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Sunday, April 27, 2014

The legend confirmed

Atari's legendary ET dump in the desert has been found:
A decades-old urban legend was put to rest Saturday when workers for a documentary film production company recovered "E.T." Atari game cartridges from a heap of garbage buried deep in the New Mexico desert.

The "Atari grave" was, until that moment, a highly debated tale among gaming enthusiasts and other self-described geeks for 30 years. The story claimed that in its death throes, the video game company sent about a dozen truckloads of cartridges of what many call the worst video game ever to be forever hidden in a concrete-covered landfill in southeastern New Mexico.

The search for the cartridges of a game that contributed to the demise of Atari will be featured in an upcoming documentary about the biggest video game company of the early '80s.
I'm of two minds about this discovery. While I'm glad to know the dump was real, (which I always assumed to be the case), I would have preferred for the cartridges to be left for far future generations to discover, just so their archeologists could come up with the usual cockamamie theories about the items they are uncovering.

One of the more amusingly wry gems of The Hermetic Millennia is when the ur-history of the Witches is mentioned in passing:

Mickey turned and turned again, and drew a large circle on the snowy ground with his staff. “Here is my circle of Power! Within it, all who walk tread lightly on their Mother Earth, leaving no trace when they die; and all goods are held in common; and all class-enemies, all enmities, inequalities, and patriarchy must be left outside, and cannot pass my ninefold wards! I call upon Jadis and Jahi, Phoebe and Prudence, Sabrina and Samantha, Willow and Wendy, to watch the sacred bounds!”

Menelaus went up to him, stepping into the circle, and said softly, “Uh. You do know all those people watching your sacred bounds are, um, made up from kiddie pixies and texts and toons, right? Make-believe?”


Mickey drew himself upright, which thrust his belly out even farther, and the scowl on his face was like a line drawn in a pie pan filled with raw dough. “Many records survived from the Days of Fire—the Final Archive listed nine hundred thousand references to the beloved Witch Hermione alone, not to mention Gillian Holroyd and Glinda the Good! Would you have us believe that the ancients devoted so much emphasis, effort, and attention to what they knew to be merely idle fictions?! Next you will claim that the warlocks Klingsor and Castaneda are unreal!”


There can be little doubt that the development of the novel during the present period of civilization is going to seriously screw up future historians if Man ever passes through another post-literate period. Which, based on the present trends, looks increasingly likely.

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37 Comments:

Anonymous Smokey April 27, 2014 7:37 AM  

Fanfiction and online fandom is going to seriously screw with future archeologists.

The way people go into rabid obsession over things like superheroes, tv shows, books, cartoons, anime, video games - I would not want to be the poor sucker put in charge of sorting through that crap to determine fact from fiction.

Anonymous Anonymous April 27, 2014 7:50 AM  

I've thought before: what if some future cataclysm destroys most of our records, and all some future age can dig up from our era is someone's collection of Will & Grace episodes and a book of Maya Angelou's poetry.

Anonymous Heaviside April 27, 2014 8:12 AM  

Klingsor is real, and he walks among us.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PZErcCuEgA

Anonymous Anonymous April 27, 2014 8:27 AM  

Dear Vox Day:

Off-topic, but relevant to the Hugo controversy (and I was going to send you an e-mail reference this, but I hope you do not mind me posting it here as a comment):

I am not sure if you are still following the discussion there or not, but over at the "Making Light" Blog (http://www.nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/015838.html#015838), Site Administrator Abi Sutherland has not only rescinded her "challenge" that no Vox Day support could post why they support and enjoy his work, but she has decided that she is no longer interested in receiving any comments supporting your work and has thus placed any comment supporting you in moderation (see Comment #633).

In fact, my comprehensive 3000 word response in support of your work (see Comment #623)--which I contend was eminently reasonable, rational, and fair--had its font size reduced by the Site Administrators to the point that it is essentially unreadable. You need to copy and paste it into another document in order to be able to read it. And though the Site Administer said that this was done to reduce my "wall" of text, I cannot but cynically think that that has been done to ensure that no regular reader of that blog will take the time to read my post and see that there are a number of reasons to support your work, and also a number of reasons why their assessment of you is inaccurate. Finally, in addition to all that, my attempts to respond it any critics of my post have already been blocked, thus removing my ability to further explain and support the points that I made in your favor.

So, in their desire to "understand" why people might like to read your work, the Site Administrators of Making Light have blocked all comments from your supporters, they have taken my comprehensive response and have made it very difficult to read, and finally, they have ensured that not one of your supporters can respond to any criticism made against them.

Its not surprising, but, for a bunch of writers, it is a disgusting course of action.

I just thought that you and your readers should know.

