Safe Stuff / Internet Archive
Only a few working cabinets exist of Akka Arrh, an early-80s Atari arcade game that failed in test markets and was not mass-produced. Tucked away in private collections, no ROM image existed of the otherwise fully-functional prototypes—until, the story has it, a repair worker dumped and exfiltrated them.
One well-placed arcade collector with direct knowledge of the extant Akka Arrh cabinets and their owners (who asked for anonymity to "avoid burning bridges") told me "it does sound like this really happened." That source tells me that the victim of the alleged theft is sharing essentially the same story as atariscott with other Akka Arrh owners (who, unsurprisingly, all know each other).
"They were told it was theft from the tech who had access, and apparently there were rumblings about this tech being shady ahead of this release," the collector tells Ars. "It wasn't their board that was dumped, but [they] were pretty upset when the ROMs were released, given the rarity of the machine."
Arcade Heroes blogger and arcade owner Adam Pratt has his own take, which he shared with Ars:
As it comes across online, it sounds like something is missing... That a technician would come in to a collection to fix something else, break into the Akka Arrh machine, pull out all of the ROMs, burn them one-by-one (which requires a ROM burner and a computer), then put everything back unnoticed doesn't seem plausible to me. Chances are, [Evans] or one of the other two collectors happened to have backed up the ROMs when they first got the machine and that backup either got out, or one of the collectors finally decided to anonymously upload the ROMs.
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