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Beamrider

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So, while in Topeka KS, I went to Vintage Stock & Movie Trading Company and discovered they have a great video game collection. They don't have the biggest retro stuff in the way of Atari stuff, but what they had was cool. Found a game not in my collection though, maybe even a couple others. I didn't have my database on me. So what was the game I found, and bought for $1.99? Beamrider for my Atari 2600. I have seen it on eBay for around $25+, one NIB for 99.99. I noticed it has a 5 rarity here.

 

I was curious, how rare is this title and how hard is it really to come across? The sticker on this copy has the typical age appearance but is really clear and colorful. The cart itself is clean and very well kept up. No instructions came with it.

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I'm losing faith in the rarity guide. It seems like it is just a close guess and doesn't include enough about label variations, boxes, manuals.... For me a more accurate rarity guide would be one where all members can register what we have in what quantity in which label variations and include rather or not we have the box, manual, CIB, or sealed. Maybe have an upgraded profile where we can register them and scan pictures. We can use our profiles as a data base of our collections and maybe have it set up to be able to print. The rarity guide could keep track of what every member has and give a number for it with decimal points. The rarity guide would be updated every time we register something. A rarity guide like that I would enjoy and find more useful.

 

Anyway, I would say Beamrider is rare enough that $1.99 is a good deal. You could get Pac-Man for that.

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I don't think there's going to be any foolproof way of setting up a rarity guide. Any rarity guides will be speculative because we don't actually know how many carts are still in existance after 30 years.

 

I'd considered something like having everyone here post their collections, but I think the data would end up very skewed due to the fact that the posters are collectors, and not viable as rarity data.

Edited by SlowCoder

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Beamrider is probably more like a 4, but I can see 5 on the high end. I see it much more at conventions than I do in the wild, but it usually goes for around $8-$12 loose, so getting it for $2 is pretty sweet. Not to mention that the game is mega sweet.

 

Having a rarity guide based on what is in AA members collection wouldn't really be a fair estimation of rarity primarily because there are most like far more games out there in the wild, in second hand stores, in vendor booths, and in the collections of those who are not AA members, than there are in the collections of the thousand or so active AA members. That would be like basing the world's population on the number of people in your state.

 

I do think the AA rarity guide could be a bit more fluid, but I also understand that Albert has a lot on his plate and it probably takes more time than I understand to maintain the guide. That said, there is a forum for debating just such issues and there is nothing I love more than debating rarity, so there is always that avenue of lobbying for change.

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Hell, Beamrider is AWESOME enough that anything for it is a good deal, let alone such a low price.

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If the rarity guide is about how hard they are to find then it makes sense to calculate the percentages of what has been found.

 

Agreed, but not all "found" copies would be represented by active AA members. I have a friend who has Mr. Do!'s Castle, but he's not on AA. So his copy would skew the rarity.

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I usually find Beamrider runs about $10, so $2 is a great deal. IMO :)

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Beamrider released under a label other than Activision, such as Polyvox or Canal 3, is worth more, but I'm not sure how much more. Atariguide.com places these in the $20.00 range, but those prices may be based on outdated information. They also price one of the Activision label variations at $30.00.

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If the rarity guide is about how hard they are to find then it makes sense to calculate the percentages of what has been found.

 

Agreed, but not all "found" copies would be represented by active AA members. I have a friend who has Mr. Do!'s Castle, but he's not on AA. So his copy would skew the rarity.

 

Found by who? If I found a copy of Mr. Do!'s Castle and didn't say anything about it then it would still be lost to the rarity guide. It would have been found by me but from Atariage's perspective it wouldn't exist until I said something. How many people can physically edit the rarity guide? I assume it is either one person or a few. If I were that one person then from my subjective experience Frogger II would be rarer than Crazy Climber because I see it less on Ebay. The more people that play a part in the rarity guide the more objective it will be. Is your friends copy of Mr. Do!'s Castle included in the rarity guide? If we could register our copies of Mr. Do!'s Castle would we have a greater affect than your friend's copy is having now?

