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700 of failed 'E.T.' Atari games found in New Mexico will be sold: Report

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The Alamogordo City Commission decided that 700 of the 1,300 Atari gaming console cartridges recovered from a landfill in New Mexico will be put up for sale.

Atari gaming console units and over 1,300 games were unearthed, including "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," "Centipedes," "Warlords" and "Asteroids." 

"They're considered to have value because they're part of the legend," said Joe Lewandowski, who served as a consultant to LightBox Entertainment and Fuel Entertainment, which documented the dig project to search and unearth the games.

"It's a piece of history." 

The documentary of the project will be released by Microsoft exclusively for the Xbox later this year.

Lewandowski issued a distribution plan draft to Alamogordo city official earlier in the week, proposing that some of the items be given to the filming companies, museums and to the public.

"We have been working with the space museum for curation, both for displaying and selling the games; they are now artifacts," said Alamogordo mayor Susie Galea in an interview with Polygon. "The City Commission acted on Tuesday to give 100 of the games to Lightbox and Fuel Entertainment. There are 700 that we can sell." 

The process on how the remaining games will be sold, however, has not yet been decided. The price of the games has also not yet been determined as they have not yet been appraised. Every cartridge that was unearthed will have a "city property ID tag, a certificate of authenticity signed by the city. You'll know it's one of the originals," Lewandowski said. 

The dig project, which took months to plan and prepare for before finally being carried out last April 26, was more challenging than the dig team initially thought. Digging had to go as deep as 30 feet, when initial estimates only reached a depth of 18 feet. While 1,300 games were pulled out from the landfill, it is estimated that more than 700,000 games remain buried. 

The find puts to rest a 30-year-old urban legend, which states that Atari sent truckloads of games to a New Mexico landfill for disposal. Included in the games to be disposed were thousands of copies of "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," which many claimed was so horrible that it was the primary cause of the video game industry crash in the 1980s.

Galea said that she hopes the site would be developed into a tourist attraction, though discussions with the city commission regarding that has not yet been started. The sale of the video games can help fund the development of the tourist site, she added.

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