E.T., Atari cartridges found in landfill to go to museums and up for auction

The Alamogordo city council is setting plans in motion, with emphasis on the Atari story being told, and making a little money back from the dig as well.


Earlier this summer, Microsoft took to the New Mexico city of Alamogordo to prove that Atari did, in fact, bury thousands of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial cartridges and other unsold stock in a landfill over 30 years ago, as part of a new documentary series that will air on Xbox consoles. And indeed, it did find these pieces of history, and now they're set for distribution.

Polygon is reporting that the Alamogordo city council has voted, 7-0, for plans to distribute the near 1,300 cartridges, including 59 Atari titles and various copies of E.T. This is just a small portion of the 792,000 games found, but the city already has plans in mind for them.

"The primary goal is that they go into museums and the story be told," said dig site manager Joe Lewandowski, who also acts as the vice president of the Tularosa Basin Historical Society. "The second is that they go into the city inventory for whatever we decide to do with them. The balance is what we will sell."

Attempting to sell the cartridges on eBay may be part of the plan, but Lewandowski doesn't want to downplay their worth. "Part of the problem is that the digging up of these games is a unique situation," he said. "No one has ever done anything like this before and no one will probably ever do anything like this again. Yet on eBay (E.T.) is worth nine bucks a piece. But that's not a game that is part of this legend.

"There are a limited number of those. We thought we were going to get 30,000 or 40,000 games, there's 792,000 down there, but we got 1,300 and one hundred of them went to the film company so that's increased their value."

More information on the sale of the games should be available soon. In the meantime, the documentary is set to make its debut this weekend at the Classic Gaming Expo in Las Vegas.

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