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Great game (plug: listen to my song about it called 'save a helipod'), and I think the rarity guide is pretty useful overall, but clearly imperfect. Region has a lot to do with it, sometimes I see a game that I often see in the wild listed as fairly rare or a game I never see listed as common, I assume that said game is actually more common down in Texas or wherever.

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The only way the guide could be perfect is if we knew how many of every game and variation existed. As I said before, the best we can do is estimate. And if you're unhappy with the guide in its current state, ask Albert if you can assist in its upkeep. Don't just gripe about it.

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Found by who? If I found a copy of Mr. Do!'s Castle and didn't say anything about it then it would still be lost to the rarity guide. It would have been found by me but from Atariage's perspective it wouldn't exist until I said something. How many people can physically edit the rarity guide? I assume it is either one person or a few. If I were that one person then from my subjective experience Frogger II would be rarer than Crazy Climber because I see it less on Ebay. The more people that play a part in the rarity guide the more objective it will be. Is your friends copy of Mr. Do!'s Castle included in the rarity guide? If we could register our copies of Mr. Do!'s Castle would we have a greater affect than your friend's copy is having now?

 

Another reason your suggestion wouldn't give any sort of accurate reading of rarity: At one point, I had a couple hundred doubles of commons like Pac-Man, Asteroids, Combat, SI and so on. I sent a couple boxes to Al for homebrew donor shells, and gave bunches away to people that I know aren't on this site. And every other long-time collector has done the same. And what about all those R1's that we all see at thrift stores and garage sales all the time, but pass on, then they end up in the hands of some random kid or in the trash or whatever? Right there, that's going to skew your rarity rankings since none of those will be entered.

 

Similarly, as collectors, many of us have tried to get one of each game. So that means that I have one Pac-Man, one Combat, and one Atari Video Cube, one Wall Ball, one Crazy Climber, and so on. So, within my own collection, all those would be the same rarity. Many collections will look similar, so the result will be very flat ratings except for the most rare games like Magic Card etc that necessarily only a limited number of collectors can have due to there being a very limited number of carts in existence. The reason again, is that most collectors don't keep doubles just due to storage limitations.

 

The rarity guide could probably use some updating, but like you yourself said, it's a "very close guess". Without the unattainable perfect knowledge of everything out there, it's probably as good a system as any.

Edited by Mirage

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In my experience:

Beamrider is an awesome game, and $2 is an awesome deal. I paid around $20 for mine (cart only) online; it's pretty damn uncommon to find locally.

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Found by who? If I found a copy of Mr. Do!'s Castle and didn't say anything about it then it would still be lost to the rarity guide. It would have been found by me but from Atariage's perspective it wouldn't exist until I said something. How many people can physically edit the rarity guide? I assume it is either one person or a few. If I were that one person then from my subjective experience Frogger II would be rarer than Crazy Climber because I see it less on Ebay. The more people that play a part in the rarity guide the more objective it will be. Is your friends copy of Mr. Do!'s Castle included in the rarity guide? If we could register our copies of Mr. Do!'s Castle would we have a greater affect than your friend's copy is having now?

 

Another reason your suggestion wouldn't give any sort of accurate reading of rarity: At one point, I had a couple hundred doubles of commons like Pac-Man, Asteroids, Combat, SI and so on. I sent a couple boxes to Al for homebrew donor shells, and gave bunches away to people that I know aren't on this site. And every other long-time collector has done the same. And what about all those R1's that we all see at thrift stores and garage sales all the time, but pass on, then they end up in the hands of some random kid or in the trash or whatever? Right there, that's going to skew your rarity rankings since none of those will be entered.

