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Printing Date on Atari 2600 Game Box Flaps

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I was told that some boxes have a printing date on them (when the box was printed, not when the game was released). If a box has the date, it seems to usually be on one of the tiny flaps. I tried Googling it, but this is the only page I can find that mentions printing dates:

 

videogamevariations.com/AtariCompanies/AtariGames/GeneralAtari.htm

 

Is "printing date" the correct term? Or is there some special jargon that you must use when searching? There has to be some place online that tells you what the info on the flap means.

 

Some boxes have an arc (sometimes a circle or just lines or simply the month/year) of numbers from 1 to 12, and I'm guessing that the missing number or unmarked number is the month the box was printed, but some have more than one number missing. Others have a group of numbers from 1 to 10 under the arc of numbers that may or may not have missing numbers. Does anyone know what all of that stuff means? Below are a few examples.

 

SwordQuest Fireworld:

post-13-0-73780700-1420304562_thumb.png

 

 

Asteroids with 2 missing numbers:

post-13-0-11739800-1420306233_thumb.png

 

 

Chopper Command:

post-13-0-82060200-1420306555_thumb.png

 

 

Defender:

post-13-0-47726800-1420307598_thumb.png

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Hi RT - I talked to a friend of mine who works in the folding carton business. The numbers 1-12 represent the month of manufacture. The pressman typically scratches or removes the appropriate number from the printing plate. So the Chopper Command box above was probably printed, cut, and glued in May 1982. The numbers 1-10 on the same flap probably mean this was a 10-out die, cranking out an array of 10 boxes at a time. Still in the Chopper Command example, it looks like the number 6 has been scratched. That probably means this particular box was in the #6 position (out of the 10). My source said the info was for traceability in case there was a quality issue.

In the case of the Asteroids box with two numbers missing I would guess that the plates were used for a run in July 81 and then for another run in September.

I hope this helps! The timeline of Atari 2600 cartridge releases seems like an important bit of knowledge that has needed attention. Glad to see you've been researching it (assuming that's what this is for).

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Hi RT - I talked to a friend of mine who works in the folding carton business. The numbers 1-12 represent the month of manufacture. The pressman typically scratches or removes the appropriate number from the printing plate. So the Chopper Command box above was probably printed, cut, and glued in May 1982. The numbers 1-10 on the same flap probably mean this was a 10-out die, cranking out an array of 10 boxes at a time. Still in the Chopper Command example, it looks like the number 6 has been scratched. That probably means this particular box was in the #6 position (out of the 10). My source said the info was for traceability in case there was a quality issue.

In the case of the Asteroids box with two numbers missing I would guess that the plates were used for a run in July 81 and then for another run in September.

I hope this helps! The timeline of Atari 2600 cartridge releases seems like an important bit of knowledge that has needed attention. Glad to see you've been researching it (assuming that's what this is for).

Thanks for the information. Yep, I'm trying to get every drop of release date information that I can. I've been slowly working on these pages since around 2001:

 

randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1982.html

 

randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1983.html

 

There has been more interest in them recently, so I have the kick in the pants I need to update them and add more games. Next will be pages for 1981 and 1984.

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I have most of the Atari boxes scanned in. If you are interested, send me a private message and I can start by sending you a ZIP file of the ones I have A - through - C.

 

 

Tim

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I have most of the Atari boxes scanned in. If you are interested, send me a private message and I can start by sending you a ZIP file of the ones I have A - through - C.

 

 

Tim

The date is on the small flap on the bottom, usually only the front and back is scanned and not the flat box with flaps.

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If anyone has box scans or you're just using a magnifying glass and typing the info in, please remember to include the flap that has the REV. number, if it has one.

Example:

G-C019743-69 REV. 1

REV 1 and the month/year is what I'm looking for. For example, I have a Centipede box that has REV. 2 and it was done in April of 1983, so that info is basically useless for my release date pages since I'm looking for a box printing date before March.

 

But, I got Yars' Revenge when it was new and it has REV. 3 on the box:

 

G-CO17039-55 REV. 3 — March 1982

 

So it's not always useless if it's not REV. 1.

