Before super-realistic graphics, 4K resolution, 120 fps, and the famous console wars between Microsoft and Sony, there was a small console of just 8 bits, whose games were cartridges and not CDs, and whose control was a lever with a button on the side, the Atari.
Who would have thought that this device changed not only the world of video games but also popular culture forever?
It is already 30+ years since the launch of Atari’s last console, the Jaguar, and a time when they were still a relevant company, before being dethroned by Nintendo. But that does not mean that they have fallen into oblivion, at least not for all gamers.
There is a fairly large group of fans interested in this retro era, especially in the classic Atari. Consoles that despite their age, many keep in some closet, waiting to wake up again. But not all are keeping their old-school gaming systems to play, some are holding to sell. So,
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How Much Is An Atari Console Worth?
An old Atari full of scratches and malfunctions is just not worth the same as an intact system in perfect functioning condition. It also depends on the accessories that come with the console, a pack with two controllers, its power cable, and a couple of game cartridges is sold for much more.
If you are reading this, you probably have a specific Atari console in mind so I will break down the current market prices for the popular Atari models.
Price of an Atari Pong
Launched in 1972, it achieved the title of the second video console in history. As its name suggests, the original Atari contains only one game, the classic Pong. This was born as an attempt by the company to encapsulate an arcade machine in a home console, a goal they achieved together with the American department store chain Sears.
They sold more than 55,000 copies of this model, which had many versions on the market. At that time, only a rather primitive tennis simulator was enough to amaze the masses, and in part, it continues to amaze. Without Pong, the gaming industry would not be as we know it.
At the time of its release, it was priced at $100, which today is $715.
There are a variety of prices, due to the variety of versions of this valuable Atari, although in general, they oscillate between $50 and $150. Of course, most units for sale are worn out over time, obeying their price more to nostalgia than to quality.
The most commonly found are the Super Pong from 1976 and the Ultra Pong from the same year, most with their basic controls and accessories.
Atari 2600 Price
With its Pong clone, Atari took its first step, but with the 2600 it established itself as a company that came to revolutionize the industry. It was also the console that popularized games on cartridges.
Also known as the Atari VCS, this model was commercialized with two joysticks, two paddle controllers, and the famous Combat game, being a boom in the market, and selling more than 30 million models.
It is thanks to the 2600 that classics such as Adventure, Pac-Man, and Space Invaders became cult classics for gamers. It was launched in 1977 at $199.
As was usual at the time, the Atari 2600 was released with several versions, which vary in price today depending on their material of manufacture.
Both the wooden model and the “Vader” are priced between $150 and $170, depending on the condition. Although some units go up to $400, due to the huge amount of popular games included and an Atari that still has its box.
This variant of the 2600 was marketed by Sears, as part of their partnership with Atari, renaming the console and producing their own games inspired by those of their partner.
There are a few consoles at auction in the low $100s, used and with games.
Released in 1983, it is the Japanese variation of the 2600, which despite including some interesting changes, such as support for 4 controllers instead of 2, could do little in the market against the Famicom.
Unlike the previous models, the 2800 goes up a lot in price, ranging from $250 to $450. It can also be found under its other name, Sears Video Arcade II.
Atari 2600 Jr.
Living up to its name, this is a smaller, cheaper version of the Atari 2600. Although it was launched in 1986, having to compete against the NES, it was supported with a huge catalog of games and TV advertising.
Prices do not vary much, staying between $60 and $80.
Atari 5200 Price
Released in 1982, this console had everything to succeed, with improved graphics practically equal to those of the arcades of the time, and a system with an internal 8-bit computer that made it the most powerful available at the time for homes.
However, having collided with the great video game crash of 1983 combined with the unintuitive design of its control, looking more like a TV control than a console one, and its unoriginal game catalog ended up digging its grave.
Selling barely one million models, numbers that were too poor compared to the previous Atari 2600. At the time, it cost $270, which would be about $850 in today’s dollars.
But this failure is what makes it so valuable today, being coveted by collectors.
The minimum price at which it is found is $120 for the console alone. Bundles that include games and accessories range from $200 to $250.
Atari 7800 Price
This was another attempt by Atari to replicate the success of the 2600 and to regain ground in the console market against its rivals, Intellivision and Colecosivion. Announced and released in limited form in 1984, the Atari 7800 had to wait two years for its official arrival in stores
At that point, they now had to compete with the Sega Master System and the NES. Atari is definitely not good with release dates.