 

Similarly, as collectors, many of us have tried to get one of each game. So that means that I have one Pac-Man, one Combat, and one Atari Video Cube, one Wall Ball, one Crazy Climber, and so on. So, within my own collection, all those would be the same rarity. Many collections will look similar, so the result will be very flat ratings except for the most rare games like Magic Card etc that necessarily only a limited number of collectors can have due to there being a very limited number of carts in existence. The reason again, is that most collectors don't keep doubles just due to storage limitations.

 

The rarity guide could probably use some updating, but like you yourself said, it's a "very close guess". Without the unattainable perfect knowledge of everything out there, it's probably as good a system as any.

 

Which label variations and quantity of each variation did you have of your couple hundred doubles? Did any of them include the manuals or boxes? Which variations of the manuals and boxes? What quantity of each? How many were sealed? How many were missing end labels? Does any of these common games have different rarities within the same game from some variations being more rare than others, from including manual, from being CIB, from being sealed...? All this would have been included in the calculation if you registered them?

 

The games in flea markets, thrift stores, and at garage sales are becoming less and less. The wild is drying up. Many of them are bought by collectors, bought to resell online, thrown away to make room for something else. All the one's you and others choose not to buy have a greater chance of being destroyed. Destroyed ones no longer need to be counted. Many of the one's that are bought have a chance at being registered.

 

Of the one Pac-Man, one Combat, and one Atari Video Cube, one Wall Ball, one Crazy Climber, and so on that you decide to keep which label variations are they? Pac-Man and Combat has many variations. Is your Atari Video Cube a silver or gray picture label? Of your one of each which have a manual? Which variations of the manuals? Which have a box? Which variation of box? Which games are complete in box? Which are sealed? Which variation of box is in the shrink wrap? Which games do you currently have? Which games do you still need? Which games will you never have because there are more collectors than the game. Is you collection of one of each identical to any other members in every way? My goal is to collect one of each variation of everything by the way.

 

Yes it is a very close guess but since it is almost empty of all the variations above my guess that it is a very close guess could be way wrong. If we had a system where we cold register them in the different combinations of variations of labels, manuals, boxes, sealed... It may look completely different than it is and may be more accurate because it would be less guessing. It would be based on actual counting. Every copy of a game doesn't need to be counted. All that needs to be counted is enough copies to determine more than and less than. If the 1000 most active members registered what they have including their doubles before they sell them with all the details above then I believe it would be more than enough to make the rarity guide more accurate and useful.

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Which label variations and quantity of each variation did you have of your couple hundred doubles? Did any of them include the manuals or boxes? Which variations of the manuals and boxes? What quantity of each? How many were sealed? How many were missing end labels? Does any of these common games have different rarities within the same game from some variations being more rare than others, from including manual, from being CIB, from being sealed...? All this would have been included in the calculation if you registered them?

 

The games in flea markets, thrift stores, and at garage sales are becoming less and less. The wild is drying up. Many of them are bought by collectors, bought to resell online, thrown away to make room for something else. All the one's you and others choose not to buy have a greater chance of being destroyed. Destroyed ones no longer need to be counted. Many of the one's that are bought have a chance at being registered.

 

Of the one Pac-Man, one Combat, and one Atari Video Cube, one Wall Ball, one Crazy Climber, and so on that you decide to keep which label variations are they? Pac-Man and Combat has many variations. Is your Atari Video Cube a silver or gray picture label? Of your one of each which have a manual? Which variations of the manuals? Which have a box? Which variation of box? Which games are complete in box? Which are sealed? Which variation of box is in the shrink wrap? Which games do you currently have? Which games do you still need? Which games will you never have because there are more collectors than the game. Is you collection of one of each identical to any other members in every way? My goal is to collect one of each variation of everything by the way.

 

Yes it is a very close guess but since it is almost empty of all the variations above my guess that it is a very close guess could be way wrong. If we had a system where we cold register them in the different combinations of variations of labels, manuals, boxes, sealed... It may look completely different than it is and may be more accurate because it would be less guessing. It would be based on actual counting. Every copy of a game doesn't need to be counted. All that needs to be counted is enough copies to determine more than and less than. If the 1000 most active members registered what they have including their doubles before they sell them with all the details above then I believe it would be more than enough to make the rarity guide more accurate and useful.