Take care,

RD Miksa

Anonymous FUBAR Nation Ben April 27, 2014 8:30 AM  

One of the only decent games for Atari was Pitfall.

Blogger Manach April 27, 2014 8:46 AM  

Offhand, was there not an A.C. Clarke short story similar to that, in that a new ice age had driven human's to extinction and the only means for alien historian's to reconstruct what society had been like were old tapes of Mickey Mouse?

Anonymous VD April 27, 2014 8:58 AM  

So, in their desire to "understand" why people might like to read your work, the Site Administrators of Making Light have blocked all comments from your supporters, they have taken my comprehensive response and have made it very difficult to read, and finally, they have ensured that not one of your supporters can respond to any criticism made against them.

I cannot say that I am surprised. But I am pleased, not only by your enthusiasm for the work, but by the way their response provides more evidence supporting many of the charges Larry Correia and others have made against them. I have copied your response and it will appear in a post here later today. Thanks very much.

Blogger Hermit April 27, 2014 9:24 AM  

T-this cartridges are a sign from the gods! Let's sacrifice an infant!

Anonymous dana April 27, 2014 9:37 AM  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Canticle_for_Leibowitz ?

Blogger Nate April 27, 2014 9:54 AM  

We always think of Future Man as being brilliant. I myself am more inclined to think that Future man is going to be a total moron.

For evidence of this... we must look no further than the millennials... or compare our own writing to the samples we have from the 1800s.

we're idiots. Our great great great great grandchildren will be bulbous slugs to useless and lazy to collate government form a-8908b25.D... and will likely just use back into the ocean.

Blogger Nate April 27, 2014 9:54 AM  

use.... oooze... whatever...

Anonymous WinstonWebb April 27, 2014 9:55 AM  

Combat and River Raid were quite good IMO.

Anonymous rycamor April 27, 2014 9:58 AM  

Thanks Nate, for that cup of optimism this fine Sunday morning.

Anonymous WinstonWebb April 27, 2014 9:58 AM  

Future Doctor: "Sez here you talk like a fag and uhhhh your shit's all...retarded."

Blogger rycamor April 27, 2014 10:02 AM  

Nate April 27, 2014 9:54 AM
We always think of Future Man as being brilliant. I myself am more inclined to think that Future man is going to be a total moron.

For evidence of this... we must look no further than the millennials... or compare our own writing to the samples we have from the 1800s.


I sometimes ponder the wisdom of how I'm raising my children. My older daughter is halfway through all her Latin verb forms, reads at least a book or two a week, and can walk you through all the classic forms in logic. And just what place will there be for such as her in the world 2 generations hence?

We homeschoolers need to seriously start thinking about a Redoubt.

Anonymous Anonymous April 27, 2014 10:07 AM  

> Its not surprising, but, for a bunch of writers, it is a disgusting course of action.

Your mistake was doing a unanswerably comprehensive beatdown out of the gate. Of course they did. The trick to being an awesome troll is to leave enough flaws for them to think they're besting you every step of the way so they never disengage. Note how I managed to nudge the needle from 'nobody could defend Vox' far enough to get a couple raising Vox's actual opinions and not just caricaturing them, whilst being dismissed by others as "Oh, you're pretending that you're being objective and not racist by being bad at math?"

... which I'd say is as much of a win whilst remaining visible that anyone could reasonably expect on that playing field.

Blogger Nate April 27, 2014 10:29 AM  

" And just what place will there be for such as her in the world 2 generations hence?"

At the top of it of course. Breeding with children like my own.

Blogger Nate April 27, 2014 10:30 AM  

we're creating the Aristocracy that will run things 100 years from now Ryc... sleep well at night.

Anonymous rycamor April 27, 2014 10:43 AM  

Nate, that's the end toward which I intend, but I do see a world fraught with other possibilities. Expect the best, prepare for the worst, etc...

Anonymous H April 27, 2014 10:47 AM  

In the future, the movie Idiocracy will be viewed as a prophetic vision.

Anonymous buzzcut April 27, 2014 10:49 AM  

"No worries, Scro! There's lotsa tards out there leadin' kick-ass lives! My first wife was tarded. She's a pilot now."

Anonymous Eric Ashley April 27, 2014 11:02 AM  

Add in cosplay and the SCA and the stuff that is Second Life-like online. Now add in deliberate fictions created for political goals.

Perhaps it was Synners that had a person who created their own private history ignoring rock and roll, and instead making up a glorious Jazz Age history that did not exist in the real world.

In my Starsong Systems there was just so much data, real and unreal, that no one knew what had really happened on some points. It was a topic of dispute whether there had been one Bush or two Bushes as POTUS, forex.

A lot of fun could be had by making up a supremely twisted history for a future archeologist story.

