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E.T. Cartridges Bring In Big Bucks For New Mexico City

by Matt Miller on Aug 31, 2015 at 06:47 AM

Last year, the urban legend was finally put to rest; Atari dumped a large number of unsold Atari cartridges in the New Mexico desert, including hundreds of E.T. cartridges, a game often cited as one of the worst of all time. A recent excavation uncovered the trove of lost games, along with the help of a film documentary crew. The city of Alamogordo, New Mexico, has now sold off many of these cartridges over eBay, and brought in $107,930.15.

The announcement came via a city commission meeting in Alamogordo, in which operational consultant Joe Lewandowski reported the sale. The money will be split up, with $65,037.78 going to the city, $16,259.44 going to the Tularosa Bason Historical Society, and an additional $26,632.93 going towards expenses, including shipping fees for the purchased games. Shipping included buyers in 45 states and 14 countries. 

Of the hundreds of unearthed games, 881 were sold, 100 went to the film company that made last year’s documentary, and 23 headed off to museums, but Lewandowski is holding on to 297 cartridges in an archive for later sale “if a second movie comes out.”

[Source: Alamogordo News via Ars Technica]


Our Take
This sale represents smart and enterprising thinking from the city of Alamogordo, which recognized the historical and novelty value inherent to the discovery and confirmation of this long-running urban legend. I remember playing the E.T. Atari game when I was a kid, and I wish I had better news for the buyers out there – that game was garbage long before it went to a dump.