October 15, 2019
Tech

Atari 2600 rarity Extra Terrestrials goes on sale for $90,000

Got $90,000 burning a hole in your pocket? If so, you seemingly have a rare opportunity to purchase one of the rarest Atari 2600 games in existence.

Extra Terrestrials (not to be confused with the notorious movie-licensed Atari 2600 flop E.T.) was an actual Atari 2600 game sold near the tail end of the 2600's commercial existence in early 1984. But the cartridge was almost completely unknown, even among the Atari collecting community, until October of 2011. That's when a copy turned up as a contribution to Canada's Personal Computer Museum in Brantford, Ontario.

With a bit of research, curators at the museum were able to determine that the game's maker, 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 cash in on the Atari craze and the continuing hype around the E.T. movie, 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 for the 1983 holiday season.

After a delay pushed the release into early 1984, though, the great video game crash of 1983 had pretty much eliminated any chance of an unknown (and pretty derivative) game finding interest from distributors. But the Bantings decided to see their investment through, producing roughly 100 cartridges and selling them door to door in the area, according to the creators.

Its worth how much?

The first public video of Extra Terrestrials' (uninspiring) gameplay, posted by the Computer History Museum in 2011.

Fast forward to 2011, when this unknown and unheralded game found its way to the museum. After tracking down the creators and backing up the ROM for archival and distribution, curators produced a limited edition run of 100 "Special Edition" carts for the collector's market. The museum has since obtained two more of the game's original run of cartridges and discovered a fourth that currently belongs to developer Herman Quast.

But this is seemingly the first time that a copy of this little-known gaming rarity has been up for private sale. The seller, who has a perfect feedback rating going back for years on eBay, says they "purchased this game from a seller who found this game in the Brantford area close to the site of production. I paid a premium price for it myself andRead More – Source

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Ars Technica

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