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April 2014 Retro Gaming Article


April 26, 2014 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

April 26, 2014 is the day the Atari Legend was verified in the Alamogordo, NM landfill

ET games found in the Alamogordo Landfill
I was skeptical. Local government and the local EPA had issues. Did they even know where to dig? What would be there after 30 years?

I've pondered the landfill rumor for decades and was initially excited about the excavation. As the dig-date approached there was little public info about the dig and it seemed as though they may not have an exact location. I feared they would find nothing and claim the legend was fake. Despite an unknown outcome, I was excited to see what would transpire.

Friday, the Fuel team moved in to remove the upper layer of dirt and garbage. The Atari gold mine was thought to be 20 feet down. On Saturday morning, I fired up a few social media sites, unsure of what to expect. The photos and info started rolling in and created an awesome morning of watching them unearth all sorts of Atari game cartridges from the legendary landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico. I was on the edge of my seat and totally stoked when they announced the first Atari item found and then it kept coming!

Fans arrive at the Alamogordo landfill for the Atari Dig Fans arrive at the Alamogordo landfill for the Atari Dig.
Ernie Cline drove up to the Alamogordo landfill in a DeLorean Ernie Cline drove up to the Alamogordo landfill in a DeLorean.

The Atari dig site from behind the visitor fence The Atari dig site from behind the visitor fence.
Removing excess dirt to reach the game carts buried below Removing excess dirt to reach the game carts buried below.

The Atari dig site from behind the visitor fence The Atari dig site from behind the visitor fence.
Atari legend Howard Scott Warsaw & the Fuel guys who brought this idea to life Atari legend Howard Scott Warsaw & the Fuel guys who brought this idea to life.

First tweet of a finding at the Alamogordo Atari dig site
An excavator at the Alamogordo Atari dig site An excavator at the Alamogordo Atari dig site.
The first cart found - ET The first cart found - ET.

Close up of the first games found in the Alamogordo landfill Close up of the first games found in the Alamogordo landfill. They were expecting to find ET games, but the Atari warehouse was filled with many unsold titles. The Centipede game looks like it was still shrink wrapped.
Mike Burns with the first cartridge Mike Burns with the first cartridge - ET.

Jeff Rubenstein with a rescued Atari ET game in Alamogordo Jeff Rubenstein with a rescued Atari ET game in Alamogordo.
A copy of Phoenix found in the New Mexico landfill A copy of Phoenix found in the New Mexico landfill.

ET and Raiders of the Lost Ark games in the landfill ET and Raiders of the Lost Ark games in the landfill.
Buckets full of discarded Atari games in the Alamogordo landfill Buckets full of discarded Atari games in the Alamogordo landfill.

Game Titles Recovered from the Landfill

This list was compiled by tech-writer Taylor Hatmaker who took many photos during the excavation. Her list comes from titles viewed in her photos from the Alamogordo Landfill dig. Note the inclusion of an Atari 5200 title, Defender.

  1. Adventure
  2. Air-Sea Battle
  3. Asteroids
  4. Berzerk
  5. Breakout
  6. Centipede
  7. Circus Atari
  8. Combat-CX-2601
  9. Defender (Atari 2600)
  10. Defender (Atari 5200)
  11. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
  12. Haunted House
  13. Human Cannonball
  14. Missile Command
  15. Ms. Pac-Man
  1. Night Driver
  2. Pac-Man
  3. Pele's Soccer 
  4. Phoenix
  5. Qix
  6. Raiders of the Lost Ark
  7. Real Sports: Football
  8. Space Invaders
  9. Star Raiders
  10. Super Breakout
  11. Superman
  12. Swordquest: Fireworld
  13. Vanguard
  14. Warlords 
  15. Yars' Revenge


A lot of great pictures were uploaded to social media sites. I've grabbed a bunch of images and put them on a Pinterest board: Atari Landfill Dig images.


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