 

I keep label variations and don't consider them to be doubles (same with box and manual variations). Some collectors don't though, which throws another wrench in your plan. I didn't mention that because it's not at all relevant to the points I was making. I understand what you're saying, but because of the reasons I and others have outlined, your method would not work as a true rarity guide at this point. It would be an interesting count of what is in the combined collections of everyone here though. But that's very very different from a rarity guide.

 

Even if we did as you say, and everyone here registered their doubles before they sell them, you're missing the fact that many of us are advanced in our collecting days (I haven't gotten a new 2600 cart in several years) so many collectors wouldn't be able to enter all the doubles that have passed through their hands. It's too late for that... they've been released, have become homebrews, have gone to casual non-AA collectors, have been destroyed, who knows. And like you said, these are drying up in the wild, so... I'm sorry, it's just too late to do what you're saying. As for the ones that we leave behind, they are unknowns... we don't know if they were destroyed or eventually end up being registered, or are out there unregistered. They're unknowns, period.

 

I hear your passion about this, I really do. I just don't think you're thinking about it clearly from a statistical standpoint. There is a site that does basically what you're saying for all console games, but I can't remember offhand what it is, because I have no interest in it, and since it's not a site for a specific brand or console, it's unlikely to ever gain a critical mass of membership to really amount to much anyway. If someone had done what you're saying starting in about 1990 or so, and every member of this site had been vigilant about recording every single cart that passed through their hands, then maybe it would amount to something with some sort of substance, but it's too late for that, and that would be a very generous scenario anyway.

 

You're right about box, manual rarity though. Those ratings would be very different from cart rarity, and I don't know that there's any sort of guide for that, other than it's pretty much guaranteed that for any given cart the manual is going to be harder to find the cart, and the box rarer still. Generally, I think you can just look at the rarity guide as the loose cart's rarity and extrapolate the manual/box rarity from there.

 

EDIT: One last point... since you acknowledge that all you hope to achieve is < or > stats, then we already have that in the current rarity guide. Again, it's not perfect, and some could probably be tweaked to be more accurate, but there's no way you'd get more accurate than the current rarity guide with your method starting at this point in time. Honestly, I think just watching ebay auctions for raritys above say 5 or maybe 4 would give better stats... and there are people already doing that.

Edited by Mirage

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The guide on here is just fine. It's meant to be a general watermark for how difficult a game is to find. If you, for example, only tracked eBay the same guy posting his million dollar Quadrun would make it seem pretty common. The list is just based on general knowledge and appearance trends. That's the best it can be. If you can make an argument with data, fine, do it. But really, the only way to judge true rarity would be to have the original factory documents for how many of each game were printed, and then even regardless of how many were destroyed or thrown out, you'd have a nice general list that would still determine the general rarity in the wild. But that's not going to happen, so what we have is fine. From what I've found in all of my 2600 cart collecting experiences, it's generally spot on.

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Which label variations and quantity of each variation did you have of your couple hundred doubles? Did any of them include the manuals or boxes? Which variations of the manuals and boxes? What quantity of each? How many were sealed? How many were missing end labels? Does any of these common games have different rarities within the same game from some variations being more rare than others, from including manual, from being CIB, from being sealed...? All this would have been included in the calculation if you registered them?

 

The games in flea markets, thrift stores, and at garage sales are becoming less and less. The wild is drying up. Many of them are bought by collectors, bought to resell online, thrown away to make room for something else. All the one's you and others choose not to buy have a greater chance of being destroyed. Destroyed ones no longer need to be counted. Many of the one's that are bought have a chance at being registered.

