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A Redditor who goes by the username L064N just reminded the world why thrift shopping can be a little like treasure hunting with the recent discovery of a very rare Atari prototype.
The Atari 2700, also known as the Atari Remote Control VCS, was never put into full production despite a plan to release the model in 1981. The number of Atari 2700‘s that exist today is debatable, but former Atari employee Dan Kramer says that perhaps only a dozen were ever made.
The redditor discovered the classic system at an Oceanside, California, thrift shop minutes before the store closed and decided to buy it because. “It seemed odd to me as I’d never seen an Atari like it. Some quick googling led me to believe it was some cool rare prototype so I bought it,” L064N said on Reddit.
The purchase was made for a measly $30, and L064N took to Reddit afterwards to ask fellow Redditors how much it might be worth. People immediately began questioning whether an original 2700 had actually been found, or if L064N had just poached an image from another site. Proof, submitted by L064N in the form of a photo, quickly made it clear this is the real deal. After putting it up on eBay, L064N sold the console for an impressive $3,000, even without the wireless controllers.
Those wireless controllers are actually the reason that so few Atari 2700’s were made. In an interview with Kotaku, John Hardie, the director of the National Video Game Museum, said “those 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.”
The system L064N sold did have ports for 2600 wired controllers, which were sold along with the system. Hardie suspects that the number of Atari 2700’s out there may be higher than a dozen, but no matter what, they’re in short supply.
So browse your local thrift shops, people. There are treasure out there.
Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.