Airborne grains of sand and flying bits of old trash are pelting me without mercy. Honestly, I never imagined I’d find myself here…

I’m standing in the middle of a garbage dump in the New Mexico desert. It’s hot. It’s LOUD. A huge sandstorm rages all around us. I’m surrounded by hundreds of people from all over the country. We huddle like penguins for protection against the onslaught. There are news people, construction people, food people, film people and even some local politicians, but the vast majority are fans. Classic Video Game fans. People who smile at the mere mention of the word “Atari.”

We’re all here, braving the heat and the storm, watching huge noisy yellow machines reaching deep into the ground, literally digging up my past right before my eyes. A big yellow arm disappears into a hole, bringing up another claw-bucket of ancient garbage and detritus. The arm swings around and dumps its load before returning for the next scoop, leaving behind a dusty pile of old refuse. The ground between the machines and a thin plastic retaining fence is dotted with such piles. Each one holds the promise of a “nugget.” Bodies press against the fence, straining to get a closer look at the latest droppings. “Is it there?” “Can you see one?” Or is this just more ammunition for the relentless gusting winds?

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