Excavated E.T. Atari Cartridges Heading To Museums and Auctions
What even are video games.
One day, our grandchildren will ask of us: “Were you there when the E.T. Atari cartridges were unearthed?” And we’ll reply, “Dear ones, we were on the internet. We were all there.”
For those of you just joining the gaming world’s most surreal story of the year (and that’s saying a lot), one of the most venerated myths in videogameland is that of the final fate of Atari’s E.T. — considered by many to be one of the worst games ever made. E.T. was a massive commercial failure, and is seen to this day as a significant contributing factor in the North American game industry crash of 1983. The story goes that Atari literally buried the game (as well as many others), dumping truckloads of cartridges and consoles into a landfill in Alamagordo, New Mexico. The event passed into legend, and acquired an air of the apocryphal…until an estimated 792,000 cartridges were found entombed in Alamogordo earlier this year.
Last Tuesday, the Alamogordo city council unanimously approved plans to distribute some 1300 cartridges to museums and auctions. And oh yes, there is demand. The city already has a request from a museum in Rome, and they’ve been contacted by a buyer with an offer of $500 for one of the cartridges. The actual worth of the cartridges is still being hashed out — there isn’t much precedent for an item like this. As for the museums, approved recipients will get a package collection (on loan) of found cartridges and hardware, as well as photographs of the dig. So ends a story as weird, ridiculous, and wonderful as the industry behind it.
- The Atari E.T. Landfill Graveyard Has Been Found And They’re Excavating It Right Now
- Plan to Exhume Millions of E.T. Atari Cartridges Put on Hold Over Environmental Concerns
- Atari E.T.’s Presumed Tomb Exhumed Soon