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Are you interested in learning what has become of the millions of Atari 2600 E.T. The Extra Terrestrial cartridges buried in the New Mexico desert? What? You don't know the story of how Atari buried these and possibly other games and Atari hardware in an Alamogordo, New Mexico landfill after the famous 1983 video game crash? The Alamogordo Daily News reported in September 1983 that between 10 and 20 semi-trailers from an Atari facility in El Paso, Texas were buried at the landfill (view newspaper clippings here, here, and here). The story even appeared in The New York Times, and an Atari spokesman confirmed the report at the time. Although no specific Atari merchandise was mentioned as being dumped, many reports have (perhaps erroneously) stated that upwards of 3.5 million copies of the 2600 game E.T. The Extra Terrestrial may have found their way to the landfill. It's more likely that the Atari dump contains a wide variety of Atari game console and computer hardware, as well as unsold video game cartridges.
Fuel Entertainment has received permission from the city to excavate the site on April 26, 2014. They plan on creating a documentary film surrounding the myths, facts and exploration of this legend. Ready Player One author Ernest Cline will be on-hand for the event, and he's written up a blog post detailing his upcoming adventure. The general public has been invited to attend this dig, so if you're an Atari fan and in the area, be sure to attend!
While Atari's E.T. The Extra Terrestrial generally has is viewed unfavorably among classic gamers, in our opinion the game has received an unfair rap. You can check out AtariAge user Random Terrain's To What Degree Do You Love E.T.? page for an opposing viewpoint on the game. Another fan of the game has put together a Fixing E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 page where you can download a version of the game that has common gripes (and a few bugs) fixed.
Also be sure to check out this long-running thread in our forums about the Atari landfill. This thread was started back in 2005 and has nearly 1,500 posts to date!
Discuss online: 1450 comments in Atari 2600 Forum
Tim Lapetino and his team are working on a book chronicling the art, design, and illustration of Atari in its heyday. Tentatively called "Art of Atari: From Pixels to Paintbrush," the book will highlight the creativity of the artists, designers, and illustrators who created some of the most iconic video game imagery ever. His team is in the process of interviewing former Atari artists and employees to get at the process behind creating the iconic look of Atari in the 80s, with a focus on the home consoles and everything surrounding them.
While nothing is finalized yet, they are in talks with Atari and different publishers about the project, planning on a fully-licensed volume that will be a beautiful art book that preserves these illustrations and images for fans and future generations. Tim and his team are huge fans, and want this book to be a great representation of how Atari helped define an industry, and also completed the overall experiences of very simple video games of the time. Tim will also be talking about the art, and some of his efforts at the Midwest Gaming Classic in Brookfield, Wisconsin, this Saturday. Marty Goldberg (Retro Rogue) will be doing a Q&A with Tim as well.
You can learn more about the book by reading some interviews Tim has done about it:
The Art of Atari: A celebration of game packaging's golden age
How Atari Box Art Turned 8-bit Games Into Virtual Wonderlands
The art of Atari – the masters who brought early games to life by filling in the blanks
To raise further funds for book-related research, Tim has put several original Atari production art negatives up for sale. These would make an incredible addition to anyone's classic gaming collection. To discuss the project with Tim and other AtariAge members, please visit our Atari 2600 Forum.
Discuss online: 46 comments in Atari 2600 Forum
Stan, a regular member here at AtariAge for some time, recently took control of Deaf Sparrow, a site that originally specialized in extreme underground music, but has since branched out into other avenues, including media. Stan, as you all probably know, is a huge fan of the Atari 2600 and is a regular participant in the High Score Club. For one of his latest articles, he did a write-up on what he considers to be the top ten worst games for the 2600, complete with videos, links, and descriptions about each, based on his actual experiences growing up with the system and playing through its library over the years. You might be surprised what you find. Quick hint, ET is not one of his selections, and neither is Pac-Man.
