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Atari 2600 Rarity GuideAtari 2600 Rarity Guide

The Atari 2600 is the system most people collect games for. This is likely due to more people owning a 2600 than any other classic gaming system. Back in its heyday, who didn't have an Atari? This has two effects. First many people have a nostalgia for the 2600 and pick one up to play all the games they remember from their past. And second, because so many people had one, it's one of the easiest systems to collect for as there are so many games floating around.

Of course, it's only easy to collect for if you're a casual collector who's just looking for the more common games that most people enjoyed in their youth. Games like Combat, Air-Sea Battle, Yars' Revenge, Pitfall!, Adventure, River Raid, Asteroids, Demon Attack, and Chopper Command bring back fond memories for many and fortunately are very easy to come across. But if you're a serious collector who'd like to check off every game released for the Atari 2600 (ha!) then you have a serious challenge, as the 2600 can also be the most challenging system to collect for. At the time of the big game crash of 1984, the Atari 2600 market was saturated with games, many of which had low production runs and a short-lived shelf life. Many rare games never even made it to store shelves, such as those offered by the Atari Club (Swordquest Waterworld, Crazy Climber, and Quadrun, for instance).

This guide focuses on North American releases, although it does include select international releases. We will be adding more PAL and other international releases in the future. If you have any comments about the listing of a title or its rarity, please post them to the Rarity Guide Message Board.

The rarity scale is a general indicator of how easy or difficult it is to come across a game. The scale starts at 1 (very easy to find) and finishes at 10 (nearly impossible to locate). Thanks to auction sites such as eBay, even extremely rare games come up for auction frequently enough, but these often command a fairly high price depending on the rarity.

 

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