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atari 2600 beagle brothers cart on ebay...real?


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There can be no question about it. The fonts for the two Beagle Brothers cartridges (as shown on Atari Age and on eBay) do not match. The G in BEAGLE of the eBay cart is more stylized than the that of the sample on Atari Age. Close inspection shows that the S and the E don't quite match between the two cart labels either. There are also differences in the spacing between BEAGLE BROTHERS and CARTRIDGE CLUB among the two sample carts. The S in BROTHERS of the AtariAge cart label is distinctly separated from BROTHER. But on the ebay label, the S is right up against the BROTHER. There are plenty of other differences which become apparent on close inspection.


Note that the cartridge cases of the two cartridges are also different. You can see it in the impression beneath the paper end labels. There is a circular impression in the eBay end label. There is a much smaller, rectangular impression beneath the end label shown on Atari Age's sample.


The font and case differences immediately raise a red flag in my mind. For a cartridge of such extreme rarity that scarcely more than two copies of it have ever been found, how could such differences exist?


There has been a great deal of speculation as to whether Beagle Brothers cartridges were ever legitimate production runs or whether they are outright pirate labels. Assuming for the moment that they were a legitimate production run, then their extreme rarity strongly suggests that there was at most only a single production run for each of the three known Beagle Brothers titles. If a single production run is the cases -- and I strongly believe it is -- then it is very doubtful that the two samples of Basketball I'm looking at can both be authentic.


So if one of them is a fake, which one? I'd put my money on the eBay offering as the fake. In the case of the Atari Age sample, the font for CARTRIDGE CLUB on the main label matches the font for BASKETBALL on the end label. But on the eBay sample, the fonts are definitely mismatched. What's more, the color of the ink used in BEAGLE BROTHERS matches the color used for the end label for the Atari Age sample. The ink appears to be mismatched on the eBay sample. Finally, the picture of the Atari Age sample is much higher resoultion. I'm always suspicious of ultra ultra rare carts being sold on eBay where the picture quality is so low. It makes me believe that they have something to hide, and in this case I believe that they do.


If anyone were to make a forgery of an ultra rare Atari cartridge, a Beagle Brothers cart would be the prime candidate. It's simplistic text label should be reproducible to a convincing degree with very little effort.


I won't go so far as to say I believe that the eBay seller is passing off a forgery. But by every indication, this auction is a HIGH RISK affair. The seller has 14 negative feedbacks and that the second highest bidder sniped the auction with only 9 minutes remaining, yet he signed up for his eBay account less than a month ago and has bid on only ONE item before... these facts do nothing to assuage my suspicions.


And what's with the eBay username, simply_drawn_lines, of the second highest bidder, anyway? Could that be the insider joke of a shill bidder who's mission was to ring up the sale price of a cartridge with "simply drawn lines?"




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I'll back Ben up on this, with one additional item: I can identify the fonts on the eBay cartridge as all being TrueType fonts created by Microsoft in 1998 for Internet Explorer. The font on the face label is Impact and the font on the end label is Verdana. These fonts DID NOT EXIST when Beagle Brothers was producing cartridges!

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I'll back Ben up on this, with one additional item:  I can identify the fonts on the eBay cartridge as all being TrueType fonts created by Microsoft in 1998 for Internet Explorer.  The font on the face label is Impact and the font on the end label is Verdana.  These fonts DID NOT EXIST when Beagle Brothers was producing cartridges!


You're absolutely right, Scott. You found the smoking gun. The fonts used on the eBay seller's Beagle Brothers cartridge label exactly match Microsoft's TrueType fonts. I am 100% sure now IT IS A FAKE!


Here is a sample of Microsoft's TrueType font, IMPACT...




And here is a sample of Microsoft's TrueType font, VERDANA...




And finally, here is the scan offered by the eBay seller...





Now, isn't this the same guy who's recently had more than one copy of Glib on the eBay auction block?




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Maybe he's in cohoots with Ryan Kinman. I've been very wary on buying single rare carts on ebay now. I think it's become a lot easier to scam people and Ebay isn't doing enough to keep these people off the system. Buyer beware is what I say. Anyone hear from Ryan lately? I just did a post on Bug90. He's back but he's not Ryan.



