The story of Atari burying thousands of cartridges — 750,000 according to some accounts — has seemed so outlandish over the years that the retelling often assumed there were even more exotic details that had gone untold. But the man responsible for disposing of all the games says, nope, this really is all there is to it.
"It was excess inventory they couldn't sell, so they just had to get rid of it," James Heller of Nampa, Idaho, told KBOI-TV of Boise.
Heller was in charge of the dumping 31 years ago, moving the unsellable merchandise from El Paso to Alamogordo, N.M. "I had been charged with getting rid of it as quickly and inexpensively as possible and so I did."
Heller was invited down to Alamogordo a week ago for the unearthing of his infamous work, which will be the subject of a documentary provisionally titled "Atari: Game Over," which is being produced by Xbox Entertainment Studios for release later this year. Heller says they found exactly what he put there 31 years ago.
"No mystery whatsoever," he told KBOI. "People made it a mystery."