Are you a fan of unique and rare Atari games? Well, have we got the list for you!
The Atari 2600 console is probably what comes to mind when you think of the earliest home video gaming experiences.
And it would be those early video games that spark the most sentimental emotions in the hearts of gamers from the late 70s and early 80s.
So if you were lucky enough to own an Atari console at that time, and perhaps owned a few games… you might be sitting on quite a fortune and not even know it.
Not that you’d sell em (cause you shouldn’t!)… but if you did, which 10 rare Atari games might be worth more than you realize? And How much are they worth?
Most of these ain’t gonna make it on our list of the 25 Best Atari 2600 Games Of All Time, in fact… I just checked. Not a one of em.
But maybe a few of them can be brought back to life in the Atari XP Initiative.
Air Raid (1982)
Air Raid is an extremely rare Atari game, by the one-hit-wonder developer Men-A-Vision.
Your objective: Save two buildings from the attacks of flying saucers.
Sounds very much like something that would be made in the early 80s.
And in a theme you will find common in this article… the quality of game says very little about its desirable nature.
As one of the most rare games for the console, it has become one of the most valuable to collectors.
According to Wikipedia, “On October 24, 2012, the first truly complete game (cartridge, instruction manual and box) was listed for auction and eventually sold for $33,433.30.”
That makes Air Raid probably more valuable than the cost of production in 1982.
So good job, Men-A-Vision. You did it!
Birthday Mania (1984)
In 1984, rich families could actually purchase a personalized video game from developer Personal Games.
That game would feature the name of the aging individual of your choice, as well as a slot to write their name right on the cartridge.
It is estimated that they only ever sold about 10 of these well wishes out of the 300 cartridges produced.
Not exactly a get rich endeavor for the developers.
But if you happen to be one of the 10 owners of the extremely rare Atari game cart, you might fetch over $10,000 for it…
If you’d be willing to part with it, of course.
(Who throws away birthday cards?! I do. That’s who.)
Xante Rewritable Cartridges (1982-1983)
In the early 1980s, a small company named Xante had a pretty forward thinking concept:
Create writable game cartridges for the Atari game console, and offer a sort of rental service to its customers.
Game players could visit a Xante kiosk to pay a small fee to have a new game written to their game cartridge.
It all sounds like early Blockbuster Video / RedBox to me.
There were a handful of games made available to be written on the cartridges.
So if you have one, and depending on which game was written to it, the value would range anywhere from a couple hundred to a couple thousand dollars.
Are you ready for one of my favorite game descriptions of all time?
“The player controls a young boy who must eat plates of pasta placed in front of him by his mother, who will keep feeding him until his stomach explodes on-screen.
To prevent this, the player can throw it to a cat, who occasionally appears at the window, and a dog, who walks across the bottom of the screen.
However, if the mother sees the pasta being thrown to the cat or dog, she brings three times as much pasta the next time she returns.”
Um, WHUT?! Haha. How have I never heard of this?!
If you’re not already enamored, then maybe we are not the same.
But if you happen to have a copy of this game, especially one in the box.. you might be sitting on about $1000.
But if you have it.. I implore you… please just mail it to me.
What an interesting and weird rare Atari game.
We tend to keep Retro Dodo (mostly) family friendly, so we won’t go into too much detail about what exactly you might do if you were to play X-Man.
But let’s just say that this not so family friendly game was an “adult video game cartridge” that could be purchased via mail order.
Game play is said to be a Pacman inspired endeavor that eventually culminated in some explicit stuff.
If you, your dad, your grandpa, your uncle, or just someone who sold you a storage unit full of old junk happened to have one of the 25-50 units ever sold…
You might be able to sell that thing for around $5000.
Red Sea Crossing (1983)
We have seen that pretty much any video game about the Bible has very low sales, and ultimately becomes a rarity for collectors.
So Red Sea Crossing is no different.
Did the tale of the parting of the Red Sea by the hands of Moses make for great video game moments?
I mean… I doubt it!
But if you happen to have one of the “few hundred” copies that were ever produced, you might be able to part your wallet and put about $10,000 in it.
Take that, God! (Dang, can I say that on Retro Dodo? We will find out…)
Superman was not a particularly rare Atari game… they made and sold a ton of them.
But if you happen to have the extremely rare Sears version that had an alternate cover with yellow text (instead of the usual red text), you might be sitting on a fortune.
Yes people.. it really comes down to that… you got a label with a different color, it’s value might be about 50x that of the more common edition.
The super rare Sears Superman could pull in over $10,000 today.
Colorblind people need not apply.
The Music Machine (1983)
You thought we were done with religious video games? Well so did I… but apparently not.
The Music Machine was a video game produced in 1983 and was only available for purchase in christian bookstores!
Game play is visually similar to Nintendo’s Game and Watch title “Fire”, where you catch falling objects.
Except, in this case, you collect the “Fruits of the Spirit” as they fall down the screen.
Mmmhmm. That Spirit.
Due to its very limited distribution model, this is an extremely rare Atari game, and could pull in over $5000.
Pepsi Invaders (1983)
It is a tale as old as time: Pepsi Vs Coca Cola. But did you know that there was actually a game about it?
Yes, Coca Cola actually produced a Space Invaders clone that allowed you to blow Pepsi out of the sky.
The joke video game was produced as a promotional item to be handed out at sales conventions.
And there were only ever 125 copies produced. Making it extremely rare.
If you are lucky enough to find a copy anywhere, you may end up paying upwards of $2000.
As a Coca Cola fan, I’d sure love a copy. But I sure as heck ain’t buying one.
(Plus, you can literally find a ROM of it right now.)
It has always been a dream of mine to both own a space ship and to blast Pepsi out of existence.
You may remember this as one of the worst video games ever made!
But did you know that they actually buried thousands of them in the desert after the game’s epic failure?
And in 2014, about 900 of them were recovered in an excavation as part of a documentary.
You can read about the legendary Atari Video Game Burial here.
Some of them were preserved for the New Mexico Museum of Space History and The Centre for Computing History.
But over 800 were sold at auction, the highest known closing price at about $1500 smackeroos.
E.T. Is one of the most rare and most sought after video games, despite its reputation as one of the lowest quality games one might play.
And that pretty much sums up this entire list. Bad games + low sales = rare + valuable.
Anthony has been a video game lover ever since he can remember. He became a fulltime nomad in 2018, living throughout most of Asia. He focused his passion in retro gaming and began creating a game for the Game Boy Color while living in Nara, Japan during the 2020 pandemic. He is now in Chiang Mai, Thailand, where he spends most of his time gaming, going on long walks and meeting as many stray dogs as possible.