Videogames & The Afterlife

One of the main issues that Raiford highlights in his reading is about the physical waste humans produce and where they end up in society. Specifically, in his article, he explained that Atari’s brand took a large hit when they released a video game version of E.T. The game was predicted to make large sales because the movie had been so successful. However, the gameplay did not match the hype that was built around the game. With so many titles of the game not being sold, the company had no solution but to bury the games near an atomic bomb site near New Mexico.

Not only does the disposal of the game seem unreasonable but the location in which the company decided to get rid of the games adds to the mystery of the game. The game has been framed as a place of secrecy in where a company that was so technologically advanced had failed to create a product that would satisfy the interest of their consumers. How could a company that had been so talented in creating games fail to so terribly to produce a game? The mystery is real in which many people today still scavenge the location to see these multiple copies of E.T. in person to confirm the stories about Atari’s disposal. However, there is also a sense of nostalgia that arises from visiting the location. Many people visit the site who lust this physical reminder that Atari had taken a large toll on many gamers who were expecting to play a game that resembled the worth of Atari’s reputation. The location is literally an e-waste zone but to others has been a treasure waiting to be unveiled. A treasure that holds truths about Atari’s empire as a video game company and how that could be related to other companies today.

E-waste today is problematic in which companies are continuously producing products without considering the amount of space that is available to get rid of those products. For instance, Colombia University explains that 70 percent of e-waste is being transported to China and that has affected the health of many people in that country. People have been experiencing mutations from toxic chemicals that come from e-waste and the e-waste has been invasive as it makes its way into communities. These are some of the issues that are overlooked as a regular consumer that buys new products to replace those that are no longer functioning. Rather than recycling our products or finding ways to fix those products ourselves, we quickly seek new products.

As we continue to live in a world where technology is necessary for our lives, we need to find ways where we can minimize our production of products. If we continue to be naïve like Atari’s plan of producing a video game version of E.T., we can face larger problems that will lead to invasive e-waste. Technology can soon become more of an issue rather than a benefit to our lives.

Raiford Guins, “Landfill Legend” from Game After: A Cultural Study of Video Game Afterlife”.

Cho, Renee. “What Can We Do About the Growing E-waste Problem?”. Earth Institute. Colombia University.

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