closure of the Atari plant in PR was a real aha! moment, and it's one of those things that just *feels* like it's the right answer.  Well, at least to me, it does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some additions to the collection this weekend...

 

27820756882_ab65ce74d7_z.jpg

 

1) The rare 1986 Atari Corp re-release of Sky Diver with white text in the "new" style font.  I alluded to this release back in my post way back when about the Breakout and Hangman re-releases -- the end label of this one also has the extra large text.  Unfortunately, the Sky Diver cart I picked up had a shredded end label.  Whenever I finally get a clean copy, this one will be for trade/sale.

 

2) The most off-center, crooked print I've ever seen on an Atari cartridge!  Guess whoooo?  Oh, Atari Corp...   :rofl:   RealSports Volleyball is also the only Atari Corp release that has a red title bar that doesn't go all the way across the front of the cartridge.  Bizarre, and makes it look a little like a pirate cart, I think.  Also, the font/text they used for the copyright info on the bottom just seems... slightly off.  Like, the letters are off-kilter, some are raised, some are tilted.  Is it just me?  It can't be just me...

 

27888635616_4276c58ea9_z.jpg

 

3) And yes -- I paid actual, real, legal tender for a copy of Combat. ^_^   I'd never seen this particular type before, that has the end label text in the "fat" style font.  It's a little out of focus in my photo, but all the letters touch each other and the "holes" inside the letters are smaller than usual.  It's version "S" on the VGV page.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Time for another fun pirate / PAL multi-cart!  This time, it's a 16-game extravaganza...

 

27273248574_228a120dc4_z.jpg

 

(If a product has to convince you that it's exciting, well...)

 

So here we are, another made-in-Taiwan release likely for distribution in southern Europe (Italy, Greece, etc), with some box art that looks sorta Soviet science fiction-like.  What's that "path" or "road" or whatever that is that's made up of game box art?  Maybe that'll tell us what's included on the cartridge!  (Larger image linked here, so you can play along.)

 

In the front row we see Pac-Man, for Atari 400/800.  Star Battle, for the VIC-20.  Star Wars Jedi Arena, for the 2600.  And Android Attack, for the TRS-80 or Dragon 32/64 computer.

 

...um.  Clearly, this will not tell us what's included on the cartridge.  :rofl:  What we have here is generic artwork used on many of these multi-cart releases.  Still, I think it's fun to take a closer look at.  What else is pictured?

 

Next row: Jumbo Jet Pilot (Atari 400/800), Wacky Waiters (VIC-20), some odd "Invaders" artwork that I can't identify, Parsec (TI-99/4A), Astrosmash (Intellivision).  Following row: Space Invaders (2600 artwork, but design is unclear), Asteroids (Atari 2600 international version), a game that I'd love to identify (it shows five people standing around... something, and underneath them it says _____ _____ _____, where the middle word looks like either TOUR or YOUR)...  and from here on out it gets difficult to discern what the games are.  Amidar is definitely visible on the left side towards the back.  There's a black box on the right with a jack o' lantern face, and the text on it appears to say HALLOWEEN, but I know of no game artwork that looks like this.  Some of the boxes waaaaay in the back look like they might be Intellivision games.

 

What an eclectic mix!  Alright, let's flip to the back of the box.  Perhaps THAT will give us a better idea of what's incl--

 

27885233015_77eee6de6a_b.jpg

 

Hmm, 12 screenshot/art things -- maybe they're related?  Maybe THEY can tell us which "COMPUTERS SYSTEM VIDEO GAME PROGRAMs" we have here!  On the left we can see what might be Pole Position or Enduro, Pitfall, something with a helicopter (Chopper Command?), what looks like Freeway...  And on the right, that front one with the shark looks like the image from Harbor Escape (Panda), there's a little Frog(ger?) shown in the corner of one of 'em, and toward the back is what looks like the robot-thing from the infamously horrible Pac-Kong.

