There’s a Canadian film company that has been granted permission to unearth a mass grave of Atari cartridges and consoles in New Mexico.
I have to assume we’re all of like-mind here, wanting answers to similar questions. Let’s begin with this one: there’s a landfill in the New Mexico that specializes in trashed Atari games?
Yes, there is. According to landfill owner Joe Lewandowski, he was present at his Alamogordo, N.M. facility the day nine trucks entered the premises and dumped loads upon loads of Atari cartridges into the earth. They were then covered to presumably be forgotten about for thousands of years, until future archaeologists have the opportunity to dig up the technology of yesteryear and speculate about lives of people in the early 1980s.
In total, there were 30 truckloads of unsold, trashed and otherwise unwanted Atari games, gear and consoles that were destined for the Alamogordo landfill. Legend has it, 29 trucks delivered their payload, but one was hijacked and taken to Mexico.
So, back to this Canadian-based film company: what’s with the desire to unearth the truckloads of old games? It’s rumored that when Atari ditched all the unsold copies of E.T. (the first game I got with my 2600 — just my luck), the gaming company did so in this New Mexico landfill. If these copies of E.T. are in the landfill, they should still be in their original packaging — shrink wrap over the box and everything. How many copies, you ask? An alleged 5,000,000. The film company plans to document their findings.
If you’ve never played E.T. on Atari 2600, it’s pretty much the worst game ever made, but it was also a somewhat ambitious attempt at an open play video game. It just wasn’t the kind of game that had any chance of being successful for a home console in 1983. Because of its infamy, it’s now considered a collector’s item.
Sure, I’ll admit it. I’ve still got access to a copy — and I’ve played it within the last 10 years.