Middletown Transcript
  • Atari games unearthed in dig may go to Smithsonian

  • Game cartridges recovered from the dig included 190 copies of "Centipedes" and 171 copies of "E.T The Extra-Terrestrial."
    • email print
  • ALAMOGORDO, N.M. — Game cartridges recovered from the so-called "Atari grave" may soon find their way into museums.More than 1,300 games were excavated from a landfill in New Mexico when a documentary production team decided to investigate an urban legend about Atari dumping truckloads of the "worst game ever" before the company's demise. Of the games recovered in April, the city of Alamogordo recently announced it will be giving 500 copies to various museums."We don't have a definite plan as to how we'll sell the remainder of the games yet," Alamogordo mayor Susie Galea told IGN. "But we know we'll be giving some of them to the Smithsonian, as well as museums (in New Mexico). The commission has a few ideas moving forward, but there's nothing definite yet."Atari discarded 14 truckloads of game cartridges and other equipment into the landfill and then covered it with concrete in 1983, according to an archived article from the New York Times. The company was the leading video game manufacturer at the time, but had just lost $310.5 million in the second quarter of 1983 due to a decline in sales, they reported.Gamers speculated that Atari was trying to hide copies of the game "E.T. The Extraterrestrial," which was a flop some say contributed to the demise of Atari.However, there were more copies of the game "Centipedes" recovered from the landfill than "E.T."— there were 190 copies of "Centipedes" and 171 copies of "E.T.", according to the Alamogordo Daily News. There were also 116 copies of "Defenders," 99 copies of "Warlords," 59 copies of "Missile Commands" and 53 copies of "Asteroids."After games are distributed to museums, 100 copies will be given to the companies involved in producing the documentary and the city will keep the remaining 700 or so copies to sell, according to CNET. A city commission is scheduled to decide how to sell the games on June 10.The value of the games has not yet been determined, according to Joe Lewandowski, of Operation Consultants."What they are worth? I really don't know," he told the Alamogordo Daily News. "I know people all over the place are asking for it, we read the blogs they are asking 'how can I get one?' We have had people make offers and try to get them from us. That will have to be determined in the near future."Investigators estimated there are an additional 790,000 games in the landfill that they couldn't reach.
      • calendar