 

Alrighty, let's slide out the cartridge itself, maybe its label will give us a better ide--

 

27885233385_dd77b2e508_c.jpg

 

...never mind, then.  Hey, at least the art on the V-case cart matches what's on the box!  The cart's end label helpfully reminds us of what we have here, proper pluralization be damned:

 

27273247344_a9fe580634.jpg

 

Okay -- no more messing around.  Let's look at the label with game names and dip switch configurations on the back:

 

27885232625_4e8b62614d_z.jpg

 

Hey, I know some of those names!  But of course with these multi-carts, even having the names is no guarantee of game content.  The only way to be sure is to play.  So, let's go to the games!  (/NSG'd!)*

 

Running down the list, 10 games have the same title as what we'd expect.  The ones that are different:

 

SKI RUN is Skiing (Activision)

IQ WINNER ( :lol:) is... Flag Capture (Atari)

COW BOY is... Stampede (Activision)

TANK WAR is... Combat (Atari)

MATHMATIC is... Basic Math/Fun With Numbers (Atari)

FISHING is... Fishing Derby (Activision)

 

FISHING is, however, an interesting hack of the original Fishing Derby.  The fishermen have differently shaped (fatter) bodies, and the fish are replaced with... crabs.  (Shouldn't it be called Crabbing, then?)  FISHING also appears on Atari's oddball "32 in 1" multi-cart release, where it's listed as "Fishing"... and its game description explains that "The object of this game is to catch the crabs..."  :unsure:

 

27396733234_265de86478_o.png

 

So... in the end, as best I can tell, all of ONE game on the multi-cart -- Freeway -- is *also* depicted on the outside of the game box.  Did people buy multi-carts in generic boxes without having any idea what they were buying?  I mean... I guess they must have.  Craziness.

 

*Huge old-school internet points if you get this reference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An incomplete set -- Atari Corp picture labels with no controller info listed on the label:

 

27944755182_492768dd49_b.jpg

 

I love how the game titles are so all-over-the-place -- Circus Atari is especially wonky.  But that's not all...

 

- Atari Corp picture label games usually feature a small Fuji logo in the lower left hand corner of the artwork, and that's true for 8 out of 10 here.  But Circus Atari still has the older-style (larger) Fuji, and Video Checkers doesn't have one at all!

- Video Checkers also has the word "Model" embedded in the artwork next to the product number (CX2636).  Only a handful of Atari Corp. pic label games have this oddity (Black Jack, Flag Capture, Golf, and Video Checkers are the only ones, I think).

- Of course, you also have the different title font of Air-Sea Battle -- it's most evident by comparing the capital A to other game titles.  We also see it on the end label for Pac-Man:

 

27433261814_89f0e3f809_b.jpg

 

I'm still missing a bunch of these (games with no controller info listed).  Still need: Adventure, Berzerk, Brain Games, Code Breaker, Combat, Defender, Dodge 'Em (PAL only?), Haunted House, Indy 500, Math Gran Prix, Sky Diver, Star Raiders, Video Pinball.  There's also a version of the weird orange-label Breakout without controller info.  These can be super tough to find -- I don't think I've *ever* seen an Indy 500 in this style.

Edited by Ballblaɀer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When you start to get down to needing only harder-to-find cartridges, collecting gets substantially more difficult if you're trying to keep costs down.  Sometimes you spot the games you need in large lots, though, and if you can get a decent price on a lot you can often recoup most of your costs by selling what you don't need.  That's what I did (and am doing) in order to score these two rarities:

 

28576702775_710af7a61e_c.jpg

 

Flag Capture has some of my favorite Atari artwork.  There's just something about the way the collage is laid out, plus the bright gold color of the pirate ship on the right, the various flags... and of course that pirate's face is unforgettably striking.  It was an completely archaic game by 1986 though, and I cannot understand why they bothered reissuing it (just like Swordquest).  Was there really a market for Flag Capture in 1986?  Most folks were playing Super Mario Bros. on their NES by that point.  Anyway, perhaps that's why there are comparatively so few of these floating around now.  As I mentioned in my previous post, this is another oddball release with no Atari Fuji logo on the label and the word "Model" printed next to the Atari product number.  The layout of those three lines of text is, um... unique.  It also uses the box-style font for the title.  I love the shape of that "G" in "FLAG".

 

Wait a minute... "Use with Paddle Controllers"?  Atari Corp, go to your room!

 

Now, with Track & Field... where to begin?  This is the only game in the Atari 2600 library with this style of label.  It's gray in color, but seems overall flimsier/cheaper than their other gray label carts.  And what's with the B&W graphics and the bright pink title text?  Was there a huge clearance sale on pink ink in Taiwan the week these were made?  Just... weird.  Released in 1984 to coincide with Atari's sponsorship of the Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the 2600 port of the coin-op game Track & Field was announced by Atari Inc. at the Summer CES in Chicago in the first week of June, 1984.  Of course, Atari Inc. transitioned to Atari Corp. starting on July 1.  The Olympics Opening Ceremony was July 28th.  This really quick turnaround time (i.e. two months at most) is almost certainly the reason for the slapdash Atari Corp. labels.  They don't even have nicely cut rounded corners...

