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Atari Video Game Burial Site Found by Film Crew

By Holly R. Bogardus ,
"Atari Grave" Urban Legend Proved True

A team of contractors and archeologists began digging in a New Mexico landfill, only to find millions of Atari products.

The digging was recorded by a film crew along with director Zak Penn, who is working on a documentary of the North American Video Game Crash of 1983. Penn is the writer of The Avengers and X-Men 2.

Gamers and self-described geeks gathered to watch the crew dig, unfortunately the gathering dust and smell of trash in the air had most observers leaving long before the find.

The discovery proves true an issue that has for 30 years been an urban legend. As was commonly told, after the colossal failure of Atari’s game “E.T the Extra-Terrestrial,” the company proceeded to bury all copies in the desert, referring to it as the “Atari Grave.”

After the games turned up, a variety of other Atari products surfaced. This had the few remaining observers not only playing old Atari games, but taking pictures alongside a life-size E.T doll inside a DeLorean car like the one used in the Back to the Future movies, reports the Associated Press.

Atari accounted for 80% of the video game market in the early 1980’s, reports The Guardian. The E.T game was the first to be based on a movie, and not a popular arcade game. Atari paid $22 million for the rights from Spielberg and Universal Studios and the game is considered to be one of the worst games ever. The goal of the game was to gather pieces to create a device E.T could use to “phone home,” but the game's downfall was the fact that E.T would constantly fall into traps that were almost impossible to get out of that would appear constantly and without any warnings. Designer Howard Scott Warshaw (who believed the grave to be an Urban Legend) doesn’t mind that people consider his game to be one of the worsts, as he sees it as an honor that his game still stirs talk and controversy. He does however defend himself, stating that due to issues securing the rights and Christmas production close at hand, he had only five weeks to design, write, and test the game.

 

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