It’s time to take a trip back to the early 1980s. Four game developers in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, Tom, Peter, and Maitland Banting, as well as Herman Quast, formed a brand-new company called Skill Screen Games in the hopes of creating a gaming experience for the Atari 2600 based on Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Unfortunately for them, this had already been done by Atari in 1982 and went on to widely be considered the worst game of all time. However, this didn’t stop the four from creating the rarest game of all time, Extra Terrestrials.
This game was recently found on eBay for a whopping USD $90,000.00, and the current holder of the game, gamewizard69, packs his post with tons of information regarding the history of the game. “Today only 4 copies of this game are in existence and this copy is the only one in private hands,” he says. The other three are held by a museum in Canada due to the game’s rarity.
Now, there are plenty of games that are created and don’t see the light of day. What’s stopping these from being considered the rarest? Gamewizard69 goes on says, “Another unique aspect of this game as Syd Bolton (owner of PC Museum) stated is that it is the only commercially produced Canadian Atari 2600 game. It is an officially patented and approved Atari 2600 VCS and not a homebrew or reproduction of any kind.” The key here is that it’s “officially patented and approved”. This is a 100% true title for the Atari 2600.
The game has a sort of sad history having been patented and financially invested in only to flop due to the video game crash of 1983. “After finally finishing the game in 1984, the video game crash hit in which consumers weren’t interested in home gaming systems since they had expensive price tags and didn’t resemble the arcade experience.” The eBay post outlines how the four developers lost roughly $15,000, more than twice that amount in today’s money. Extra Terrestrials would go on to be sold door to door in the Burlington area to regain a little of what they had lost, as well as avoid future losses through marketing.
Fast forward to 2011. This is the first time that the game is publicly discovered and made known. Since then, gamewizard69 has been sitting on a significant piece of gaming history, but he’s finally willing to part ways with it. “I paid a premium price for it myself and it is very difficult for me to make this choice but I thought I would open the opportunity to the world to get their hands on a truly unique piece of gaming and Canadian history.”
Brandon is a young writer who loves going deep into games to explore meaning, purpose, and life. He believes that there’s nothing better than getting lost in a world full of characters to love and lessons to learn. He has a special place in his heart for single player games such as Mass Effect and Life Is Strange, but he also blows off some steam playing some of his favorite multiplayer games, like Paladins.