 

Gremlins for the 2600 was also announced at that same Summer CES in 1984.  The Atari product number for Gremlins is CX26127.  Track & Field's is CX26125.  Guess what number ended up on Track & Field's label?

 

Why?  Because Atari Corp, that's why.

 

28576703135_e575224a97.jpg

 

I also snagged a duplicate Pengo (my original is now set aside for nosweargamer) and a fairly rare text label color variation on Codebreaker.  Atarimania has a scan of it, and it's on the Giant List of 2600 Label Variations, but I'm pretty sure I've never before come across a yellow/gold-colored Codebreaker.  Cool.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This has been one of the greatest Atari weeks for me... ever?  Both for collecting and otherwise, I mean.  I started things off on Saturday making the 350-mile journey I described over in the Craigslist Finds thread, netting me Chase the Chuckwagon, a legendary title in the 2600 catalog.  Maybe it's not as rare or coveted as it used to be, but it's one game that I knew that I wanted to have in my collection at some point.  The gameplay stinks, the premise is lame, and I... just love it!  It's a perfect example of what was being produced at the height of Atari VCS game market saturation.

 

Then, Sunday, I sat down at home for some serious Yars' Revenge action -- maybe my favorite 2600 game of all time.  I wished I could have participated during #HSWDAY, but any day is a good day for Yars' Revenge!  I intend to try Ultimate Yars (Game 6) on Difficulty "A" sometime soon.  Hoping I can still defend the Razak solar system with the same level of skill.

 

Yesterday, a package came in the mail.  I knew I couldn't test it until today because I didn't have D-cell batteries on hand.  But I stopped after work today to pick some up, and tonight was the moment of truth:

28489029820_3b01dc54f2_c.jpg

 

YESSSSSS!  Oh, it's beautiful.  The wife and I have already played a few rounds.  Pure, 40-year old distilled fun.  And it *is* still fun, somehow!

 

28155790244_e0b3154922_z.jpg

 

28158387253_85a1952018_z.jpg

 

FRANKENSTEIN SAY "PUSH START GAME", RARRRGH!

 

28696278901_de3a3070c9_z.jpg

 

I'm pretty sure the circuit board inside the unit also says "Innovative Leisure" on it, IIRC.  I think these may be the only things in my collection to sport that early Atari slogan, other than the very first Atari VCS game catalog that came with some gatefold games.

 

28773218305_2e067f1f0f_z.jpg

 

I love my Atari Video Pinball, but... the original stands alone.

 

28696278201_218a33a35e_z.jpg

 

Atari Inc., Los Gatos, CA!  They were headquartered there until September 1976.

 

And then, as if this week needed more Atari goodness, two more packages showed up today.  First, the new Lynx SD flash cart from Retro HQ!

 

28773217835_b8939ce20b.jpg

 

I'm keeping it under wraps until I get my Lynx working properly again.  Need to move that back toward the top of my priority list.  We know it's not completely dead yet, so... hopefully the patient pulls through!

 

And finally, a package from the Land Down Under...

28696277631_3525f06fe0_z.jpg

 

For a long time I didn't even know that this existed.  It's a PAL-only release, and I think only ever really shows up these days in OZ.  For someone that loves the picture labels as much as I do, finally having one of these in the collection is an awesome feeling!  Just one more Atari pic label left to track down, now...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New addition to the Atari label variant family: Defender with a bright blue colored label!

 

29197512456_38c2f14da8_n.jpg29152885111_5382b34099_n.jpg

 

This is a PAL format game that seems to have only been sold in Europe; the only visible indication that it's PAL is the small "P" sticker on the back.  The reason for this unusual label's existence is unknown.  One could argue that it might be due to Atari Corp. basing another design on an existing game box -- after all, the only other Atari-produced cartridge with an unusually bright-colored label is the weird orange Breakout, which also looks much like its original box.  But that doesn't really explain why or how the game title on the main label of this Defender cartridge ended up red.

 

That said, I can't come up with a better explanation.  Unless... sabotage at the Atari factory!  :rofl:  Sure, it could very well be just a mistake by the factory that printed the labels -- I mean, if I've demonstrated one thing in this thread it's that Atari Corp. cartridges often exhibit mistakes that weren't caught before printing.  But this seems too drastic a difference to be an outright mistake to me.  I guess it's probably just going to be one of those things for which we never get a good answer.

