Destination: New Mexico

New Mexico

Good morning, readers!

Welcome to another Monday in my little corner of the internet! I’m excited to finally resume the Around the World in 250 books challenge. I took a break from it during the trip and it’s lasted longer than I ever intended it to, so it feels good to be getting back on track!

We’ve made our way over to New Mexico, known as the Land of Enchantment. And I have to be honest with you guys, part of the reason it’s taken me so long to get back to the challenge was the fact that I was having trouble settling on a book, finding something to introduce us to New Mexico. In looking for inspiration, however, I landed on something that blew my mind a little bit.

Apparently, at one point, Atari made a game that did so very badly that they ended up burying it in a Landfill in New Mexico. This game was none other than E.T, which came out in 1982 and was developed in a matter of weeks by Howard Scott Warshaw, the guy who created Yar’s Revenge. What was meant to be a million dollar product, collapsed in on itself and became a huge loss for the company. People hated the game so much that they started returning it and demanding refunds for it. Actually, when everything at Atari started unraveling, people blamed E.T. and Warshaw, something that destroyed his career in the video game industry. The game became known as the worst video game in history.

So, in 2014  a group of people set out to excavate the landfill and find out whether or not the stories were true. The entire process was made into a documentary called Atari: Game Over, which documents not only the excavation process, but also the story behind the burial itself. It’s really cool because people started gathering at the burial site, fans of Atari and their games waiting for video game history to possibly occur. And it did in the form of over 800 video game cartridges, not only E.T., but other games as well, which were put up on eBay and collectively sold for more than $100,000. The games that weren’t sold were kept in the town or shipped off to different museums.

I haven’t played the game, so I can’t say with certainty whether it’s fame is warranted or if it’s just another part of the myth. But It’s weird to think that for a really long time people thought E.T. and Warshaw were singlehandedly responsible for the demise of Atari. That maybe the game became known as the worst game ever, not because it was necessarily, but just because it was buried out of what people assumed was shame. Kinda crazy, right?

Here’s the full documentary, if you’re interested in watching it. I definitely recommend it if video games are a thing in your life.

Have a good one, readers! And stay tuned because on Wednesday we start with my pick for New Mexico!

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