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Correcting myself: The Waterworld he sold wasn't actually fake but it was in much-degraded condition from what was shown on the auction, and he had re-shrinkwrapped it for some reason. (Even though the pics show all of the items from inside the box and the auction says he tested the game; how stupid would you have to be to believe it was the original shrinkwrap???)

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I was going to post this over at Digital Press in response to their thread on the topic, but I had a problem setting up an account over there. But since I bothered to write all of this, I'll just post it here!




I do think AtariAge may be misrepresenting the value of the Beagle Brothers carts. Suffice to say, I would never have even HEARD of them were it not for AtariAge's rarity guide.


Clearly, whether the Beagle Brothers games were ever legit or not (which doesn't seem possible), the one that was for sale on eBay was definitely NOT an original Beagle Brothers cart. Based on the fonts, it HAD to have been produced within the past 4 years or so.


Now, I do appreciate AtariAge's rarity guide, but I always have to balance out their ratings with my own personal interest in a game. And frankly, I've never been interested enough in a game to pay more than about $20. There is NOTHING about the Beagle Brothers games that would make me want to pay more than $1 for one, even if they WERE genuine.


I would have to say that I disagree with AtariAge's decision to give questionable items like this a rarity rating. Not that the game isn't rare, but it is probably both rare and worthless. I have a copy of Raiders of the Lost Ark with a homemade label. It is the only copy in the world! Does that give it any value?


The real danger in all of this is that someone who just wanted to make a quick buck (or a quick $225) by forging a rare game hit upon the Beagle Brothers games as an ideal opportunity, being so easy to fake. And very likely the only reason they considered this game worth faking is because it has a "10" rating on the AtariAge site.


Personally, I think both the "real" Beagle Brothers game and the fake on eBay are worthless. I think there's no doubt that a FAKE Beagle Brothers is DEFINITELY worthless. But now someone has agreed to pay a ton of money for one, just because of the AtariAge "10" rating.

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I posted over at DP as well, but here agian are my thoughts on the matter.


We have never indicated the value of a Beagle Brothers cart, so to say that we have misrepresented the value it is not possible. We have only stated that they exist, we are unsure of their origin, and they are very rare. To blame us if someone makes a fake is unfair.


Why should we not give it a rarity rating? Because it's unlicensed? So all unlicensed games should be left without a rarity? Unlicensed games have been given a rarity for years yet we have never heard of this until now.


I believe there are two questions here:


1) Are the Beagle Brothers games really from Beagle Brothers, or are they pirate games from the black market? The answer to this will determine under what "company" they are listed - either Beagle Brothers or "Unkown". Now, it has never been proven either way whether they are legitimate or not, so we are taking a guess by placing them in either category. Now, I can understand putting them in an "Unkown' category, but does that mean that all unlicensed games should go into an "Unknown" category? Traditionally this has not been the case, and I have never even heard this suggested before.


2) Should all unlicensed games be unnassigned a rarity? Again, this has never been the case and I have never heard anyone suggest it. Do you only want the Beagle Brothers games unnassigned rarity for some reason? Because they are easy to fake? I don't think that's a good reason.


I'd like to hear anyone's thoughts on this.

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I just talked to ex-Beagle Bros employee Warren Ernst, and here is what he had to say:




Yup, I am indeed the ex-beagle employee you seek. I did tech support for all of beagle's products during those glorious years between 1988 to 1991, and was also the sysop of the BBS for about a year.


As it happens, I also own a first generation 2600 (three toggle switches on each side of the console), a Vectrex with every game ever made for it, along with 6 full size arcade games (Space Duel, Centipede, Pole Position, Sinistar, Vindicators, and Elevator Action). So I also happen to know a fair amount about old games.


So, with that said, I can say very confidently that Beagle Bros NEVER made atari cartridges. If you don't know, Beagle Bros wrote software for the Apple II, and later, for the Mac. It went out of business in 1991. The only games that beagle bros ever made were "I.O. Silver", and a collection of small games written in BASIC called "Beagle Bag." Though I.O. Silver was written in assembly (and thus probably incomprehensible to most folks), both products were on unprotected disks that were completely copyable and listable. So with this in mind, I can't believe that any beagle bros product would say "we care...about your money."


