(Topic ID: 271012)

Atarians Prototype/Sample?


By mbaumle

3 months ago



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  • 15 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 months ago by mbaumle
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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#1 3 months ago

Hey folks! So a good friend of mine has had an Atarians pinball machine in her home for years. She was asking me about it, and quite honestly, I know almost nothing about Atari games, but I did notice the following differences from game photos online:

—No giant Atari style start button
—2 flippers instead of 4
—completely different coin door

At first I thought maybe it was a clever operators hack, but it all looks factory to me. I know that Atarians was the first game from the manufacturer, so could this be a sample game? Early production game? Or just a clever hack to make it more mainstream looking?

I don’t have access to the game, as it’s in Texas, and I’m well, in NJ, but I can ask for more photos. What do you guys think?

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#2 3 months ago

Nice! Any serial numbers stamped in the cabinet or at a sticker on the backside?

It seems to be in a very nice conditon. Is it still playing?

http://www.ipsnd.net/View.aspx?id=102

#3 3 months ago

That's a Midway coin door.
.................David Marston

#4 3 months ago

Im going with operator hack, albeit a nicely done one

#5 3 months ago

That still doesn't answer where the big cabinet start start button went, though

#6 3 months ago

Should be easy enough to pop the coin door open and see if the other two flippers were ever mounted.

But that start button is fascinating..... I can't even see any evidence it was ever on the cabinet. Did Atari have full-on coin doors for anything prior to Atarians? All the 1976 and prior arcade games I'm looking at just had the smaller coin mech mounting plates.

#7 3 months ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

That still doesn't answer where the big cabinet start start button went, though

or the 2 missing flippers. Where the flippers should be, it has different ball wire guides, and plastics that seem to match the artwork. I suppose its possible that some operator, removed 2 flippers, made custom wire guides and plastics AND while he was at it, nicely and cleaned patched the start button hole and proceeded to then match the paint/art perfectly, but that seems like a stretch.

I could believe that being the first atari pin, and possibly a prototype, they used a midway coin door because it was available. The actual production coin doors weren't ready yet, but they needed a working prototype. Makes sense to me at least.

I am not an expert by any means, especially when it comes to atari pinball, but I'm gonna have to go with Occam's Razor on this one and bet it is a prototype of some sort. You'll definitely want to verify with somebody who would know though. I wonder if Mark or Steve Ritchie might have some answers.

Definitely document as much as you can and be sure to share with IPDB

#8 3 months ago
Quoted from Haymaker:

or the 2 missing flippers. Where the flippers should be, it has different ball wire guides, and plastics that seem to match the artwork. I suppose its possible that some operator, removed 2 flippers, made custom wire guides and plastics AND while he was at it, nicely and cleaned patched the start button hole and proceeded to then match the paint/art perfectly, but that seems like a stretch.
I could believe that being the first atari pin, and possibly a prototype, they used a midway coin door because it was available. The actual production coin doors weren't ready yet, but they needed a working prototype. Makes sense to me at least.
I am not an expert by any means, especially when it comes to atari pinball, but I'm gonna have to go with Occam's Razor on this one and bet it is a prototype of some sort. You'll definitely want to verify with somebody who would know though. I wonder if Mark or Steve Ritchie might have some answers.
Definitely document as much as you can and be sure to share with IPDB

Actually, Steve probably wouldn't be able to answer this one, he wasn't at Atari yet at that point.

-Hans

#9 3 months ago

You think she might be able to open the playfield up? I'd love a peek at the boardset. Not that I'm an Atari guy, but I know someone who is. Plus I love seeing "proto games" with their various pre-release boardset hacks and as weird as Atari's normal boards were, I can't imagine what might be under there.

Also, would the flippers be standard mechs from other manufacturers - another pre-prod proto tell if Atari didn't have their weird rotary setup sourced by then...

With no PF lights even though the displays are on, it seems the game isn't working properly so it might be worth a peek anyway.

#10 3 months ago

Back in the day when I was operating PINBALL PETES in Michigan we bought an Atarians. Still have it stored in THE BIG HIT SHED.

It also had the same bottom and had a Midway coin door FROM THE FACTORY.

#11 3 months ago

Sorry, just catching up here. So I contacted the owner. She is looking for the keys, and will open the game up as soon as possible.

Looking at the lane guides, if you look closely towards the ends of them, they even have part numbers screened onto them, so definitely not an operator warehouse hack there.

I do know that while she has owned the game, they’ve done nothing to it, so there isn’t any “homeowner hackery” here either.

Jay from IPDB reached out to me, and I’ll be putting him in contact with the owner. Hopefully between the 3 of us, we’ll be able to shed some light on the game. It’s killing me to not be able to see the game in person myself! I’d be drilling that lock out and popping up the playfield as we speak otherwise.

#12 3 months ago
Quoted from timarnold:

Back in the day when I was operating PINBALL PETES in Michigan we bought an Atarians. Still have it stored in THE BIG HIT SHED.
It also had the same bottom and had a Midway coin door FROM THE FACTORY.

Tim, even though your game is stored, is the playfield in view to confirm how many flippers it has? Or do you recall from memory?

I'm also curious if her game has a sticker on it, like this:

http://www.ipsnd.net/details.aspx?id=39714

#13 3 months ago
Quoted from I_P_D_B:

I'm also curious if her game has a sticker on it, like thi

Just FYI for the owner, that sticker is normally on the back of the cabinet body.

The serial is also sometimes hand written on the MPU. But if the board was swapped out at some point, the serial wouldn't match the game.

#14 3 months ago

Serial number acquired and documented in the IPSND!

Hopefully we’ll get better pictures and more info on the game this weekend

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#15 3 months ago

Side note worth mentioning: when the owner acquired the game, she lived literally 3 blocks away from the Atari headquarters in Sunnyvale, California.

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