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At AtariGamer.com we aim to be transparent with how we define various terms, especially those that may be considered subjective and could have many different definitions depending on whom you ask. When it comes to assigning rarity scores and defining what type of release a particular game is there are plenty of divergent opinions, so this page describes what we mean when we use these terms and scores.

You may also be interested in our Game Review Standards and Ratings.



Rarity Scores

What's the rarity score? It defines how easy or difficult a particular release of a game is to find. Be it new, used, complete in box (CIB) or just as a loose cart. Generally a distinction is not made between these, but you should use your own judgement when comparing a new boxed version of a game to that of a used cart on its own.

These scores are not set in stone and are regularly updated. Check the details on the home page for when the game database was last updated. Factors that decide these score are historical prices for used, new, CIB and loose cart games, rarity scores assigned by others and lots and lots of research. Many of these factors (like the price) are compared between games to determine a relative weight that contributes towards the calculation of the final score i.e. a dramatic increase in price will have an increase in rarity.

On game information pages, each of the rarity scores is accompanied by small number below it. This number is the rarity factor count. It shows how many data points have been used to calculate the rarity score. The higher the number (4 or above) the more certain you can be of the rarity score.

Now to the scores themselves...

Rarity Name Description
1-9BanalEveryone and their dog has this, not worth the time
10-19AbundantReadily available but getting a little more interesting
20-29CommonA little harder to find and starting to get some value
30-39UncommonStarting to get difficult to find but still accessible
40-49In DemandNot easy to find at the usual places, grab it if you see it
50-59CovetedNot seen often, hard to find, very valuable
60-69RareVery hard to find, dedicated collectors only
70-79Rare+1Extremely hard to find, hardcore collectors want it
80-89Rare+2Impossible to find, prepare to sell your first born for it
90-99Rare+3Rumoured existense, is it even real?

Release Types

A release type defines whether a game was officially made and distributed during Atari's era or if it came after. Factors like cartridge type and packaging are also taken into account. For example, to count as an official release, a game must have been created and distributed on one of the flat, ridged or curved cartridge types between the years 1989 - 1995. As a result, some Telegames titles, do not quality as 'official' releases by this measure.

There are many non-official types of releases and several distinctions are made between what constitutes each, some may be subtle.

Release Description
OfficialGames released on one of the official (dark grey) flat, ridged or curved lip cartridge types between the years of 1989 - 1995 (Atari era)
JapaneseOfficial titles that were released in the Japanese market and contained Japanese packaging or manuals
FrenchOfficial titles that were released in the French market, most notably known to include one or more lapel pins inside the box and have the words "Pin's Gratuits" on a sticker on the front of the box.
Big BoxEarly releases of official titles that came in larger boxes than the standard, commonly used box size for most of the Lynx games. These boxes were around the size of Atari 2600 boxes
DemoNon-playable titles released for the purpose of showing off a game or technology. Runs on the Lynx but can't be controlled by the player
AftermarketProfessionally published games that were either not released on the 3 official cart types during the Atari era or games released on official style carts post 1995
HomebrewROM only or cart only releases without professional packaging or manuals
PrototypeUnfinished or in-development games that haven't officially been released to the public either during the Atari era or in the modern days
DevelopmentGames that are currently in development, not yet released to the general public
UnreleasedGames that have been announced or planned but never made it to market either during the official Atari era or modern day releases
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