Mattel Cartridge Variations
There are several different types of cartridge variations when it comes to the Mattel released games. We're going to go through each one, step by step, so you know exactly what you are looking for when you're browsing the variation list.
There are several variations when it comes to the snap piece. The first one shown below has no words or dates molded on the cartridge, just a solid bar seen at the bottom.
The next photo below shows the snap piece with the copyright date. There are actually three variations for this particular mold. We're showing the three variations close up with arrows pointing.
Zooming in on the date, you'll see that we point out the three variations on the periods. The top has none in “USA”, the middle has a period after each letter in “USA”, and the bottom has 4 periods total, one actually before the “U” and then after each letter. I found that the screw type cartridge also has these variations. In these variations, “©Mattel Inc 1979 USA” has been molded on 2 separate lines. We've also noticed that “©Mattel Inc” has slightly different lengths. Taking an ordinary ruler that measures in millimeters, you'll be able to determine the length exactly.
There is a new variation that I just found. This occurs on the 3 dot version so far with a screw piece. The "Mattel Inc" has a ' between the two words as shown below. I'm sure it's going to show up on other versions and we'll update it here if we find it.
There are actually two different types of screws that were used to close the plastic piece. One is a standard Philips head, the other is a triangle allen wrench. We are not putting variations on the specific screws, since it would be fairly easy to remove screws from one cartridge and just add them to another. Though we are putting variations similar to the one above with the periods in “USA”.
Below is the standard Philips head screw.
The other is the triangle shaped allen wrench screw, which can be found with any of the variations above. Also with the screw pieces, more variations exist. The first shown below is a one line copyright date with no USA. The second is even stranger. It's a two line copyright date, also with no USA. The third is similar to the second, but has HONG KONG after the date.
The final version of the cartridge is the solid mold. Cutting costs by not having screws and other assembly, the cartridge itself is one piece. So far I have only come across the molded cart with the solid bar, no copyright or country.
Another variation with the cartridge was the addition of a molded “insert to this line” on the top of the cartridge. What you are seeing is the top of the cart, but I cut off the end labels. Since there are several variations with this, I decided to designate initials in the form of ITTL, meaning "insert to this line"
ITTL0 - the first photo is designated a zero since it does not have an "insert to this line"
ITTL1 - the top right shows that the letters have a normal font, shown by the "O"; "insert to" measures 23 mm wide; the bar separating the words is thin and actually touches the edge of the cartridge
ITTL2 - the middle left shows that the letters have a fatter font, shown by the "O"; "insert to" measures 20 mm wide; the bar separating the words is thicker, but does not touch the edge of the cartridge
ITTL3 - the middle right shows that the letters have a smaller, thin font, shown by the "O", almost looking like a zero; "insert to" measures 18.5 mm wide; the bar separating the words is thin and does not touch the edge of the cartridge
ITTL4 - the bottom left shows that the letters have a larger, thin font, shown by the "O" almost looking like a zero; "insert to" measures 21 mm wide; the bar separating the words is thin and does not touch the edge of the cartridge
ITTL0A - the bottom right shows another version of the cartridge that has no "insert to this line", this version has a thin bar that does not touch the edge of the cartridge