Atari fans might have heard the legend a few times already. The company supposedly dumped truckloads of discarded games cartridges in a landfill back in 1983. This was following the video game crash of 1983 after which interest in video games in North America waned significantly. Atari itself lost $310 million in the second quarter that year due to a big drop in video game sales. The legend has turned out to be true. Atari 2600 games buried at a landfill in New Mexico have finally been discovered.
Construction crews have been digging in the New Mexico desert near the city of Alamogordo as part of an upcoming documentary being produced by Microsoft’s Xbox Entertainment Studios. The documentary focuses on changing landscape of the gaming industry, it is expected to be released next year.
A New York Times report from 1983 claims that Atari dumped 14 truckloads of discarded game cartridges as well as other equipment at the city landfill in the Alamogordo city. Spectators and reporters were apparently kept away by New Mexico Guards, hence the urban legend about a huge cache of buried Atari 2600 games.
Copies of the E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Atari 2600 game were discovered at the site. The game had a notoriously bad reputation and was a total flop. Atari had reportedly paid millions to get the rights to produce this game, just to complement Steven Spielberg’s successful film.