Canadian Filmmaker granted access to excavate Atari landfill

By on June 3, 2013, 5:30 PM
new mexico, atari, atari 2600, landfill, fuel industries, et, pac-man

Canadian filmmaker Fuel Industries was recently granted a six-month excavation permit to dig through an old landfill where it is believed that Atari dumped millions of unsold E.T: The Extra Terrestrial game cartridges back in the early 1980s.

The title, along with Pac-Man for the Atari 2600, was among a handful of low-quality games that helped fuel a massive recession of the video game industry from 1983 to 1985. Revenue dropped nearly 97 percent during the two-year period and saw several game companies go under (Atari included). It wasn’t until 1985 when the Nintendo Entertainment System revived gaming in North America.

Rumor has it that Atari decided to cut their losses and offload millions of copies of the games as well as other hardware in a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico. At least nine truckloads of hardware were allegedly crushed and buried before a layer of concrete was poured over the top of the rubble.

The dig could end up paying off for all parties involved as the 30th anniversary of the burial is coming up in September – that is, if Fuel Industries is able to locate the remains. What’s more, Alamogordo mayor Susie Galea hopes the publicity will lead more to more opportunities for the city.

For what it’s worth, Atari at the time denied that copies of E.T. were part of the load sent to the landfill. Others have disputed that claim for years. Hopefully with any luck we’ll know for sure one way or the other within the next six months.




User Comments: 33

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2 people like this | TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

What on earth would you want to bother with that for? Especially if the items were crushed and concrete poured over the top? I guess someone has money burning a hole in their pocket or has made one huge bar bet.

P.S. That was one piece o' crap game, for sure!

1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

For what it's worth, Atari at the time denied that copies of E.T. were part of the load sent to the landfill. Others have disputed that claim for years. Hopefully with any luck we'll know for sure one way or the other within the next six months.
What difference does it make one way or the other? I don't understand why anyone would care.

2 people like this | VitalyT VitalyT said:

They must believe the real E.T. was dumped in the midst, one that speaks Mexican...

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Maybe the Canadians are remaking the AVGN episode reviewing E.T. (Strong language warning for those with sensitive dispositions)

psycros psycros said:

Most likely someone is trolling for a lawsuit here. Either that or there's a Morgan Spurlock wannabe in Canada who's realized nobody has done an in-depth documentary of the game industry yet.

Guest said:

Oops... they are going to dig up a body under there... somebody is sweeting right now...

tipstir tipstir, TS Ambassador, said:

Still have my old 1982 Coleco Video Game System with module 21 for Activision and Atari games carts those still work after all these years. Also have Coleco Adam Family Computer System with Daisy Wheel Printer Stand alone also with Module 3 again that still works too.

Module 1 - Turbo Wheel

Module 2 - Playback of other Game Carts

Module 3 - Adam Family Computer System

treetops treetops said:

They should have just giving those games away, geeze

1 person liked this | Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

They should have just giving those games away, geeze

They were so bad they couldn't even do that I guess, had to crush em and bury them in concrete so no one would ever have to endure such a horrible gaming experience ever again. Until Now! lol

1 person liked this | Arris Arris said:

Pac-man was awesome and certainly not what I'd consider low quality when this was still at the start of home computing/gaming. Now Firefighter for the 2600. That was the worse game I've ever had the misfortune of playing.

5 people like this | MilwaukeeMike said:

Good for them... I'm sick of the expression 'Needle in a haystack', I'd much rather be using 'E.T. in a landfill.'

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

'E.T. in a landfill.'
LMFAO

Thats a good one, I hope I can remember it next time I want to use the phrase "Needle in a haystack".

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

A few years back, Geraldo Rivera excavated some mud packed something or other in an old hotel, claiming it was going to be, "Al Capone's vault! He did find one old wine bottle, but managed to waste two hours for practically everybody in the country..: [link] Two hours, I might add, none of of will ever get back.

Particularly read the "Pop Culture" section of that Wiki page...

Guest said:

You have been trained to believe anything.you are told. some of us know what is under the concrete and why we now need to get it back...hint it isn't a game.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

You have been trained to believe anything.you are told. some of us know what is under the concrete and why we now need to get it back...hint it isn't a game.

Right! You expect us to believe you know whats under the concrete. And after all these years, it now holds value which is why it needs to be dug up.

