Atari 2600 rarity Extra Terrestrials goes on sale for $90,000 - USA DAILY NEWS

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

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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.

It’s 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 and it is very difficult for me to make this choice but I thought I would open the opportunity to the world to get their hands on a truly unique piece of gaming history.”

With no previous sales for Extra Terrestrials on record, it’s hard to say whether this cartridge is actually worth $90,000, even to the most intense Atari collectors. Retro gaming expert Racketboy estimated its worth at $7,000 to $15,000 back in October 2018. That valuation put it somewhat below Air Raid, another oddly shaped, incredibly rare Atari cartridge that sold for over $33,000 in 2012.

A video highlighting some contemporary news reports about the discovery of Extra Terrestrials in 2011.

Even at $90,000,
Extra Terrestrials‘ asking price is below
the $100,000 garnered for a pristine, sticker-sealed test market copy of Super Mario Bros. earlier this year. But that was a (thus far) one-of-a-kind find that represents one of the most well-regarded and culturally significant games of all time. While 
Extra Terrestrials has an interesting history, it’s not a game that brings up nostalgic memories or anything more than historic curiosity for pretty much anyone.

For what it’s worth, it seems like this eBay listing has already been ended and then re-listed, seemingly due to a fraudulent buyer. So serious bidders interested in spending $90,000 on a single Atari cartridge only, please.

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