CGC Video Games Grades Sealed E.T. The Extra Terrestrial from Great Atari Game Burial

The sealed Atari 2600 game received a grade of CGC 1.0 when it reached the CGC Video Games grading room after having been buried in a landfill for over 30 years.

E.T. found its way home to CGC Video Games™, all the way from the bottom of a landfill in New Mexico! The sealed copy of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 (1982) received a grade of CGC 1.0 for its poor condition but unbroken seal.

“What a fantastic piece of video game history!” said Jason Brassard, CGC Video Games Senior Grading Finalizer. “Although its condition leaves something to be desired, this particular copy of E.T. is surely going to be a highlight of someone’s collection in the future.”



Atari Inc. faced a severe financial crisis in the early 1980s after the failure of games such as E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (often considered one of the worst games ever made) and mass returns of Pac-Man due to of its poor graphics. Atari hadn’t anticipated such a large failure and ended up with several million game cartridges in their El Paso, Texas warehouse. In addition, many of the cartridges were either broken or returned, so they were unable to sell them.

For this reason, in September 1983, the company decided to offload the unsellable cartridges in a local New Mexico landfill. It is estimated that up to 20 semi-trailer truckloads of Atari boxes, cartridges and systems from the Texas warehouse were crushed and buried in the landfill, then covered with concrete to prevent scavenging.

These retro Atari games remained buried for decades, until the Alamogordo City Commission granted a Canadian entertainment company the rights to film a documentary about the event. Fuel Industries was granted six months of access to the landfill, along with excavation rights. The public excavation revealed hundreds of thousands of Atari cartridges, but only around 1,300 were removed from the landfill. Many of these excavated relics were given to museums for display or sold in auctions through the Alamogordo Council website.

One such copy of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for Atari 2600 made its way from the landfill to CGC Video Games. This copy, unlike others that were recovered from the landfill, miraculously still has the original factory seal intact on the box. CGC Video Games certified it as a sealed copy, with the official Certificate of Authenticity number on the CGC Video Games certification label.

About CGC

Since revolutionizing comic book grading in 2000, CGC has grown to include certification services for many other types of pop culture collectibles. These divisions include CGC CardsCGC Video Games and CGC Home Video. CGC Cards provides expert card grading for TCGs, sports cards and non-sports cards. CGC Video Games is dedicated to video game grading for the most popular consoles, including Nintendo, Sega, Atari, PlayStation and more. The newest division of CGC, CGC Home Video, provides expert VHS grading in addition to other types of home media.