The 7800 improved some aspects compared to the 5200 and was backward compatible with the 2600 games. This was a bit more significant than it sounds as the 7800 was mostly purchased to play 2600 titles, and as such, did not even reach 100 games developed for the console. This did revitalize 2600 game sales slightly, extending Atari’s sales.
The Atari 7800 sold only 3 million units and was discontinued in 1992. Its original list price was $140.
The current price ranges from $100-$150 for an original console, depending on the condition and rarity of the included games. On the other hand, there are some in near-mint condition that go for around $300.
Atari XEGS Price
The Atari XE Video Game System was released in 1987, only one year after its predecessor and coexisting in the market with the Atari Jr. A rather peculiar move by Atari, which did not help this console despite its strong points.
This model functioned not only as a game console but also as a home computer, so it brought a keyboard in its package.
The release of the Atari XEGS was the right step for the company, instead of the outdated 7800, but the indecision of the management ended up burying both into obscurity.
It’s fairly easy to attach and detach the keyboard from the computer, and while only 32 exclusive games were created for the XEGS, it is compatible with the catalog of Atari 8-Bit computer titles. This makes it one of the best options today if you enjoy that line of games. XEGS had a retail value of $200.
Due to its low sales and being discontinued in 1992, it is a very rare console nowadays, worth around $200, going up to $500, including the gun accessory.
Atari Lynx Price
The equivalent of an Atari PSP for the time, this portable console launched in 1989 and was notable for being the first portable to play games in color. It also stood out for its advanced graphics, its hybrid technology jumping between 8 and 16 bits, and the possibility of ambidextrous use.
Many points in its favor made it the possible savior of Atari games and consoles, but the company’s inability to convince developers to create games for the Lynx ended up, once again, keeping it away from success.
It was not all bad for Atari, selling up to 5 million copies of this console, but they could not overcome that barrier as they were surpassed in 1991 by Sega’s Game Gear, being relegated to the third place of the portable console wars.
Lynx was launched with a price of $180, which is $430 in today’s currency.
Both versions of this Atari, the second one smaller and more ergonomic than the first one, are sold starting at $200, being worth up to more than $500 for models in better condition consoles that come with games.
Atari Jaguar Price
Released in late 1993, the Jaguar was a very powerful console for the time, featuring a 64-bit system (although it actually achieved this with two 32-bit processors running at the same time), which could play 3D games, predicting the success that these graphics were soon to be enjoyed by the 3 giants of the industry, Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft.
On release, the Jaguar was far superior to its competition, the 16-bit Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo, consoles that remained at 16-bits.
It seemed that this would be the success that Atari was waiting for but once again they found a big obstacle, the limited game catalog of just over 80 titles (only 10 were really good) and the high production costs. Jaguar launched at $250.
Atari ended up falling against the entertaining game catalog offered by Sega and Nintendo consoles, but this time it would not rise again, firing its last bullet with the Jaguar, disappearing along with it in the gaming industry.
It’s a pity, as this console died with less than 250,000 models sold, without being able to demonstrate all the power it had.
The Atari Jaguar has quite high costs compared to the previous Atari consoles, since the lowest value in which it can be found is $400, reaching more than $600 for models that include the Cybermorph game pack-in.
What Is The Most Expensive Atari Console?
A reinvention of the Atari 2600 made by the Australian company Urchin Associates takes this honor as it is so expensive that it has no official price.
Plated in 24 karat gold, this truly valuable Atari was released in 2011 and it is not even known if it is functional because of its modification, but it almost doesn’t matter, as it is made to be admired in a showcase. A luxury that only the wealthiest collectors can afford.
But let’s be honest, nobody wants a regular Atari console if it’s not for play, so the prices of the titles should be remarked as well.
How Much Are Popular Atari Games Worth Today?
Just as with consoles, the cost depends on several factors, mostly on which game and its condition. Most of them, being used and worn out, are worth a few dollars, but some were barely touched, those are the valuable ones. Here’s a list of the top Atari 2600 games, since it’s the most popular, and their prices today:
Pong: averaging $10-$15.
Combat: $8-$10, and a little more if in its package.
Pac-Man: No more than $15, despite how iconic it is.
Ms. Pac-Man: around $10, but with its original box and accessories that came with it, it can go up to $50.
