Last month, thousands of copies of ET (along with other Atari games) were found buried beneath the New Mexico desert. James Heller was the man responsible for that.
In an interview with KBOI2, the former Atari employee says that the rumours about the dumping being some secretive, midnight affair are untrue. With 750,000 unwanted game cartridges sitting in an El Paso warehouse gathering dust, Heller says “I had been charged with getting rid of it as quickly and inexpensively as possible and so I did. That was my job”.
He also seeks to clarify another long-standing rumour about the burial, that the games were buried under concrete. He says they were, but not when first buried; they only added it later, after they’d caught local kids travelling out to the site and digging games up.
Having been asked to do a job, and having done so publicly enough that kids at the time knew where to dig the games up, Heller is a little bemused that the story has taken on mythical qualities in subsequent decades.”[There’s] no mystery whatsoever. People made it a mystery.”