This was the less fun part, he says getting approvals from the New Mexico film commission, the Alamogordo city council, the police, the mayor and environmental groups. Burns calls it "navigating two years of politics." "It's been a lot of bumps along the way says Lewandowski.
The Discovery Channel reached out, wanting to feature the Atari grave in a show about the strangest items in landfills narrowing a list of 100 down to three, with Atari making the cut.
He describes the Atari cell as a "trench dump which, back in the 1980s, wasn't cataloged the same way it would be in 2014 with proper zones and grids. "If you're looking for something now that happened in 2008, we can help with that it's how the police find bodies when they're looking for them he says.
Schechter began cold calling landfills across the Western U.S. While media reports from the '80s pointed to a landfill dump in Alamogordo, Schechter wanted to do his "due diligence" and estimates he contacted 30-50 landfills between California, Nevada and New Mexico.
Small talk. Pressing the flesh. When Burns heard that one of the consultants worked for Universal in the 80s and helped license. E.T. To Atari, he had a flashback. He remembered playing, e.T.
So Lewandowski went to work reverse engineering the landfill process pulling together clues, analyzing old reference photos, finding people who had scavenged carts from the dump back in the 80s and drawing diagrams and cross sections.
"To all intents and purposes, Atari should really be Apple today the notion that a company like that failed, I think, is worth exploring. Open contributions: Which video games deserve to be buried?
An "investigative company" contacted him to see if a dig was possible. It was in the zeitgeist. So when Schechter first called, Lewandowski didn't think much of it. He'd been down that road before, gathering notes and putting together research.