80s, Blog, Obsession of the Day, Video Games — October 22, 2013 10:54 am

Obsession of the Day: Canadian Bootleg Atari Carts

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This post spans across many of our categories here—is it an Obsession of the Day? It Came From Canada? Junk Pile? Really, it’s all of those things.

bootleg-zellers-002We’ll get to this in a minute.

I’ve been watching a lot of video game collecting videos on YouTube lately and ran across the user BurningToys. He’s a Canadian video game collector and has quite a few pick up videos where he shows off video games and consoles he’s purchased over a week or two time period. There was a point in time where I was going to Value Village weekly and bringing home awesome deals, but thanks to the crop of used game stores and the problem of eBay pricing (the game store near my house has a boxed R.O.B. for $500 because that’s what it went for once on eBay. Needless to say it’s been collecting dust there since 2007), I haven’t had a haul in years. His videos really brought me back to that time where I was bringing home incredible hauls on weekly basis, though. I still go out every couple months and hit up the Value Villages here, but it’s been over a year since I bought anything (a $10 Dreamcast was my last score).

fast-eddys-sign[via Fast Eddy’s Kijiji Listings. Let’s be friends?]

He’s also opened my eyes to the world of Kijiji hauls, although I’ve yet to do one. I did end up searching for video games and came across Fast Eddy’s, a two-storey arcade that was a staple of my city’s downtown landscape for many years, but that closed down in the late 90s. He’s selling off some old arcades and equipment and I just need to buy them all. Who really needs a house?


Zellers Atari talk starts at 10:30.

Anyway, I’m linking an older BurningToys video because he solved an Atari mystery for me: The Case of the Weird Bootleg Carts.

I have a handful of these carts in my collection. I never went out of my way to purchase them, they just found their way into my collection in the 80s/90s courtesy of some cousins getting rid of their old system (I’ve always been a hoarder).

I knew the carts were off, but didn’t question it at the time because I was too young to grasp the concept of bootlegs. When I became serious about collecting, I just kind of brushed it off like, okay it’s probably a bootleg from Sears or something, who cares.

Turns out that Zellers, Canada’s answer to K-Mart, basically, sold bootleg Atari carts that were manufactured in Taiwan! I have no recollection of Zellers selling these, but I remember getting most of our games from Canadian Tire and Toys R Us.

According to Atari Age, the only thing identifying that these were from Zellers was a teeeeny “Zellers” on the actual box. My cousins did not keep the boxes, so those clues were out for me. These were all games that already existed, but Zellers just changed their names. Eventually Atari put an end to this, but not before at least 18 bootlegs came out. You can check out a list of those here.

bootleg-zellers-001Looks legit.

This is my Farmer Dan cart, which is a bootleg of Gopher for the Atari. The picture on the cart? Well… not very Farmer Dan-y. Or Gopher-y, really, but that’s because it’s the box art from Plaque Attack. The instructions were printed using a typewriter and scrap paper, but at least they come in both English and French. Because Zellers cares.

It has completely blown my mind that our (now defunct, Zellers closed last year to make way for the mighty Target) little Canadian discount department store was sinister enough to sell bootlegs… and that I wasn’t all over that in the 80s. Seriously, why was I paying full price at Toys R Us?

Back to YouTube for a moment—these video game collection videos really have me motivated to work on my game room.

 

My collection needs some work—our basement is in disarray and I’d like to move some things around and properly set up my game room. I currently have 25 different systems and I don’t even know how many games. I’m not sure what the set up will look like, but I ran across this video and am a big fan of the museum-style display he has going on.

 

What kind of weird Atari/video game bootlegs are lurking in your collection? I’d love to see what you have! Share in the comments!

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