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Here is what I have so far from my own boxes:

 

http://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1982.html#haunted_house

 

http://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1982.html#yars_revenge

 

http://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1982.html#defender

 

http://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1982.html#chopper_command

 

http://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1982.html#starmaster

 

http://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1982.html#berzerk

 

http://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1982.html#donkey_kong

 

http://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1982.html#star_raiders

 

http://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1982.html#raiders_of_the_lost_ark

 

http://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1982.html#sky_jinks

 

http://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1982.html#realsports_football

 

http://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1982.html#vanguard

 

 

 

http://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1983.html#phoenix

 

http://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1983.html#journey_escape

 

http://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1983.html#swordquest_fireworld

 

http://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1983.html#bermuda_triangle

 

http://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1983.html#jungle_hunt

 

http://www.randomterrain.com/atari-2600-memories-history-1983.html#kangaroo

 

 

I'll add more as people post or PM their complete tiny flap box info.

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very interesting

Do you know by heart which other companies besides Atari have a printing date on the flaps?

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Activision definitely has. Coleco is also confirmed. Since Sears is Atari, they are also confirmed. Apollo seems to have it as I just looked at Space Chase. I had only started doing the whole printer / date thing on the tiny flap about a year ago before my hard drive crashed and I lost my Front Page. I actually had not checked my personal collection with these, only the duplicates I was selling, so what I have is in its infant stage and I'm bound to add much more this year as I get working on the site again. It's possible there may be another company or two, but for the most part, I think most of them are blank. I checked at least one game from CBS, M Network, Parker Brothers (top flat box version), and US Games and came up empty. I didn't think Imagic had them, but don't quote me on this. If anyone else can confirm other companies, let me know. I never added the box variations for Imagic, and stopped the site at Parker Brothers at the time. Hope this helps some.

 

Phil

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Defender:

attachicon.gifdefender02.png

 

Do you think this is SPU or SUP?

 

Confirmed boxes below in my hand:

 

Ms. Pac-Man has C019743-75 Rev 2 on one tiny flap, and Bertco Graphics 1/83 on another if you want to add this to your database.

 

Missile Command G-C012039-38 Rev. 3 on one flap, Bertco Graphics missing 10, 11, 12, 1 with 81 for the year. I'm assuming this would mean 10/81, 11/81, 12/81, and 1/82.

 

Pac-Man G-017039-46 Rev. 1, Ivy Hill 4/82. This is the Not for Resale box.

 

Dodge 'Em G-CO17039-37 Rev. 2 (That is CO, not C0 for some reason), Bertco Graphics 6/81.

 

Combat G-CO17877-01 Rev. 2 K.Y. on flap. No printer or year.

 

Raiders of the Lost Ark G-CO19743-59 Rev. 1, AGI 10/82 (this lists the date like this, no other numbers, also, no Shorewood Packaging here, just the AGI)

 

Outlaw C011822-05, Bertco Graphics 6/78 (there is no Rev, but a 2 underneath the product number)

 

Video Pinball A-C011822-48 below that G-C014060-48 Rev. 1, Adpak San Francisco 5/81

 

Sears Adventure A-C015740-13 then underneath it G-C015741-13 (actually a slightly different number) Rev. 1, Adpak San Francisco 11/80

 

Arcade Pinball G-C017141-48 Rev. 2, other flap on top has 11/81 with no printer. There are 2 blue lines on the side of the tiny flap though.

 

Sears Brain Games CO12189-64 (no Rev), Adpak San Francisco (no date) BTW, this is the top opening flap edition as is Tank Plus next

 

Tank Plus C012189-01 (no Rev), Adpak San Francisco (no date)

 

Sears Golf A-C015740-34 below it G-C015741-34 Rev. 1, Bertco Graphics 5/80

 

Sears Space Invaders A=C015740-32 below it G-C015741-32, Rev 1. (with a 2 below that), Bertco Graphics 5/80

 

Sears Football (numbers are horizontal, not vertical) A-C015740-25 below it G-C015741-25 Rev. 1, Adpak San Francisco 10/80

 

Coleco Donkey Kong (I'm missing one tiny flap) other flap has Ivy Hill 7/82

Edited by Philflound
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I wasn't reading it correctly. I think you're right with this as I've seen this on boxes I've done. I don't know how much use my site is on the tiny flaps, but there are a good amount of box printer and dates I've added. I never considered writing the product numbers from the other flaps, so you can use the info I have without the product numbers if that helps. As I go through more, I'll post here what I have. I think I'm getting that web 3 program tomorrow as I won it for 99 cents plus shipping, so hopefully I'll be able to start editing the site again this weekend.

