The Man Who Disposed of 750,000 Atari Games

May 2, 2014 - GamePolitics Staff

Here's an interesting fact: the man responsible for the Atari game graveyard unearthed by a documentary film crew over the weekend (to be released at a later date as part of Microsoft's Xbox Original entertainment programming for Xbox Live) has been identified as James Heller of Nampa, Idaho.

Speaking to news station KBOI, Heller said the he worked for Atari in 1983. One day he was tasked by his employer with getting rid of 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.

After kids started raiding the cache of games, the company decided that - instead of just giving them away or letting people take them for free, they would bury all the games under six truckloads of cement.

Thirty years later a story about the Atari grave site surfaced.

"I looked at the article and I go, 'I did that!' Heller said.

A film crew shooting a documentary about Atari for Xbox showed up last Saturday to find what was buried at the site and they invited Heller to be there. He says they found thousands of games and not all of them were the craptastic game ET: The Extraterrestrial. "It was just not E.T. It was Missile Command, and Centipede, Warlords," Heller said.

Source: KBOI

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Re: The Man Who Disposed of 750,000 Atari Games

After kids started raiding the cache of games, the company decided that - instead of just giving them away or letting people take them for free, they would bury all the games under six truckloads of cement.

Arguably the more charitable option.

Re: The Man Who Disposed of 750,000 Atari Games

Please, this was Atari of the early 80's, responsible for spawning Activision because they didn't want to give their programmers credits in the games, nor royalties. "Charity" wasn't in their vocaublary back then. It's partly -their- fault for causing the crash in the first place, first by causing Activision to form, and second for trying to sue Activision, failing to get an injunction and settling out of court- an action that convinced other businesses (most with no programming experience) to take up video game development to impress stockholders (since now they knew they wouldn't be sued for making games for another company's console), which subsequently led to huge market saturation from a crapload of clones and knockoffs with no new original ideas.

Re: The Man Who Disposed of 750,000 Atari Games

You might have missed the snark tags on my comment.

Re: The Man Who Disposed of 750,000 Atari Games

Sounds a bit like the industry today.

 
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