Atari Landfill Games Sell For $37,000
Initial auction of 100 games raises $37,000 for the city of Alamogordo.
The first auction of classic Atari games buried in a New Mexico landfill in 1983 and recovered earlier this year have sold for more than $37,000. The City of Alamogordo recently sold an initial wave of 100 excavated games on eBay, with asking prices for individual games reaching more than $1,500.
The games were sold through the Tularosa Basin Historical Society. Vice president of the group, Joe Lewandowski, told local news site KRQE that $37,00 was "way beyond anything we expected." Bidders from all around the world, including places like Germany, Ecuador, and Sweden, participated in the auctions.
"It's really gratifying to see that happening because again to everybody it was a bunch of garbage in the landfill. You're kind of nutty to go dig it up," Lewandowski said.
Alamogordo has around 700 more Atari games to sell, including copies of E.T., Centipede, and Missile Command; it plans to launch additional eBay auctions in the coming weeks. It is unclear what Alamogordo and the Historical Society plan to do with the funds raised from the Atari game auctions.
The City has also donated some of the excavated games to museums, including the Museum of Rome. Lewandowski remarked: "It's Alamogordo dirt in downtown Rome."
As the story goes, Atari, saddled with too many copies of a critically panned E.T. movie tie-in game, dumped the games in the Alamogordo landfill in September 1983. A new documentary from The Avengers and X-Men writer Zak Penn digs deeper into the story, featuring interviews with E.T.'s creator, Howard Scott Warshaw, as well as Atari founder Nolan Bushnell and many others.