Workers discovered an unspecified number of unsold Atari video game cartridges -- notably among them the 1983 video game "E.T." -- in a southern New Mexico landfill. Microsoft is producing a documentary on the excavation tentatively titled "Atari: Game Over" that will debut on Xbox Live later this year.
Some 1,300 cartridges were found in the landfill. The Alamogordo City Council voted Sept. 9 to auction off 800 of the cartridges. The auctions will begin before the end of September on eBay and its own website and should be completed by Christmas.
"We're just watching like everybody else."
Kristen Keller, Atari spokeswoman
Atari, which has changed ownership several times over the years, claimed to have no "corporate knowledge" of the landfill. The New York Times in September 1983 said that the company dumped 14 trucks' worth of video game cartridges in the landfill.
Incorporated in 1972, Atari is widely credited with popularizing video games in the U.S. The company also played a major role in the 1983 video game crash. Following Atari's demise, video games were largely marginalized in the U.S. until the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System (pictured) in 1985.
Oct. 18, 1985: Nintendo Entertainment System Launches | This Day In Tech | Wired.com