Atari Fans Are Pissed About Its $1000 XP 50 Collection 1
Image: Atari

Update [Thu 16th May, 2024 13:10 BST]: An Atari representative has responded to reports that two titles in its $1000 50th-anniversary box set are defective.

The posts on Atari Age read as follows:

We have two reported instances of a Haunted House cartridge not working. We cannot confirm why these two carts did not work, it could have been an assembly issue (the XP carts are all hand assembled) or a faulty PCB. Contrary to some speculation, the PCBs were not installed backwards (not really possible on the Limited Edition carts). So this does not seem to be a wide-spread problem. One customer had their cartridge replaced, and we are in contact with the remaining affected customer and will sort this out. That said, it has taken too long for us to resolve that last issue so we deserve some criticism for that.

I do suspect that there might be a larger issue with the Crystal Castles cartridges. The nature of the reports we are getting suggests that a larger number of those carts may indeed have a problem. The code is fine (we double-checked the ROM), but the game is behaving erratically for some users. We haven't been able to isolate the issue to our satisfaction yet, but we have a working theory and we expect a more concrete answer soon. Once we know what we are dealing with we will figure out next steps.

The article and some of the videos that have been posted on this topic have an expected mix of accurate and inaccurate information. Our customer service team has replaced non-working cartridges (not many frankly). Unfortunately that wasn't a useful solution for some people with wonky Crystal Castles cartridges. When we ran out of stock they offered refunds. But we understand that collectors would prefer to hold onto their special editions, especially when it means keeping a complete set together, so a refund isn't a great resolution. We are continuing to work towards a better solution.

Original Story [Sat 11th May, 2024 20:00 BST]: Back in 2023, Atari released a 50th-anniversary box set which cost $1000 and included 10 Atari VCS / 2600 carts: Adventure, Missile Command, Warlords, Super Breakout, Crystal Castles, Haunted House, Yars’ Revenge, Centipede, Asteroids and Gravitar.

As you can imagine, with a pack with that kind of value, many people who picked it up decided to keep it sealed and place it on the shelf – but those who decided to open it up and actually play the games were in for a nasty surprise.

According to Scot 'Cear Dragon' Clark, the copy of Crystal Castles which ships with the collection is "totally bug-ridden and unplayable", while some copies of Haunted House have the PCB installed backwards – an issue which previously happened with some of Atari's other stand-alone XP releases.

"This is insane," adds Clark. "A collection costing over $1000 shipped with 1 to 2 broken games. Worse still, Atari's official statement via customer support is that fans can never have working carts, and to get their money back, have to ship back the two middle boxes for an incomplete collection."

He adds that Atari's response to this issue has been poor, to say the least. "No one seems to care. Atari's CEO is deaf on Twitter, customer support has taken almost a year just to tell us they will never ship working cartridges."

Another Twitter user adds: "The whole XP cartridge thing has been extremely frustrating. Waiting up to a year after payment for the finished product (it took OVER ONE YEAR for me to receive Adventure) and 2 defective games that will never be fixed… seems more like an amateurish Kickstarter campaign."