NM City to Divvy Up Unearthed Atari Games

Including the 'worst game ever' found at landfill

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted May 31, 2014 10:02 AM CDT

(Newser) – Officials in southeastern New Mexico began work on a plan this week to divide a cache of Atari video games dug up from an old landfill last month. Joe Lewandowski, a consultant for the film companies that documented the dig, issued a draft of a distribution plan to Alamogordo city officials on Tuesday. Lewandowski said that some of the games should be given to the filmmakers, museums, and the public, reports the Alamogordo Daily News. "They're considered to have value because they're part of the legend," said Lewandowski. "It's a piece of history." The details of how the public might acquire some of the games are still being ironed out.

City documents show that Atari consoles and more than 1,300 games were found, including "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial." Some of the other discovered titles include "Centipedes," ''Warlords," and "Asteroids." Reports that truckloads of what some say was the worst video game ever made were buried in the landfill have been urban legend since the early '80s. In fact, the "E.T." game's poor reception was seen as a factor in Atari's demise. After months of planning with state and local regulators, crews discovered numerous game cartridges on April 26. The dig cost more than $50,000.

In this April 26 photo, an E.T. doll is seen while construction workers prepare to dig into a landfill in Alamogordo, N.M.   (Juan Carlos Llorca)
Film director Zak Penn shows a box of a decades-old Atari 'E.T.' game.   (Juan Carlos Llorca)
Workers sift through trash.   (Juan Carlos Llorca)
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