Offering several Atari 2600 games in our November 3-4 Signature Auction warms my heart. As the Lead Video Game Cataloger with Heritage, and as a gamer who enjoys all eras, I love “everything from Atari to Xbox,” as the saying goes, but the Atari 2600 represents my Golden Age of console gaming.
Browse all the vintage video games in our 2023 November 3 – 4 Video Games Signature® Auction
I was 10 years old when the system—then called the Atari VCS—was released in 1977, and I had a blast playing Combat, Air-Sea Battle, and other launch lineup games at various friends’ homes–my parents weren’t about to shell out $250 plus $30-$45 or so each for games. Later, coin-op ports like Space Invaders and Missile Command convinced me that I must own the system.
Finally, during the spring of 1983, a kid at school sold me his 2600 complete with 10 games for just $10, which was an incredible bargain. I’ve been collecting for the console ever since and have well over 200 titles in my collection, some sealed, some complete-in-box.
We’ve got nine different 2600 games in this sale, plus a factory case of six copies of Asteroids.
Here’s a brief look at each of these highly nostalgic lots:
Centipede – Wata GEN Sealed [1982 Silver Box, Alamogordo Dump Excavation #09188, with Certificate of Authenticity], 2600 Atari 1982 USA
The mushrooms in this port of the coin-op classic are rectangular, but that didn’t stop me from spending a ton of time with this fantastic shooter. It certainly captured the spirit and fun of its progenitor, and compatibility with the trackball controller was a major plus. The fact that this copy was excavated from the famous Alamagordo dumping ground makes it more than just a fun game—it’s a landmark (literally and figurately) collectible for fans of video game history.
Ghostbusters – Wata 9.6 A Sealed, 2600 Activision 1985 USA
As we approach the 40th anniversary of the 1984 horror/comedy Ghostbusters, it’s impossible not to feel a touch of nostalgia. Amongst these cherished memories is my thrill of experiencing its debut on the big screen. Also memorable was the fun I derived from the Atari 2600 game programmed by Pitfall! mastermind David Crane. This action/adventure title holds a revered place in my collection, thanks in part to its iconic cover art. Moreover, this specific copy reigns supreme as the highest graded on Wata’s June 2023 pop report, enhancing its desirability exponentially.
Home Run – CGC 9.6 Glue Seal, 2600 Atari 1978 USA
The graphics for Home Run may look primitive to modern players accustomed to the photo-realistic visuals of today’s baseball video games, but the title was nothing short of magical when it was released in 1978. Just the fact that you could control the onscreen action was mind-bending to my 11-year-old self as video games were still very much a novelty. While cart-only copies of Home Run are plentiful, sealed examples like the one we’re offering are rarer than an in-the-park homer.
Mario Bros. – Wata 8.0 A Sealed [1983 Silver box, First Production], 2600 Atari 1983 USA
When Nintendo’s Mario Bros. coin-op was released in the arcades in 1983, my best friend Johnnie and I would play the two-player mode at the local mall for hours and hours, laughing and trash-talking almost the entire time. One of the brilliant things about the game is that you could cooperate or compete, the latter of which was much more fun as you could sabotage your opponent in a number of fun ways when they least expected it. This Atari adaptation, which mimicked the action well, meant you could save your quarters and thwart your Mario brother at home.
Masters of the Universe: The Power of He-Man – CGC 9.0 A+ Sealed, 2600 Mattel Electronics 1983 USA
When it comes to Saturday Morning cartoons, I grew up on the Super Friends and Thundarr the Barbarian. By the time He-Man and the Masters of the Universe aired in 1983, I thought I was too old for adventure cartoons, so I missed out. Fortunately, through the magic of streaming, I’ve checked it out and enjoyed it in recent times. Conversely, I’ve been a fan of the video game since it first came out for both the 2600 and Intellivision. The sealed/graded 2600 copy we’re offering is perfect for display, thanks to its excellent condition and amazingly cool cover art.
Miner 2049er – CGC 9.2 A++ Tape Seal, 2600 Tigervision 1983 USA
The ColecoVision version of Miner 2049er, with its 11 screens and ingeniously challenging climbing/platform action, is one of my favorite video games of all time. For years I didn’t even know there was a 2600 release of the title with only three screens. The reason for my ignorance is that the game was uncommon (bordering on rare), even back when it first came out—I simply never saw it for sale in stores. Today, the game is a grail among Atari completionists. The beautiful copy we’re offering, safely preserved in a sturdy CGC slab, miraculously maintains its original tape seal.
Pac-Man – Wata GEN NS Glue Seal [No “Video Computer System”, Thumbcut Box, Early Production, Alamogordo Dump Excavation #09268, with Certificate of Authenticity], 2600 Atari 1982 USA
Growing up as a gamer, I had heard rumors of thousands of Atari 2600 games being dumped in a landfill in New Mexico to get rid of unsold inventory. Decades later, at the 2014 Classic Gaming Expo in Las Vegas, I watched the premier of Atari: Game Over, a documentary covering just that topic. It was fascinating and filled with numerous details surrounding this phenomenon, which many thought was a myth, but indeed was true. The fact that we’re offering two games from the excavation—Pac-Man and Centipede—in this sale is nothing short of historic.
Pelé’s Soccer – CGC 8.0 Glue Seal [1981 Light Green Box, Early Production], 2600 Atari 1980 USA
When I was a pre-teen, I went through a major soccer phase. I played soccer at school and in the neighborhood, I picked out a “Soccer Action!” T-shirt at K-mart, and I would listen to Dallas Tornado soccer games on my little transistor radio. Admittedly, I wasn’t super impressed with Championship Soccer for the Atari 2600 at first, but when they changed the branding and title to Pele’s Soccer, it definitely kicked (so to speak) the game up several notches in my book. Sadly, the legendary “footballer” of the title passed away in December of 2022, but this gorgeous copy of the game he endorsed is a nice tribute to his memory.
Star Wars: Jedi Arena – Wata 9.8 A++ Sealed, 2600 Parker Brothers 1983 USA
Along with Activision and Imagic, Parker Brothers was one of the stronger third-party companies that created games for the Atari 2600. Along with such titles as Popeye and Super Cobra, the company released three Star Wars-themed games for the console, including Star Wars: Jedi Arena. While I didn’t play Star Wars: Jedi Arena nearly as much as Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, I loved the cover art, and I was impressed by the graphics and music, including the iconic theme song. The first video game to feature lightsabers, Jedi Arena was inspired by the scene in the original Star Wars movie where Luke Skywalker practices using his lightsaber inside the Millennium Falcon.
Factory Case Pack of 6 (Sealed) – Asteroids – 2600 Atari 1981 USA
Collectors love warehouse finds and “new old stock.” What could be cooler and more nostalgic for us longtime retro gamers than a sealed factory box of six copies of Asteroids for the Atari 2600? Adapted from Atari’s own 1979 arcade classic, the 2600 version of Asteroids is widely regarded as one of the better ports for the console, even though it looks much different than its progenitor (thanks to technological limitations), employing raster graphics instead of vector graphics. The port is enhanced with 66 gameplay variations, including shields, fast and slow asteroid speeds, the ability to flip the ship 180 degrees, and modes of play without satellites and UFOs.