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April 2015 Retro Gaming Article

April 26, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

One year ago today, a crew excavated a New Mexico landfill revealing numerous Atari games

Last year on April 26, I was transfixed in front of my computer refreshing Twitter as images rolled in from a long-defunct Alamogordo, MN landfill. I had been hearing rumors that a documentary team was getting permits to try and unearth the Atari legend. Along the way various state agencies had concerns and there were delays. I assumed this would be a never-ending bureaucratic nightmare.

Then I began reading posts saying: join us Friday and Saturday for the Atari Dig. Suddenly, there seemed to be plans, permits and a DIG! And it was happening in a few days. Reading all this last Spring gave me chills. I'd have loved to have been on-site, but I didn't really think it would happen. Next thing I know Ernie Cline is in Alamogordo, renting out a local arcade for an Atari Dig party and excavators were doing preliminary clearing. Wow - this thing is ON!

ET games found in the Alamogordo Landfill When I saw a tweet reading, "They found something", I was on the edge of my seat. I wished I was there, but excitement ripped through me as folks posted images on social media.

This past Fall, the documentary film, Atari: Game Over was released and is now available on Netflix. The local historical society helped auction some of the recovered games on eBay.

Most folks believed the Atari legend was true and that Atari had indeed dumped a lot of merchandise in the landfill. Where things became murky surrounded the quantities and game titles. The myth was that Atari failed because they produced millions of copies of E.T. The Extraterrestrial for the 2600 and it turned out to be the worst game ever.

They actually found over 30 different titles (some for the 5200) along with some miscellaneous parts. If we learned nothing else; know that E.T. The Extraterrestrial is not the worst game ever. Most people who say that have never played the game!

What shocked me most was that they were able to figure out where to dig. The Alamogordo landfill is massive and the filmmakers gave no indication that they had any idea where to look. The Atari Dig made for an exciting day - even online - and should be remembered as a notable point in gaming's history!

We have a summary of the Atari Dig with the list of games, participants and a lot of images. Check it out!

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