10 Urban Legends That Turned Out To Be True

9. The Atari Cartridge Graveyard


The legend: Atari's grossly misjudged the demand of their video game adaptation of E.T - and the game being bloody terrible hardly helped matters. Though the game was actually one of the Atari 2600's best selling titles, the computing firm was still left with around three million unsold copies on their hands. What was the solution? Obviously to bury a tonne of them deep in the New Mexico desert, along with copies of its reviled Pac-Man port.

The truth: The mass cartridge burial was first reported in the early 1980s, and over the years, it descended into the realm of myth. That changed in 2014 when a team led by folks from Fuel Industries and Microsoft worked with the New Mexico government to excavate the landfill site where the games were believed to have been dumped.

Not only did they find copies of E.T., but dozens of other Atari games such as Centipede and Missile Command along with unsold hardware. Around 1,300 cartridges were unearthed, many of which were given up for curation.

The excavation process was filmed and the footage was used in a documentary called Atari: Game Over, which chronicles the North American video game crash of 1983.


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