One of the worst games ever made is now the hottest commodity that a New Mexico city must determine how to distribute.
More than 1,300 Atari games -- including 28 copies of the coveted "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" -- and Atari consoles were unearthed last month in Alamogordo.
City officials are now devising a plan to decide who will get the games, and, if they are sold, the prices, said Matt McNeile, assistant city manager of Alamogordo.
Collectors and fans have been inundating the city with inquiries, especially about the "E.T." units, McNeile said.
"So far, the craziest offer was $750 for a copy of 'E.T.,'" he said. "It is ironic so many want a game once considered so bad."
Among the other game titles are "Centipedes," "Warlords" and "Asteroids."
The games and consoles were discovered April 26 after LightBox Entertainment and Fuel Entertainment pursued the dig for a documentary.
For years, it had been speculated that some of the worst games ever made had been buried in the New Mexico landfill. Well, the urban legend was true, and now people are clamoring to get their hands on the booty.
A draft plan for distribution was issued to city staff Tuesday, McNeile said. "A final plan should be set by June 10," he said.
An array of businesses and organizations, including the Smithsonian Institution, also expressed interest in obtaining some of the finds.
"We want to make sure we have some on display. When they came up, they became artifacts," Chris Orwoll, division director at the New Mexico Museum of Space History, said of the games.
An important component of the Alamogordo museum is pop culture, and because the bizarre find was in the museum's own backyard, Orwoll said it makes sense his organization would offer its curating services.
The "E.T." game's infamy comes from the mass production of the game due to licensing agreements with Steven Spielberg, but poor marketing and mediocre reception were cited by many as leading to the downfall of Atari as a company, Orwoll said -- "which makes the game so famous now."
Joe Lewandowski, a consultant for the film companies, told the Alamogordo Daily News the dig cost more than $50,000.
The film companies will get a portion of the games, which was in their contract for the dig, McNeile said.
The games and consoles were buried in the Alamogordo landfill out of convenience because Atari's plant was in nearby El Paso, Orwoll said.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times