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poppalarge

Mail Order Games

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Hi! I'm looking to compile a list of mail order exclusive games for a little research I'm doing. I've scoured these forums trying to uncover as much info as possible, but I still have some unanswered questions that I could use a little help on. I thought it would be convenient to limit this just to US releases and then focus on Canada and Europe/PAL later. This is what I've come up with so far:

 

Let's start with the easy stuff:

Atari Club games:

- Atari Video Cube

- Crazy Climber

- Gravitar

- Quadrun

- SwordQuest: Waterworld

These were mail order exclusive but most ended up on shelves anyway.

 

Birthday Mania - definitely mail order only

 

Chase The Chuckwagon - promotional give away done through mail order

 

Answer Software:

- Gauntlet

- Malagai

 

Columbia House games:

which included games from:

CommaVid

- Cakewalk

- Stronghold

&

Spectravideo

- Bumper Bash - user Random Terrain (awesome site btw) asked here for information regarding Bumper Bash and if it was ever even offered by Columbia House

- Gas Hog

- Mangia'

- Master Builder

As far as I can tell, the Spectravideo games released through Columbia House did hit shelves in Canada but were only available through Columbia House in the US.

 

CommaVid (not from Columbia House, direct from the publisher themselves):

- MagiCard

- Video Life - available only by mail order to customers who had previously purchased MagiCard

 

Starpath mail order exclusives:

- Survival Island

- Sword Of Saros

 

- Tooth Protectors - promotional give away done through mail order

 

Somewhat sure:

- Air Raid - either sold door to door or just given away by company salesmen but probably never hit shelves. May have been offered through mail order but unsure.

 

- Eli's Ladder - only offered with a manual and no box, most likely in a plastic bag...this screams mail order to me. In a wildly entertaining thread, user Atari PAC-MAN Fan and Iwantgames:) also said this was mail order only.

 

- The Music Machine - AtariHQ lists it as mail order only and save2600 mentioned it in this thread about advertisements for mail order only games

 

- Red Sea Crossing - seems to either be an unreleased game or a mail order direct game judging from the plethora of topics about it on here

 

Questions:

Xonox/K-Tel games (possibly including Ultravision?)

- Artillery Duel/Chuck Norris Superkicks

- Ghost Manor/Spike's Peak

- Motocross Racer/Tomarc The Barbarian - this may have been Canadian only according to a post on here that I can't find :-/

- Robin Hood/Sir Lancelot

- Condor Attack (Ultravision)

- Karate (Ultravision)

According to user Crazy Climber here K-Tel mostly did mail order only. Crazy Climber also said Ultravision was a division of K-Tel, so Karate was also most likely mail order only. Does anyone have more information on that?

 

- CompuMate/PictureMate/SongMate - I can't find much on them, were they mail only?

 

- Glib - I question single release companies, but this seems to have hit stores

 

Mythicon

- Fire Fly

- Sorcerer

- Fire Fox

Did Mythicon games actually hit shelves?

 

- Tax Avoiders - this seems to be, coincidentally enough, one of those tax write offs, but did it actually hit shelves?

 

Exus:

- Video Jogger

- Video Reflex - did these titles see store shelves?

 

- X-Man - was this mail order or did it actually get sold behind counters

 

Other companies that I question if they were mail order only:

Apollo

Data Age

US Games

 

Does anyone have anything to offer to confirm or dispute this information? Any help would be appreciated!

Edited by poppalarge

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Apollo, US Games and Data Age were all sold in stores - definitely not mail order only. I remember buying Bugs and Journey Escape at Kay*Bee Toy Stores BITD. Bought Bermuda Triangle, Sneak 'n Peak and Infiltrate at our local Eagle grocery store. :)

 

Xonox and Mythicon were also sold in stores. Bought Firefly from Kay*Bee as well. $.99 I believe! And still felt gypped. lol

 

Mattel's Kool-Aid Man started out as a mail order only promo too. Had to send in so many UPC's from the packets, plus money for shipping and handling.

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I had a feeling Apollo, US Games and Data Age hit shelves. I will take them out of the questioned list. Thanks for clearing up Mythicon, but for Xonox do you know if Motocross Racer/Tomarc The Barbarian was Canada only? And what the deal was with Ultravision?

