There have been very few rumors among gamers that were as prolific as the story of the graveyard of old Atari 2600 cartridges buried within a dessert in Alamogordo, New Mexico. This story has been talked about by gamers for years. This story, that some were not certain actually happened, is so ingrained within the minds of gamers that it is a major plot point in The Angry Video Game Nerd Movie that came out earlier in 2014 and had been in production since 2011. But something unexpected took place in 2014. The rumored gravesite for these games turned out to be real.
As the article “Punk Archaeology and Excavating Video Games in New Mexico” states, “Few archaeological projects have generated as much popular media hoopla in North America as the recent excavations of a purported secret burial ground of Atari video games.” Typically, if an archaeological expedition takes place, I will only hear about it in passing or see an article on Facebook. This is one of the rare times where I found out about this and looked into it further. It is a big deal when something in the gaming industry that is discussed for such a long time comes to light. Though critically panned, Duke Nukem Forever‘s release warranted a lot of attention as it had “been in development” for 15 years. The same happened with the discovery of the Atari carts.
Blogs were made, videos were filmed, and auctions were held. The video game industry, though young, is very proud and interested in their history. The pile of game debris is a symbol of how far the game industry has come: from the Video Game Crash of 1983 to the major form of entertainment media that it has become. Gamers love to see that our industry of choice is becoming more and more popular. It allows us to share our passion with others and someday new gamers will be talking about the graveyard of Centipede and ET.