Atari games found buried in New Mexico landfill make $107,000 on eBay

By midian182
Sep 1, 2015
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  1. The Alamogordo News has reported that 881 of the early-eighties Atari video game cartridges that were dug up last year by a team of diggers and filmmakers have sold for a grand total of $107,930 on eBay.

    In April last year, a film and dig crew set out to discover if the story of Atari burying almost one million unsold video cartridges into a New Mexico landfill was nothing more than a rumor. Led by archaeologist Andrew Reinhard, the teams unearthed hundreds of copies of E.T., consider by many to be the worst game ever made, alongside Missile Command, Defender, Swordquest, Pac-Man and many other titles.

    The E.T. video game for the Atari 2600 was released in 1982. It had been developed in a rush so as to get the game in stores for the Christmas shopping season; part of the reason it became a commercial and critical disaster. The game was far too punishing and confusing for gamers, and became a major contributing factor to the North American video game crash of 1983. This led to Atari shutting down its El Paso, Texas, factory and having to get rid of roughly 700,000 unsold copies of games – and not just E.T. The cartridges were quietly disposed of in the Alamogordo dump, although Atari never confirmed or denied this, leading to the story becoming an urban legend up until last year.

    Joe Lewandowski, an operational consultant who helped locate the cache, appeared at a city commission meeting in Alamogordo last week and said the sales of the cartridges had made $107,930. He added that $65,037.78 will go to the city of Alamogordo and $16,259.44 to the Tularosa Basin Historical Society. The rest of the money, just under $27,000, was used for expenses.

    Lewandowski said he is holding on to 297 of the cartridges, telling the Alamogordo News: “I might sell those if a second movie comes out, but for now we're just holding them,” adding that a reboot of E.T. the movie could increase the value of the games for the city.

    The search for the games was the basis of the documentary ‘Atari: Game Over,’ that was released in November 2014. It was also the central theme in the movie version of the popular web series ‘Angry Video Game Nerd.’

    Permalink to story.

  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    Someone is moving on with their life and getting a game better than Minecraft. Maybe this will make them happy.
  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,335   +1,936

    It never ceases to amaze me the crap some people will pay good money for. What's ones mans trash is another mans treasure is a very true proverb.
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    In this case the phrase goes "The world's trash is one man's treasure".
  5. Mandark57

    Mandark57 TS Rookie Posts: 19

    A fool and his money are easily parted
  6. Kevin82485

    Kevin82485 TS Booster Posts: 159   +41

    I get a bit upset when people say the E.T. is the worst game of all time. People who never played it say it's the worst game ever. The game was made by one guy, Howard Warshaw, who was only given 5 weeks to make it. Of course it's not going to be a great game, but the fact that it's even playable is amazing. The are a plethora of worse games out there. He also made Yar's Revenge, which is now in the Museum of Modern Art. He made many other games and every game he made sold millions of copies. It's not like he was terrible at what he did, he just wasn't given enough time. I feel sorry that people point to E.T. as being the reason that Atari went bankrupt when in fact it was due to poor financial decision by Atari.

    Sorry, rant over.
  7. Fbarnett

    Fbarnett TS Booster Posts: 204   +28

    Lol how much did they spend to unbury junk people threw away? 300k?
  8. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    Yeah, they should have buried them in their own backyard. Just look at the profit they are now bringing for landfill. That was definitely a bad financial decision.
  9. TheBigT42

    TheBigT42 TS Member Posts: 32   +14

    No one said Howard Warshaw was a bad programer...Just ET is the worst commercial video game ever...and it is. And Yet I have played it. I even finished it.
  10. Kevin82485

    Kevin82485 TS Booster Posts: 159   +41

    I didn't say people were calling Howard a bad programmer just that he was a great programmer who only had 5 weeks to make a video game. E.T. is not a good game, Howard admits that, but it is not the worst game of all time. People falsely call it the worst game of all time because they think it led to Atari's demise and because it was buried (along with tons of other games, many of which were great games). It definitely sucks, but it's not the worst.
  11. mrjgriffin

    mrjgriffin TS Booster Posts: 125   +49

    never heard that in my entire life. one mans' trash is another mans' treasure............theres no what's n front of it either. tf is going on here?
  12. TheBigT42

    TheBigT42 TS Member Posts: 32   +14

    OK what is the worst?
  13. Kevin82485

    Kevin82485 TS Booster Posts: 159   +41

    I have actually played ET on an Atari unlike a lot of people who have never even played it, yet they say it's the worst ever. I played it, and it definitely sucked, but it wasn't the worst ever. It is undoubtedly a bad game, but worst ever is too harsh.

    Of the games that I have actually played, the ones that I can think of off the top of my head that I personally consider to be worse include Superman for N64, Call of Duty Black Ops: Declassified for PS Vita, Shaq Fu, and regrettably (because it is my all-time favorite movie) Robocop.

    Like I said previously, people say ET is the worst ever because they think it caused the collapse of Atari and the video game industry. But it wasn't, it was bad management.

    IGN's community rated ET a 2.6 out of 10. You can look at IGN, Gamespot, or whatever review site you want and see hundreds of games rated below a 2 or 3 out of 10. I've probably never played any of those games and I doubt any serious gamer has. What I'm saying is that until you've played a copy of Extreme Paintball on PC (0.7/10) or Action Girlz Racing on Wii (0.8/10). Maybe we should hold off on saying E.T. is the worst ever.

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