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As far as Atari releases are concerned, there are four main cart label variations. All Atari-released 5200 carts are similar in that there is only a front label, and no side or end labels.

1) Games with a copyright of 1982 have a large "ATARI" logo with the 5200 logo beside it. In addition, the trademark information and copyright dates are on the bottom edge of the front label, underneath the illustration.

2) Games with a copyright of 1983/84 are similar to the 1982 labels, with a few exceptions. The "Atari" logo (with the 5200 on the side) is smaller and is shifted to the top right side of the label. To the left of the logo, it reads "VIDEO GAME CARTRIDGE" and "ATARI 5200 SUPERSYSTEM," both with rather small fonts. The trademark and copyright information is on the left side of the label.

3) The labels on the 1986 Atari Corporation releases are exactly like the 1983/84 Atari Inc. carts, but with one MAJOR difference-- the title of the game is not mentioned anywhere on the cart! The illustration on the label is the only hint of what game the cart actually is. Of course, the game titles are typed on the front of the box and on the instruction manual. All Ballblazer and Rescue on Fractalus carts have this label, and the following titles are known to have this variation as well (along with the standard 1982 or 1983/84 label):

Space Invaders

4) Another minor variation found on Atari-released 5200 carts are the grayish labels (as opposed to the normal silver color) in some of the Atari Corp. releases. The label is dull-gray in appearance like the ones found in late release 2600 and 7800 carts.

A few other Atari-released label oddities exist. For example, there is a 1986 release of Dig Dug which has the title on the cart, which is unlike almost any other 1986 release or re-release.

5) Football was later renamed Realsports Football. The title for Soccer was also later changed to Realsports Soccer. Differences in titles and slight alterations in the cart/box art work notwithstanding, the gameplay for both titles is the same.

Both Bounty Bob Strikes Back and Miner 2049er by Big Five Software have two different labels. The more common of the two variations features a picture label on a red case. A precious few have a silver foil label with plain text, which is much more difficult to find than the picture label carts.

Zone Ranger by Activision comes in two flavors. The earlier release has a regular illustrated label, the type used in all other Activision games. The later, and more common version (mostly seen being sold by Telegames) has a silver foil label with black text.

Masterplay Interface by Electra Concepts has two different boxes. The Masterplay was originally packaged in a small black box with red pinstripes and no illustration. Later (and more common) units had larger boxes with pictures and illustrations.

Several late Activision releases for the 5200 have unusual box and manual variations. Whether it was a result of a cost-cutting initiative or merely a foul-up on their part, we may never know. Quite a few of the late releases come in 2600 boxes! Although they supposedly shipped that way from the factory as brand-new 5200 carts, the box clearly states "for Atari 2600" and in some cases states "for Colecovision." Some of these boxes have "for Atari 5200" stickers pasted on the box over where it originally stated a different system.

That's not all. Some of the manuals included with the game were nothing more than photocopies with shrunken down text. Some of the manuals were also made with instructions for more than one version of that particular game (i.e., Pitfall for the 2600, Colecovision and Atari 5200). Finally, quite a few of the Activision releases had either manuals for the wrong system or had NO manuals packaged with the game!


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