Birthday Mania (found rare Atari 2600 game; 1984)

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Birthday Mania cartridge.jpg

Cartridge of the game.

Status: Found

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 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.[1]

History

Birthday Mania was developed in 1984 by Anthony 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.[2] 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.[2]

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.[2] 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.

On July 31st, 2019, Tokar's personalized ROM was dumped by Atari_Warlord.[3] An unpersonalized ROM was later dumped by AtariAge user Shawn the same day.[4]

Gallery

The first screenshot of the game to appear online.

Videos

A video of gameplay taken from Thomas Jentzsch.
A video discussing about the video game's origins. Courtesy of Evil Pixel.

References