New Mexico Town Puts Atari Games Found in Landfill on eBay

Photo: The Atari games unearthed from a New Mexico landfill are now being auctioned on eBay.eBay
The Atari games unearthed from a New Mexico landfill are now being auctioned on eBay.

One person's trash is another person's treasure, right?

Officials in Alamogordo, New Mexico, are banking on the idea by auctioning 100 cartridges of old Atari games that were unearthed in a city landfill earlier this year as part of a documentary film project.

Among the titles up for grabs are Swordquest, Star Raiders, Defender and the 1982 Atari 2600 "E.T." video game adaptation of the Steven Spielberg film.

The latter game was so unplayable that, according to an urban legend, that piles of unsold or returned copies were buried at a landfill site in the city in 1983.

Earlier this year, a Canadian-based film production and entertainment company, Fuel Industries, proved that story true when, with the cooperation of city officials, they dug up the old Alamogordo landfill.

While purchasers will receive a piece of gamer lore, the city warns that many of the cartridges are likely now unplayable.

"This game is one of the limited numbers recovered from the 'OLD ALAMOGORDO LANDFILL,' also known as the 'ATARI DUMP,'" the product descriptions read. "Purchaser will receive the game as portrayed in photo above, City property I.D. tag, the Certificate of Authenticity and a narrative with photos of the 1983 burial and the 2014 excavation proving the legend to be true. The seller does not represent that this item is operable; it was buried for 30 years. SOLD AS IS."

Bids on the E.T. game have reached as high as $520, with more than a week left to go in the auction.

For people still looking to get their hands on a decades-old piece of trash -- there's good news. Bidding on some of the other games is still hovering in the $50 range.