Sales of un­earthed Atari games to­tal over US$100,000

The China Post - - ARTS -

A cache of Atari game car­tridges dug up in a New Mexico land­fill last year has gen­er­ated more than US$100,000 in sales over the last sev­eral months.

The April 2014 dig ended spec­u­la­tion sur­round­ing an ur­ban leg­end that Atari had dis­carded hun­dreds of games, in­clud­ing “E.T. The Ex­trater­res­trial,” more than 30 years ago, re­ported The Alam­ogordo Daily News.

A film crew doc­u­mented Joe Le­wandowski as he dug up the Atari car­tridges. In ad­di­tion to the “E.T. The Ex­trater­res­trial” car­tridges, Le­wandowski found more than 60 other ti­tles.

Those in­cluded As­ter­oids, Mis­sile Com­mand, War­lords, De­fender, Star Raiders, Swordquest, Phoenix, Centipede and Su­per Break­out.

Atari’s E.T. game, based on the Steven Spiel­berg film, was re­leased in 1982 af­ter only 34 days of de­vel­op­ment. It earned a rep­u­ta­tion as the worst video game ever cre­ated.

It didn’t live up to its fi­nan­cial ex­pec­ta­tions and is con­sid­ered by many to have con­trib­uted to Atari’s demise, as shown in Zak Penn’s doc­u­men­tary “Atari: Game Over.”

The 881 games sold on eBay brought in close to $108,000, Le­wandowski told the Alam­ogordo City Com­mis­sion ear­lier this week. Buy­ers came from 45 states and 14 coun­tries.

Twenty-three games also made their way to mu­se­ums around the world, in­clud­ing the Smith­so­nian in Washington, D.C., and the Deutsches Film Mu­seum in Frank­furt, Ger­many.

But Le­wandowski said there are hun­dreds more car­tridges that aren’t for sale at this time.

“There’s 297 we’re still hold­ing in an archive that we’ll sell at a later date when we de­cide what to do with them,” he said. “But for now we’re just hold­ing them.”

The city will re­ceive about US$65,000 from the sale of the games, and US$16,000 will go to the Tu­larosa Basin His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety.

About US$26,000 will go to­ward ex­penses such as ship­ping fees.

AP

(Left) In this April 26, 2014 file photo, film di­rec­tor Zak Penn shows a box of a decades-old Atari “E.T. the Ex­tra-Ter­res­trial” game found in a dump­site in Alam­ogordo, New Mexico. (Right) In this April 26, 2014 file photo, an E.T. doll is seen while con­struc­tion work­ers pre­pare to dig into a land­fill in Alam­ogordo, New York.

AP

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