I have a lot of Atari nodes out there in the nodegel. Each of of them has a Rarity rating. This node explains just what those numbers mean. My guide is based on the one that atariage.com uses. But I deviate from them in a few respects (mostly in assigning a single rarity value to each game, even when multiple labels exist).
The rarity of a cartridge does not always set its value. There are other factors at work here. Popularity, noteriety, label variations, and the local market can all change the value as much as the rarity rating can.
Rarity Numbers Explained
These are by far the easiest games to find. Games like Combat, Pac-Man, and Defender. The value of these titles is low. You should have no problems finding one of these.
These are also easy to find. They just were not as overproduced as the "1" titles were. Games such as Crystal Castles, Kangaroo, and Moon Patrol have a rating of 2.
These are a little more difficult to come by. But not by much. You can still find most of these games easily, without resorting to Ebay. Games such as Midnight Magic, Slot Machine, and Video Chess have a rating of 3.
This is the first rating where you may have to start checking out the Ebay auctions to find some of the titles. The prices haven't gotten very high yet though. Games such as Taz, Stargate, and Sorcerer's Apprentice have a rating of 4.
These are the first titles that have any real value. Expect to pay a minimum of $10 or more for one of these. Rare titles are much harder to find at thrift stores and garage sales. Games such as Snoopy and the Red Baron, Sentinel, and Off The Wall have a rating of 5.
These are where it starts getting difficult to find them. One of these has a minimum value of $20 and may go for more. These are very hard to find offline. It is possible though. I found my Stunt Man cartridge at the local used game shop for $1. Games such as River Raid II, Stunt Man, and Subterranea have a rating of 6.
7 Very Rare
This is where it starts getting hard to find the games even on Ebay. This is also where the value begins to quickly climb. Good luck. Games such as Wing War, Atari Video Cube, and Ikari Warriors have a rating of 7.
8 Very Rare+
This would probably be the rarest game that most collectors would ever own. Prices vary wildly on any game with this rating or higher. Games such as Crazy Climber, Rubik's Cube, and Guardian have a rating of 8.
9 Extremely Rare
There are usually less than a 100 or so copies of any one of these floating around. With time, luck, and perserverance, it is possible to find these. Games such as Lochjaw, Swordquest: Waterworld, and Tooth Protectors have a rating of 9.
10 Unbelievably Rare
There are rarely more than a few copies of these games in existence. They don't even show up on Ebay very often. Prices sometimes approach $1000 for one of these games. Games such as Copy Cart, River Patrol, and Mangia have a rating of 10.
Prototype games must each be looked at individually. Value can vary wildly.
M Modern Era
These are games that have been made after 1990. Most are sold by Hozer Video Games. They have a separate rating because they are still in production.
These are games that had a second official (or unofficial) production run long after the Atari 2600 era was over with. These are usually titles that used to be extremely hard to find, so someone legally (or illegally), made more of them.
There you go. Please /msg me with any questions, complaints, or comments.
Feb 5, 2003
added R Reproduction category to stay current with hobby standards