....the Plumber's Union, which consisted of masters or Marios, and apprentices called Luigis was involved in all forms of water control, including the famed Watergate Dam, which was overlooked by the Ho Tell where prositutes and johnslennons met to imagine their virtual reality sexcapades. The City was under the rule of a long line of benevolent princesses, Ariel, Mulan, and Rapunzel were the most famous....Ariel for making a peace treaty with Namor of New Atlantis, Mulan for being genetically engineered as a mule, hence the name, for a birthday party, and Rapunzel was a famous rap star, shot to death by the Cigarette Smoking Man (this is doubtful. Some authorities argue the CSM is a god, the brother of the FSM).

Anonymous Red Comet April 27, 2014 12:30 PM  

I don't know why this is being retroactively called an urban legend. Newspapers and such printed it up when Atari buried these things back in the 80s, and these reports are also reflected in a couple of the history of the games industry books I've read and various internet videos on the ET game.

I was kind of surprised from the photos that the carts were still in one piece. A couple of sources I'd read over the years said that Atari had them crushed first before burial.

Blogger Michael Deloatch April 27, 2014 1:24 PM  

Having seen the movie and having hated it, like I did all Spielberg stuff (pace Schindler), this discovery has prompted me to download an atari emulator this afternoon and give said game a spin.

OMG what an atrocity.

Blogger Michael Deloatch April 27, 2014 1:26 PM  

I will hear that stupid pitter patter of those stupid little feet in my nightmares now. Ouch.

Blogger rycamor April 27, 2014 2:22 PM  

I'm feeling a little verklempt... talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic: "Office Space" and "Idiocracy" are the two most emblematic movies of our generation. Discuss.

Anonymous emdfl April 27, 2014 4:43 PM  

A couple of weeks back while moving crap in a bookcase I found the zipper case with my Nintindo Gameboy and two cartridges, Tetrus and Tank Battle. Now if I can only get it working...

Anonymous Athor Pel April 27, 2014 4:56 PM  

"Smokey April 27, 2014 7:37 AM
...
The way people go into rabid obsession over things like superheroes, tv shows, books, cartoons, anime, video games - I would not want to be the poor sucker put in charge of sorting through that crap to determine fact from fiction.
"



From the number of movie, comic and computer game character figurines produced I would have to say this is one of the more idolatrous generations in world history. And those figures are going to last a long long time.

Or what will those archeologists think about Precious Moments or Snow Baby figurines? Or my Ceramic Smiley piggy bank.

Our ancient ancestors carved representations of prey animals. We make cherub faced babies in snow suits.


Anonymous Hal April 27, 2014 7:44 PM  

Please tell us all the steps youve taken to try and prevent this future? Or is this just more pissing and whining?

Blogger rycamor April 27, 2014 9:11 PM  

Hal, the Ilk here are probably greater fans of homeschooling than they are of gaming, and that alone is about the biggest step one can take toward preventing the Future Stupid.

Blogger Nate April 28, 2014 8:46 AM  

"Please tell us all the steps youve taken to try and prevent this future? Or is this just more pissing and whining?"

As Ry says.. we homeschool. Apart from that... many of us do work with the kids of our towns and churches to try to help them. And we've opened more than one pair of eyes on this blog and others.

So... as they say...

Piss off.

Anonymous Porky April 28, 2014 10:13 AM  

we're creating the Aristocracy that will run things 100 years from now Ryc

And there it is... :)

Anonymous robert April 28, 2014 10:19 AM  

OMG--the angry video game nerd was RIGHT!

Blogger James Dixon April 28, 2014 10:35 AM  

> Please tell us all the steps youve taken to try and prevent this future? Or is this just more pissing and whining?

It's too late to prevent this future. 30 years ago, it could still have been stopped, but not now.

Blogger CarpeOro April 28, 2014 11:24 AM  

"I've thought before: what if some future cataclysm destroys most of our records, and all some future age can dig up from our era is someone's collection of Will & Grace episodes and a book of Maya Angelou's poetry."

Hopefully they'll just write it up as the crap it is... or not be able to figure out how to play it back for W&G. MA? Figure it was the inane ramblings of a child.

Blogger CarpeOro April 28, 2014 11:26 AM  

"It's too late to prevent this future. 30 years ago, it could still have been stopped, but not now."

Agreed. In any broad deep reaching historical trend, by the time many notice it inertia has set in. The Titanic had a greater probability of avoiding the iceberg by pulling a 180.

Blogger wgungfu April 30, 2014 3:47 PM  

The dump was real, it being a massive ET dump was not. ET was just one of 21+ titles found, and I think what' more interesting is how the myth seems to be skewing the reporting that's going on.

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