A complete copy of Air Raid has reached nearly $18,000 after one day of bidding.
It's the kind of thing Antiques Roadshow dreams are made of: somewhere in your attic, among the old, broken toys and clothes you've long outgrown, is a rare treasure that can be sold for tens of thousands of dollars. For Harv Bennett, this dream came true when he pulled a copy of the 1982 Men-A-Vision game Air Raid out of a box after being in storage for years. Considered one of the rarest Atari games, another copy sold for $31,600 on eBay in 2010. Bennett's game appears to be in pristine condition, and is the only known copy that still has a manual.
Bennett received Air Raid when he was the assistant manager at a small drug store that also sold video games. A representative from developer Men-A-Vision (which never made another game) gave him a copy to try out with the hope that he would order more to sell in the store. Bennett wasn't impressed by the game, but when he let Men-A-Vision know, they didn't want it back. He took it home, put it in his Atari cabinet, and eventually put it in storage, where it remained until he spotted it listed on an Atari-centric blog. He knew he still had it, and his daughter made a video of him searching for, and finding, Air Raid among his very impressive collection of Atari games.
Instead of selling Air Raid on eBay, Bennett and his daughter Alana turned to Game Gavel, a video game auction site. "Ebay sells everything, and GameGavel sells games," he said. "I'm not just giving it to some big machine that sells everything and you're just a cog." According to Game Gavel founder Mike Kennedy, "We really have a hardcore community of retro gamers so it's a great place to feature an auction like this." The auction started on October 24 at $1, and currently stands at $17,850. Bidding will end on November 4.
Bennett plans to use most of his Air Raid profits to help his daughter fix up her new house, and then wants to sell his Atari game cabinet, which is also a valuable collector's item. "The money is great," Bennett said, "but the fun I've had with my daughter in finding the game and the super positive support from everyone involved... That's the value for us."