The badness of the game and the "Atari grave" had become the stuff of legend, and they're making a movie about the finding and opening the grave — a film to be released on Microsoft's Xbox.
The trash became a treasure precisely because it was trash from the start. It arrived on the market "practically broken," with "E.T. falling into traps that
were almost impossible to escape and would appear constantly and
unpredictably." The man who designed the game, Howard Scott Warshaw, says Atari only gave him 5 weeks, because it needed to be ready for Christmas shoppers, so it could be opened by kids who were, presumably, tormented by their ugly little hero's propensity to drop into unpredictable, unescapable traps.
Alamogordo, the location of the dump, gets to keep most of the games the film crew found. Not only does the city plan to sell the games, but the mayor expresses hope of attracting tourists to the town that is now the most significant archeological site in the history of video games.
I often wonder why people travel. It is a mystery that is little examined, perhaps because most people do not even see it as mystery. But I say it's a mystery. And within that mystery there are all the different reasons why people travel. One reason is to visit historical sites within a field of interest. For some, it seems, the field is video games. Alamogordo is on a list with... what else?
The video game travelers, arriving in Alamogordo, can interact with the Christian artifact replica travelers, who stop by The Shroud Exhibit And Museum, and the sand dune aficionados, come to gaze upon The White Sands National Monument. I like to think of these 3 sets of travelers, trekking the face of the earth and all converging one day in Alamogordo and experiencing a cosmic convergence.
The geeks who love their games and their creature from another world, the religious folk who want to get close to the corporeal form of Christ through what is reputed to be his burial sheet (even if it's only a replica, a replica of a fake), and the lovers of the beauty of Earth in its greatest extreme of dry desolation — in my mind's eye I see them out there, in a million separate rooms, packing suitcases, readying themselves for... A Voyage to Alamogordo.