The Search for 'E.T.' Will Begin As the Legend of Millions of Buried Copies Continues

Posted Mon Jun 3, 2013 at 07:30 AM PDT by
E.T. for the Atari 2600

Documentary crew hunting for the 1983 Atari 2600 landfill.

One of the great urban legends of the video game industry will soon be put to the test. For decades, the legend of a landfill in New Mexico, full of unsold video games and hardware has persisted. A combination of factors, including a glut of low-quality software attributed to the great video game crash of the early 1980's. The crash and its associated terrible games is most often exemplified by the Atari 2600 version of 'E.T.', whose five week development resulted in an all time flop.

Back in 1983, The Alamogordo Daily News chronicled the sightings of ten-to-twenty truckloads of Atari games, assorted merchandise, and hardware on their journey to a one-way landfill. Almost immediately it was theorized that the bulk of the buried items consisted of some 3.5 million unsold copies of 'E.T.'

A Canada based production company has secured rights to scour the landfill for some six months, and will attempt to excavate the Atari items, which are located within a 100 acre area.

Aspects of the legend have always been under dispute, especially with regards to the inclusion of so many cartridges of 'E.T.' Some thirty years after birth of to the legend, it will be put to the test in a way never attempted before, or likely will again.

Source: Ars Technica

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Tags: Atari 2600, E.T. (all tags)