We’ve all run into this at one point or another. You want to start collecting video games but the costs are too prohibitive. Before you know it, your money has run out. This is why it’s so important to properly plan your collecting goals. Too often, the posts on this site focus on rare (and expensive) items. Today, I wanted to help out those of you who don’t have a surplus amount of cash to devote to vintage video games. We’ve put together a simple list and easy to follow guide for building a collection of cheap video games for Atari 2600.
Keep in mind, you won’t be looking at bids for classic games such as Air Raid or Atlantis II here. Instead, we’ll look at some of the most common Atari 2600 games on the market so that you collectors who are new to this hobby can build up a respectable collection without having to crack too many piggy banks.
Asteroids – This game has slightly increased in price over the past few years. Average prices on the ‘bay dropped slightly from December. Make sure you don’t pay over $5 on this one (or you’re feeding into a false inflation). Asteroids is pretty much required playing on the Atari 2600.
Missile Command – Pretty much the same deal as Asteroids. MC is a tad bit more expensive and hasn’t really dropped in price recently. Full CIB games go for $10 to $15. For those of you who are less picky, copies of MC that are cartridge only sell for far less money.
Frogger – Again, this is a classic. It’s still relatively affordable due to the vast amounts of copies produced. Prices range from $6 cartridge to $15 CIB.
Combat – I can remember playing this with my dad almost every night after he returned home from work. That is, until the processor on my Atari burnt up! Good times! Unfortunately, Combat really skyrocketed in price lately. With that being said, if you’re looking for a moderately priced (about $35) rare game, this might be the perfect purchase for you.
Pitfall – Complete packages have sold for stupid prices well over $100. However, individual carts continue to sell at reasonable prices ($5 – $6).
Centipede – Centipede hasn’t dropped in price recently, but its current prices reflect Asteroids. You can find a solid deal with either CIB or cart.
Space Invaders – Individual carts sell around the $2 mark while complete packages range in price from $10 – $20 on average. Make sure you pick up a copy before they start to become rare.
Yar’s Revenge – Both Defender and Yar’s Revenge have recently dropped in price over the past few years. Keep an eye on them to see if they continue to drop in price. Don’t forget, these are classic games for the platform in their own right.
E.T. – Ugh, E.T. Why did we have to go there, right? In reality, E.T. was only one out of a handful of games that practically killed the industry by causing a collapse in the market’s industry. Some collector’s pass on E.T. despite its rarity due to the ugly history around it. So, the prices continue to stay relatively low around $6.
Atari Flashback – It may not be retro, but it sure is cheap. For about $20 (don’t pay any more than this), you’ll get a whole slew of classic games. You also won’t have to worry about the console dying on you.
If you absolutely MUST buy a rare game for your Atari 2600, I would recommend picking up a game that blends the perfect amount of rarity and price such as Quadrun. This game doesn’t always show up on eBay as it’s relatively rare. The prices still sell under the $1,000 mark. So, you can find “deals” here.
Another way to find good deals on vintage video games is to hit up your local Salvation Army or Goodwill. However, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find Atari 2600 games from these stores. I recommend checking out local yard sales.