Atari's not-so-secret shame, a much-maligned video game based on the alien-on-Earth movie "E.T.," was dragged back out into the light earlier this year when awhere the games were buried. Long a part of video-game legend, the find finally put to rest decades of rumors about the existence of the cartridges under the ground.
Hundreds of Atari cartridges were pulled up from the site near Alamogordo. Most of the games are in pretty awful condition, dirty and crushed. That hasn't stopped a planned auction of many of the games from going through. A batch of 99 games is currently up on eBay, being sold by the City of Alamogordo.
While the dig unearthed 60 different titles, the most coveted by far is E.T. A crushed copy of Asteroids, for example, is currently bringing in a top bid of $64 (about £40, AU$75), but a trashed E.T. has already been run up to $510 (about £320, AU$590). There are just over eight days left to go on the auctions, so the prices could go up quite a bit more.
The description for each game reads: "This game is one of the limited numbers recovered from the 'Old Alamogordo Landfill', also known as the 'Atari Dump.' Purchaser will receive the game as portrayed in photo, city property I.D. tag, the Certificate of authenticity ad a narrative with photos of the 1983 burial and the 2014 excavation proving the legend true. The seller does not represent that this item is operable; it was buried for 30 years. SOLD AS IS."
Though the listings specify shipment to the US, the City of Alamogordo representative handling the auctions has stated that it will ship internationally. Other titles currently up for auction include Missile Command, Warlords, Defender, Star Raiders, Swordquest, Phoenix and Centipede.
There are 20 copies of ET up for sale at the moment. If the prices seem too high for a dirty chunk of gaming history, you might try waiting a bit. The City of Alamogordo plans to auction off 60 or 70 more copies of the infamous game, though most of them are the cartridge only and don't include the box. Just be thankful you probably won't be able to actually play the game. Nobody deserves that kind of torture.