Calling All Gamers, Pong Creator’s Auction Features Unreleased Atari Cosmos Prototype

hero atari cosmos prototype
An incredibly rare prototype of the Atari Cosmos from the collection of Pong creator Allan Alcorn is up for auction. Also up for auction is a handful of other iconic Atari video games, such as a Pong arcade game, and a Space Race arcade game.

While games like Space Invaders and Pong are extremely simplistic by today’s standards, they were what fueled the imagination of future game developers who grew up in the 1970s. What many may not remember from that era, however, is that Atari announced, and eventually cancelled, a tabletop electronic game system designed to have nine built-in games, called the Atari Cosmos. Now, the prototype for the Atari Cosmos is up for sale, along with a few other classics.

The Atari Cosmos would have allowed gamers to play video games like Asteroids, Football, Sea Battle, Space Invaders, and Superman via a low-cost cartridge containing the holographic image and a notch by which the system would identify the game to load. The listing adds that the low-cost holographic process developed by Atari for the Cosmos ended up being adopted by the American Banknote Corporation for use in credit cards and other high-security financial applications.

pong atari video game

The unit itself measures approximately 8-inches by 13-inches by 6-inches. It also features the standard “Third Dimension” graphics with an “Atari Cosmos” label, as well as a red circular button marked “Fire,” and three buttons for “Start,” “Expert,” and “2 Player,” and a central set of four directional arrow buttons. While the unit includes an original Atari-branded power cord, it does not include the logic board, which renders the unit unplayable. Adding to the authenticity of the unit is a signed letter of provenance from Alcorn.

Also up for grabs is an early Pong video game arcade console, the first developed by Atari, and originally released in November 1972. Just as with the Atari Cosmos, this game is a non-working unit, but is housed in its original iconic cabinet. The console features a replacement Bally coin door, and the large upright capacitor on the game’s circuit board is indicative of early Atari hardware. The unit is missing the original back door, but is considered being in “fine condition.”

space race atari video game
Atari Space Race arcade video game.

Another enticing piece of Atari history up for sale is a rare original Space Race arcade video game by Atari, Inc. This version of the game was originally released in July 1973, and was designed by Ted Dabney, Nolan Bushnell, and Allan Alcorn. According to the listing, “Space Race allowed players to control spaceships and race against opposing ships while avoiding comets and meteors.” Making the unit even more alluring is the fact that this was the first arcade video game to feature joysticks.

The Atari Cosmos Prototype is up for auction via RR Auctions, along with the other vintage Atari video games. The current bid sits at $1,075, with the next bidding price set at $1,183.