Rare Atari Red Baron Prototype Changes Hands

It’s not news that there were a couple of Red Baron prototypes that were made before Atari settled on converting old Battlezones for their primary run of this vector game. However, doing a general search turns up little information on the Red Baron prototype beyond the fact that there have been about three spotted at one time or another.

One of those just changed hands earlier this month, into the welcoming arms of Francis Mariani at Ataricade.

Sparse mentions of the Red Baron Prototype

If you look for a little bit, you can find a mention or two of this rare Atari prototype, one mention is located at Andy’s Arcade – Red Baron page. Here is an archived photo from the old Spies website;

Red Baron - Prototype Side by Side Regular Upright

If you read on Andy’s website, it says that Matt Spynda (Matty-T) worked on Ed Beeler’s Red Baron prototype at one point or another (Was / Is Ed’s website the defunct www.ataboy.com?). Did Francis get this instance of a prototype from Ed? It should be possible to tell if this is the second Red Baron prototype to appear.

Two different Red Baron Prototypes

Let’s do a little comparison. If you look at the photos of the prototype that Francis picked up, there is not nearly as much damage on the kickplate. Granted, this could have been repaired, but my best guess says that it wasn’t. Plus, look even closer and there is an even larger tell. Ed’s Red Baron proto is missing the gun on the right side, where the one that Francis bought has both guns.

Red Baron - Prototype - Ataricade Francis Marini

I looked on VAPS and GGDB, and no one listed any of their Red Barons as prototypes. These are photos of two of the three, maybe a few more Red Baron prototypes. For now, check out Francis at his website Ataricade.com. I am sure he’ll update his site with more photos and information soon.

Update – Some additional clarity on the trail of owners for this prototype.

Francis purchased this game from Clay C., who originally purchased the game from Chris H. out in Portland, OR. Clay, Chris and another gentleman by the name of Tony J. (all of whom are in the Portland, OR area) were all actively collecting in the 80s/90s at a time when warehouses were still full of ‘classic’ games like this one. The prototype traveled a relatively short distance north and out of state before returning back “home”.

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@Jeff – The first picture and the name “ataboy” stuck a chord. I did some digging and it looks like I sold the last of my Berzerk repro cp’s to Ed awhile back. You can see a few of the many Berzerk’s he has in that top pic. If you want the contact info to follow up with, LMK.

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I have already spoken to you about this, but yeah, I think I would like to get Ed’s contact info, see if he has any interesting stories to tell about that warehouse where the photos of the prototype Red Baron came from….

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Hey there. Not sure if I have talked to you about this machine, but I am the one with the game in question, I’ve had it for a long time now. You have a few pictures of it there. I think I spoke with someone on KLOV recently about it. Let me know if you want the whole story, more pix, etc. I do have the other gun in place now, it was inside the cabinet before I cleaned it up. Thanks.


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