June 18, 2013 AT 5:59 pm

Hunting for an E.T. Castoff in a Most Terrestrial Place

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Hunting for an E.T. Castoff in a Most Terrestrial Place @ NYTimes.com.

You are the world’s greatest video game maker, but suddenly you find yourself stuck with millions of cartridges of a game nobody wants. What do you do?

You load the cartridges into trucks and bury them in the New Mexico desert.

Atari did just that almost 30 years ago, or so the story goes. The truth lies beneath packed dirt and poured concrete in a sleeping landfill by the railroad tracks behind a McDonald’s here, where this city of about 32,000, home to an Air Force base and the state’s Museum of Space History, dumped its garbage many years ago.

A spray-painted sign, bright orange against a white background, warns visitors: “Keep Out.”

The place may be the final resting place for the video game E.T., recalled by some as one of the worst video games ever made.

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