Armagideon Time

While there was no shortage of dodgy Atari 2600 peripherals back in the day, visit few were as as dodgy — or as brazen — as this lawsuit waiting to happen..

In case you were wondering, the “prom” refers to the chip used in the duplicate cartridges, not the “stupid dance I wouldn’t have attended even if Betsy Farrahhair didn’t laugh at me when I asked her to be my date.”

Despite having the cojones to take out a full page ad for their bootlegging device in Popular Science, the makers of the Prom Blaster played it coy in the actual copy (no pun intended):

“See?  All aboveground and legal!  We at Prom Blaster HQ would never encourage you to fill a half dozen milk crates with bootlegs of popular games and flog them for 75% of retail on the flea market circuit, thus making enough cash to buy that used Firebird you’ve had your eye on for a while now.  That would be wrong

“Besides, there’s less risk of attracting attention if you do business by word-of-mouth and out of your garage.  Not that we’re encouraging that type of behavior at all.  Honest.”

I don’t recall ever seeing any bootlegged 2600 games (at least of the DIY variety) back in the day, though the technology was the subject of much playground lore and pre-adolescent daydreams.  Timing had a lot do do with it, I suspect.  The ad ran in 1983, when retail prices for all but the newest titles had begun to drop well below the ten bucks the Prom Blaster people were charging for blank cartridges.

2 Responses to “Growing Up 2600: Do you copy?”

  1. Highlander

    Whatever next? Someone will come up with a way of copying music that will be cheaper and better than all my TDK audio cassettes. Still as long as our respective governments legislate sensibly I am sure there won’t be any trouble.

  2. Roel Torres

    Ah! The Prom Blasters! I haven’t thought of them in forever!

    “I don’t recall ever seeing any bootlegged 2600 games (at least of the DIY variety) back in the day, though the technology was the subject of much playground lore and pre-adolescent daydreams. Timing had a lot do do with it, I suspect. The ad ran in 1983, when retail prices for all but the newest titles had begun to drop well below the ten bucks the Prom Blaster people were charging for blank cartridges.”

    While that seems like a reasonable guess, I would bet the biggest reason you never saw any bootleg cartridges is that Atari won a lawsuit, and the creators of the Prom Blaster had to stop making them, relatively early in the game.

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