 

Phil

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Just got a small batch of boxes.

 

Freeway: AG-009-02 Rev 2 version has SUS 8/81 on the tiny flap.

 

Home Run: C011822-23, no Rev, Bertco Graphics 6/78

 

Space Invaders blue background warranty with Taito trademark on front: A-C011822-32, below is G-C014060-32, below that Rev.2; Adpak San Francisco 6-80

 

Football green background warranty box, green tiny flaps: A-C011822-25, below is G-C014060-25, below that Rev 4; Adpak San Francisco 5/81

 

Missile Command white background warranty box with copyright date outside warranty box, glued flap style, G-C017039-38, Rev. 1 below that; Ivy Hill 4/81

 

BTW, are you updating stuff?

 

Phil

Edited by Philflound
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BTW, are you updating stuff?

 

Phil

Right now the two history pages I have are in a state where they can't be uploaded yet. I'm working on multiple entries and using ugly placeholders.

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Actually based on box printer dates of the Missile Command I just mentioned, this is the 2nd release, with the same type of warranty box and standard flap being one month earlier 3/81. Funny thing is these boxes are dated 1981, and the later printed boxes are dated 1980. Eventually when I get more data, I will rearrange the boxes in order of being printed if I can to stick to a true release. When I first started investigating box printing and dates printed, this was my ultimate goal. That is why I have the page showing all the types of boxes with what I've concluded are the printing orders.

 

Phil

Edited by Philflound
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Were you throwing together the original release printing date of the box, or any of the boxes? I have been giving you anything I've come across. Received another nice batch of boxes today. Don't know if I have too much time to go through much, but here are a few.

 

Pac-Man (not for resale sticker version): G-C017039-46, Rev. 3 below that; Shorewood Packaging 8/83. This is a tab style flap box.

 

This is a totally new box I've never seen before. It doesn't even say Atari 2600 on the front, just Atari. Also Pac-Man is in blue letters. This is also the first Rev. 3 of Pac-Man I've seen. I'll get a scan of this hopefully tomorrow.

 

Maze Craze: G-C017039-35, Rev. 3 below that; Ivy Hill 6/84. This is also a new variation and is a tab flap style box.

 

Human Cannonball (ninety day warranty box) G-C017039-27, Rev. 3 below that. No printer on tiny flaps. There is on the other top tiny flap however, something that looks like a S resembling a snake. So far I've found 3 different versions of this box (no printer, Adpak, and something that said "hop".

 

Raiders of the Lost Ark: G-CO19743-59, Rev. 1 below that, Ivy Hill 10/82. This is a new printer I've added to the website.

 

Defender: G-C018996-09, Rev. 2 below that, Bertco Graphics 3/82. Another new printer I've added.

 

Looks like I'll be adding some new items to my website over the weekend.

 

 

Phil

Edited by Philflound
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Were you throwing together the original release printing date of the box, or any of the boxes? I have been giving you anything I've come across. Received another nice batch of boxes today. Don't know if I have too much time to go through much, but here are a few.

I hoped to only have REV 1 boxes, but I'll put later boxes sometimes until I can get info about the earlier boxes.

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Jungle Hunt: G-CO19743-88, Rev. A below that; Shorewood Packaging 5/83. Other flap has a 1 by itself. Yours has a 2. I'd be interested in seeing if there is actually a difference.

 

Realsports Volleyball: C019743-66, Rev. 1 below that; Ivy Hill 9/82.

 

Warlords: G-C017039-10, Rev. 3 below that; "hop" on tiny flap 1/82

 

Barnstorming: AX-013-02 (no rev), Adpak San Francisco 10/83 (this box, which is later than the other I documented, has the color label variation)

Edited by Philflound
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Are you still pursuing this? I just got in a Miniature Golf box.

A-C011822-26

G-C014060-26

Rev 4

 

on one flap.

 

Other flap has Adpak San Francisco. No date. There is a small 5 below though. Probably the first released box since the others I've seen all have dates.

 

Phil

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About the traceability of each printing company, I found in the game Winter Games | Epix, the box printed by Ivy Hill on 09/87 with 20 number positions and the number 4 is marked.

 

winter_dateprint.jpg.9f84188faf3c474449c6ca4355ee5d74.jpg

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