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Salvaged E.T. Atari 2600 Games Set to be Appraised and Sold by Museum

by Ron Duwell | June 2, 2014June 2, 2014 8:30 pm PST

How much are you prepared to pay for a broken video game that was made for a console not even in circulation anymore? Never mind the fact that it was buried in concrete for nearly three decades! Well, we are about to see nerd history exploited for the sake of capital in ways unlike any we’ve seen before!

The Alamogordo City Commission has decided that 700 of the 1,300 E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and other shameful Atari 2600 cartridges unearthed from its local landfill are going to be appraised and sold to the highest bidder. As most gaming history enthusiasts will tell you, now with confirmation, Atari buried these cartridges in the desert after it was unable to sell through its stock of nearly a million of them.

The urban legend now proven true remains one of the most hilariously shameful moments in the history of the medium.

“We have been working with the space museum for curation, both for displaying and selling the games; they are now artifacts,” Alamogordo mayor Susie Galea said to Polygon in a statement.

“The City Commission acted on Tuesday to give 100 of the games to (documentary production companies) Lightbox and Fuel Entertainment. There are 700 that we can sell.”

The New Mexico Museum of Space History will aid with the appraisal, but it will not be the place where gamers can purchase them. A sales method has yet to be decided on, but online auctions will be the most likely route. The other remaining 600 cartridges will be distributed to local museums.

When asked about the rumored 700,000 games remaining under the Earth, Galea said that they would be staying there for the rest of time and that the hole had already been filled up.

“The dig was a lot deeper, a lot more than they thought they would have to go. They thought it was going to be 18 feet down and it was 30 instead. We’re going to leave the remaining games as-is.”

She also hopes that the site can be used as a tourist attraction in the future, but the town leadership has yet to discuss it. I highly doubt that these people on the board are gamers, and most likely they don’t want a landfill full of useless Atari cartridges to be the most famous attraction of their town. Then again, nerd nostalgia can be very lucrative, can’t it?

How much would you be willing to pay for one of the legendary buried copies of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial? We’d better hope that it’s not more than a weekend price for an excavator that can dig over 30 feet. Can you imagine the looming threat of vigilante mining in Alamogordo’s near future.

Polygon

Ron Duwell

Ron has been living it up in Japan for the last decade, and he has no intention of leaving this technical wonderland any time soon. When he's not...

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