Goodwill sells insanely rare Atari game for thousands at auction

The Atari may not be as popular as Nintendo’s classic consoles, but it still has an important place in retro game collecting. One of the rarest Atari 2600 games is distinguished by its T-shaped case and it was recently spotted in a box of donated items at Goodwill in Texas. As with other valuable donated items, the game was put up for auction on Goodwill’s website where it raked in thousands of dollars.

The discovery was made by Goodwill processor Alex Juarez; it involved a unique 1982 game called Air Raid that features a T-shaped shell. According to Juarez, the rare collectible was found in a bin of toys and games that had been donated to Goodwill. The saga was detailed in a YouTube video.

Air Raid was released in 1982 for the Atari 2600 system; it revolves around UFOs attacking a city that players are tasked with saving. This was the only game released by Men-A-Vision and it had a very limited distribution, which has made the cartridge a key item for retro game collectors.

According to Juarez, he and his father would often watch videos about rare video games, and the T-shaped Air Raid cartridge was often among them. The Goodwill employee came across a collection of Atari games while sorting through items for the thrift store’s e-commerce platform.

Upon discovering the Air Raid cartridge, he sent an image of it to his dad to confirm that it was, in fact, the rare item he’d previously seen in videos. His father confirmed the news, so Juarez took the item to his boss, kicking off the process that ultimately led to a fruitful auction: the game sold for $10,590.79.

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Goodwill asks pandemic spring cleaners to stop donating old junk

Many people have spent the pandemic largely at home, and that has resulted in many bored individuals deep cleaning the parts of their houses and apartments they’d ordinarily put off as a chore for a different day. This same habit seems to have put Goodwill in the awkward position of thanking the public for their donations, but also asking them to stop dropping off their trash.

Goodwill and other thrift stores like it operate off of donations from the public. In many cases, these donations involved meeting an employee at the donation center and turning over the items no longer wanted. The pandemic and its social distancing rules changed that, however, forcing donation centers to close their doors.

Despite those closures, many people still donated items to thrift stores — by leaving them outside around the back of the facility where the items were subjected to the elements. That combined with people donating old, unusable, and otherwise junky items have become a growing burden for the Goodwill, which is asking people to think twice about what they plan to drop off.

According to the Associated Press, some Goodwill stores are seeing a big increase in the number of flammable and hazardous items ‘donated’ by the public — and in cases where the individual knows their donation isn’t acceptable, they’re leaving it behind the building after the store closes.

Another issue is that some people seem to struggle with whether a particular item is something that can be donated or is better sent off to the junkyard. It is suggested that an increased desire to reduce waste has compelled some to donate items that are too worn out or broken to salvage, leaving the thrift stores to foot the bill for hauling away the junk.

Ultimately, Goodwill owners are encouraging the public to be mindful about what they’re donating and to assess whether it is in usable condition or would be better suited for the trash or a recycling center. In other cases, these stores have requested the public to stop leaving items behind the stores where they’re exposed to the elements, and to stop leaving items they know are trash in an effort to dodge trash fees.

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