Man finds unreleased Atari 2600 game at flea market

dandyfind.jpg

Alex Handy found a bunch of suspiciously familiar-looking ROM chips at the Laney College flea market in Oakland. Looking closer, the $22 boxful turned out to include unreleased wonders of the 8-bit era.

“I know I’ve written about the amazing things I’ve found at this swap meet. In the past, I got a Game & Watch, and oodles of rare old console games. But today, I found a never published Atari game. I am not kidding. This is the holy grail of videogame collecting.”

Among the finds was Cabbage Patch Kids Adventures in the Park, hitherto believed to be a colecovision exclusive!

“OK, now I was getting a boner. Cabbage Patch Kids Adventures in the Park for Atari 2600. A game which was never finished, and never released. I searched the Web, and found this page. Which says, basically, that the only known copy of Cabbage Patch Kids Adventures in the Park for Atari 2600 is in the hands of Ed English, the guy who wrote it. Did Ed clean house and give the junk to random Mexican Flea Market people? I think, more likely, an old Coleco office was cleaned out. I went back and bought the remaining 9 slabs of chips.”

OK, so it’s perhaps not the most appetizing lost title that could have turned up. Still, what a fine find!

Most Legendary Haul at the Flea Market
[Gism Butter via Qt3]

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Email is dead, but you can try your luck at besc...@gmail.com
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10 Responses to Man finds unreleased Atari 2600 game at flea market

  1. Seg says:

    @JennFrank

    Thanks for reading my blog!

    I’m certainly not diminishing the current work being done (nor did you imply that I was). If such a singular museum existed, it would be a centralized venue for the general public to interface with this history. Connecting the efforts of these wonderful individuals to a larger audience.

    Right now I’m just drumming up support of the idea for it; Getting people to think about the historical aspects of our art form. The game museum is a long-term goal for me but something I want to see happen some time in my lifetime.

    @MrScience

    There isn’t much I can really comment on, but I want to thank you for sharing your story with us.

  2. Seg says:

    It’s finds like this that make me wish for a computer/console game history and preservation organization and museum. Not that I distrust Mr. Alex Handy, but having a group that helps preserve and exhibit these articles of history would make me sleep at night.

  3. MrScience says:

    My father passed away when I was eight. At the time he worked for National Semiconductor, and would bring home chips from trial runs for the Atari 2600. My mother remarried, we moved to Oregon, and every now and then I’d break out the 2600, and the chips nestled in their black foam, and play a few games. Every now and then a pen would get bent, only to be carefully tugged at with small fingers until it was straight enough to fit into the adapter.

    They were lost in a move, and years passed.

    My dear mother then passed away in 1999. My (step) dad started preparing the house for sale.

    One day I remembered about the 2600, and the rare, unmarked games. Realizing he was going through every box in the house from past moves, I made the call.

    “Hey, could you keep an eye out for the old 2600 and some chips in black foam? I know you’re trying to fit everything into your car for the move; I’ll pay to have them FedExed.”

    There was a long pause.

    “I’m… I’m sorry, Tom. I did come across it… but I threw everything away two days ago.”

    A sharp inhalation. “Oh. Well, that’s ok. No worries dad. I was just curious.”

    “I am sorry… I didn’t even think about it.”

    “No, no, it’s ok. Don’t worry about it at all. How are you doing? Have an idea when I can fly down to help on the drive up?”

    One of the few tangibles I have from my father, and a piece of gaming history. Wonderful memories remain.

    I nearly cried after I hung up.

  4. Davin says:

    That is an extremely fun bit of nerd-dom. It must have been an intense feeling, to stumble upon something that is basically lost to the world (even if only very few people care about it!)

  5. SC_Wolf says:

    And here, I was expecting this to be this blog entry that Metafilter linked to earlier today. I don’t know which link I like better.

  6. Rob Beschizza says:

    Mr. Science, thank you for your wonderful and touching story. I often think back to things I’ve discarded and lost. All the open loops eventually demand closure.

  7. Torchwood says:

    I appreciate this find, yet i firmly believe that “cabbage patch kids” and “boner” should never inhabit the same paragraph.
    T

  8. Anonymous says:

    wow thats wierd cause i just got on line to look for this game cause i remember playing it as a kid at my friends house is it possiable that there was more than one

  9. Anonymous says:

    Ed Temple programmed Cabbage patch Kids for Atari 2600, not Ed English

    -from Ed English

  10. jennfrank says:

    Then there’s Hustler, and a couple more that I take to be test chips. Another says Sword.

    Ooh! Ooh! This is a stretch, but what if it were the fourth, final, never-finished Swordquest game, “Swordquest: Airworld”??

    @Seg: Oftentimes in the Atari community, when a prototype is found, the owner may dump the ROM image and copy it to blank cartridges, as in the case of Combat Two, which was sold for a pittance at CGE 2001 (fun weekend project?). In a case like that, the owner of the prototype is acting more as a historian than as an entrepreneur. So although it’s unlikely a definitive, centralized, singular ‘museum’ entity would form (yes, I skimmed your blog), there are so many goodhearted, autonomous individuals who do subscribe to your noble beliefs about ‘preservation’ and ‘exhibition.’

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