E.T’s Home Found in the New Mexico Landfill [Video]
As a gaming history geek, it was a very exciting weekend. For years, I have been reading of the rise and fall of Atari and the gaming industry. Many myths and legends have been spoken of over the years, some true and some not. It’s not everyday that we get a rare chance to see someone figure out a myth, and front the cost for it. Perhaps one of the biggest myths that was solved this weekend was the infamous ‘Atari Landfill Burial of ET.’
Here is a little background for those who don’t know (or haven’t read the Kotaku article yet). During the 70’s and 80’s, video games were taking over the world. Everyone was into arcade games and home game consoles. Leading the pack of this phenomenon was Atari, and they had the foothold in the industry. Atari could basically program any game cart and it would sell, in short…Atari ‘printed money.’
Seeing the super success of gaming, companies who had little to no knowledge in video gaming saw gold in the hills and figured they could do that same and start creating games themselves and selling them on Atari consoles, most famously is Purina Pet Foods with ‘Chase the Chuck Wagon.’ On top of that, there was no longer just one game console anymore, ColecoVision and Intellivision showed up and gave the consumer a question of “What console do I buy now?” Thus, the market really started to become cluttered with to much product, not enough quality. When quality fails, so do sales.
Atari then purchased the rights to the smash hit movie ET for massive amount of money, and needed to have this game done by the holiday season. Giving Game Programmer Howard Scott Warshaw a very limited time to create a supposed blockbuster game.
When the game came out, it was initially successful, selling over a million copies of the game. However, it didn’t sell as well as Atari needed it too. Atari figured it could ‘print money’ again so they produced more game carts than there were working Atari 2600 game consoles at the time. Due to bad reception of the game, many carts were returned and Atari was left with a warehouse full of unsold product. Atari declared bankruptcy and the myth began.
Semi-Trucks loaded with Atari product were sent to a landfill in New Mexico and dumped.
Stories were built around the myth, and people for over 30 years have wondered if the dumping was true. Turns out, the myth was solved!
This past weekend, thousand of ET game carts, game consoles, other games, were discovered in the New Mexico landfill!
It’s pretty cool to see this story come full circle! Plus definitely gives you a nostalgia trip. It’s unique to see these game so nicely intact after all these years. Sure the game boxes are pretty crushed and inoperable, but it’s like digging into a time capsule. Video gaming today is a media outlet, and has conquered the world. However, when you look at the pictures of the old game carts being dug up after all these years, gives you a glimpse of what gaming was like back in the day, and best of all, shows you the dedication that people have to the old video games.
What myth will be solved next in the video game world?