For many kids of the early 80’s, like myself, the Atari 2600 was an amazing piece of technology which shared in introducing us to video games. During that time the games and weird add-ons seemed endless. Without the internet, there were very few ways to get information on what’s out there. It seemed like every few days, one of my friends would find or hear about some weird gadget that would modify an Atari game or the system itself. Garage sales and flea markets were places of discovery.
Today, I would like to bring back those days in a way. Here you will find some very strange controllers and modules that were made to create unique gaming experiences on the Atari 2600.
Arcadia Super Charger – This may look like some sort of system cleaning tool, but what’s with the wire coming out of it? The Arcadia Super Charger was required to play a series of games that were released on audio cassettes. The way it works is you put it into the Atari like any cartridge game and then connect the audio cable to the earphone plug to any cassette player. After the system is on, you put in the audio cassette game and press play. The sound that comes from the cassette is fed into the system and the screen actually shows a loading screen. Once loaded, stop the tape and the game is ready to play!
The Star Path game cassettes that work with the Super Charger are quite rare since many have been mixed into and lost in various music cassette collections over the years. If you have the patience to look through boxes of tapes at a flea market or garage sale, you may eventually find one. Here are a few on eBay right now:
Party Mix – This auction includes the game, manual, and original cassette case.
Survival Island – Only the game and manual here, but this game is very rare.
Sword of Saros – Once again, game and manual. This is also a very rare game.
Here are a couple more interesting add-ons for the Atari 2600 that are required to play the games included…
Smurf Saves The Day Cartridge 3 Cassettes with KidVid Voice Module – Similar to the way the Super Charger works, the KidVid module connects to the Atari and sends an audio signal while the cartridge is being played. The game cannot be played without the module and all 3 cassettes. It’s a complex operation for a Smurfs game, but the idea behind it is awesome.
Omega Race & Booster Grip – Omega Race cannot be played without the Booster Grip that goes with it. As most people know, the Atari 2600 joystick has only 1 button. The Booster Grip however gives the gamer 2 buttons to use while playing Omega Race. The grip has a plug that fits into the controller port on the system and the standard Atari joystick plugs into the grip’s plug. The grip then fits over the joystick and you are ready to go! The game itself plays a lot like Asteroids. One button shoots and the other boosts your ship forward.
To top things off, here are a few Atari related auctions. Two rare games and one obscure collectible.
Activision Stampede Belt Buckle – This very cool looking belt buckle was a prize in Activision’s Happy Trails Bounty Hunter Sweepstakes. At first glance, the belt buckle looks like a standard western-style buckle, but if you look closer, you can see Activision’s logo in the buckle’s design. Included in the auction is the actual letter from Activision congratulating the winner.
Rescue Terra I – Known to be one of the rarest Atari games, Rescue Terra I is rated 9 out of 10 in terms of rarity on AtariAge.com’s respected rarity guide. The manual is included, but no box.
Guardian – Another rare game, but this one is rated 8 out of 10 in rarity. Again, the manual is included, but no box.