 

Anyway, I love that the much smaller Fuji logo allows more of the artwork to be visible.  But additionally, the framing of the artwork is different from standard Defender cartridges -- this one allows you to see the woman in the red dress shielding her eyes and running/falling, at the bottom center.  Here's the original artwork so you can see her clearly.  The blue version does unfortunately lose the top half of the spaceship, but overall I still like it better.  The hard-to-find red label PAL version shows off the greatest amount of the artwork, but it's crammed in to a tighter frame than the other carts.

 

So this label variant isn't exactly common, but neither is it incredibly rare.  There are two on eBay at the time of this post; one from Germany, and one from the UK, and there was at least one more for sale from Germany in the last few months.

 

There are two other scarce color-variation Atari carts I'd like to collect someday.  One is Berzerk with yellow title labels -- I've seen a couple of these around.  The other is a Pole Position variant with the weird "Pole Positn" spelling error end label, but in addition to that the end label is mainly red in color with white text!  I've only seen this in one single photo of someone's collection, and I can't seem to find it at the moment.  Will update this post if I come across it again...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's another completed publisher set for the 2600 -- Absolute Entertainment.

 

29148882890_1d4bdba4d4_z.jpg

 

Pete Rose Baseball came from Atari.IO member StormSurge, Skate Boardin' came from Atari.IO member nosweargamer, Title Match Pro Wrestling was a local flea market find, and Tomcat: The F-14 Fighter Simulator was an eBay pickup.  These games were released during the 2600's minor retail resurgence under Atari Corp.

 

Absolute was founded by brothers Dan and Garry Kitchen, David Crane, Alex DeMeo, and John Van Ryzin.  I believe they were all previously employed by Activision.  They named the company Absolute to be alphabetically in front of Activision, just like Activision was named to be in front of Atari.  Absolute only produced four games for the 2600 before moving on to making games for what was a more popular system at the time, the NES (e.g. A Boy and His Blob, Space Shuttle Project, etc).

 

If the cart shell design looks familiar, well, have a look at the back -- they use Activision shells!

 

29437099935_6ff5680473.jpg

 

I think Pete Rose Baseball is the best-looking baseball game on the 2600 by far.  The computer seems to be able to win every time I play -- probably with some extended practice I'd be much better.  But really, even with its limitations (fielding a ball in the infield, for one!) the game is far preferable to other baseball games on the VCS.  Skate Boardin' is decent fun but not fun enough to keep me playing long enough to learn where all 30 obstacles are, and certainly not fun enough for me to want to make a map.  Title Match Pro Wrestling is... well... it's a wrestling game.  It's a bit more fun with two players, I think.  I haven't played Tomcat for very long -- it's a game that uses console switches during gameplay, and I'm generally not a fan of those (Space Shuttle being one exception).  But the little I've played so far has been great -- I'm amazed at the amount of game that can come from 16K of ROM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A quick post for a new label variant to come my way:

 

29437099765_722bab951b_z.jpg

 

Version on the left is the common label.  Version on the right is less common.  Similar colorized "screenshot" labels exist for about 8-10 other Activision titles.  I have no idea how rare these are for Freeway, specifically, but this is the first one I've ever had hands on -- pretty cool.  I'm not gonna go out of my way to collect Activision variants but if I happen to end up with them?  Yeah, gotta keep 'em.  :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recently completed 2600 set: M-Network.

29021221093_f4efc1560e_o.jpg

 

Check out those amazing, exciting, labels!

 

*crickets*

 

Favorite three to play are Bump 'N' Jump, Dark Cavern, and Kool-Aid Man.  Frogs and Flies is super simple but super awesome to play every once in a while -- don't let anyone tell you otherwise!  Air Raiders is the only entirely original game; all others are related to an Intellivision release (even if in name only, like Kool-Aid Man).  Star Strike is no doubt the hardest to find, but it's not so rare that you never see it.

 

Not much to say about the carts themselves.  Minor cartridge shell variations are nothing to write home about!  INTV white-label versions (released after Mattel nixed M-Network) exist for twelve of the games, but, again: yawn.  I'd like to know why He-Man didn't get the same kind of special logo/font treatment that Kool-Aid Man and the Tron games got.  Or why BurgerTime has the arcade logo, but Bump 'N' Jump doesn't.

 

Final country of manufacture tally:

Singapore: 13    /    Korea: 2    /    Philippines: 1    /    USA: 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it's kind of neat that the cart shells are the same size and design as Intellivision carts....just with a "skirt" added. 

