Birthday Mania (found rare Atari 2600 game; 1984)
The first screenshot of the game to appear online.
Date found: 31 Jul '19
Found by: Atari_Warlord
Birthday Mania is an Atari 2600 game developed in 1984 by a young programmer named Anthony Tokar. The game itself never had any commercial release, but instead advertised in the Newark Star Ledger newspaper. Consumers would mail a check to Tokar and would receive the game personalized with their name on the title screen. The game featured many birthday-themed activities including blowing out birthday candles and popping balloons.
Birthday Mania was developed in 1984 by Anthony Tokar, who was inspired to make the game by his love of Atari at the time. He taught himself how to program the 6502 chip, and spent several months developing the game. The game itself only sold somewhere from 10 to 15 copies, only one of which has been found and verified by Atari collector Jerry Grainer. It is likely that these low sales were partly due to the video game crash of 1983, where the North American video game market experienced a severe decline from 1983 to 1985. Another more obvious reason for its rarity could be the fact that it had no commercial release.
In 2009, a copy of the game surfaced and was put up for sale, with the highest known offer being $6,500. Though the offer was turned down by the seller. The game today is believed to be worth anywhere between $15,000 and $35,000.
In 2012, AtariAge user Atari_Warlord contacted Tokar, inquiring about the game and the possibility of selling reproductions. Tokar stated he would give away the copyright as long as any profits made off of it went to charity. However, the game would remain undumped for quite some time.
On November 16th, 2015, YouTube user Trevgauntlet uploaded a high-quality video of gameplay from Birthday Mania being played on the Stella emulator. According to the YouTube user, the footage is taken from a man named Thomas Jentzsch.
On July 31, 2019, the ROM was dumped by Atari_Warlord. This ROM showcased Anthony Tokar's name personalized on the title screen. A ROM without the personalization was later dumped by AtariAge user Shawn the same day.
- Retro Games Collecteor article that appears to be the most credible source on the subject. Retrieved 07 Mar '18
- AtariAge forum thread on the game. Retrieved 07 Mar '18
- AtariAge forum comment displaying the original ROM dump. Retrieved 02 Aug '19
- AtariAge forum comment displaying a ROM dump without personalization. Retrieved 02 Aug '19