What defines a rare cartridge? All collectors have different interpretations of the word, but to me it has a simple meaning: “A cartridge that is harder to find than most carts.” Here we’ll examine the many factors that can make a cartridge rare. (Examples cited are for the Atari VCS/2600.)

1. Low Production Run/ Poor Sales – A good example of this would be the cartridge “The Music Machine.” This cartridge was packaged with a record and “poor sales caused many of these to be recalled and destroyed” as quoted in the Digital Press Guide Fourth Edition (DPG). Also, if a game was distributed in isolated areas around the world, it may be a tough find.

2. Limited Availability – A game which was made available only through special offers or by joining a club. Some games made available these ways are: Quadrun, Crazy Climber, Atari Video Cube and Purina Foods’ Chase the Chuckwagon. These factors make it less likely that you will ever find these carts in thrift shops or flea markets.

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