 

I think M-Network had a rule from marketing:  No flickering allowed.  I'm sure the programmers hated it, but gosh darn it, it made the games a lot better. 

 

I think I've said it a dozen times, but it's worth repeating:  Try Astroblast with paddles (it works with either joystick or paddle).  It is a blast, and totally blows away the original INTV version (Astrosmash). 

 

Nice job collecting the whole set!

Edited by RickR

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Time for something new... Brazilian 2600 carts!

 

As I understand it, the Atari 2600 started to catch on in Brazil around 1983-1984, just as the video game market started to crash in North America.  A number of game companies started manufacturing cartridges for sale there, including one company officially licensed by Atari -- Polyvox.  Companies like CCE (Comércio de Componentes Eletrônicos, recently acquired by Lenovo) put out a vast array of titles, some of them unique to the region.  The best news for North American collectors is that Brazilian-made cartridges are NTSC format and can be played on NTSC consoles with zero issue.  Atari 2600 consoles sold in Brazil utilized some kind of internal transcoder that would output the correct color palette for their PAL-M televisions.  PAL-M uses the same number of scanlines (525) and frequency (30fps) as NTSC, it's just the color carrier that differs.
 

I may eventually post a more in-depth review of the unique games that I picked up, but until then -- have a look at some of these carts!

 

29976111625_88a55df71c_z.jpg

 

29862236762_19123e4cf7_b.jpg

 

First, five of the unique games.  Pizza Chef was a game programmed by Zimag, but Zimag never released it.  Immies and Aggies and A Misterious Thief are more or less the same story, though Immies and Aggies was released by Suntek (Taiwan) with the title Spectracube Invasion.  Bobby is Going Home is a Bit Corp. game and is globally not all that uncommon, but picking up an NTSC version proves to be a bit more challenging.  Stone Age plays a little like Pengo, and was apparently originally a TechnoVision/CreatiVision (VTech) release.

 

29976113305_9f63ce61f2_n.jpg

 

Mission 3000 A.D. is a space shooter that's kinda similar to the arcade game Bosconian.

 

The labels for these are all pretty cool IMO.  CCE labels came in at least three styles over the years -- the first style was a really colorful one with Portuguese title translations (like "Missão 3000 A.D.", above).  These games sometimes came bundled with CCE's 2600 console clones, as I understand it.  There were nine total titles with these colored labels; Mr. Postman is most common since it was the pack-in game for some time.  Mission 3000 A.D. is one of the more rare of the nine titles; Dancing Plates is apparently the rarest by far.

 

29976111095_ec6248ca52_n.jpg

 

Another CCE label style featured the same artwork for every game (e.g. see Pizza Chef, Immies and Aggies, and above, Zaxxon).  Pretty uninspiring to have all the carts look the same, but at least the artwork is kinda nice.  The CCE games with gold-colored labels can apparently be harder to find, even in Brazil -- there are nine of those titles as well.  CCE may have created this series of gold labeled carts to help offset their charging a higher price for more expensive games to manufacture (all of the gold series carts are games more than 4K in size).

 

29976110405_9f1afb67b6_z.jpg

 

The last CCE label style uses game-specific artwork, some of which has to be seen to be believed.  In addition to the three titles in the second photo, above, check out Pac-Man's super odd-looking blue Brazilian cousin being chased by green apple jelly beans... plus bizarro Q. Bert!  (Wait, is 'Q' his first initial?  Quentin Bert?  Quincy Bert?)  At least he's somewhat more Q*Bert-esque than the... thing... in CCE's catalog:lol:

 

29862237662_77f430b170_n.jpg  29976110605_4f292da29b_n.jpg

 

Finally, one of the rarest Polyvox games: Mr. Chin.  Almost all of Polyvox's titles are either Atari or Activision games, and I believe all of them come in Activision cart shells.  I don't quite have the full story on how Polyvox ended up with the license to produce cartridges from both companies, but regardless... Mr. Chin is neither an Atari nor an Activision title even though both companies' names are featured on the label!  It's essentially the same game as Dishaster, a (lousy) 2600 game released by Zimag.  HAL Laboratory seems to have ported the game to MSX in 1984.

For more about Atari's history in Brazil, I recommend checking out the History page at Atari.com.br -- it's very readable with Google Translation.  There's also the excellent "80s Gaming in Brazil" article in Issue 51 of Digital Press (page 24).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I've got a good one for you:

 

I got an extra copy of Video Checkers, and it looked a little odd to me.  Note that it says "Use with Paddle Controllers", when this game clearly uses joysticks!  And the end label has red text!!

