Fuel Entertainment to Go Digging for Buried Atari Games and Prototype Systems in Landfill

Paul Lilly

Go ahead and leave the E.T. cartridges in the landfill.

A landfill in New Mexico may be a goldmine of Atari nostalgia, filled with old game cartridges, prototypes of systems that never saw the light of day, and other hardware from 30 years ago. As the story goes, Atari was sitting on millions of games and other goods that it couldn't sell, so one day the company decided to load them all onto a fleet of trucks and bury them in the desert.

That was three decades ago. The landfill in question sits next to a railroad behind a McDonald's and has since been packed with dirt and concrete. It's largely regarded as a legend , though don't tell that to Mark Esquero, a 69-year-old who sat for a spell with The New York Times .

"It's not a myth," Esquero insists as he holds up an E.T. cartridge he claims he plucked from the burial ground. Esquero has more than a dozen games he supposedly dug up from a hole in the landfill right after Atari unloaded its goods.

According to NYT , Fuel Entertainment managed to get a permit to excavate the Alamogordo landfill over the course of the next six months. Mike Burns, the company's chief, said he definitely plans to go digging, though concedes "there might be nothing."

Or it could be a treasure trove. Some stories suggest there were around 20 truckloads of games and prototypes dumped in the landfill. Is it true? It looks like we'll soon find out.

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