About a month ago. a collaborative effort involving Microsoft and entertainment companies Lightbox and Fuel successfully uncovered a long suspected New Mexico landfill containing the remains of unwanted copies of Atari’s 1982 stinker E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. With one of gaming’s greatest mysteries now solved, there are plans to divvy up the spoils from the landfill to the public.
The excavation managed to unearth approximately 1300 copies of E.T., along with other Atari games from its time such as Centipede, Warlords, Missile Command, and Asteroids. Over 60 titles were found, along with several Atari game consoles.
Speaking to Polygon, Alamogordo mayor Susie Galea said that as many as 700,000 games remain in the landfill, and will remain there for the foreseeable future as the landfill, which has already been filled back up, was much deeper than the excavation team thought. “They thought it was going to be 18 feet down and it was 30 instead,” she said.
Galea stated that she was very pleased with how the dig turned out, and is hoping to turn the site into a tourist attraction, with a sign marking the landfill.
As for the uncovered games, 700 of them will be made available for sale to the public once their worth has been determined. They will be registered and sold with a certificate of authenticity. No word on how one would go about buying one, though.
The rest of the games will be distributed to various museums. One such place will be the New Mexico Museum of Space History. Other possibilities that have expressed interest include The Smithsonian Institution and state and local museums around the country.
Speaking to Alamogordo News, Joe Lewandowski, a garbage contractor and consultant to Fuel and Lightbox who personally saw the burial, said that the two companies should also be entitled to several cartridges for their efforts to pursue the excavation.
A multi-part documentary of the excavation, directed by Zak Penn, is currently in the works and will be available exclusively on Xbox Live sometime this year.