Urban Myth Unearthed: There Really Were Atari Cartridges Buried In New Mexico


I’m old enough to vaguely remember when the video game market tanked in 1983, though I certainly didn’t realize what was going on at the time. I certainly didn’t hear the story about bunches of copies of the Atari 2600 version of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial being buried in a dump somewhere in New Mexico until much later.

I’m not sure I ever believed it 100 percent either. It just seemed like something a screenwriter would make up for a movie: a video game company fallen on hard times literally burying games it couldn’t move.

But thanks to the efforts of a persistent team working on a documentary (and being backed my Microsoft), it turns out that truth once again trumps fiction when it comes to strangeness. There really were E.T. cartridges in that landfill, and other games to boot.

It would have made a gripping scene for the documentary even if nothing was uncovered, but this discovery ratchets things up a notch. It’s a tangible, concrete reminder of how the video game industry can’t ever take any success it has for granted — though with games increasingly becoming digital content, there’s not likely to ever be a mass game grave ever again.

(via The Verge)