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Ballblaɀer

Over 37 years later, a new U.S. Games box found!

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Well, this was unexpected, to say the least!

 

DSC_5099.thumb.jpg.88fb572f808aa9100cfa03b29a156f21.jpg

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:

 

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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!

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Such an amazing find. It's like it came from the Alt Universe in FRINGE or something. 

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36 minutes ago, groundtrooper said:

Such an amazing find. It's like it came from the Alt Universe in FRINGE or something. 

 

One of the best damn shows ever! Final season was weak but the rest was some of the best sci-fi for sure.

 

That CIB coming out of the woodwork is pretty crazy. Can't wait to read the follow up from the PR rep. :)

 

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Blazer, is the gameplay the same as the released version?  I assume it is, but you never know.

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34 minutes ago, JayAre said:

Blazer, is the gameplay the same as the released version?  I assume it is, but you never know.

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.

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1 hour ago, Ballblaɀer said:

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.

Thanks, Blazer.

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Aside from this being an amazing find, kudos on taking the really clear photographs.  I love the graphic design on the label. 

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Saw this on your Twitter, too cool! Putting a label over another label was fairly common from what I'd read, as it saved these companies a lot of money to re-use carts that weren't sold. 

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Wow... that box art actually makes Word Zapper look like it could be a fun game!

 

It's not... but it does help with the illusion.

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Great find!

I'm pretty sure new artwork for all of the black labels were made.

Here are two others (notice the black labels underneath):
commando_raid_cart_5.jpgtowering_inferno_cart_7.jpg

8)

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On 3/9/2020 at 11:42 AM, jhd said:

Aside from this being an amazing find, kudos on taking the really clear photographs.  I love the graphic design on the label. 

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.

 

On 3/10/2020 at 7:27 AM, Rom Hunter said:

I'm pretty sure new artwork for all of the black labels were made.

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.

 

On 3/9/2020 at 12:02 PM, Mockduck said:

Saw this on your Twitter, too cool! Putting a label over another label was fairly common from what I'd read, as it saved these companies a lot of money to re-use carts that weren't sold. 

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.

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