3 Insanely Rare and Valuable Atari 2600 Games You Wish You Owned

Dave LeClair Updated 10-11-2017

More often than not, when gamers get nostalgic for the games of yesteryear, Nintendo consoles come to mind. Sure, Stadium Events and the Nintendo World Championships are worth some big money on NES, but Atari has some games that easily compare with those from a pure value perspective.


If you have one of these in your collection, consider yourself among the lucky few. And should you happen to spot one of these on Craigslist or at a garage sale How to Buy Used Games Online to Save Money Gaming is expensive and nobody can afford picking up all the latest releases at full price. Here are the best ways to pick up used games for a fraction of the price. Read More , jump on it fast!

1. Air Raid

Video game collectors generally regard Air Raid as the holy grail of Atari cartridges. Only a few are known to exist, and even fewer come with the box. Even on its own, the game sells for around $3,000. No, that wasn’t a typo — just the cartridge is worth around three thousand dollars.

The last copy to hit the market with the box included sold for an even more mind-blowing $33,000. That means the little bit of cardboard is actually worth more than the game itself. What’s even crazier is that Air Raid actually had a commercial release, whereas most really rare games were never sold in stores 5 Of The Most Valuable Games For The Nintendo GameCube The GameCube had a solid library with plenty of games that are both fun to play and sought after by collectors today. Read More .

rare valuable atari 2600 games
Image Credit: AtariAge

The cartridge features a distinct design. It comes in light blue, and it has a T-shaped handle on the top. Though it’s wildly different than most Atari 2600 games, it actually looks pretty cool. If you ever happened upon one, you would know it right away. Anyone with Air Raid in their collection has made collectors around envious.


2. Red Sea Crossing

This game was not even known by Atari collectors until 2007. It was all but lost to history until someone found it at a garage sale. Red Sea Crossing was so hard to come by because it was only sold by mail order. On top of that, people have only found one ad for the game’s original release, which explains why no one bought it (or even heard of it) when it was new.

So how much is this insanely rare game actually worth? The last loose cartridge sold for $13,800, which is staggering. No boxed copies have ever made it to the public, but it’s easy to imagine that if one did, it would probably sell for around the same price as Air Raid.

rare valuable atari 2600 games
Image Credit: Atari Mania

If you happened to order away for this game, and you have one sitting in your closet, consider yourself incredibly lucky. But if you had it, and were the person who sold your copy at a garage sale, then we can’t help but feel for you.


3. Birthday Mania

This is another special order game, but it comes with an interesting twist. Buyers would custom order it as a gift 10 Great Gifts for Gamers You Can Give This Year Here are some of the best gifts for gamers, including PC, PS4, and Xbox One gamers, including new games, mobile players, and more! Read More , and the developers would add the name of the recipient to the title screen. There was also a spot on the front to write the name of the person getting the gift. This is about as custom as you can find in video game-related gifts The 10 Best Video Game-Themed Valentine's Day Gifts If you're in a relationship with a gamer, check out these great video game-themed Valentine's Day gifts. Read More .

Sadly for the company that made it, but happily for collectors today, the concept did not catch on. As such, copies are incredibly hard to come by. It’s so rare, in fact, that only two or three copies are known to exist.

rare valuable atari 2600 games
Image Credit: retrogamescollector

This game has never been sold to the public, so it’s hard to put a true value on it. The only record is of a $6,500 offer on a copy, so that’s really all we have to go on. Perhaps more copies will surface someday, but for now, this is easily one of the rarest video games available, and one that collectors the world over The 4 Most Important Websites For Classic Video Game Collectors [MUO Gaming] Collecting video games is hard work. Sure, you can go on eBay and just buy up everything you want, but if you do, you will be paying full market value or more for every game... Read More would be willing to pay insane amounts of money to have in their collection.


