Dredg­ing up videogame his­tory is se­ri­ous busi­ness

Atari’s waste was treated like any arche­o­log­i­cal find, Penn ex­plains. “I thought they were jok­ing when they said an ar­chae­ol­o­gist wants to come along, but these guys weren’t kid­ding. They’re ar­chae­ol­o­gists who do stuff for the Smith­so­nian and they ap­proached it in this very se­ri­ous way… If you dig up a ten-thou­sand-year-old ar­row head you’d try and fig­ure out if it was stuck in the side of an an­i­mal, who fired it, [and] where did they live? That’s what these guys were do­ing.” Af­ter the carts were re­cov­ered they were held and in­dexed by the city of Alam­ogordo; as with any trea­sure haul, the landowner takes a cut.

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