Hundreds of marginally dreadful, badly damaged, 30+ year-old Atari 2600 game cartridges dug up from an Alamogordo, New Mexico landfill are beginning to surface on Ebay.
Among the 60 different titles that were recovered during the filming of a Microsoft-funded documentary about Atari are such classic flops as Star Raiders, Warlords and Phoenix. There were also copies of Asteroids, Defender and Centipede (which were actually pretty decent games at the time).
But among the recently exhumed cache of dubious game cartridges were approximately 100 copies of the infamous and extremely rare video game E.T. Extra-Terrestrial – purportedly one of the worst titles ever encased in a plastic box.
But if you were thinking of plunking down $500 or more for a copy of E.T. (yes, that’s the current bid for one of these puppies) and testing it for yourself on your old 2600 you’re not likely to have much luck with the cartridges since they are badly damaged and let’s face it, spending 30 years buried under a ton of other garbage that was later covered with concrete didn’t do much to preserve the original cringeworthyness.
In two semi-related stories reported by other people earlier this week. Another original Apple 1, built by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs back in the late 70’s is going up for auction and is expected to fetch half a million dollars or more. One just like it recently sold for over half a million bucks.
And an organization called the Internet Archive, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that collects all sorts of digital stuff, has assembled over 900 classic arcade games on their site that anyone can play for free…well, almost play. Apparently some of the titles are a bit problematic – vector graphics-base games don’t work all that well and some really need a joystick or trackball.
So I suppose the lesson here is don’t throw away any old games or ancient computers you might have laying around. Someday they might just end up being worth something.
If anybody out there wants to buy a Spectravideo SV-318 in the original box, a Jupiter ACE or a never released Commodore CDTV-2 (only six ever made that I know of) then just let me know.