Kathryn Lindsay
Updated Aug 31, 2015 @ 2:34 pm
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People will pay a lot for nostalgia, as evidenced by the found Atari 2600 cartridges for the E.T. game, based on the classic film. Even by video game standards for 1982, this game was pretty bad. Yet, after, what is believed to be millions, of cartridges were dug up in a New Mexico dig in 2014, individual games began selling for up to $1,537 each.

In total, the first 100 cartridges racked up a total of $37,000 through online auction. Now, that number is closer to $108,000, with the money being distributed between the city of Alamogordo, the Tularosa Basin Historical Society and other general expenses.

What makes this game so valuable? It’s become a cult classic amongst gamers for just how badly it flopped. Don’t believe me? Just watch:

This so-bad-it’s-good effect was personified in the nearly several hundred fans of the game who gathered for the 2014 dig to recover what had been previously discarded because of lack of interest. And they didn’t just find E.T. games. There’s was also a mix of other classics like Missile Command, Defender, and Swordquest.

The whole event was orchestrated for the documentary Atari: Game Over. Directed by Zak Penn, the film takes a look at this unexpected mania. He says:

If you weren’t a gamer, you can still catch a glimpse of this relic in the museums it was distributed to. But if you were, now sounds like a good time to go digging through those old games in your attic. Past all the Pokemon and Super Mario might just be $1,000 dollars waiting to be made.