The Atari Landfill Rumor

By Deane Barker on March 20, 2005

Five Million E.T. Pieces: I missed this link in my prior post about The Video Game Crash of 1983. It’s a great look at what happened to Atari in the early 80’s. It ends by confirming the rumor that millions of game cartridges ended up in a landfill somewhere.

[…] Atari, stuck with millions of games and consoles that were largely unsellable at any price, sent fourteen truckloads of merchandise from their plant in El Paso, Texas, to be dumped in a city landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico in late September 1983. In order to keep the site from being looted, steamrollers crushed and flattened the games, and a concrete slab was poured over the remains.

Why would someone “loot” old E.T. cartridges? I think Atari was just afraid of a picture of all those cartridges ending up in a newspaper somewhere.



  1. Apple did the same with hundreds of Apple IIg computers that were not selling after the mac came out. They dumped them in a Logan, Utah landfill and there were police and security guards everywhere.

    Once they are written off the books, the companies do not want to deal with them under any conditions no matter what. I doubt if companies have that kind of control over the stuff they make anymore, as it has all been outsourced to china now. Sadly.

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