AfterDawn: Tech news

Historic Atari games found in landfill to be sold on eBay or donated to museums

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 12 Sep 2014 21:26 User comments (3)

Historic Atari games found in landfill to be sold on eBay or donated to museums A few months ago, following decades of myth, construction workers and a documentary crew were able to find over 1200 Atari 2600 games including the infamously bad E.T. in a landfill in New Mexico.
The games had been dumped in 1983 when the video game industry crashed, and the story had never been confirmed until they were unearthed.

What will they do with the game now that the documentary has been completed? "The primary goal is that they go into museums and the story be told," said dig site manager Joe Lewandowski. "The second is that they go into the city inventory for whatever we decide to do with them. The balance is what we will sell."

That being said, about 800 of the cartridges will be sold, and the first lot is headed to eBay in the coming weeks. Some of the titles are expected to get a couple of hundred each, but the story itself is much more important than the actual games. There was also a lot less games found then had been rumored. Most of the rumors of the last three decades had assumed there were over 500,000 games buried, but the final figure was a fraction of that.

It is unclear which museums will have interest in the collection.

Source:
Polygon

Previous Next  

3 user comments

114.9.2014 19:53

There's a reason they were buried.

219.9.2014 12:00

That number sounds VERY low indeed compared to the reports from workers at Atari who initially leaked the information back when it happened. It was unclear from initial reports however, whether there were, or not, MULTIPLE land fills where the dumping took place. Not only were fully boxed, ready to ship, games reportedly dumped, but also games in various stages of construction, such as cartridges without boxes, no labels applied yet, complete circuit boards that had not yet been placed in cartridges etc. Various proto-type games and sub assemblies were also reportedly dumped at the same time(s).

It is likely, if all the various reported items had been dumped, that they would be in multiple land-fills, in various locations based on where the items were being used, and being produced, and/or warehoused at the time.

There were also some of these items that had been destined for land-fill, that ended up being sold as scrap instead, one way or another, and then in turn, at least some of them got sold through various re-sale specialty markets. So again it is likely that the initial total numbers released initially by the various Atari workers at the time, included these items also in the reported land-fill dump counts.

I personally know of about 500 completed circuit boards for game cartridges for the Atari 5200, that are fully functional, but minus the plastic casing that still exist due to the scrap -> re-sale path. (Including Missile Command, Ms. Pac-Man, Super Breakout). I also am aware of about 200 circuit boards in the same condition for the Atari 2600. I am sure there were MANY more than the about 700 I am counting... that if all counted together with what was found in the one landfill, probably would start to get much more close to the numbers originally talked about, (not bloated numbers that came later.)

I would really need to hunt down more information, to remember what the original numbers were stated as, but from what I remember, I think the original numbers were supposed to be in the 20,000 to 50,000 ballpark. I doubt I have any of my old green-bar BBS logs any longer however to actually verify that... (For those who do not know, even at the really fast 1200 baud at the time, compared to 300 baud. It took forever to go through many messages on a BBS, so many people would just print new messages as they logged into a BBS, then read through them later instead of just sitting at the computer for all that time.)

319.9.2014 17:53

If it was the Atari 400/800 I might be excited but the 2600 doesn't thrill me even though I had several years ago.

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive