The main problem is that he saw that I was interested in a game he had for sale and proceeded to jack up the price. When I offered him what he wanted the second time around, it didn't matter. He still refused to sell it. I don't know if it is illegal for a retail store to do such a thing, but I doubt it and it really just seems unethical to me.
Oh, actually, he also mentioned that he had been to CGE a few times (in Vegas) and that most of the people there were geeks. No, I'm not just making that up. I took it with a grain of salt, considering the guy that actually -said- that, but it was sort of insulting. But, he seemed confident that he could go to the show or unload it somewhere else for more money (I'm sure he could..)
@StanJr: The place is Game World in Las Vegas, NV at the mall at the corner of Durango and Spring Mountain. So if people live locally, feel free to either boycott or stop by the store and say "hello"
@Cap5750: There won't be a next time
@AtariLeaf: He'll probably just keep jacking up the price given the more people that show interest. It seems to me that he'll never let it go, though he did say that he "didn't care about Atari 2600 and would just sell or trade it to get more NES stuff".
@Thomas: The case was the 20th Century Fox style with the sets of "ribs" on each side, like Activision cases, but more ribs. The sticker was a white sticker, probably 1.5" wide by 2.5" long and just wrapped slightly around the front case and onto part of the end-label section. The "Meltdown" was written in blue ballpoint pen in script. Until the store owner broke the label, it was in perfect intact condition, nice and white, with no tearing or anything like that. But, he obviously didn't care to keep it nice.
@keilbaca: Yeah, he was searching online. He didn't mention if and where he went, as he just came out and said he couldn't sell it, etc. He did that last time I went in a little over a year ago for some Intellivision stuff. I didn't buy anything from him that day, either. I don't think he's going to put it back into his $1 box, either.
@CPUWIZ: Given that I've never bought a prototype before (mostly because I am so cheap), I didn't have and/or want to go spend $200 for the prototype, especially without being able to -verify- that it was actually Meltdown. Since all I saw was the PCB (no label on the EPROM) and case, it's not like it was verified or certified in any way. Also, the dude probably wouldn't have sold it to me, as others have referenced to in this post, if I offered him $200, he would have asked for more. I'm sure this type of shit happens all the time, just not with a 2600 prototype sitting 5 feet in front of me. Curt seemed to think it was worth going back in and trying to get the $70 he originally wanted (even though the guy dropped the price down to $50 while we were talking again, but balked later). $200 for someone "like me" seems excessive unless the cartridge came from a known reputable source.
@NovaXPress: The guy didn't plug in the game, so I could only -assume- it was the Meltdown. The PCB was definitely an EPROM-based board, commonly used for prototypes. The EPROM was brand new, as was common from "back in the day", but most any 2K or 4K EPROMs you get these days are used and reused and their packaging is scratched and worn. The fact that it was a 2600 board (and not a 7800) led me to believe that it was a prototype for the 2600. The label said Meltdown, so I can only assume it was. The cartridge case was also brand new, with no sticker residue on the front label, which the shop owner kindly pointed out to me. So, whether or not it was actually Meltdown, I guess we'll never know, but it was a prototype!
@homerwannabe: Yeah, I had thought about that after-the-fact. In all honesty, I went into the store on the way to do some other things and really wasn't expecting to see anything at all. So, I was caught totally unprepared. Since I was looking through the other boxes of classic stuff (that they had to bring out from behind the counter one by one), it must have been obvious that I knew what I was looking for. If I was smart, I would have stopped looking once I found the proto (though I wasn't exactly sure that it WAS one right when I saw it), picked up Pitfall, Combat, and Missile Command, and handed them to him all at once. I'm kicking myself about it now, but I'm just not that slick, I guess!