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About Ballblaɀer

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    Chopper Commander

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    MD, USA

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  1. Glad to see that you found my Atari/Sears manuals spreadsheet useful. I'll definitely go through my collection to see if have any manual revisions add to your sheet, and I'll also go through my giant stack of dupes to see if there's anything I can send your way.
  2. Thanks. Lots more really clear photographs of other weird things in my collection thread and on Twitter! I, too, love the new Word Zapper style graphic design -- it's super eye-catching. Between this new Word Zapper CIB and the Carrere re-releases, I think we've now seen all of the new artwork (in color) in one form or another. BTW, the existence of those loose U.S. Games / Vidtec combination carts somehow eluded me. One wonders whether there were U.S. Games styled boxes and manuals made for those as well. The big question remains: why were they made? The PR rep that I contacted about this did send a response, but it was only a terse (paraphrasing here) "I have no info, good luck with your project" answer. Perhaps there's someone out there connected to U.S. Games marketing who would remember; if anyone has any leads, let me know. You're certainly right... but with the context of also having a new style box and manual turn up too (and that they're the only ones ever found, as far as I know) I don't know if that reasoning applies to this case. I still lean toward this being a sample/display copy, but... it's only a hunch.
  3. I dumped it; it's a 100% match for the existing ROM. I also weighed it; it's the same as a standard non-beveled U.S. Games cart. So I expect the cart underneath the new labels is same as any other WZ cart.
  4. Well, this was unexpected, to say the least! AFAIK we've only ever seen this design once (as this title was seemingly never re-released by Carrere Video in Europe), and that's in the 1983 U.S. Games press kit (pdf, Atarimania, see page 28), in black-and-white. The included cartridge features the "beveled shell" U.S. Games style labels *over top* of the older Vidtec style label & cart shell. A closer look: The manual and box are indistinguishable from other later U.S. Games titles in terms of paper quality/size/etc. There's nothing printed on the packaging that suggests that this is a promotional copy or made specifically for a trade show, but... it's hard to imagine that this was put out for retail sale with labels stuck over top of another label. That, plus the fact that this is seemingly the only one to ever turn up suggests to me that it's more likely some kind of sample copy. Unfortunately I have nothing more concrete in terms of provenance. The person who sold it to me had no information on where it came from. The box has a Proof-of-Purchase in the usual U.S. Games place (on a top flap), but I don't think this is necessarily evidence of it having been manufactured for sale. I've sent a message to one of the PR reps who handled U.S. Games at the time -- I'll post again if I receive a response!
  5. I have this cart. "Dinosaur" is Dragon Defender, aka Im Schutz der Drachen.
  6. You'll find many of the part numbers you're seeking in the Atari EIS item master list, found here. You won't find anything for later releases like Midnight Magic since the document is dated January of 1984, but the master list is a good starting point, anyway.
  7. Thanks for doing this! Just curious: what was your process for dumping the games?
  8. Yes, exactly right. They are joystick/paddle combination controllers.
  9. Posting more regularly = more than once a year, I guess! 😄 Some more weird and wonderful stuff: A boxed 2600 title from a publisher not yet documented anywhere, to my knowledge -- "Supermax". Okay! Kill, snick ball and you scores. An incredible red 2600 clone from Taiwan, apparently known as "Invincible". A sharp-looking two-color Spanish-language manual/supplement from Atari Mexico. Hand-reproduced Vanguard art, perhaps? I've never seen one of these *not* from New Zealand -- a white 5x7 manual for 3D Tic-Tac-Toe. Some unusual carts that came my way from Indonesia. I legit think that these *may* all be from a licensed distributor, even taking into consideration the pirate-y aspects about them (e.g. the repeated part numbers). The beautiful R320 cart from Bit Corporation, which was a pack-in with their Creator 30 console. I have one of these available for trade/sale. Some more unusual carts from Taiwan, plus a copy of Time Warp that appears to be from Funvision, but oddly there doesn't seem to be a Funvision ROM contained within. Last but obviously not least... probably the coolest thing I'll ever have in my collection. If you follow me on Twitter you'll have seen all of this (and lots more!) already, but I've been urged to post more here, so... here ya go. 😁
  10. I was recently made aware of a Bit Corporation patent (in Taiwan) for a TIA clone. A .pdf of the patent (Chinese language, with diagrams/schematics) can be viewed on Google Patents.
  11. Wow, I hadn't heard of "Matt Patrol" and the similar story behind it's creation -- that's great. Exactly as you said: what are the odds? If anyone knows about other personalized "one-off" carts (i.e. not talking about things like Birthday Mania and "monogrammed" Space Chase carts) -- on any console platform -- I'd very much like to hear about them. The personalized copy of 2600 ROTLA that Steven Spielberg was given is the one that comes immediately to my mind, and presumably he either still has it, or it's... somewhere. I may release the ROM. I've gone back and forth on a decision multiple times. Seems silly to spend a lot of mental time/energy on it, I suppose; I just want to feel comfortable with the final call. Before I do anything I want to see if it's identical to any of the known MP prototype revisions (apart from the title screen, of course). When I get some free time I'll add everything to Clonespy and see which revision is closest, and proceed from there.
  12. Happy New Year, AtariAge crew! I love finding unique and unusual Atari items, but this one's in its own class. Wanting to learn the story behind it led to a cool interview with GCC programmer Noelie Alito. The article/interview is a bit of a longer read, but I hope you'll enjoy it all the same. The Zorfon Mystery: Answers from a Golden-Age Video Game Developer (medium.com)
  13. Short answer: no. Longer answer: nnnnnoooooooooo. 😀 Yeah, I was pretty excited when you posted your copy. Let me know if you ever think of trading/selling!
  14. Attached is a simple .htm report that I generated with WinMerge to show what files are new/different between v15 and v16. Not all files listed are entirely new. Just as one example, Confrontation is included on the list because new information was added to the filename. A different example: it looks like the review/first-run copy of Gangster Alley that I dumped was given the old, "original" filename, while the regular release has now been given the [fixed] notation. So yeah, this isn't meant to be comprehensive but will at least provide some guidance as to what has changed. compare.htm
  15. You can see @jahfish's copy in this post. I've been hoping for another one to turn up ever since I saw it. I doubt there's a date stamp on the end label, as it's an Atari Corp. release.
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