A long-standing urban legend of the 1980s says that Atari has transported millions of games to a remote location in New Mexico and landed them in the desert to forget them under the sand. A bit hyperbolic in the story, the urban legend rests firmly on the truth.
In the early 1980s, Atari was on the ropes. Once king of the console castle, the company's revenues were down, its new console, the Atari 5200, was a commercial failure and a series of dubious publications left it with hundreds of thousands of unsold cartridges. One of their worst line-up choices was to release a poorly implemented title based on the popular E.T. extraterrestrial film. The game was so badly received that tens of thousands of cartridges were returned to Atari.
Rather than losing money by storing the title of champion (and her other siblings stranded), they outsourced their assignment to a small landfill located in Alamogordo, New Mexico. . Why this discharge? It was remote, the dump did not pick up the trash, and the new garbage was crushed and buried every night.
In September 1983, between 10 and 20 complete trucks of ET alien titles and other titles missed, as well as the housings and systems Atari, were transported to the remote place, discarded, passed with the steamroller then, in a movement rather curious, apart from the usual routine of filing, topped with a concrete slab.
The booty of buried Atari would still be there to this day without the efforts of Fuel Industries (a Canadian marketing and entertainment company), Microsoft and others. In 2013, they received permission from the Alamogordo Municipal Commission to conduct archaeological excavations (April 2014) in the landfill to make a documentary titled Atari: Game Over. The city auctioned off many of the fundraising excavations and several of them ended up in museums across the country, such as the Smithsonian and the Henry Ford Museum.