(Clockwise from top left)
Rescue Terra I, Swordquest: Waterworld, Crazy Climber, Gravitar (silver), Quadrun, Halloween,
Tooth Protectors, Out of Control, MagiCard, Video Life, Cakewalk, Stronghold,
Lochjaw, Condor Attack, Sword of Saros, Color Bar Generator, Chase the Chuckwagon,
X-Man, Berenstain Bears, Boing!, Video Jogger, Shuttle Orbiter, River Patrol,
Glib, Malagai, Eli's Ladder, Beat 'Em and Eat 'Em/Lady In Wading, Mr. Do's Castle,
Up 'N Down.
A larger image of the Holy Grail pic
Many of us are well-schooled in 2600 rarity. But have you ever wondered
WHY some of them are so hard to find? For most games, the answer is merely
academic. Other titles, however, are tougher to figure out.
Take River Patrol, for instance. It was certainly not Tigervision's last
release. In fact, it's the fourth game out of ten that was released by
the company! And it was advertised by large videogame mail order firms
for at least as long as any of Tigervision's other games. So what's the
story here? Did Tigervision release the game early on, only to pull
it from the market due to low sales? Did anyone try to find this game
in stores in 1983 to no avail?
Some cartridges were not big sellers because of limited market appeal. Color
Bar Generator by Videosoft, for instance, isn't even a game. It was merely
a tool for service technicians and produced color bars on television
sets used in repairing VCRs and laser disc players. Eli's Ladder, by a
small company called Simage, is a Christian educational game designed for young
children. Answer the question correctly and Eli climbs the ladder. Get to
the top and you win the game. X-Man (Universal Gamex) is an adult game
and was only sold behind counters. This in itself does not explain its
incredible rarity, however, since adult games by Mystique abound, relatively
speaking. This may be a case of inadequte distribution and marketing.
Many games flopped due to bad timing. Most of the rare 2600 cartridges
fall into this category. Q*Bert's Qubes, Z-Tack, Cakewalk, Stronghold,
Sword of Saros, Video Jogger, Berenstain Bears, Boing!, Out of Control,
Up 'N Down and Mr. Do's Castle are among the cartridges that were
released just moments before the market collapse or during the crash.
MagiCard and Video Life (CommaVid) are incredibly rare because of
bad timing as well. But where it differs from most other rarities is
that they were the FIRST TWO releases by the company! In fact, early
versions of MagiCard were sold when the company was still named "Computer
Magic," a name they used before settling on CommaVid. By late 1982,
neither of these games were available for sale anywhere.
Three games are famous today because of the way they were only available
for promotional purposes and never sold in stores. Tooth Protectors
(DSD Camelot) was a joint promotion with Johnson & Johnson and was made
available via a special offer mail order to customers who purchased
J&J products such as Crest toothpaste. Chase the Chuckwagon (Spectravideo)
could only be attained by sending a proof of purchase of Ralston Purina
dog food. Coke Wins! (Atari) is a parody of Space Invaders where shoot
at the letters "PEPSI" instead of aliens that are found in the original.
It was allegedly given out to employees of the Coca-Cola company and
nobody else. Kool-Aid Man (Mattel M-Network) was originally only
available as a special offer for customers of Kool-Aid, but was later
sold in stores and is not nearly as rare as the aforementioned three
Five cartridges by Atari are quite difficult to find as they were
only offered to members of the Atari Club -- Atari Video Cube,
Swordquest: Waterworld, Crazy Climber, Gravitar and Quadrun. The
former two, however, were later sold in KayBee stores and Toys R Us,
making them slightly less rare than the others. Quadrun, in particular,
is exceptionally difficult to find as it was the last of the Atari
Sure, it's always nice to have a nice collection of rare cartridges.
But as is the case with classical music, it's a much more fulfilling
experience if you understand the HISTORY behind the cartridges you
own or seek to own someday.