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Buried New Mexico Atari Games Bring In $100,000 In Auction

Illustration for article titled Buried New Mexico Atari Games Bring In $100,000 In Auction

Remember that story of how Atari buried a bunch of their games in a landfill, and how they were rediscovered last year? Now, some of the recovered cartridges have sold for over $100,000.


As the video game market crashed in the mid-1980s, Atari disposed of much of their surplus games, including their infamous adaptation of E.T. in a New Mexico landfill, prompting urban legends among geek circles. Three decades later, Joe Lewandowski, along with a film crew documented the discovery of the cache of games, which was then featured in a documentary called Atari: Game Over.

Now, Lewandowski has donated the proceeds from the online auctions of some of those recovered cartridges to the city of Alamogordo, New Mexico. The City will receive $65,000, while $16,000 will go to the Tularosa Basin Historical Society. The rest of the proceeds will go towards expenses associated with the auctions.


According to the Alamogordo Daily News, buyers from all over the world snapped up the artifacts:

Out of the 881 games that were sold, six games were sold to Brazil and Australia, three in Singapore, 22 in France, 54 in Canada and over 752 in the United States alone just to name a few.

The highest Atari 2600 E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial cartridge went for $1,535. Over 60 titles were sold on eBay including Asteroids, Missile Command, Warlords, Defender, Star Raiders, Swordquest, Phoenix, Centipede and Super Breakout.

In addition to ending up in the hands of collectors, some of the games have since ended up in a number of museums around the world. The city is also holding onto a couple of hundred recovered games for future sales.

[ and Alamogordo Daily News, h/t to Scott Johnson]

Image credit: AP Images


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Twirlip of the Mists

I still have my original copy of ET - along with Missile Command, Adventure, Defender, and lots of other, all with instructions in their packaging. And my Atari 2600 in its box, with controllers and odds and ends.

I haven’t got it out in ages, but it’s been a big hit every time it’s come out of hibernation.