 

Of the one Pac-Man, one Combat, and one Atari Video Cube, one Wall Ball, one Crazy Climber, and so on that you decide to keep which label variations are they? Pac-Man and Combat has many variations. Is your Atari Video Cube a silver or gray picture label? Of your one of each which have a manual? Which variations of the manuals? Which have a box? Which variation of box? Which games are complete in box? Which are sealed? Which variation of box is in the shrink wrap? Which games do you currently have? Which games do you still need? Which games will you never have because there are more collectors than the game. Is you collection of one of each identical to any other members in every way? My goal is to collect one of each variation of everything by the way.

 

Yes it is a very close guess but since it is almost empty of all the variations above my guess that it is a very close guess could be way wrong. If we had a system where we cold register them in the different combinations of variations of labels, manuals, boxes, sealed... It may look completely different than it is and may be more accurate because it would be less guessing. It would be based on actual counting. Every copy of a game doesn't need to be counted. All that needs to be counted is enough copies to determine more than and less than. If the 1000 most active members registered what they have including their doubles before they sell them with all the details above then I believe it would be more than enough to make the rarity guide more accurate and useful.

 

I keep label variations and don't consider them to be doubles (same with box and manual variations). Some collectors don't though, which throws another wrench in your plan. I didn't mention that because it's not at all relevant to the points I was making. I understand what you're saying, but because of the reasons I and others have outlined, your method would not work as a true rarity guide at this point. It would be an interesting count of what is in the combined collections of everyone here though. But that's very very different from a rarity guide.

 

Even if we did as you say, and everyone here registered their doubles before they sell them, you're missing the fact that many of us are advanced in our collecting days (I haven't gotten a new 2600 cart in several years) so many collectors wouldn't be able to enter all the doubles that have passed through their hands. It's too late for that... they've been released, have become homebrews, have gone to casual non-AA collectors, have been destroyed, who knows. And like you said, these are drying up in the wild, so... I'm sorry, it's just too late to do what you're saying. As for the ones that we leave behind, they are unknowns... we don't know if they were destroyed or eventually end up being registered, or are out there unregistered. They're unknowns, period.

 

I hear your passion about this, I really do. I just don't think you're thinking about it clearly from a statistical standpoint. There is a site that does basically what you're saying for all console games, but I can't remember offhand what it is, because I have no interest in it, and since it's not a site for a specific brand or console, it's unlikely to ever gain a critical mass of membership to really amount to much anyway. If someone had done what you're saying starting in about 1990 or so, and every member of this site had been vigilant about recording every single cart that passed through their hands, then maybe it would amount to something with some sort of substance, but it's too late for that, and that would be a very generous scenario anyway.

 

You're right about box, manual rarity though. Those ratings would be very different from cart rarity, and I don't know that there's any sort of guide for that, other than it's pretty much guaranteed that for any given cart the manual is going to be harder to find the cart, and the box rarer still. Generally, I think you can just look at the rarity guide as the loose cart's rarity and extrapolate the manual/box rarity from there.

 

EDIT: One last point... since you acknowledge that all you hope to achieve is < or > stats, then we already have that in the current rarity guide. Again, it's not perfect, and some could probably be tweaked to be more accurate, but there's no way you'd get more accurate than the current rarity guide with your method starting at this point in time. Honestly, I think just watching ebay auctions for raritys above say 5 or maybe 4 would give better stats... and there are people already doing that.

 

I half way agree with you. I just don't think it is too late. Yes it would be better if something like this was done in 1990 but I think if it was done right it could work. People are still posting pictures of their collections, making lists of their games, buying in the market place and Ebay.... I'm not saying just to scrap the rarity guide and start over. The numbers that were used to come up with the rarity guide could still be used but the numbers that are provided by registering our games could fine tune it over time. A lot of blanks about everything I already said could be filled in. Maybe a lot of the question marks with the PAL games will get rarity numbers or more scans could be done. I'm a new member but I've been visiting this site and rarity guide for years. It seems like a lot of work went into it at first but it is starting to look ignored. If we had more of an affect on it then it would look less ignored and change with time.

