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AtariAge Glossary

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Term Definition
4-Switch ModelThe second version of the 2600, it has four chrome switches in the front of the unit. The two difficulty switches are now found on the top/back of the unit.
6-Switch ModelThe original version of the 2600, it has six chrome switches in the front of the unit.
ActiplaqueMottling of labels that frequently occurs with Activision games because of the particular glue/paper combination. For an example of Actiplaque in action, click here. More Info
Bira BiraFirst God of Thrifting. A tiki doll found by one thrifter that brought him luck. The doll was passed around, and idols were even made from it. Enemy of Mr. Friendly. More Info
Bit-RotThe degradation of the digital information held on a chip. Generally only a problem with EPROMs, which were frequently used for prototype cartridges. A good reason to archive cartridges and other media.
Boot SaleAn informal marketplace where individuals may sell their wares. This term is predominately used in the UK, where a car's trunk is referred to as a 'boot'. It derives from individuals selling items from the trunk, or 'boot', of their auto.
CardSame as "cartridge". Used by some Europeans.
CartShort for "cartridge". Some European collectors also call them "cards".
ConsoleA generic term for a video game system.
Darth Vader ModelWhat some people call the third revision of the 2600, the 4-switch model with a black front instead of woodgrain.
Easter EggAn undocumented surprise hidden by the programmer in the game. Often the programmer's name or initials. Adventure contained the first Easter Egg. It's unusual these days for games, on any platform, to ship without an Easter Egg (or several!) of some kind.
eBayWorld's premier Internet auction site, with thousands of Atari listings. Their website is located at www.ebay.com. More Info
EmulatorA hardware or software device that performs like something else; for example, a PC that emulates an Atari 2600 so it can run Atari 2600 games.
F.A.Q.Frequently Asked Questions. A file that contains answers to the most commonly posed questions.
FAFor Auction. Used to preface message board posts when the poster is auctioning an item.
FamicloneGeneric term for a Famicom/NES clone.
FamicomShort for Family Computer, the original Japanese name for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Released in Japan in 1983.
Flea MarketAn informal marketplace where individuals may sell their wares. Usually found in larger cities, a good source for finding old videogame equipment.
FlickerThe tendency for many games to look like the graphics are 'flickering'. This is due to hardware limitations that only allow a certain amount of objects to be drawn on the screen at the same time. One second of the screen will show 'x' object, the next will show 'y'. When run quickly, both objects appear to be on the screen at the same time, although they appear to 'flicker' as the screens change back and forth. This is most notable on the Atari 2600, although it is certainly not the only console to suffer from this ailment. Some game companies, notably Activision, banned their 2600 programmers from using this technique and they were forced to develop other methods of displaying multiple objects without flicker.
FryingA term coined by Russ Perry Jr. and Dave Perry. "Frying" refers to drawing out strange effects in a game system by rapidly switching the power on and off. One way to do this is to attempt to set the power switch exactly between on and off. While achieving this is rather impossible, the power will go on and off in your attempts, frying your system.
FSFor Sale. Used to preface message board posts when the poster is selling an item.
FTFor Trade. Used to preface message board posts when the poster is trading an item.
Gatefold BoxA box style in which the front folds open like a book. Used for the original 9 Atari games, original 9 Sears games, assorted other 2600 titles, and most Intellivision games.
Heavy SixerThe original six-switch Atari 2600. It's heavier than later models and has six switches on the front.
Jack TramielBought Atari Inc.'s home computer and home video game divisions in 1984, and the new company is called Atari Corporation. He immediately fired 1000 employees and appointed his son president. He decided to shelve the 7800, and said the companies focus would be on computers. Many blame him for the demise of Atari Inc.
Lab LoanerA lab loaner is usually a finished or near-finished version of a game. In the case of Atari, these often came with black and white labels, and may be addressed to an Atari employee for review. More formal than a typical prototype, but still made for internal use only. For an example of a lab loaner for the 2600 from Atari, look here. More Info
Major Label VariationA major label variation is one that differs significantly from another label produced by the same company. The longer-lived a classic gaming company, the more likely they are to have one or more major label variations. Atari wins the honor in this category, as the long life of the 2600 gave them ample opportunity to create new label styles to keep the 2600 carts "fresh". Using Atari as an example, they produced the following label styles: Text #, Text, Picture, Children's, Silver, and Red.
MAMEMultiple Arcade Machine Emulator. Software that allows you to play thousands of arcade games on your computer using the actual game code. More Info
MattelToy company that released the Intellivision in 1980. Mattel had a subsidiary called MNetwork that produced games for rival systems such as the Atari 2600.
Minor Label VariationA minor label variation is a label that is different in some significant way from another cartridge of the same name within a Major Label Variation category (see above). For instance, Pole Position for the 2600 can be found in three Silver label variations, one where the end label is spelled correctly and then two misspellings as Ploe Position and Pole Posit'n.
Mr. FriendlySecond God of Thrifting. Evolved as a competitor to Bira Bira for those whom Bira Bira brought bad luck.
Multi-CartA cartridge with multiple games on it. Not to be confused with a standard cartridge with many game variations, a multi-cart is often an unlicensed software product that contains completely separate games compiled onto one cartridge.
Mystery CartA cart from which the label has fallen off, the only way to tell what it is is to buy it, plug it in and play it. Of course, the cart will most likely be common.
Nolan BushnellAtari founder, eventually sold the company to Time Warner. Went on to found Chuck E. Cheese, Axlon, and other
NTSCNational Television Standards Committee. This is the television standard used in North America and Japan. Any standard of cartridge will play in any system, the problem lies with the TV. With most newer TV's, PAL games will cause the NTSC screen to roll. Some older TV's do not have this problem, or if you have a vertical/horizontal hold you can adjust it to the correct frequency. There will also be some color variances if you play a PAL game on an NTSC system and vice versa.
PALPhase Alternating Lines. This is the television standard used by most Western European and Latin countries. With most newer TV's, NTSC games will cause the PAL screen to roll. Some older TV's do not have this problem, or if you have a vertical/horizontal hold you can adjust it to the correct frequency. There will also be some color variances if you play an NTSC game on a PAL system and vice versa.
PrototypeA pre-production version of a piece of hardware or software. In some cases prototypes were never released, in other cases it is simply an unfinished version of a product later released.
r.g.v.c.rec.games.video.classic. Primary newsgroup for discussing all classic video games, including the Atari 2600.
Rarity ValueDetermination of how rare a game is in relationship to other games. 1 is the most common, 10 is the rarest. For more information, look here. More Info
Reef Store DreamGeneric term for a videogame collector's dream in which he/she finds a fantasy store filled with prototypes, rare games, and other unusual items. Experienced by hard-core collectors. No kidding. Derived from one of the first descriptions of such a dream in which the dreamer visited a store simply called 'Reef Store'.

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