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Extra Terrestrials

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There were 100 CIB copies sold. You can still buy a non-limited cartridge at Good Deal Games.

 

not sure who owns the other 99 LE copies, but I own one of them.

Edited by Necron99

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If memory serves, there are actually 4 known to exist. 2 of them were found in the wild, and the other 2 came from the programmer's home; once they tracked him down.

 

In addition, those 2, as well as 1 of the 2 that were found in the wild, are not available to obtain as they are tied up indefinitely in the bureaucratic nonsense of "it belongs in a museum".

 

So, if you want an original, good luck.

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I was involved with The Personal Computer Museum when the first cart was found. I created the label and box for the reproductions based on the label on one of the copies that was found. The original carts were non-standard so a new label had to be designed to fit on standard carts. An original box has never been found.

 

I have #2 of the limited edition run.

 

Here are the five known carts based on my involvement:

 

  • The original cartridge that was donated to the museum turned out to be a prototype. There are a few bugs in the game play and some differences in sounds. To my knowledge this cart has not been dumped.
  • The museum tracked down the original programmer. He donated one of his copies to the museum. This is a final version that was then dumped to make the reproductions.
  • The programmer kept a copy of the final version.
  • Another museum volunteer knew someone with a copy. He arranged for this copy to be donated to the museum.
  • I have been in touch with a woman that claims to have a copy. She has had the copy since she was a child. The woman has spoken about selling the copy to help her family. I have offered to meet her to authenticate the cart. (She lives about 80 miles from where I live.) Despite my offer the cart is still in the owners hands.

 

The owner of the company that originally made the game thinks that there were "a few hundred copies" produced. He does not have any original materials. The company lost a lot of money creating the game. It's a sore spot in his life so he didn't keep anything.

 

If there are any other questions, please ask. I consider the discovery of this game to be one of the highlights of my gaming hobby.

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@sramirez2008. The game is two players only. No instructions have been found. Even the original programmer can't remember what the gameplay is. Based on experimentation it looks like the Extra Terrestrial has to eat the candy (dots) while avoiding the "ranger". The second player controls the ranger and just tries to catch the Extra Terrestrial. Overall, it's not a great game.

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I was involved with The Personal Computer Museum when the first cart was found. I created the label and box for the reproductions based on the label on one of the copies that was found. The original carts were non-standard so a new label had to be designed to fit on standard carts. An original box has never been found.

 

I have #2 of the limited edition run.

 

Here are the five known carts based on my involvement:

 

 

  • The original cartridge that was donated to the museum turned out to be a prototype. There are a few bugs in the game play and some differences in sounds. To my knowledge this cart has not been dumped.
  • The museum tracked down the original programmer. He donated one of his copies to the museum. This is a final version that was then dumped to make the reproductions.
  • The programmer kept a copy of the final version.
  • Another museum volunteer knew someone with a copy. He arranged for this copy to be donated to the museum.
  • I have been in touch with a woman that claims to have a copy. She has had the copy since she was a child. The woman has spoken about selling the copy to help her family. I have offered to meet her to authenticate the cart. (She lives about 80 miles from where I live.) Despite my offer the cart is still in the owners hands.

The owner of the company that originally made the game thinks that there were "a few hundred copies" produced. He does not have any original materials. The company lost a lot of money creating the game. It's a sore spot in his life so he didn't keep anything.

 

If there are any other questions, please ask. I consider the discovery of this game to be one of the highlights of my gaming hobby.

Why did the museum track down the other owner and convince that owner to donate their cartridge? The museum already had a released version, why the need for two?

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Why did the museum track down the other owner and convince that owner to donate their cartridge? The museum already had a released version, why the need for two?

 

 

One of the museum volunteers (not me) knew someone with a copy. He arranged for the copy to be donated. I don't know if a condition of the donation was that the cartridge not be sold. I tried to convince the museum curator to sell one of the copies. The museum could have used the proceeds to help fund their operation. Unfortunately, all known copies are still property of the museum.

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Thank you for the additional details & information. If the programmers memory is at least somewhat accurate, then it would seem at least possible that other cartridges will eventually surface over time.

 

The thing that I find the most fascinating (or curiously interesting) regarding the discovery of these unbelievably rare / holy grail gems, is that they almost always seem to follow a similar pattern & fall victim to the same double edged sword.

 

One is found. The owners are usually nobody's who aren't really into gaming or collecting. Just complete luck similar to winning the lottery. They go public, are met with skepticism & insults & hatred. The news spreads like wildfire through both news & Internet channels. Due to the otherwise would never happen over exposure, of the cliche' "man finds gold in his basement or attic", another nobody comes to the realization that they have this item. And the one of a kind becomes a 2 or 3 or 4 of a kind.

 

Hmm, could be argued as mere coincidence, and could be seen as merely logical, but either way, it certainly would make me think twice about ever going public with my holy grails.

