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Ultra-rare Atari 2700 prototype turns up in a thrift store, sells for a bundle online

by Ron Duwell | August 1, 2017August 1, 2017 11:00 am PST

We all know about the Atari 2600. It’s a bit before my time, but it was also way ahead of its own era as the very first home video game console that could play games sold outside of the console itself. In other words, those games you buy every week… that was originally Atari’s idea.

Its successor, the Atari 5200, is known as something of a failure, a point backed up by the continued success of the 2600 after its launch.

However, this almost didn’t have to be. The Atari 2600’s success almost led into an entirely different console called the Atari 2700. However, this device never made it out of prototype and marketing phases, and only a few are known to exist. The main difference between it and the 2600 was a pair of wireless controllers that Atari couldn’t get to work in time for launch.

One of these turned up over the weekend when a gamer who knew that the Atari 2700 wasn’t a real console stumbled upon one in a thrift store. Redditor L064N looked up the device online and bought it for $30 realizing that it was a rare bit of gaming history.

He then turned around and sold it for $3,000 on eBay. Not bad, especially considering this one was missing the essential controllers.

Kotaku has more on the console’s history speaking with National Video Game Museum director John Hardie.

hose controllers were really the main reason the system was never released. They were radio controlled and the range of the controllers was said to be about 1,000 ft. which means you could easily affect your neighbors system with your joysticks. Imagine living in an apartment building where that 1,000 foot range could potentially affect 3 or 4 other systems. Since the controllers were only unique to left & right players and not to the system itself, it also meant that a large family that might want to purchase 2 units would have the same issues.



Ron Duwell

Ron has been living it up in Japan for the last decade, and he has no intention of leaving this technical wonderland any time soon. When he's not...