Thousands Of Copies Of “The Worst Video Game Ever” Buried In The New Mexico Desert

Have you ever hated a game so much that you rage quit? Me too.

Have you ever hated a game so much that you buried truckloads of that same game in the middle of the New Mexico desert?

In 1983, The New York Times reported 14 trucks delivering secret cargo to a landfill in New Mexico. The cargo? The E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Atari 2600 cartridge. Known as “the worst game ever” to many people, sources describe the video game as “badly programmed, utterly boring, not following the plot of the movie and very frustrating to play.” Atari was desperate to get E.T. out before Christmas, as it was a very popular movie at the time, so they spent only 5 weeks producing it. It simply wasn’t long enough to make an acceptable game.

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Despite the success of the movie, the game was very badly received and Atari suffered huge financial losses. Over five million of the games were made, and less than one and a half million were sold. It also turned out that Atari had created more copies of the game than there were Atari 2600s in existence at the time. It was released Christmas of 1982, and many copies were returned, and the game given terrible reviews.

This was the beginning of the end for Atari, shortly afterward the entire video game industry crashed.

James Heller, who used to work for Atari, told the Associated Press he was instructed to get rid of over 700,000 Atari games “as quickly and inexpensively as possible” in 1983. Besides ET, some other things dumped in the New Mexico landfill were Atari consoles, and games such as Centepede, Missile Command, Asteroids and Defender.

Xbox Live’s Larry Hryb told BBC that he expected they were “buried out of shame.”

For many years, there was no proof of this, and it the “Atari Dump” became simply an urban legend. However, in 2014, the City of Alamogordo granted Fuel Industries access to the site, and they were eager to debunk the myth and make a documentary about their findings. They found over 1,300 cartridges and consoles, however only a limited amount of material could be retrieved, the rest of the is buried much deeper than expected.

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Now, 30 years later, most of these “worst games ever” from the dig have been sold on Ebay, for around $108,000. The Alamogordo News recorded that the city sold 881 of the game cartridges, gave 100 to the documentary crew and donated 23 to museums. One of these E.T. games from the dig is on display at the Smithsonian.

The dig site is a landmark on the Roadtrippers’ website.

The full documentary is called Atari: Game Over. Watch the trailer for it here!

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