8bits in the Attic – Atari (and Intellivision) Treasure Trove

About 12 years ago I realized that I wanted to play my original 1986 Atari 7800, but had no idea where it was. After searching the garage at my parents house, I found the original system in its original box, but no games. This set me out on a mission to find games to play on it. This mission ultimately resulted in my acquiring smallish stock of retro games and systems. We moved houses 2 years later and all of those games and systems seemed to have been lost somewhere along that way…until today. Today, while searching for Easter baskets and decorations in the attic, I uncovered 5 boxes of retro gear. The first contained many of of the 8-bit Atari games (400/800/xl/xe, 2600, 5200, 7800) and a couple Intellivision games.

2600 Games

The box contained 51 Atari 2600 carts. Only 2 of them were doubles, and 4 were signed by the original programmers/designer. While at Mattel we had the pleasure of working with David Crane and Gary Kitchen (both with  Skyworks at the time). They agreed to sign some carts that I brought in.

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The games starting from the top row and moving left to right and down:

Super Breakout, Asteroids, Casino, Video Pinball, Defender, Human Cannonball, Surround, Video Olympics, Home Run

Adventure, Maze Craze, Warlords(2), Football, Haunted House, Street Racer, Pele’s Soccer,  Space Invaders

Yar’s Revenge, Pac-Man, Mario Bros, Pole Position, Real Sports Tennis, Centipede, Vanguard,  Real Sports Baseball, Kangaroo,

Ms Pac-Man, Sears Tele-Games Golf, Bowling, Combat, Breakout, Basketball, Sears Tele-Games Pinball, River Raid, Sea Quest

Enduro, Pitfall (signed by David Crane), Grand Prix (signed by David Crane), Keystone Kapers (signed by Gary Kitchen), Spider Fighter(2), Megamania, Donkey Kong (signed by Gary Kitchen), Frogger,  Phoenix (in Box)

Riddle of the Sphinx, Q-Bert, Star Wars (the Empire Strikes Back), Trick Shot, Atlantis

A couple of these games I got from Steve as he had been care-taking most of our older 8-bit stuff (I got the Atari ST). Some of these games I found at garage sales, mom and pop thrift stores, and on the internet, but by far the largest portion were grabbed from the TV department of the local Salvation Army for $1.50 a piece (you can see the shitty non-removable sticker on many of them).  The Phoenix cart (in box) was purchased with a lot of 7800 games off the internet.

7800 Games

The box contained 18 Atari 7800 carts (9 in box, 9 loose).

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Pete Rose Baseball, Xevious, Food Fight, Desert Falcon, Robotron, Touchdown Football, Galaga, Asteroids

Baseball (in box), One on One (in box), Ms Pac-Man (in Box), Dark Chambers (in Box)

Donkey Kong (in box), Donkey Kong Junior, Choplifter, Tower Toppler, Centipede

Like the 2600 carts, a few of these came from Steve’s stash of our originals while all of the in-box carts were purchased over the internet.

Atari 400/800/xl/xe computer game carts

My favorite retro machines are the Atari 8-bit computers (the mini-Amiga as Jay Miner had his hand in creating both). It was the most elegant and arguably one of the most powerful of the 8-bit computers. Game-wise it was much more powerful than the early IBM’s, Apples, and Timex’s, and it fought on even ground with the C=64 (each machine having it’s own advantages).

This is the machine I was (and maybe still am) most interested in collecting carts for. I don’t know If I will ever start up my collection again though. I was burned too many times by e-bay sellers who never sent he carts that paid for. This was the major factor that stopped me from collecting in the first place.

There are only 9-carts in this box for the Atari 8-bit computers, but I am sure I have more some place (or did they never arrive in the mail?).

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Millipede,  Demon Attack (will not work on my 65xe or 800xl), Qix, Dig Dug, Star Raiders, Miner 2049er (I know the cart pic is obscured by my lame photography skills, but most of the printing is also gone form the label), XE Game System Food Fight, XE Game  System Donkey Kong, and River Raid.

5200 Carts

I never had a 5200, but when these two babies showed up at the bottom of a pile of junk on the 99 Cent store “media isle” I jumped on them.

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The two carts are Pole Position and Pac-Man, but I could have sworn I have an in-box Berzerk some place also.

It has been 12 years, but I still go to that 99 Cent store media section hoping to see Atari carts at least a couple times a year. No more have ever shown up.

Intellivision Carts

I have a soft spot in my Atari heart for the Mattel Intellivision. Steve and I used to play the system all the time at Eric Barth’s house down the  street (he might be your professor now if you attend college in the South).   I worked at Mattel for 13 years and was astounded by how little homage they paid to this lovely device (none-what-so-ever). That, in a nut shell, explains (to me at least) why they will never “get it” and will never be the digital company that they hope they can be.

Anyway, I found these four babies at a Goodwill Shoppe (the expensive one with the boutique). These were actually only a couple bucks each because they didn’t have the word Nintendo written on them anywhere.

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The games are Mission X, Football (was NFL Football), Triple Action, and Burger time.

There are more boxes in the attic. I know there are Genesis, 32x, Jaguar, Atari ST games and much more up there. Maybe I’ll get to them next week, or maybe it will be 10 more years. It all depends on how busy Zynga keeps me. (By the way, Zynga is a an awesome place to work)

(8bitjeff is Jeff D. Fulton)

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