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Legend of Atari graveyard to be uncovered this year

By Vanessa de la Viña, vanessa@kvia.com
Published On: Jun 06 2013 09:04:15 PM CDT
Updated On: Jan 15 2014 09:51:41 PM CST

ABC-7's Vanessa de la Vina reports.

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. -

A Canadian film company is spending thousands of dollars to dig up a landfill in Alamorgordo, all in search of a long-rumored Atari graveyard.

"We have the UFO sighting in Roswell. Why not have the Atari tomb in Alamogordo?" said Alamogordo Mayor Susie Galea.

Some say it's the final resting place of hundreds of E.T. video games dumped by Atari trucks. Atari has denied it ever happened.

Joe Lewandowski now operates the landfill. Back in 1983, he said he saw at least one Atari truck dump something in the landfill.

"Something happened here. Let's just put it that way. Trucks did come in here. Things were unloaded out of those trucks into this landfill. The question is, was it the games or, as Atari claims, defective components and junk from the warehouse?" Lewandowski told ABC-7.

So why try to find the site and dig it up 30 years later?

The film company, Fuel Industries, won't say just yet.

The E.T. game has a notorious reputation as one of the worst games ever, according to gamers and blogs all over the world.

It currently sells on Ebay for an average price of less than $10.

Whatever the reason, even the mayor is curious.

"We do want to find out fact or fiction. Is there truly something in our landfill that was buried by Atari that is still being denied by Atari of its existence?" Galea said.

Fuel Industries' agreement with the city gives crews access to the landfill for the next six months. The company is paying $26,000 just to get in.

Only time will tell if it's all worth it.

"I guess that's what we're finally going to find out when this gets dug up. Was it the game? The game consoles? The stuff the legend has or was it trash from the warehouses?" Lewandowski said.

City officials don't even know if the film company will show up. If it does, more than 100 acres of buried garbage are waiting to be searched, a mystery waiting to be solved.

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