Adventure: between $10 and $15 just the cartridge and about $10 more if the original box is included.
Pitfall: around $7 to $15.
Asteroids: between $5 and $10.
Space Invaders: the classic of classics, which you can find for between $40 and $50. On the other hand, the cartridges that remain in their original package can be worth more than $250.
E.T.: this one is not worth a penny.
These are some prices that can be found in the used cartridge market, now let’s get to the main attraction.
What Are The Most Expensive Atari Games Ever Sold?
Most of the titles on this short list were not very successful, being considered commercial failures, which makes them gold mines that were waiting years to be revalued, thanks to the fact that there are only a few copies of each one.
Out of Control: this space racing game failed in sales, but it has its dose of entertainment, with the classic system of passing the buoy. A sealed copy in mint condition in its box sold for over $1400.
Cakewalk: a title that was destined to fail even before it was released, not only because it was only commercialized in the Midwest, but also because its creator studio, Commavid, got into serious financial problems, so it was withdrawn from the stores. Two factors that make this game very valuable nowadays, being sold for more than $1500.
Pepsi Invaders: the irony is that it was distributed by Coca-Cola, who ordered the creation of this game to Atari to present it at the 1983 sales convention, as a present for the company’s executives. The inspiration for Pepsi Invaders is quite obvious, being a copy of Space Invaders with a different skin, which, being a non-retail game, increased its value considerably. With only 125 cartridges known to exist, this valuable Atari game is worth up to $3500.
Red Sea Crossing: a game we only learned out about in 2007, when someone found it at a garage sale. This is due to the religious nature of its story, based on the biblical journey of Noah, being a title announced in the 1983 Christianity Today newspaper. Due to its rarity, the last cartridge was sold for $13,800.
Air Raid: If we are talking about high values, Air Raid takes the prize. And it is quite an anomaly since this game did have a commercial release, but in a very limited way, which explains its high value. The Air Raid game cartridge for Atari is worth $3000 loose, while a copy in its original box, manual included, sold for $33,433. That’s right, the cardboard is worth more than the game.
Now that you know all about the rarest Atari games on the market, you may be wondering where you can sell it and make a good profit since this information is not only dedicated to those who wish to acquire one.
Where Is The Best Place To Sell An Atari Console?
The best place to sell your Atari console is directly to a collector, as they are willing to pay a fair amount as long as the device is in good condition.
Another option is to offer it in online marketplaces as we used as a reference for this post, with hundreds of consoles on the eBay platform and a few on Amazon.
If your Atari is in an almost perfect condition, you can sell it in online auctions, which will cause a considerable increase in the value of the product, since the rarer it is, the more they will bid for it.
The only thing that is not recommended is to offer it in reseller stores, as they will most likely pay less than the value you originally wanted.
But if you are one of those who played your consoles and games so much that they broke down, no problem.
Can You Sell A Broken Atari Console?
Absolutely, selling damaged consoles on online marketplaces is more common than it seems. Many people buy them to fix them or extract their parts and use them as replacements in their own consoles.
It’s a very active market, even with consoles of the latest generations. So if you have an Atari that has already said goodbye to the world, don’t think that it will only take up space, because you can make a profit, but not as much as a functional one of course.
Now that you know the prices of an Atari nowadays, the values of the games, and its market, it is time for the final piece of knowledge I can share.
How Do You Increase The Value Of Am Atari Console?
It’s not enough to just offer it somewhere and that’s it, not at all, there is a whole process to getting maximum dollar for your console.
First, you must clean your console, leaving it impeccable, even if time has affected it.
Good photographs are also of utmost importance, they can attract or alienate potential buyers of your product.
Of course, the best is to sell your console in complete packages, with its power cable and controllers, adding one or two games, but be careful, you have to research each one to make sure you don’t have gold in your hands and you are selling it by accident.
A well-written and eye-catching description will hook potential buyers. It’s all about preparing your console and making it valuable with all your tools available, so you can increase the value of your Atari by a few dollars, or even hundreds…
And with that, we close the topic of Atari prices today, a legendary series of consoles that marked the childhood of millions of children.
Despite its last sad years in the market, Atari is the one that started it all, to which Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony must be very grateful for their current success in gaming.
So if you have the possibility, do not hesitate to buy an Atari console because having a fun time playing with pixels is priceless.