 

Nice -- don't see the label color mismatches like that too often.  Now you have a great example of them screwing up the controller info in '86 and just deciding to take it out entirely in '87.  :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's one of the Taiwanese carts in my collection: "Winter Vocation".

 

29021220793_bccd3df2f8.jpg

 

M. Bison has apparently traded his cape and hat for a rifle, toque, and ski mask!  Hmm, wouldn't Ski Hunt be a better title for this?  In fact, that's what Home Vision's game is called -- there's a label *underneath* the Winter Vocation end label that says "Ski Hunt".  Why the re-sticker job?  Your guess is as good as mine.

 

29021220543_6682049379.jpg

 

Home Vision games are not pirates/bootlegs -- they're unique PAL games that are always interesting, if not always good.  Here's a link to a video of Ski Hunt -- it's got some good things going for it!  The alternating skiing and hunting levels keep things from getting monotonous, and the graphics are far and away better than those found in a lot of the bottom-of-the-barrel games that were made for the VCS.  I recommend trying it (you can grab the ROM from AA), but heads-up: I don't think there's currently a dump of the ROM available that doesn't get unplayably glitchy in the higher levels.

 

Coming up next, two SpaceVision carts...

Edited by Ballblaɀer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As promised, two more PAL oddballs!  SpaceVision is one of numerous pirate companies that produced Atari 2600 games, except unlike many they were based in Australia.  These companies were possibly all headed up by the same Asian-Pacific parent company (Bit Corp?) or were at least all inter-related in some other way.  So, here we go...

 

29021219723_181af50c30_c.jpg

 

As a life-long, die-hard Philadelphia sports fan, I *had* to have that first cart!  Nice job, SpaceVision -- using three licensed team trademarks/likenesses without permission on a single label?  That's a whole other level of piracy right there!  I thought that the image looked kinda familiar though, so I showed it to a friend who has probably forgotten more about Philly sports than I'll ever know.  He quickly recognized it as being lifted from an advertisement/poster for PRISM, the first premium cable sports network to serve the Philadelphia region.

 

So, what game is featured on this glorious cartridge?  Basketball?  Baseball?  Hockey?

 

29255259874_75d2754cb7.jpg

 

...Okay, go home, SpaceVision -- you're drunk!  That SpaceVision "borrowed" totally unrelated imagery for a cartridge label is nothing unusual, however.  They've lifted images from unrelated...

 

Movies: Firefox (1977), MacBeth (1971), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Books: Trail to High Pine / West of Barbwire (1956), Dark Piper (1968)

Obscure German TV Movies: Das Schöne Ende Dieser Welt (1983)

Other Games: Codename MAT (1984 - Spectrum/Amstrad), Moon Patrol (1983 - Atari), Space Shuttle (1983 - Activision)

 

I mean, even the styling of the SpaceVision logo is essentially stolen from Activision!  :rofl:

 

Try as I might, I've never found the source of the trendy 1980s artwork on the multi-cart.  The woman is wearing a jacket with a badge that says "TOPPER" on it.  The SpaceVision logo blocks it, but it looks like the jogger in pink has a shirt that also says "Topper", and the kite-flying kid has a shirt that appears to have the same rainbow/cloud TOPPER logo on it.  My best guess is that the artwork is somehow related to the South American sportswear company Topper, which has existed since 1976.  There's something about the way the people look that does kinda say "Argentina" or "Brazil" to me, but... it remains only a wild guess.

 

So, what's on this multi-cart?

 

29255263394_8648fec4d5.jpg

 

Hey, 5 out of 8 are immediately recognizable!  Or are they?  You never know with these foreign carts...  Anyway, the following four games are what you expect them to be: Atlantis, Crack Pot (Crackpots, naturally), Demon Attack, and Frostbite.  The others?

 

- Astro War was originally a Dimax / Sinmax game; it was also sold as War 2000 (Home Vision), War Meteor Defense (ITT Family Games), Kampf im Asteroiden-Gürtel (Quelle), and Missile War (Hot Shot / Goliath), among a few other names.  It's... alright.

- Dig Dug is a massive surprise -- it's an original 1983 TechnoVision game called "Pharaoh's Curse"!  This is not the same game as the more well-known Montezuma's Revenge-style 8-bit game "Pharaoh's Curse" by Synapse; this VCS version is essentially a Dig Dug clone (hence the title on the cart) released by VTech through their console gaming label.  They also released games called "Save Our Ship" and "Nuts" (the fourth, "Locomotion", never went to retail).  At the 1982 CES event they were promoting their VCS releases, but ultimately TechnoVision only ever sold their games in Europe (and are therefore only available in PAL format).

