Alamagordo, New Mexico. Fifty miles southeast of Roswell, the most famous UFO site in the nation. Also the scene of the most infamous landfill in video game history.
Here, Atari buried thousands of cartridges of E.T. a game that, combined with an awful Pac-Man port was blamed for the collapse of North American console gaming in the middle 1980s. The Registry of Historic Gaming Locations, a project of the retro-, arcade-and oddball-gaming gadfly Scott Patterson (whom we've featured here before), added Atari's trash heap and two other sites to its list, in a statement published today.
The other sites recognized include:
• 3105 Alfred Street Santa Clara, Calif.: The headquarters of Fairchild, makers of The Fairchild Channel F. That's a console as exotic to me as Polybius is to the arcade. I only played it when my family visited the Britts in Roaring Gap when I was eight or nine. The Channel F's big game was Spitfire, if I recall.
• Ottumwa, Iowa: Home of the original Twin Galaxies arcade which, under Walter Day in the 1980s, began as the first scorekeeper of worldwide high scores on arcade games. Twin Galaxies today is the official arbiter of high scores for such sources as The Guinness Book of World Records, and 2K Sports' million-dollar perfect game challenge.
Other locations in the registry include the site of the first Chuck E. Cheese, Gamestop and Dave & Busters chains; the Spot Tavern near Seattle, where the first Donkey Kong cabinet was installed; the Dutch Goose near Stanford University, site of the test for Computer Space, and buildings used in arcade scenes in films such as Tron, The Karate Kid and WarGames.
Three sites added to Registry of Historic Gaming Locations [News release]