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Friday, May 2, 2014 - 6:50pm
NAMPA, ID — There's an urban legend going around claiming Atari's E.T. video game was so bad that they buried millions of copies of unsold game cartridges.
The rumors claim employees snuck out in the desert in the middle of the night to a dump near Roswell, New Mexico to get rid of the games. Well, not so fast.
A Nampa man says that all the rumors are a myth because he was the one who buried the stash 30 years ago.
James Heller of Nampa, worked for Atari back in 1983. He was told to get rid of some 750,000 video games that were in a warehouse in El Paso, Texas.
"I had been charged with getting rid of it as quickly and inexpensively as possible and so I did. That was my job," Heller said.
He says after kids raided the dump, six truckloads of cement were used to cover the games after three days. Then, 30 years later, back in June of last year, the games surfaced in a story about the Atari grave site. "I looked at the article and I go, 'I did that!' Heller said.
A film crew shooting a documentary about Atari showed up last Saturday to find what was buried at the site. They invited Heller to be there. He says they found the whole lot. Thousands of games with many titles. "It was just not E.T. It was Missile Command, and Centipede, Warlords," Heller said.
He says no Roswell, no conspiracy and no mystery. "No mystery whatsoever. People made it a mystery," Heller said.