- Fireman is Imagic's Fire Fighter.  Meh.

- Farmer is U.S. Games' Gopher.  Meh again.

 

It would have been nice if SpaceVision could have included some key as to how to orient the dip switches, but... when you have two on top and one on the side of the cart, you're already in a land of confusion.  Ah well, at least there's only 8 combinations!  :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And now for something completely different...

 

30149155604_716c54c43a_z.jpg

 

New additions to the collection -- two Atari calculators!  There were at least 18 models of Atari-branded calculator, brought to market starting in 1987.  These were introduced by Hartech USA, a division of Hartech Ltd of Hong Kong (led by David Harris, former Atari VP for International Sales).  Atari Corporation issued Hartech a license to use the Atari brand name, so... they're not strictly Atari products in the usual sense.
 
30744218996_69962ca89d_z.jpg  30744216496_ff54406813_z.jpg
30149157484_78f5547642.jpg  30744215296_79ee65dd7e.jpg
 

The CC91G "ExecuCard" is a credit-card sized solar-powered LCD calculator with a membrane touch-sensitive keyboard.  You can see it featured on page 16 of the August 1988 (Vol. 7, Num. 4) issue of Antic magazine, as a "$5.95 value" bonus gift for subscribing to "Antic plus Disk".  Hartech also has their own 1/2-page ad for their complete (?) calculator line on page 47.  Unfortunately, this one's no longer working.  Whether the solar cells are toast or there's an internal battery backup that failed, I'm not sure, but regardless... I'm not super invested in getting it working again.

 

30149151934_622cdf0199_z.jpg  30145206963_7148789349_z.jpg

30145203873_dbc94024e5.jpg  30149153584_a4c0155b91_c.jpg
 

The CC192 "Mini Card Auto Recall Calculator" is slightly larger -- more of a pocket calculator.  Its noteworthy feature is its 32-Step Auto Recall / Memory Playback.  It was sold in cool-looking blister packaging.  While I don't have the right size batteries for this one at the moment, I tried some other button-size batteries and the display briefly came on, so I'm confident that this one works!  Well, inasmuch as it will turn on, that is.  According to Best Electronics, the CC192 models "have a defective Chip. They have all Failed or will soon Fail and the Calculator will not function properly."  I'll have to eventually let you all know if 2 + 2 = 5 with my CC192...  :D
 
On January 4, 1989 "Atari Corp. and Hartech Ltd. of Hong Kong jointly announced the cancellation of the licensing agreement authorizing the use of the Atari trademark on calculators.  Instead Atari would create a Consumer Products division to expand its product line to include not only calculators, but a largely expanded selection of consumer electronic products.  David Harris, Hartech's president, would be president of the Atari Consumer Products division, which would be located in Phoenix, Ariz. (home of Hartech U.S.A., Ltd.)" (thanks to mcurrent.name for the info!)
 
Here's an article from MyAtari.org from back in the day (2003, archive.org) that shows a number of the other Atari calculator models.
 

Anybody else have an Atari calculator in their collection?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been waiting for these to arrive for quite some time, and they finally showed up today.  More Atari 2600 cartridges from New Zealand, including THE ONE that I've most wanted for ages!

 

30954534976_439561b9c0_b.jpg

 

AIR.  SEA.  BATTLE.

 

YESSSS!

 

30901596731_0ea388ff2d_c.jpg

 

I first mentioned the weird artwork for Air-Sea Battle toward the start of this thread.  The same unusual cartoon-y artwork can be seen on the box for the Japanese Atari 2800 release of Air-Sea Battle -- I'm still on the hunt for one of those.  My guess is that the new artwork was created because the original artwork design calls to mind the Japanese flag and the Naval battles of the Pacific theatre, and it wouldn't have gone over well in Japan.  As far as I know, however, this Atari Monaco release is the only instance of the artwork being featured on a cartridge label, since games that came in Atari 2800 boxes were just the standard U.S.A. releases.  Unfortunately, this particular masterpiece was not one of those featured in Art of Atari...  :lol:

 

Edit: just realized, this is made even weirder by the fact that the silver Atari Monaco box for this cart features the original artwork!