Discuss online: 85 comments in Atari 2600 Forum
The 2014 Texas Pinball Festival will be held the weekend of March 28th-30th with a HUGE 40,000 square foot game room! This year's show will be held at the Embassy Suites Dallas – Frisco Hotel and Conference Center in Frisco. The show's organizers plan to fill this space with more than 400 pinball machines, classic video games and other game room goodies set up on free play for everyone to enjoy the entire weekend. Leave your quarters at home!
Vendors, collectors and hobbyists from the surrounding area and beyond will be bringing parts, supplies, game room memorabilia, pinballs, slot machines, jukeboxes and video games for sale. Lucky winners will take home door prizes and someone will take home a new pinball machine from the show's annual raffle. You can also participate in the pinball tournaments held throughout the weekend, as well as the outdoor flea market and swap meet Saturday morning.
The Texas Pinball Festival opens its doors Friday evening at 5pm and will stay open until 1am on Friday and midnight on Saturday. Please visit the Texas Pinball Festival site to learn all about this year's show!
Discuss online: 51 comments in Events Forum
Frequent visitors to AtariAge may know about our weekly gameplay tracker, started by AtariAge member cvga in 2008 and continued by thegoldenband since 2010. Participants in the tracker simply log the amount of time they spend playing games on pre-modern platforms (i.e. anything up to the Dreamcast), and the numbers are then totaled each week to see which games and consoles have gotten the most time.
One of our members, Atarian7, has been on a quest to reach the maximum possible score of 999,999 points in the game Kaboom!. He's come very close in the past, logging a score of 928,982 in April 2012, and his prowess has even earned praise from Larry Kaplan, the game's designer.
As of this week, he reached a tremendous milestone, and has now logged over 100,000 minutes of Kaboom! since the tracker was founded. That's more than two months of continuous play! Will Atarian7 reach 999,999 points before he reaches 999,999 minutes?
Discuss online: 30 comments in Atari 2600 Forum
We're a bit late with this news, but episode 6 of ANTIC, The Atari 8-bit Podcast is now available for your listening pleasure. In this latest episode:
Discuss online: 100 comments in Atari 8-Bit Computers Forum
Everybody's favorite fabled frosty firefighter is back! But so are those pesky fireballs, and they're hotter than ever! This year they've kidnapped Santa and some of his helpers, so it's up to you to put out the fireballs and rescue your friends from their fiery fate.
Your first frosty adventure was just a warm-up - now there are all new levels to conquer and challenges to face! Fortunately, you've found some new magic in that old silk hat of yours. Can you stay frostier, fight your way to the fireballs' frigid fortress, and freeze those fiendish flames?
AtariAge and the team behind the upcoming Atari 2600 homebrew Stay Frosty 2, lead by author Darrell Spice, Jr., have released a playable demo of this original, holiday-themed game! Stay Frosty 2 is a sequel to the original Stay Frosty, released as part of a collection of mini-games in Stella's Stocking several years ago. This special demo version of Stay Frosty 2 contains a selection of levels featured in the full game. Can you conquer them and rescue Mrs. Claus? The full version of Stay Frosty 2 features more characters to rescue, 32 unique levels which repeat at increasing difficulties for 128 total levels, and many more surprises!
You can download the the demo version of Stay Frosty 2 in our Atari 2600 Forum. Included are NTSC and PAL versions of the game you can enjoy in the Stella emulator (be sure you're using the latest version) or on a real Atari 2600 system with a Harmony Cartridge. The full version of Stay Frosty 2 will be available soon in the AtariAge Store!
Discuss online: 79 comments in Atari 2600 Forum
Left Turn Only Productions, publishers of the modern hit Intellivision game, Christmas Carol vs. The Ghost Of Christmas Presents, and the Intellivision High Score Club have announced their second annual Carol vs. The World! Championship. After the fantastic success of the high-score competition following the game's release in 2012, they have decided to turn it into an annual event. This year, the prizes include not only a specially designed custom edition of the game, but also commemorative merit badges and a first for any game competition: personalized mugs with hot-cocoa mix—a propos to a Christmas challenge during winter time.
