One man, who knew Atari's deepest darkest secret, uncovered it's concrete tomb with the help of a film crew who documented the entire process. That man was Operational Consultant Joe Lewandowski, who is regarded as Alamogordo's Indiana Jones.
Lewandowski announced the grand total from the Atari dig sale on eBay to City Commissioners at their regular City Commission meeting Tuesday. The final sale results totaled a staggering $107,930.15. The city of Alamogordo will receive $65,037.78 and the Tularosa Basin Historical Society will get $16,259.44. Expenses like shipping fees totaled $26,632.93.
Lewandowski said there's still 297 cartridges left that he's holding in an archive. What's to become of them is still unknown at this time.
"There's 297 we're still holding in an archive that we'll sell at a later date when we decide what to do with them," he said. "I might sell those if a second movie comes out but for now we're just holding them. The film company got 100 games, 23 went to museums and we had 881 that we actually sold. They were sold in 45 states and 14 countries."
The Atari cartridges made their way to several museums around the world such as the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, the Hamilton Toy Museum in Ontario, Canada, and the Deutsches Film Museum in Frankfurt, Germany.
Out of the 881 games that were sold, six games were sold to Brazil and Australia, three in Singapore, 22 in France, 54 in Canada and over 752 in the United States alone just to name a few.
The highest Atari 2600 E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial cartridge went for $1,535. Over 60 titles were sold on eBay including Asteroids, Missile Command, Warlords, Defender, Star Raiders, Swordquest, Phoenix, Centipede and Super Breakout.
Based on Steven Spielberg's blockbuster film, Atari's E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial was released in 1982 after only 34 days of development. It quickly became known as one of the worst video games ever created, and is considered by many the final blow that collapsed Atari.
Though the game sold well during the holidays, E.T. The-Extra-Terrestrial did not live up to its financial expectations as was told in the documentary "Atari: Game Over" directed by Zak Penn.
In a previous Daily News article, Lewandowski stated that he is still planning on making a second film but has not made anything official.
"I have a bunch of stories in this story book I hope to use some day and I have all their addresses and contacts. If it works out it would be fun to cruise around with a movie camera and film all these people," he said.
Lewandowski said he does not have a title for the film yet but is also looking for the ripple effect of the Atari burial.
"I'm hoping that if the second movie ever comes out, I can release some more games," he said. "It would increase their value for the city."
Lewandowski also said that he would like to come before the City Commission again on Sept. 22 to discuss recommendations on what to do with the money.
"I would like to come back on Sept. 22, I have some recommendations that I would like to present with the money," he said. "The $65,000 is yours you can do what you want with it but I don't want to see it go to pot holes or sewer lines."
City Commissioner Nadia Sikes thanked Lewandowski for his hard work and what the sale means to the city.
"I just want to take a moment to thank Joe Lewandowski for all the hard work. I wouldn't consider myself a real nay-sayer of what was going to transpire with the sale of the games but I have to say I am so impressed with what you've done," Sikes said. "Under no circumstances did I ever think you were going to sell over $60,000 worth of games."
Lewandowski said he was more surprised than anyone but was proud for what he was able to do and to call Alamogordo E.T.'s final resting place.
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Sales of Atari games found in New Mexico landfill bring in more than $100,000 through eBay
ALAMOGORDO, N.M. — A cache of Atari game cartridges dug up in a New Mexico landfill last year has generated more than $100,000 in sales over the last several months.
The April 2014 dig ended speculation surrounding an urban legend that Atari had discarded hundreds of games, including "E.T. The Extraterrestrial," more than 30 years ago, reported The Alamogordo Daily News (http://bit.ly/1hlj3l2).
A film crew documented Joe Lewandowski as he dug up the Atari cartridges. In addition to the "E.T. The Extraterrestrial" cartridges, Lewandowski found more than 60 other titles.
Those included Asteroids, Missile Command, Warlords, Defender, Star Raiders, Swordquest, Phoenix, Centipede and Super Breakout.
Atari's E.T. game, based on the Steven Spielberg film, was released in 1982 after only 34 days of development. It earned a reputation as the worst video game ever created.
It didn't live up to its financial expectations and is considered by many to have contributed to Atari's demise, as shown in Zak Penn's documentary "Atari: Game Over."
The 881 games sold on eBay brought in close to $108,000, Lewandowski told the Alamogordo City Commission earlier this week. Buyers came from 45 states and 14 countries.
Twenty-three games also made their way to museums around the world, including the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., and the Deutsches Film Museum in Frankfurt, Germany.
But Lewandowski said there are hundreds more cartridges that aren't for sale at this time.
"There's 297 we're still holding in an archive that we'll sell at a later date when we decide what to do with them," he said. "But for now we're just holding them."
The city will receive about $65,000 from the sale of the games, and $16,000 will go to the Tularosa Basin Historical Society.
About $26,000 will go toward expenses such as shipping fees.
buffcoat Aug. 29, 15
What where the other games? When did this sale start? Are there some still available? What else did they find? I dont really care but I hate articles leaving me with more questions than answers.
@buffcoat An article with more info from the Alamogordo Daily News is linked in the AP's article.