1 person liked this | avoidz avoidz said:

You have been trained to believe anything.you are told. some of us know what is under the concrete and why we now need to get it back...hint it isn't a game.

Jimmy Hoffa?

Guest said:

Back in the 80's Atari was using contact plating machines from japan with a minimum plating thickness of 2.5 mil (2/3 the thickness of a human hair). The gold that was used was grade b (99% pure). This was the only way that was known to allow the required 4000 insertions/removal cycles. I worked in the Quality Engineering Dept for Atari in the 80's. According to the manifest, there were several hundred tons deposited at the Alamogordo landfill. The gold to fill ratio is better than many mines in gold rich land.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The gold to fill ratio is better than many mines in gold rich land.
Which is precisely why they should not have been buried to begin with.

avoidz avoidz said:

Wouldn't they have removed all the valuable material before burying those terrible cartridges?

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

When it comes to a large corporation, who knows? Recycling could be considered more costly than starting over. Instead of dropping the resources half way down the latter, the decision was to go all the way.

After all it is inconceivable to allow anyone else to prosper on resources that are currently considered trash. I have personally seen trash thrown out and people prosecuted for salvaging things in the trash. The term "one mans trash is another mans treasure" is exactly why corporate doesn't want their trash falling into anyone else's hands.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Jimmy Hoffa?

You beat me to that......:p

Hey wait, I just thought of something. Maybe Jimmy Hoffa is buried in Canada, and it's the Atari games that are under Dodger's Stadium....

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

You beat me to that......:p
Great minds think alike. What does that say about me? I never would have thought about "Jimmy Hoffa", don't even know who he is. :oops:

learninmypc learninmypc said:

Pac-man was awesome and certainly not what I'd consider low quality when this was still at the start of home computing/gaming. Now Firefighter for the 2600. That was the worse game I've ever had the misfortune of playing.

Yep, Pac-man, my favorite game [link]

learninmypc learninmypc said:

Pac-man was awesome and certainly not what I'd consider low quality when this was still at the start of home computing/gaming. Now Firefighter for the 2600. That was the worse game I've ever had the misfortune of playing.

Yep, Pac-man, my favorite game [link]

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

What does that say about me? I never would have thought about "Jimmy Hoffa", don't even know who he is. :oops:
It's says you young whippersnappers think governmental corruption is a recent development, and this generation invented it. The legend of Jimmy Hoffa harkens back to a simpler time, when men were men, and the mob ran the largest union in the country, the AFL-CIO: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Hoffa

When it got to be too high profile, the allegation is the mob made Jimmy disappear. Personally, I think he just developed early onset Alzheimer's, then simply wandered off, forgetting where he lived....

You really should follow the link I posted above regarding Geraldo Rivera, and "Al Capone's Vault". Funny stuff, but maybe it's a case of "you hadda be there".

Time stood still during the original broadcast, and it seemed like Rivera was able to stop time with the power of sheer boredom.

"Brooklyn DA" on CBS last evening, turned a one short hour into a yawn fest of indeterminate length. So, contemporary broadcast TV is keeping the legend of reality TV alive, as a sleep aid.

Now, please don't tell me you don't know who Geraldo Rivera is. Although granted, you would be much better off if you didn't.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It's says you young whippersnappers think governmental corruption is a recent development, and this generation invented it.
LOL

BTW, I turned a nice young age of 41 today.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

This is going to be interesting no matter what happens. We are either gonna see the rumors become full truth and see a piece of history, or we are gonna find the dream to have been just that.

Either way I cant wait to see the results

1 person liked this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

LOL

BTW, I turned a nice young age of 41 today.

Wait here, I'll start you a thread......

1 person liked this | Emexrulsier said:

So Atari games contain gold, I have a fair few here right now (including ET), pole position, outlaw, tanks IM GUNNA BE RICH!

Guest said:

AVGN never reviewed ET for the Atari, that youtube link is a fake review put together using some of his other footage and splicing in images of the game. He's actually currently working on a full length feature film that is entirely based on the ET game though. Should be interesting!

DADEO1 said:

Come on now, what are they really looking for? Yikes!

avoidz avoidz said:

Maybe the Roswell UFO weather balloon is under there too.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

So Atari games contain gold, I have a fair few here right now (including ET), pole position, outlaw, tanks IM GUNNA BE RICH!
Dude, seawater contains gold too! Good luck extracting it.

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