Just Scratching the Surface

The video collector hobby is fast-moving. Values rise and fall seemingly at random, but these three gems have stood the test of time, maintaining staggering values in the thousands of dollars. Even with loose copies of Air Raid having seen a decrease in recent years, it’s still worth more than most other games!

And in some ways, these crazy valuable games are just the tip if the iceberg. Games like River Patrol, Beany Bopper [Xante], Cakewalk, Video Life, and Atlantis II are all valued at over $500. When you start getting into the games worth over $100, you realize that the Atari 2600 can be a gold mine. Of course, for every one of these, there are games like E.T. that aren’t even worth the plastic they’re housed in.

But if these games are too expensive for your tastes, check out rare games you can download digitally 5 Rare Games You Can Buy Cheap on Digital Marketplaces Read More without breaking the bank.

Do you own any of these incredibly rare games? Are you going to look for them next time you’re at a garage sale? What are the rarest games in your collection? Hit the comments section below and let us know!


Image Credits: Chris L via Flickr

Related topics: Atari, Gaming Culture, Retro Gaming.

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  1. James Brancucci
    March 23, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    We have the following games
    Combat, video pinball, Superman, night driver, canyon bomber, pac-man, asteroids, breakout, freeway, warlords, adventure, haunted house, demons to diamonds, Coleco carnival and space invaders.

  2. Cara L. Ferachi
    November 8, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    I found 2 Atari game consoles, model no. Cx-2600 A and CX-2600, 5 reg controllers, 4 paddle controllers, and an archer controller, and 4 games in the attic, one game is 1981 pacman cx2646, one is only showing piece of paper saying 1978 cx2605 it has horses pulling a wagon behind this, and two games are missing paper entirely, and a tv/game/computer switch-cv95/vg175. How much do u think its worth? Anyone wanna buy this Atari grab bag of possible fortune? Lol!

    February 2, 2019 at 2:20 pm

    Dude I have the ultament collection and papers and booklets poster and atri force5 comic book even warranty papers catalogs x6 and original atri we were can I sale I got pics let me know

  4. Theodore Block
    January 4, 2019 at 2:58 am

    I have Asteroids, Phoenix, Missile Command, Home Run, Combat, A Double Ender- Spike's Peak & Ghost Manor, Grand Prix, Pac Man, SeaQuest, Pengo, Ms. Pac Man, Gorf, Superman, Kaboom, Tutankham, Atlantis, Video Pinball, Circus Atari, Space Jockey, RealSports Volleyball, Space Attack, Warlords, Street Racer and Kool-Aid Man. Everyone still has the images on them except one, but I have the sticker.

  5. Mary Ann P. Lhotka
    December 9, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    Sorry, in my previous comment I forgot It also says "NOT FOR RESALE"

  6. Mary Ann P. Lhotka
    December 9, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    I am an 87 year old Senior, many years ago my Husband got from a friend a 2600A Atari Game. We never opened the box or took out the game, I really don't know why. I am now living with my Son and Daughter-in-law. we have started going thru my things and lo and behold we found the box. Now the one side is open, but never used. It is printed on the front of the box "Promotional use Only". I would like to know if this game is worth anything or not. Thank You for your kind attention with this matter.

  7. Mark Nelson
    October 16, 2017 at 12:58 am

    I have over 50 games I want to sell
    Oldest one I have is combat I believe

  8. Diana
    April 25, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    I have an Atari and over 80 games. I would like to know what it's worth.

  9. Robert jeffrey
    February 28, 2017 at 10:13 pm

    I have all 3 how much they worth

    • Justin
      February 26, 2018 at 2:32 pm


  10. Jack Hatcher
    December 14, 2016 at 12:39 am

    I have several games, just have to find the box. 2 that were with the console are Pac-man andCombat CX-2601. When found, I will post the rest of the games.

  11. Jack Hatcher
    December 13, 2016 at 6:56 am

    I have several game cartridges and an original Atari system. My wife worked for a company in San Diego that made the 'boards' for them. I have to look and see what games are in the box.

