Atari ET game landfill spoils fetch $37,000 on eBay

100 cartridges sold, 700 more headed to auction.

The first auction of Atari games uncovered from their 30-year resting place in a New Mexico landfill has raised more than $37,000 (23k).

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100 cartridges were placed on eBay earlier this month of an eventual 800 that will be offered up for auction.

The games were unearthed during this summer's archaeological dig at a dumping ground in Alamogordo, New Mexico, which for three decades had been the final resting place of thousands of unwanted Atari 2600 cartridges.

Most famous are the copies of the widely-panned ET: The Extra-Terrestrial - and it was these that fetched the most at auction.

The highest bid for a single item was for a boxed copy of ET, still in decent condition, which raised $1537 (about 940).

"It's really gratifying to see that happening because again to everybody it was a bunch of garbage in the landfill," local historian Joe Lewandowski told news channel KRQE (thanks, IGN). "You're kind of nutty to go dig it up."

Funds raised from the auction will go towards the cost of the initial excavation - some $50k. Presumably sales of the remaining 700 cartridges will make up the difference.

Another 500 copies will be sent to museums around the world.

Microsoft filmed the excavation as part of its Atari: Game Over documentary, which will be available to watch via Xbox Live from 20th November.

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Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips

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