The Label Variation Museum
On this page you will see some of the oddest label variations I've come across during all my years of collecting. Many of these label variations are quite rare, so most collectors are unaware of their existence. This section is being update constantly so check back often.
Berzerk - Here's an interesting label variation. The normal Berzerk cartridge has green text not yellow. I've never seen another one like this.
Stellar Track - Another strange label variation that's not on the list, normally the text is orange not green. I've scanned both together so you can see the difference.
Maze Craze - Here's an odd little variation. Notice how the words "A Game of Cops and Robbers" is in white text.
Red Label Carts - Many silver label carts were released with the later red style labels overseas, here are a few examples.
Star Ship - Here's an interesting label. In 1982 Atari briefly brought Star Ship back into production (they stopped in 79) with this unusual label style. Notice how large the Atari logo is and how it looks like the one on the box, very unlike the earlier text labels. Another strange thing is that in 1982 Atari was making picture labels, not text. Notice how the copyright says 1977, it can be determined by reading the date stamped on the end label that these carts were made 1982. No other game has been seen with this label style.
Othello - Othello was the last game to be released with a text label. Apparently Atari decided to match the style of their new picture label games and made the title in uppercase letters. This is only text label game released in this style. Another oddity about this label is that it appears that the game variations text has been aligned to the center of the label.
Upper or lowercase? - The first two picture label games that Atari released in 1981 had their titles in lowercase letters (like the text labels). Atari then decided to make these labels with all uppercase letters instead. Missile Command also exists in a strange hybrid label with uppercase on the main label and lowercase on the end label (and vice versa).
Breakout - In 1986 Atari re-released Breakout with a solid orange label. It is unknown why Atari did this, but it's most likely a printing error.
Defender - Similar to Breakout, this 1986 re-release has a bright single colored label. This particular variation was only released overseas.
Pengo - The PAL version of Pengo was released with the old Black Style label instead of the then common Silver Style. it is unknown why Atari did this, but not may were made.
Galaxian - Another odd 1986 re-release, notice how the end label font is much larger than normal.
Centipede - Notice the end label font is much larger than normal and bright orange too.
Codebreaker - Here you can see that Atari separated Codebreaker into two words, and reversed the picture. Many errors like this exist in games re-released in 1986 (obviously quality control wasn't a high priority).
Home Run - Another case of Atari rewording a game title. In this case they merged Home Run into one word and changed the text color from orange to red.
Black Tape Errors - Some games re-released in 1986 had errors in their "use with xxx controllers" lines. Sometimes these errors were covered up with black tape. I'd hate to be the guy who did that for a living!
Pele's Big Error - One of the more interesting 86 errors is this Pele's Soccer cart that clearly states "Atari Game Program Instructions" where the "Use With xxx Controller" line should be. How many people tried to plug their instructions into the Atari? We'll never know...
Air-Sea Battle - On some 1987 games the "use with xxx controllers" line was omitted entirely (I guess Atari ran out of Black Tape in 86). You can also see how the Font of both the main and end labels is much larger than normal.
Pole Position - You've got to wonder how this got past the quality control guys. Notice how Pole Position has been misspelled Pole Positn*. Rumor has it that the misspelling Ploe Position also exists.
Raiders of the Lost Ark - The end label for ROTLA came is at least three different styles. The most interesting being the 1986 re-release which calls it "Raiders Lost Ark" in a larger than normal font.
Stargate - Atari released a few of it's games with the original arcade fonts. A small variation exists in the Stargate label, if you look closely you can see the original 1984 release has black lines going through the title, the 1985 release omits these lines. Atari renamed Stargate to Defender II for the 1986 re-release allegedly due to copyright reasons.
Video Olympics - Video Olympics holds the record for the most label variations. Here are seven different variations for your viewing pleasure.
Warlords - For some reason Atari forced Sears to add their copyright info to the end label. Why only on Warlords?
Track & Field - Wow! Where didn't Atari go wrong with this label? Instead of being the standard silver, the label is a light gray with pink text. The picture is also in black & white, and label feels very cheaply made. Also note that the product number is CX-26127 which is actually the number for Gremlins (T&F should have been CX-26125).
Dig Dug - Here's a rather subtle 5200 label variation. Notice how the 5200 in the upper right corner is elongated? The copyright text is a bit different as well.
Vaguard - For some reason the 1986 re-release of Vanguard doesn't have a title on label! Rumor has it that Space Invaders also came in this variation
Q*Bert - Not an Atari label variation, but interesting never the less. Notice how Parker Brother stuck what appears to be an Intellivision label on this 5200 cart? My best guess is that the factory didn't have any 5200 labels left over and used whatever was at hand.
CBS Games - Another interesting non-Atari variation. All 5200 CBS cartridges have their labels put on upside down. Notice how the name of the game is shown twice on the main label? This is because the second name was supposed to be on the end label (which now says CBS Games). It's unknown why CBS never caught this mistake, but it appears that it was never corrected.
Ballblazer - This is one of the few label oddities in the 7800 library. Some PAL releases of Ballblazer had a red Atari 2600 style end label. It is unknown why it was released this way, but was most likely a printing error.
Pole Position II - Towards the end of the 7800's life Atari decided start selling Pole Position II separately using the standard 7800 label style.
Plato - Atari made this cartridge to help the Atari interface with the PLATO network. The PLATO dial-up network was a mildly popular dial-up service back in the mid-80's. For some unknown reason Atari decided to make this label in bright red with black text. One good thing about this label is that you'll never mistake it for any other cartridge. This is the only cartridge Atari put out with this style (thankfully).
Test Cartridge - This label was used on cartridges that were used to test Atari systems in the service centers. The programs are exactly the same as their retail counterparts, but have an odd white label that looks cheaply made with game title printed at the bottom with a dot matrix printer. These cartridges should not be confused with SALT carts (Stand ALone Test), which were used to run specific system tests. These games were used to see if the system was working properly (does the system power on?, do the joysticks work?, etc.). So far I have only seen Pac-Man and Donkey Kong with this label.
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