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Rarest NTSC & PAL Atari-branded carts - both in one week!


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Miracles can happen!


In the span of a single week I added to my collection the hardest-to-find NTSC and PAL Atari-branded VCS/2600 cartridges.  As a label variation fanatic, this is... Christmas times ten?  A hundred?  I don't even know... there are no words for how excited I was (and still am)!  I'll spare you all any longer of an introduction and cut to the chase:


Flag Capture, Atari Inc. picture label



This is the rarest Atari-branded VCS label, without question!  Prior to July of 2006 when the first one was found, this was a cartridge entirely unknown to the Atari collecting community.   The second one didn't turn up until April of this year.  This makes number three, and... that's all, folks!  Until more of these turn up -- and I'm sure they will, eventually -- this remains more scarce than anything else Atari/Sears produced for the VCS, Sears pic label Superman included.
The game title is in the original picture label font, Bauhaus Demi (as opposed to the Atari Corp. re-release that uses Hammer/Harry Fat).  The main label artwork is contained within a reddish-colored border, whereas the re-release has artwork extending outside the border.  It features Atari Inc. 1978 copyright text, and accurate controller information.

The end label features a date stamp of 21 2 R, which puts its manufacture sometime in mid-to-late May, 1982.
Also, to my knowledge, this:
...the manual that came with the cart, is the only large format white/color Flag Capture manual to surface so far.  If someone knows otherwise, please share!
Pengo (PAL)


This is arguably the rarest Atari-branded PAL label cart.  Its end label is of the style of normal Atari Inc. silver label carts (i.e. it looks like "normal" Pengo, just with the additional PAL "P" mark).  On the other hand, its main label looks like your typical Atari Corp. picture label cart, the obvious difference being the font used for the game title.  It's super bizarre that the title and the product number are printed in the same "Cooper Black" font that is seen on many unlicensed Atari 2600 games and boxes produced in Taiwan -- and the lowercase title is even stranger!



The weird main label text -- plus this cart's extreme scarcity -- had led to some speculation that this was a pirate/bootleg cart and not an official Atari product.  It's all but impossible, however, that an unlicensed publisher would 1) leave the Atari Corp. copyright on the label, and 2) purposefully follow the well-known Atari Corp. pattern of re-releasing picture labels with incorrect controller information, then with covering the mistake with black tape, then finally eliminating the text altogether.

A number of these Pengo pic label carts have surfaced in Sweden, as I understand it.  Some evidence points to them being offered at video rental stores, housed in plastic video rental boxes with instructions printed on the rear of the case.  I'm not sure how many of these have surfaced over the years, but if I had to guess I'd say fewer than fifty.



So... yeah, it was quite the week for collecting!  :lol:


The appearance of another 1978 Flag Capture pic label is big enough news that starting a thread in this forum seemed appropriate.  Follow my thread for a third new Atari-branded addition that I consider to be in this same upper echelon of rarity.  I don't yet have it in hand, but it's on the way, so... stay tuned!

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