 

But it can also work both ways. Think about it. If you ever wanted some piece of unreleased or unknown vaporware or prototype to surface, just put forth a carefully crafted campaign in cahoots with a few others, claiming that the very item has been found! Then surely enough, it will snuff out another owner; in this case the real owner, and the game finally surfaces!

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The reason the museum is holding onto the second donated cartridge (rather than selling it) was because that was the condition of us receiving it - that we not sell it. At least we know where it is - but I agree with Dragonstomper, there are likely other copies out there and *maybe* even one with a box but we're not sure....there is always hoping!

As for the whole discovery thing - I think we did what was the best situation for all involved. First, we provided the public as much information as we could about it. Then, after obtaining the proper permissions from the copyright holders we were allowed to do reproductions as a fundraiser. The 100 limited reproduction copies that are numbered are it (as far as numbered copies go) but you can purchase a legally licensed reproduction (not numbered) from GoodDealGames.com.

 

Finally, we released the ROM for free to allow those that were interested in at least trying it to have a chance to do so. Given the circumstances around this find, I think we did the best thing for this holy grail. In doing so we actually improved Stella (the 2600 emulator) because it had some deficiencies that wouldn't allow the game to run properly. These have now been corrected.

 

Of course, it is likely one of the rarest Atari 2600 games EVER EVER released, but still fails to gain the attention of other cartridges like AIR RAID....but maybe it's because it's SO RARE that it makes the news less often.

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Well of course it's more rare then Air Raid. No argument there. Extra Terrestrials is the 3rd rarest released 2600 game. It is among the elite rare; the top four holiest of grails. (Birthday Mania, Red Sea Crossing, Extra Terrestrials, & Gamma Attack) in that order.

 

What it shares in common with Air Raid isn't its' rarity, rather its' appearance. Both of those games utilized unique cartridge casings.

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As for the whole discovery thing - I think we did what was the best situation for all involved. First, we provided the public as much information as we could about it. Then, after obtaining the proper permissions from the copyright holders we were allowed to do reproductions as a fundraiser. The 100 limited reproduction copies that are numbered are it (as far as numbered copies go) but you can purchase a legally licensed reproduction (not numbered) from GoodDealGames.com.

 

Finally, we released the ROM for free to allow those that were interested in at least trying it to have a chance to do so. Given the circumstances around this find, I think we did the best thing for this holy grail. In doing so we actually improved Stella (the 2600 emulator) because it had some deficiencies that wouldn't allow the game to run properly. These have now been corrected.

 

I fully agree.

 

You couldn't have done it better.

 

A perfect example of how this can be done in style.

 

8)

 

Edited by Rom Hunter

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Well of course it's more rare then Air Raid. No argument there. Extra Terrestrials is the 3rd rarest released 2600 game. It is among the elite rare; the top four holiest of grails. (Birthday Mania, Red Sea Crossing, Extra Terrestrials, & Gamma Attack) in that order.

 

What it shares in common with Air Raid isn't its' rarity, rather its' appearance. Both of those games utilized unique cartridge casings.

 

Not to sidetrack too much here, but are there more copies of Gamma Attack known, based on that ordering?

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The problem with Gamma Attack, solely when compared amongst these top 4 elite brothers, is that it's "discovery" & subsequent "reveal" was far more controversial & suspect then the other 3.

 

You can find most of its' relevant history & information in a few other threads here just by searching, but the short version is that the reason it is considered to be the least valuable, least rare, and least desirable among the 4, is because it is unclear just how many true originals really were actually assembled & truthfully sent / sold to actual real people when it was advertised.

 

Unlike the designers / programmers / owners of the other 3 games, who all fit into the similar style category of "I'm an old man now, that was way in the distant past, I don't care to get involved again, I can't recall exactly, but I didn't sell very many of them, it's interesting you found me, I'm flattered that my game interests you, enjoy it and do what you like, have a nice day"...,,,... Rather, the person that we found at the end of the beanstalk on Gamma Attack was...to be polite here...not quite as modest & humble & forthcoming & friendly.

 

So, as a result of that, the truth remained unclear, not just as to how many were truly sold, but more significantly, exactly what the original (TRUE ORIGINAL) cartridge looked like! To the point where 2 of these "original" carts that he had & showed pictures of to us were totally different!

 

So, as a general rule, the number one thing to remember is to NEVER pay crazy money for any of these 4 games! Especially without the presence of 100% flawless provenance from the person trying to sell it.

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I own the first Gamma Attack cartridge that was discovered and I can tell you that mine was definitely not done overnight especially with the 'patina' that was found in the 'guts' of the cart. Mine does not look anything like the 2nd one that was discovered and it looked like it had been done recently, especially with the print on the stickers used on the eproms. There are other features in my cart too that make it obvious that it had been put together many, many years ago.

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