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DoctorSpuds Reviews Things - Down the 2600 Rabbit Hole


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I’ve been trying to rationalize to myself where the rabbit hole that is Atari collecting begins and ends. Of course it begins with Atari themselves, along with the bigger publishers like Activision, Parker Brothers, and Imagic. Here let’s try something… I won’t be able to include all the publishers, but I can try to paint a vague picture of what I mean.

Level One: Everybody knows ‘em. These companies were the most likely to be stocked in all the major electronics retailers.

  • Atari
  • Activision
  • Parker Brothers
  • Imagic
  • Coleco
Level Two: Coulda missed ‘em. These were from slightly smaller publishers, and taking into account geographical differences I’m sure people might not have seen these in even small quantities.
  • U.S. Games/Vidtec
  • 20th Century Fox
  • Apollo
  • M-Network
  • Data Age
  • CBS
Level Three: Small publisher. These guys usually had a small library of games that never gained any real notoriety; they were usually affected strongly by geography, now we’re getting into the realm of rarity.
  • Mystique
  • Sega
  • Spectravision
  • Konami
  • Tigervision
  • Xonox
  • Mythicon
  • Telesys
Level Four: Did they even exist? These companies had very limited distribution of their games, making them on the pricier side.
  • Playaround
  • Commavid
  • Avalon Hill
  • Zimag
  • Starpath/Arcadia(?)
  • Amiga
  • Milton Bradley
Level Five: After the fact. These guys came along after the 2600’s heyday and decided to spice the already sizeable library up, and while they may be well known today it is still rather odd that these games even exist at all.
  • Froggo
  • Absolute
  • Epyx
  • Telegames
Level Six: Mail order only and one-offs. These guys account for most of the extremely rare games seen on the system, usually releasing one or two games before vanishing entirely.
  • Men-A-Vision
  • Simage
  • Answer Software
  • American Videogame
  • Universal Gamex
  • Bomb (Special exception)
  • DSD/Camelot
  • Exus
  • K-Tel Vision
  • Selchow & Righter
  • Sparrow
  • Sunrise Software
  • TNT Games
  • Ultravision
  • Venturevision
  • Wizard Video
Level Seven: The American bootleggers. These were usually companies that would release pirated games under different names, they had very limited distribution but in some cases were the only way to play certain titles on American systems.
  • Panda
  • Zellers
  • Puzzy
Level Eight: Hardware. These guys made utilities for the 2600, not games.
  • Videosoft
  • Vidco
  • Romox
  • Personal Games
  • Xante
Level Nine: Europe and Australia. Despite there being very little interest in the greater European market for home videogame consoles, due to the booming micro computer industry, there were still companies shelling games out for the 2600, usually they were bootlegs but many were original games.
  • Ariola
  • Bit Corporation
  • Carrere Video
  • Datatech
  • Dimax
  • Dynamics
  • Funvision
  • Gakken
  • Gameworld
  • Goliath
  • HES
  • Homevision
  • Hotshot
  • Hi-Score
  • John Sands
  • ITT Family Games
  • Puzzy (Again)
  • Quelle
  • Rainbow Vision
  • Salu
  • Sancho
  • Suntek
  • Supervision
  • Technovision
  • Video Gems
Level Ten: South America. This place was an absolute free-for-all of publishers releasing everything they could get their hands on, it didn’t matter where it came from or if somebody else had already published it they’d release it. Despite all the odd publishers though, it seems South America has the most complete, and exotic, library of 2600 games since they have several games that were never released in North America in the NTSC format. SA also has the largest amount of publishers.
  • Action Games
  • Apple Vision
  • Argevision
  • Arte Vision
  • Atari Mania
  • Auto Game
  • Canal 3
  • CCE
  • Conector
  • Cosmovision
  • Cromax
  • Dactar
  • Datasoft
  • Datavision
  • Digimax
  • Digitel
  • Digivision
  • Dinamivision
  • Dismac
  • Dynacom
  • Dynatronic
  • Engesoft
  • Eram
  • Fotomania
  • Future
  • Galaxi
  • Game Action
  • Genus
  • Gran Match
  • Imagic International Games
  • Intellivision
  • J.F.
  • Jo
  • Joystick
  • JVP
  • Maxgames
  • Mega Games
  • Microsoft (HAH!)
  • Momo
  • Play Time
  • Play Video
  • Polygram
  • Polyvox
  • Pop
  • Prom
  • Rentacom
  • Robby
  • Shock Vision
  • Star Game
  • Super 2600
  • Super Game
  • Supervision
  • Tiger Vision
  • Tron
  • Uloc
  • VGS
  • Video Game
  • Video Grow
  • Video Jeugo
  • Videomagia
  • Videomania
  • Videospot
  • Vidgame
  • Vortex Games
  • Wide Vision
  • Zgames
  • Zirok
  • There are probably still a bunch more that we haven’t found yet.
Level Eleven: Rock Bottom. We have no idea who made these games, where they come from, or where they were ever actually sold. These games are an enigma, and were likely never sold through actual retailers and are more likely the remnants of an Atari 'Black Market'. The most well known of these are the Taiwan Cooper games which are usually pirated games from American publishers but are sometimes NTSC ports of the elusive Bit Corporation’s games, they even did Colecovision games.
  • Taiwan Cooper
  • Beagle Brothers
  • V Case games
  • Pet Boat
  • The Unknown Universal Prototype (It needs to be included)
  • Videogame SP
  • The ‘2600 Compatible’ Series (Different from the Zellers games)
I don’t really know what the point of this is… I guess I really just needed to try and sort everything out. If you feel that a publisher should be moved to a different level, or if I missed a publisher (as I probably have) tell me in the comments. I have purposefully excluded homebrews and self published titles since that's a whole different box of rocks to dig into.

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