Atari has a long-standing conspiracy theory that was proven to be true this week. Atari did indeed bury consumer-rejected video games by the truck-load in the early 80’s, and the games were dug up by Microsoft. Of all game trivia, this mass burial and recovery is assuredly among the strangest. While burying video games in the desert is bizarre, what may be stranger is the operation was Atari’s way of dealing with consumer unhappiness and rejection.
In 1983 Atari drove around fourteen trucks loaded with one million E.T. The Extraterrestrial video games, among other gaming related rejections, to the desert in Almagordo, New Mexico to be dumped and buried. E.T. The Extraterrestrial was a major flop for the Atari gaming company. This single video game flop is said to be the sole reason behind a major monetary loss the company faced in the 1980’s, totaling around $500 million and the loss in popularity of the Atari console itself.
The mass burial was Atari’s way of dealing with this massive loss and rejection. Atari has debated with the public and media about whether or not the dump was true; though, the dig up in the desert revealed many E.T. The Extraterrestrial video games and other Atari gaming-related items. Atari did bury the games; so, moral of the story is in order get rid of something, bury it in the desert. This massive desert reveal has appealed to many devout gamers and E.T. The Extraterrestrial movie fans. The buried video game was a shame to the gaming world in the 1980’s, carrying the title of the worst game ever made; however, today it is a highly sought after commodity due to the urban legend attached to its existence. Atari no longer has to dwell on the rejection, but it does have to deal with the repercussions of its strange burial practices and ways of operation.
The dig to find the rejected video games has consequences on the surrounding desert environment, and was not condoned by the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) last month. However, the NMED approved the dig this week, allowing Microsoft to go ahead with its desire to dig up a part of the desert in order to locate the rejected video games. The Atari game dig site was complete with proper waste removal equipment, per the order of the NMED.
Atari allegedly developed the cursed E.T. The Extraterrestrial video game in five and a half weeks, an insanely small window for a video game that was supposed to be a massive success. While it is not known that the quality is what caused the video game to flop, production vastly outweighed profits on the sale of the video game. Atari overshot its vision by a long shot with E.T. The Extraterrestrial and, instead of try to make a come-back or approach advertising with a different angle, buried the game along with its shame in the desert.
While the monetary loss was enough to seriously jeopardize the company, Atari is now back on the radar of gamers everywhere. There may be profits found in selling the buried video games to mega fans. Atari’s decisions and ways of dealing with rejection are strange, to say the least, but the company may experience a new success in what once was one of the most famous video game rejections of all time.
Opinion By Courtney Heitter