Birthday Mania (found rare Atari 2600 game; 1984)
Cartridge of the game.
Date found: 31 Jul 2019
Found by: Atari_Warlord
Birthday Mania is an Atari 2600 game developed in 1984 by a programmer named Robert Anthony Tokar. The game itself never had any commercial release, but was instead advertised in the Newark Star Ledger newspaper. Buyers would mail a check to Tokar and 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 Robert Tokar, who was inspired to make the game out of his love for Atari. He taught himself how to program the 6502 chip, and spent several months developing the game. It 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, a severe decline in the North American video game market from 1983 to 1985. A more obvious reason for its rarity could be the fact that it had no commercial release.
In 2009, a copy of the game surfaced at auction; the highest known offer was $6,500, but the game went unsold. 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 reproductions. Tokar stated he would give away the copyright as long as any profits 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 Trevgauntlet, the footage is from a man named Thomas Jentzsch.
- Obituary for Robert Anthony Tokar, Retrieved 22 February 2023.
- Retro Games Collecteor article on the game. 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