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Atari 2600 Xante Cartridges

So far 2010 is an amazing year to be a Atari 2600 collector (or horrible if you’re strapped for cash). Looks like that trend is going to continue, as just listed are Megaforce, Worm War I, Beany Bopper and Atlantis XANTE cartridges.

If the name “Xante” means nothing for you, they are basically among the rarest and most exotic Atari 2600 cartridges.

According to AtariAge, basically Xante had plans to be a major player in the videogame software distribution market. They wanted to establish attended kiosks that could produce cartridges on demand from a catalog of games. The customer would choose a game, the game would be downloaded over a phone line, and then burned to an EPROM right on the spot. A simple label and instruction sheet would be produced to accompany the game, as well as a rather generic box.

Although Xante had plans to produce cartridges for many different game systems, they concentrated on the 2600 since that was the most popular system at the time. They had secured licenses from many software companies such as Imagic and Twentieth Century Fox. Retailers were open to the idea because it reduced their inventory costs, but negotiations with Atari were stalling.

The project was started with a limited catalog in Tulsa, Oklahoma at convenience and grocery stores. Unfortunately, before it could take off on a national level, software licensing issues and the videogame market crash of 1984 caused the company to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. They never made it outside of Tulsa, and consequently their cartridges are very difficult to find. Their games are instantly recognizable from their blue casing and embossed logo. Xante was well funded and ahead of its time, but were an unfortunate casualty of licensing and the great crash that hurt so many other companies.

They are made even more interesting these days, as you can think of them as a predecessor to the DLC system that is so common now.

They’re quite similar to the Japanese Nintendo Power cartridges for GB and Super Famicom, and the obscure Blockbuster Game Factory for SEGA Genesis.

Based on recent high end sales, none of us can even hazard a guess at the prices these will fetch. You’re looking at true R10s here.

Other stuff:
Sega Genesis Ds-16
Promo Donkey Kong LP and Pac Man Frisbee
ATARI Field Service Manual 2600/2600A VCS
Samples and unreleased games: Video Hustler, Cabbage Patch, Q*Bert, Gorf, Popeye, Space Panic, Omega Race, Spectron for ColecoVision, Descent, Interstate ’76 and Fighter Duel for PC – Many of the released/final version ones are very cheap!

On our forum, NESaholic is selling NES and SNES protos!

Written by Nicola

Nicola, the Italian search engine over eBay...collects videogames from 1992.


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