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Atari’s Excavated E.T. Games Going from Landfill to eBay


After being collected, crushed and left buried in a New Mexico for more than 30 years, these rare copies of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial are selling for over $500 apiece on eBay.

Dozens of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Atari 2600 games that were originally buried in an Alamogordo landfill are popping up for auction on eBay for hundreds of dollars each, Polygon reports. This past summer, Xbox teamed up with Atari to debunk a longstanding myth in video game history that E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 was so bad that millions of copies of it were buried in a landfill back in the mid-1980s. It turned out this was true, to an extent. Upon excavating the landfill site, thousands of copies of E.T., Asteroids, Defender, Missile Command, Swordquest, Star Raiders, Centipede and other Atari 2600 games were found. Some of these games are on sale for $50+, which boxed copies of E.T. are selling at an upward of $500, with multiple bids on each one. These cartridges come with a certificate of authenticity from the city of Alamogordo. Of course, we don’t recommend you trying to play these games — it’s already hard enough trying to get pristine Atari 2600 games to work nowadays, shoving in a game that was stuck in a landfill for 30 years isn’t going to help your system.

Some of these games are heading to museums to be immortalized in video game history. You can have a piece of history too, if you’re willing to buy a game so bad it was buried in a mass grave for the price of a current-gen console. It should also be noted, actual copies will be sold by the town in the future, making the demand for these damaged cartridges decrease significantly in the coming months.

Xbox’s documentary about the landfill and its excavation, ‘Atari: Game Over,’ will be debuting on Xbox consoles on Nov. 20.


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