 

Pac-Man is a new addition to my silver/gray label collection, and like I said the first time I had Atari Monaco carts to share, there's just something jarring about it to me... like... it's a dream where things aren't quite the way they normally are.  Outlaw is also a unique label from NZ, with a brownish-purplish-red title in the same Harry/Hammer Fat font that graces some of the late Atari Corp picture label carts.  Pole Position has a black Atari 2600 logo, which I can't recall seeing elsewhere.

 

30989630055_cd81ea11de_c.jpg

 

Let's talk fine print.  Air-Sea Battle features a copyright date of 1978 -- no other Air-Sea Battle cart that I'm aware of does this, though the launch/gatefold and early boxes do.  Pac-Man has two specific oddities worth pointing out -- it features a copyright date of 1982 (which no other 2600 Pac-Man cart does) and also mentions Bally Midway Mfg. Co. (which no other Pac-Man cart does).  Not too much to say about Jungle Hunt except it lists the wrong Atari product number (2668 instead of 2688).  Very odd since it seems to otherwise be a carbon copy of the original silver label release.

 

As mentioned in my first NZ post, all of the Monaco carts have their main rounded-corner labels upside-down compared to what we're used to, too.  Then you get to the end labels...

 

30873360512_398be1244e_z.jpg

 

Air-Sea Battle and Pac-Man have some fading going on, and none of them are perfect, but all in all... I can't express how excited I am to have these.  Rarity of PAL games is tough to pin down, especially when you're talking about a country as relatively small as New Zealand... but either way, I can't imagine that very many of the Atari Monaco carts were made.  Monaco Distributors still exists, though... I wonder if they have any old production numbers or sales figures they could share?  Might have to send 'em an email to ask!

 

With Air-Sea Battle and Pac-Man now added to my collection, there remain four Atari Monaco titles of the silver/gray style that weren't released in the same style elsewhere: Adventure, Haunted House, Missile Command, and Yars' Revenge.  And with Outlaw crossed off the list, there remain at least two titles with unique black/picture labels from NZ I'm still hoping to track down: Dodge 'Em and Surround.

 

The hunt continues!  :pac_man:

Edited by Ballblaɀer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Collection odds and ends post!  Here are some relatively new things in my collection:

1) Maze Craze first-run print box art, kinda speciously advertising 256 game variations (the rationale: 16 games X 4 speeds X 4 visibilities) with alternate/original artwork:

 

32075835296_3a4da227e8.jpg  31273636044_a785dbb973.jpg

 

These boxes are uncommon, but I wouldn't call them rare.  Not sure anyone knows how many of these were made before Atari switched to the "old-timey cop with a stick" artwork and the more reasonable 16 games description.  I guess maybe Atari didn't want people to associate the video game with serious crime, so instead went for the more "Keystone Kops"-like motif?  I've asked Tim Lapetino about it and will update if he has an answer.

 

2) Speaking of the Keystone Kops, here's a "Katch the Krook" scratch card that was included in some of the Keystone Kapers boxes by Activision:

 

32075832676_10ef50e68e_z.jpg  31996715661_bf5384770e_z.jpg

 

Ferg recently mentioned this in his 2600 Game by Game Podcast about Keystone Kapers.  Pretty neat to have even though I'm not a CIB collector.  Activision making you buy an additional game to claim a prize is fairly insidious!

3) With my recent acquisition of Oscar's Trash Race I now have all of the CCW and Kids' games in my collection:

 

32075831636_df084abc14_c.jpg  31273632924_2e61e2ca43.jpg

If you look closely, the Alpha Beam and Snoopy carts are Atari Corp (1986) releases, hence the nice labels with less plaque.  As far as I know, Atari Corp versions exist for at least six of these (not sure about Cookie Monster Munch).

 

4) While I don't intend to try to collect all of the Atari 2800 game boxes, there are a certain few that I'd really like to have and this is one of them:

 

31996709771_e9ba023491.jpg  31273629114_03e8fbd287.jpg  31996708071_c35b6ed1b2.jpg

 

The Japanese text on the back of the box that describes the gameplay seems to be a pretty good translation of the original English text.  "Beware of snakes!"  :indiana_jones:

Edited by Ballblaɀer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Maze Craze box I just purchased from dauber is that old style.  I placed my new-style "Ghallager the criminal" cartridge in that box.  Blasphemy?  Not to me. 

 

Maze Craze is a cool game in that they kept switching the number of variations advertised...even though the game never changed.  256, 128, 16?  I personally think the 256 version is outrageous, but cool. 

 

post-41-0-64139500-1483639676_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×