 

Kool-Aid Man I forgot to add to the easy list, thank you for reminding me.

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Sorry, not sure about Tomarc/Motocross or Ultravision - though I did get Condor Attack at a flea market in the late 90's. Never saw a T-handle game before that, so knew I had found something special. :)

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That's the good stuff I'm looking for. So this is what we're looking at now:

 

Mail order exclusives:

- Birthday Mania

- Chase The Chuckwagon

- Gauntlet

- MagiCard

- Malagai

- Survival Island

- Sword Of Saros

- Tooth Protectors

- Video Life

 

Columbia House exclusive games:

- Bumper Bash - Random Terrain (awesome site btw) asked here for information regarding Bumper Bash and if it was ever even offered by Columbia House

- Cakewalk

- Gas Hog

- Mangia'

- Master Builder

- Stronghold

As far as I can tell, the Spectravideo games released through Columbia House did hit shelves in Canada but were only available through Columbia House in the US.

 

 

Mail order games that later hit retail shelves:

Atari Club games:

- Atari Video Cube

- Crazy Climber

- Gravitar

- Quadrun

- SwordQuest: Waterworld

 

- Kool-Aid Man

 

Pretty sure these were mail order only:

- Air Raid - either sold door to door or just given away by company salesmen but probably never hit shelves. May have been offered through mail order but unsure.

 

- Eli's Ladder - only offered with a manual and no box, most likely in a plastic bag...this screams mail order to me. In a wildly entertaining thread, user Atari PAC-MAN Fan and Iwantgames:) also said this was mail order only.

 

- The Music Machine - AtariHQ lists it as mail order only and save2600 mentioned it in this thread about advertisements for mail order only games

 

- Red Sea Crossing - seems to either be an unreleased game or a mail order direct game judging from the plethora of topics about it on here

 

Questions:

Ultravision

- Condor Attack (Ultravision)

- Karate (Ultravision)

According to user Crazy Climber here K-Tel mostly did mail order only. Crazy Climber also said Ultravision was a division of K-Tel, so Karate was also most likely mail order only. Does anyone have more information on that?

 

- CompuMate/PictureMate/SongMate - I can't find much on them, were they mail only?

 

- Glib - I question single release companies, but this seems to have hit stores

 

Exus:

- Video Jogger

- Video Reflex - did these titles see store shelves?

 

- X-Man - was this mail order or did it actually get sold behind counters in the US

 

And to delve into another avenue, were these games Canada exclusives?

- Motocross Racer/Tomarc The Barbarian - this may have been on Canadian shelves only according to a post by Omegamatrix

- Obelix - Random Terrain lists it as Canadian on his site as does Atariprotos.com

Edited by poppalarge

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Thanks Rom. Oversights on my part to not include those in the original list. Do you have any info on any of the games under questions other than Glib?

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I have no solid evidence either way, but I would not be surprised if The Music Machine was sold in specialty, religious bookstores -- the related album most definitely was.

 

Look at the distribution model used a few years later by Wisdom Tree for religious games for the NES.

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- Tax Avoiders - this seems to be, coincidentally enough, one of those tax write offs, but did it actually hit shelves?

This was the last title I bought back in the day from Lionel PlayWorld on clearance for $4.99, so yes it was in stores back then.

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Alright so with updated information thanks to those who have responded, we can say that Tax Avoiders and Glib both hit physical store shelves. Gamma-Attack and monogrammed Spacechase have been added to confirmed mail order only. This leaves the following questions remaining:

 

Questions:

Ultravision

- Condor Attack (Ultravision)

- Karate (Ultravision)

According to user Crazy Climber here K-Tel mostly did mail order only. Crazy Climber also said Ultravision was a division of K-Tel, so Karate was also most likely mail order only. Does anyone have more information on that?

 

- CompuMate/PictureMate/SongMate - I can't find much on them, were they mail only?

 

Exus:

- Video Jogger

- Video Reflex - did these titles see store shelves?

 

- X-Man - was this mail order or did it actually get sold behind counters in the US

 

And to delve into another avenue, were these games Canada exclusives?

