Former Atari employee reveals "secret" of desert game stash (w/ video)Nampa, ID (CNN) - A story about Atari games buried in a New Mexico dump has become the stuff of legend. One man says he can solve the mystery.
By: Eric Gonzalez, CNN
Nampa, ID (CNN) - A story about Atari games buried in a New Mexico dump has become the stuff of legend. One man says he can solve the mystery.
James Heller – Former Atari Employee: "The urban legend was that Atari had gone out in the middle of the desert and buried somewhere between 3.5 and 5 million ET cartridges."
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.
James Heller: "I had been charged with getting rid of it as quickly and inexpensively as possible, and so I did. That was my job."
That's when the rumors started.
James Heller: "There was many, many things written that it was done in the middle of the night. It was not. That Atari was trying to hide something, they were not. It was just my job."
He says after kids raided the dump, 6 truckloads of cement were used to cover the games. Then thirty years later back in June of last year, the games surfaced in a story about the Atari grave site.
James Heller: "I looked at the article and I go, 'I did that!'"
A film crew shooting a documentary about Atari showed up last Saturday to find what was buried. They invited Heller to be there. He says they found the whole lot.
James Heller: "It was just not ET. It was like Missile Command, and Centipede, Warlords."
Heller said the games were in good shape. He says all hype about Atari hiding the games is just a story.
James Heller: "It was excess inventory that they couldn't sell and they had to get rid of it."
He says no Roswell, no conspiracy and no mystery.
James Heller: "No mystery whatsoever, just people made it a mystery."
And James Heller knows all about it.
"It's the biggest urban legend that ever happened in video gaming history. It's lasted for thirty years."