Sometimes it pays to be thrifty. Redditor "L064N" posted a picture of his latest thrift store discovery, asking the community whether or not they thought it was real. Everyone immediately responded with excitement, envy, and curiosity. This is in fact a prototype of an Atari 2700, an innovative console from Atari which was supposed to ship with wireless controllers, but never actually made it to market. When asked how he found such a rare treasure, he casually explained:
"I was at the DAV Thrift Store in Oceanside today like 10 minutes before they closed and I saw this sitting on the shelf and it seemed odd to me as I'd never seen an Atari like it. Some quick googling led me to believe it was some cool rare prototype so I bought it, although I didn't see the wireless controllers on the shelf. I got it for $30 but I'm going to go back tomorrow to see if the wireless controllers were donated and misplaced by the staff or something."
He never did find those controllers, but he did manage to fetch an incredible price for the console anyway. You can find his ebay listing right here. This dude took a $30 purchase and turned it into a $3,000 sale to some lucky collector.
If these things are so hot, then how come Atari never actually release them? Kotaku reached out to National Video Game Museum director John Hardie to find out:
“Those controllers were really the main reason the system was never released. They were radio controlled and the range of the controllers was said to be about 1,000 ft. which means you could easily affect your neighbors system with your joysticks,” said Hardie. “Imagine living in an apartment building where that 1,000 foot range could potentially affect 3 or 4 other systems. Since the controllers were only unique to left & right players and not to the system itself, it also meant that a large family that might want to purchase 2 units would have the same issues.”
And how about this? There may actually be more than 12 or 13 of these bad boys in existence. In other words, there's a chance that you may strike it rich too if you're in the right place at the right time.
“Personally I think there are more," Hardie said. "There have been several that have popped up over the years. In fact, in addition to the 3 that we have, we can probably account for another 5-6 out there. So, given the propensity of companies (especially Atari) to destroy/throw out products that were scrapped, it seems highly unlikely that 8-9 of the original 12 survived. In fact those would be amazing odds. But I suppose anything is possible.”
How about that? So if you live in the area, you may want to make a point to head out to some garage sales of thrift stores and shop around for a bit. Who knows, you could be the next lucky owner of a rare console prototype!