- Motocross Racer/Tomarc The Barbarian - this may have been on Canadian shelves only according to a post by Omegamatrix

- Obelix - Random Terrain lists it as Canadian on his site as does Atariprotos.com

 

And a few more contested releases, but Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre do seem to have been released in stores according to an interview with Wizard's owner. Rescue Terra I also seems to be a title that had a limited in store commercial run according to reviews.

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Not sure if this helps, but I never saw Compumate at any US retailer, but I also never saw it offered for mail order either.

 

It wasnt until the modern post internet era, that they started popping up in Venezuela, which was where I got mine from.

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X-Man is an interesting one. I can't seem to find any proof of retailers actually carrying it in the States. It was definitely available through mail order, as most games were at the time, but did it hit shelves?

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Kool-Aid Man was a mail-order game. You sent in proofs-of-purchase and they mailed you the game. That's how I got my copy when I was a kid. Not sure if it was on the shelves.

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Ok so with the latest updates:

 

US mail order exclusives:

- Birthday Mania

- Chase The Chuckwagon

- Color Bar Generator (note: not a game)

- Gamma-Attack

- Gauntlet

- MagiCard

- Malagai

- Spacechase (monogrammed)

- Survival Island

- Sword Of Saros

- Tooth Protectors

- Video Life

 

Columbia House exclusive games:

- Bumper Bash - Random Terrain (awesome site btw) asked here for information regarding Bumper Bash and if it was ever even offered by Columbia House

- Cakewalk

- Gas Hog

- Mangia'

- Master Builder

- Stronghold

As far as I can tell, the Spectravideo games released through Columbia House did hit shelves in Canada but were only available through Columbia House in the US.

 

 

US mail order games that later hit retail shelves:

Atari Club games:

- Atari Video Cube

- Crazy Climber

- Gravitar

- Quadrun

- SwordQuest: Waterworld

 

- Kool-Aid Man

 

Most likely US mail order only:

- Air Raid - either sold door to door or just given away by company salesmen but probably never hit shelves. May have been offered through mail order but unsure. May have also only been sold in one store (Mena's Toys). Big mystery!

 

- Eli's Ladder - only offered with a manual and no box, most likely in a plastic bag...this screams mail order to me. In a wildly entertaining thread, user Atari PAC-MAN Fan and Iwantgames:) also said this was mail order only.

 

- The Music Machine - AtariHQ lists it as mail order only and save2600 mentioned it in this thread about advertisements for mail order only games

 

- Red Sea Crossing - seems to either be an unreleased game or a mail order direct game judging from the plethora of topics about it on here

 

Germany & Netherlands mail order only:

- X-Man

 

Questions:

Ultravision

- Condor Attack (Ultravision)

- Karate (Ultravision)

According to user Crazy Climber here K-Tel mostly did mail order only. Crazy Climber also said Ultravision was a division of K-Tel, so Karate was also most likely mail order only. Does anyone have more information on that?

 

- CompuMate/PictureMate/SongMate - I can't find much on them, were they mail only? Were they even commercially available in the US?

 

Exus:

- Video Jogger

- Video Reflex - did these titles see store shelves?

 

- X-Man - was this mail order or did it actually get sold behind counters in the US

 

And to delve into another avenue, were these games Canada exclusives?

- Motocross Racer/Tomarc The Barbarian - this may have been on Canadian shelves only according to a post by Omegamatrix

- Obelix - Random Terrain lists it as Canadian on his site as does Atariprotos.com

 

And a few more contested releases, but Halloween and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre do seem to have been released in stores according to an interview with Wizard's owner. Rescue Terra I also seems to be a title that had a limited in store commercial run according to reviews.

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How about Extra Terrestrials (Canada mail order or door to door release only)?

 

Songmate and Compumate maybe surfaced later in SA? Never seen them in USA nor Euopean stores.

Edited by high voltage

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Is Kool Aid Man a mail order only or is it both, mail order and retail? Yeah I have a copy and I know is not that expensive, but I think it is kinda neat I have a copy if it is mail order only. I do remember seeing ads for it in comics. Never really read the ads though.

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Kool-Aid Man was later distributed to and sold in stores. Must have had a surplus or was that the game plan all along? Release it en masses after the mail order promotion?

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