Game History

Three Atari 2600 Games that were Almost Lost Forever

Three Atari 2600 Games that were Almost Lost Forever

While we’ll never forget Pong or Asteroids, many retro games have fallen into obscurity. Many games created for consoles like the Atari 2600 were developed by small studios selling in a relatively local area. Others, even those made by large companies, were 'lost' during the video game industry crash of 1084. Let’s look at three video games discovered and preserved by Atari 2600 collectors:

Extra Terrestrials

Not to be confused with the infamous E.T., Extra Terrestrials is an extremely rare Atari 2600 game produced in 1984. Canadian-based Skill Screen Games created the game in an attempt to capitalize on the strong video game market, without anticipating the 1983 industry collapse.  Intent on recouping some investment, the family-owned business started selling door-to-door and managed to sell 100 cartridges.  At such as small scale, the game's distribution wasn't enough to register with the larger Atari community, and the game essentially vanished. In 2011 a copy of Extra Terrestrials was donated to the Personal Computer Museum in Brantford, Ontario, catching the community off guard and raising interest in the title. In 2019, a copy of Extra Terrestrials was sold at auction for $90,000, an indication of how rare the cartridge is, as well as the intense interest from collectors in rare titles.

Air Raid

Air Raid was the only game produced from the small Men-A-Vision studio in Ontario Canada, making this the first Canadian made Atari 2600 title. The title is best known for its handle shaped cartridge and very low production volume. Only 12 copies of this extremely rare game have ever been found.  One Air Raid cartridge was donated to Goodwill in Texas and subsequently sold at auction for over $10,000. A sealed copy of Air Raid even sold for $30,000.  


With no internal record of the game, Aquaventure was first discovered in a Florida flea market in the mid-1990s by a collector who immediately identified it as unique. Since then only four copies have been reported found, including an early prototype owned by a private collector that has never been shared.  Aquaventure was eventually included as a pre-loaded game on an Atari Flashback console, increasing visibility for the title. To increase access to this gem, Atari is giving Aquaventure it first official Atari 2600 cartridge release. You can get a copy here.