 

Is there somewhere on here that describes how each number was given on the rarity guide? Maybe a detailed thread that is a "making of"?

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I definitely think the RG is "good enough". When I disagree it's always by a single place movement only (I think it's more of a six than a five rather than thinking it's way off). Nailing out all the different factors involved in rarity would make for an interesting (to me) little debate but what most people want to know, I think, is "Did I get something really cool or just normal stuff". When I do trade with other collectors and my friends, I use it to make more fair trades since pricing is so arbitrary in such a niche market as collecting for a specific system - I just trade evenly across rarity ratings, six for a six, etc.

 

If you started with "number of individual carts sold" at POS during the original era (if we were lucky enough to find that number somehow, unlikely in the case of atari titles), that would be your best piece of data, corroborated by "number of cases shipped of a given title" to iron out later-date liquidations and such. In the absence of those data, we just have to guess by what's out there for sale, rather than by what collectors have. Collectors skew the data way too much to determine rarity anywhere under the rough r7 mark. I think that anyone who's willing to pay 500 for a game is willing to pay 1,000, but few who are willing to pay 1 for a game are willing to pay 500. So for the higher-cost titles, we might be able to reasonably assume that enough of them are in the hands of collectors to be a statistically relevant sample. The underlying assumption is sort of "if you want CTCW, you just buy it and have it, but if you want Air Raid, you run up against the fact that there aren't enough copies for sale at a given time".

 

Since most collectors don't have more than a few copies of common carts, there isn't much point in asking them about common carts beyond their experience seeing games for sale in the wild, where most sellers don't know enough about rarity to leave combat, invaders, and air-sea battle at home. Their collections aren't really relevant to rarity, but their experience is. I could say that if I find ten VCS carts for sale, combat is present at least 85% of the time, there are no robot tanks, and cosmic commuter is present 0% of the time. If I find 100 VCS carts, there are probably five combats instead of twelve (since the vendor tends to acquire carts with somewhat of a mind to avoiding duplicates) and still no cosmic commuter, but robot tank shows up once or twice. You rarely see collections this big outside of specialty stores, and when you do, they are often personal collections rather than acquired stock. This slants even more in the direction of avoiding doubles, and so combat seems more and more rare (relatively speaking) since few people who just bought the system to play in the original era bothered to own six copies of anything.

 

Honestly, Ebay probably works just as well or better than "the wild" for rating rarity... since people still post invidual-cart auctions for R1 level titles or sell in bulk without selecting for rarity.

 

Most of what I'm saying here is basically intended to support the contention that the opinions of collectors who regularly visit Ebay or anywhere VCS carts are sold in the world without specific selection for rarity are the best currently available sources for rarity ratings.

 

Like specialty stores, the marketplace forum here is too skewed by that same knowledge to be useful at all. It would amplify the rarity of common carts, which are not sold as often as mid-rarity games.

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Sorry for taking so long to get back on here and follow up. Been hectic lately. Anyway, thanks for the feedback on Beamrider. I still ahve all of my Atari stuff in storage, so looking forward to playing it all again here soon on my 20in 1984 Zenith Console (going all out retro!).

 

Didn't mean to have this whole thread turn into a Rarity Guide dispute. However, I think the rarity guide needs user input. Either way, it is still a subjective issue. What if Pac-Man...a very common game...suddenly becomes rare in the sense that the cart just stopped working. Would it still be ranked as "common" when 1 out of ever 1,000 actually worked?

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I think a more likely scenario might be that all the repos & homebrews burnt up the supply of Pac carts. If all the Pacs died I'd guess it would be happening to other titles as well... This could actually be a possibility with some 3rd party titles maybe? Carts dying from eproms inside?

 

Personally I would still value the item working or not, so I think the rarity list could remain the same. I don't see much Atari in the wild at all anymore. I've been hitting thrifts & yardsales regularly over the past year or so. It's sad :( I may have to start collecting classic Wi games or something..

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