Beagle Bros was a small company - no more than 25 people at the most - and there was no cartridge club when I was there. Beagle Bros was established in 1980, however, so I suppose it is possible that there was one before I was there, but I would be very surprised if it were so.


Finally, Beagle Bros was located in San Diego, CA. If that cartridge came from anywhere else, that would really suggest that someone was just using the name as a goof.


I just checked out your website, and am extremely impressed. I've spent all evening browsing and reliving memories. Good job.


I hope this information is helpful to you. Please feel free to use any, all, or none of this information on your site. If you do, kindly provide a link to my personal site of http://www.warrenernst.com/.  


Thanks, and keep up the great work.



Warren Ernst

Contributing Editor, PC Magazine


You can check out his web site here: http://www.warrenernst.com. Also, Albert and I have decided to list it as an Unknown company, with Beagle Bros in the cartridge description.

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...and here is the afformentioned "Unknown" company entry:




You will now find the Beagle Brothers carts here, and there is no more Beagle Brothers company entry. This will also house other carts, such as Taiwan 1, whose company we do not know. You will still be able to sort them by label style to see what carts probably belong together.

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All I am saying concerning AtariAge rarities is that, even though AtariAge is not assigning a value to games, visitors to the site create their own assessments of relative value of games based on the ratings.


Seeing a rating of 10 has given at least two people (the buyer and the seller of the fake Beagle Brothers Basketball) a false impression of value.


Did AtariAge say "THIS GAME IS WORTH $225!!!!"? Of course not. But AtariAge should realize that by giving a potentially worthless game a rating of 10, someone may think it has value when in fact it does not.


You cannot be held accountable for someone else misinterpreting what you say. But if you know there is a great likelihood that they will misinterpret you, then perhaps you will want to rethink what you say. Not because you have an obligation to, but just because you know you may have the ability to avert a bad situation.


If I am driving, and I see someone about to cause an accident with me, and I know it will be their fault, I still try to avoid the accident if I can. Again, not because I have an obligation to do so, but because I'd rather avert a bad situation.

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I understand what you're saying, but I don't think that we should be making judgements about what is valuable and what isn't. The game is worth what people are willing to pay, and we are very clear about what the games are. Just because they're worthless to some people, doesn't make them worthless to all. Who gets to decide which games have "value" and therefore a rarity?


You are suggesting we hide the rarity so that someone doesn't buy the game and regret it later? Why would they regret it? They changed their mind about what it's worth? That can happen with anything. At what point to we hide the rarity? 10's only? 9? 8? 5? Do we hide only the pirate companies? What about games like Lochjaw, which is essentially a label variation? Do we hide that? It's rare, but who's to say it has any value? Nobody complains about that. What's the difference?

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I'm not suggesting hiding the rarities, and I'm also not suggesting changing the rarities.


I guess what I am really going for is to get some kind of disclaimer to the effect of: "Rarity guide ratings are intended solely to indicate the relative availability of a particular title and should not be interpreted to indicate a monetary value."

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Seeing a rating of 10 has given at least two people (the buyer and the seller of the fake Beagle Brothers Basketball) a false impression of value.


Let's assume it was a real cartridge for the sake of the debate. How does seeing a 10 give a false impression of value? Where has the "value" been determined? If a game consistently sells for $100+, isn't that the "value" of the game, not what some people think it should be? I don't think I've seen a real Beagle Bros cart sell, so I have no idea what the "value" is.


I think Thomas Kincade paintins are ugly and sophomoric, and I wouldn't hang one on my wall for free. But people pay thousands of dollars for them on a regular basis. What is their "value"?

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Heh, well to me it's obvious but I guess new visitors to the site might not understand that rarity is not a direct indicator of value. The introduction to the guide states this:


"The rarity scale is a general indicator of easy or difficult it is to come across a game."


It says nothing of value. I have no problem adding a line that says rarity is not necessarily an indicator of value, and that a cart is only worth what someone is will to pay. I don't know if that will really make a difference, but it won't hurt anything.


For people that overpay without knowing what they're buying, I don't have a whole lot of sympathy. There is only so far we can hold someone's hand. If anyone reads just a small bit of information regarding BB carts, they will see exactly what we know about them and they will be able to make an informed purchase.

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