Christmas Carol vs. The Ghost Of Christmas Presents is an original game concept, designed and programmed by James Pujals and published by Left Turn Only Productions for the 1980s Intellivision game system. It follows the adventures of Carol Greenleaf, Santa's most resourceful elf, as she tries to recover the presents stolen by an Evil Snowman, and save Christmas for the children of the world. The game was originally released at the 2012 Classic Gaming Expo, and went on to become a smash hit in the retro-gaming community, voted Game Of The Year by retro-gaming enthusiasts on AtariAge.
For the Carol Vs. The World! Championship, the producers have released the game as a free download, playable on any PC. No purchase or registration is needed to participate; just a photo of the game score, which may be submitted either via e-mail or posted directly to the Intellivision High Score Forum . The high-score championship is open to all comers, and will last throughout the month of December. The competition closes on 31 December, 2013 at 12:00 Midnight, Central Standard Time. For more information, please visit the official Carol vs. The World! Championship site.
Discuss online: 831 comments in Intellivision High Score Club Forum
CollectorVision has announced they are accepting pre-orders for their upcoming release of a Pong and Computer Space Box Set. The box set include copies of Pong and Computer Space, each in their own box, including extras such as a history booklet, a postcard containing codes to download the ROM images for both games, and a serialized holographic sticker on the box. This release will be limited to 150 copies and has been authorized by Atari Interactive. Order by December 7th to receive a special price of $110. After that, the price increases to $150.
Computer Space is where it all began. Nolan Bushnell teamed up with with Ted Dabney in the beginning of the seventies to design one of the first arcade videogames. Unfortunately, the game was far from being a success but it helped them form Atari and thus kick-started the whole videogame industry. Bushnell hired a new engineer, Allan Alcorn, to develop Pong, which went on to become the first commercially successful video game. Atari then produced a home Pong unit which also did very well, leading to many sequels and imitators. Atari would later turn their efforts to another unit, the Atari VCS (later renamed the 2600), which was a huge success for Atari.
With this Pong & Computer Space Box Set, CollectorVision's aim was to pay tribute to the fathers of the videogame industry. You can learn more about this box set and how to pre-order your copy over in our CollectorVision Forum.
Discuss online: 84 comments in CollectorVision Forum
Our Star Castle Arcade Label Contest is drawing to a close, ending this Sunday at 11:59pm! We've already received some great entries, and we look forward to receiving your submission! The winning label design will be featured on the Star Castle Arcade cartridge, manual and box. The winner of the contest will receive a $100 gift certificate in the AtariAge Store, as well as a copy of the game in physical form featuring their winning design.
Star Castle Arcade is a 32K game that pushes the boundary of what's possible on the Atari 2600. Star Castle is a 1980 vector arcade game produced by Cinematronics. The game involves obliterating a series of defenses orbiting a stationary turret in the center of the screen. Chris Walton and Thomas Jentzsch have created a fantastic port of Star Castle for the Atari 2600, one of two versions of Star Castle developed in parallel. This new version contains many improvements over the previously released version of Star Castle.
The object of Star Castle is to destroy an enemy cannon which sits in the center of three concentric, rotating energy shield rings while avoiding or destroying 'mines' - enemies that spawn from the core, pass through the energy rings, and then home in on the player's ship. They can stick back to the shield if the player maneuvers in such a way that a ring is between the ship and the mines. The player-controlled spaceship can rotate, thrust forward, and fire small projectiles. The cannon's shields are composed of twelve sections each, and each section takes two hits to destroy. Once a section is breached, rings beneath it are exposed to fire.
The Star Castle Arcade Label Contest will run until 11:59pm (CST), Sunday, November 24, 2013 and all submissions must be received by this time! For some inspiration for your own designs, please take a look at the submissions we've already received!
Discuss online: 87 comments in AtariAge Sponsored Contests Forum
April 21, 2014
Did you know?
It is rumored that Coleco intentionally crippled their games for other systems in order to make their own system look better.