  12. Connie
    September 29, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    I have 60-100 different games.....also have 5, 2600 Atari systems....I think one looks like wood....I will have to dig them out of the crawl space and see what I have....

  13. jesus lopex
    August 30, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    i have an atari in the box is that worth anything is the original

    August 10, 2016 at 7:04 pm


  15. Jack Hoehn
    June 30, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Looking to find out what Atari Missile Command is worth. this one is rare because it has the designers initials at the end of the game. if you score no points on this game the letters RF will appear on screen. Several hundred perhaps a thousand where produced before Atari found out and removed the initials. this from an article in Video Review by Phil Wiswell

  16. Krynos
    February 6, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Almost everyone has E.T. now. I have 3 copies that came with different systems I bought. The first copy I got from the Hock Shop for $3

  17. chum
    December 4, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    I have supermn, et,

  18. Anonymous
    September 29, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    I have the E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, what is it worth? and it is for sale. No box.

  19. Anonymous
    September 26, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    I have 2 copies of air raid, 1st in the box not even the slightest scrath, however a tiny black dot assuming from a marker thats not noticeable without heavy looking. 2nd copy no box perfect cartridge.

    I now have 2 copies of birthday mania also. 1st from family, it has the name Jason p.

    The 2nd was bought by me in buffalo new york june 18th 2015 at garage sale for 1$. The name is Jesus.

    I will be selling these in 2016/2017 if you want to buy sooner, offering livestream video of me holding, and playing the 3 games, and showing up close the air raid still in box.

    Make a comment with an email or something if ur interested in buying sooner and ill contact u within 1 week max of the dated comment. Will be checking this site regularly at least once a week for months.

    • Jay
      February 21, 2019 at 4:13 am

      I believe you're talking about air raiders, not air raid?

  20. Ian
    May 7, 2015 at 5:16 am

    actually just a couple months ago 1000's of 2600 carts were really dug up in Alamagordo the myth was true come to find out.

    • Kevin t Jackson
      September 28, 2016 at 2:16 am

      I have et pacman mrs pacman and few more from my childhood days for sale.

  21. beetle juice
    May 2, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    I have air raid I guess e.t. game is just an urban legend people digging up the game. I remember playing it many years ago and it was lame

    • Dre Gil
      May 15, 2015 at 4:56 am

      Do u really have the blue cartridge air raid

  22. Anonymous
    December 28, 2014 at 6:10 am

    Winter games by EPYX.... Pele soccer.... Crystal "something" .... Haha

  23. tina
    May 4, 2014 at 12:16 am

    I have two boxes of Atari games. Qbert and e.t. and pacman are just a few. They aren't in the case but wanting to sell.

    • Rebecca Christy
      November 25, 2016 at 10:21 pm

      How much are you selling qbert

  24. Rick
    November 20, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Air Raid loose don't go for 13-14K more like 2-3K! boxed without the manual 13-14K!

  25. Fred M
    November 20, 2013 at 6:32 am

    I have a big box of the Atari 2600 Cartridges that I will go through when daylight comes. I also have the deluxe Atari 2600 with all the extras in working condition last I checked.

    • Dave L
      November 20, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      Let us know what you find!

      • Sherry Davidson
        May 17, 2016 at 10:12 pm

        I have a few games....river raid, 2600 centipede, Sky Diver, Pole Position, Burger Time, Pitfall2, Jr PAC Man, missile command, words zapper, Venture, Food fight, Centipede 7800, Karateka, Pele soccer, 7800 ms PAC man, combat, pole position 2, 7800 Xevious , 7800 winter games, 7800 dig dug, pitfall, 7800 robotron 2084, donkey Kong Jr, 7800 chop lifter, 7800 asteroids

        • Jason McAllister
          July 11, 2019 at 1:54 am

          How much is KoolAid Man worth? You had to send in your koolaid UPC and they mailed you a cartridge.