Boise man claims responsibility for Atari game burial

Filmmakers to break ground Saturday for Atari dig

ALAMAGORDO, N.M. (KRQE) – The big dig for Atari games in Alamagordo last week hasn’t done much to diminish the folklore about the E.T. games.

In a secret warehouse in southern New Mexico, a small team spent the week hauling, sorting and restoring thousands of games

Legend has it that back in the 1980s, the company buried the games under the cover of night because they were so bad.

But a man from Boise, Idaho says he knows that’s not true – because he was the one who dumped them.

James Heller told KBOI the actual story is far less mysterious.

“There were many, many things written that it was done in the middle of the night. It was not,” Heller said.

Heller worked for Atari 30 years ago.

He says Atari told him to get rid of thousands of games from a warehouse in El Paso because the company couldn’t sell them.

“I had been charged with getting rid of it as quickly and as inexpensively as possible and so I did. That was my job,” he said.

Heller joined Saturday’s E.T. dig, which also unearthed all sorts of games like Centipede, War and Pac-Man.

Alamagordo city officials say it will be weeks before they know exactly how many games were unearthed.

Heller says he knows how many were buried: 750,000.

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