Buried ’80s Atari ‘E.T.’ Games to be Unearthed

By Frank Elaridi

Apr 11, 2014 2:26pm

It was the Steven Spielberg film that became one of the most iconic movies of all time, but the video game “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” is considered to be Atari’s worst-selling ever.

The Alamogordo Landfill in New Mexico is believed to have millions of unsold cartridges of the game — one of the biggest flops in video game history — buried three decades ago deep beneath its surface.

On April 26, a team film makers and garbage contractors will dig them up — and the public is invited to watch.

ht atari et game 2 sr 140411 16x9 608 Buried 80s Atari E.T. Games to be Unearthed

Credit: Courtesy Atari

“I remember buying the game, it was cheaper at the time than other Atari games, and when I got home I realized it was impossible to play,” said John Gallagher, a writer and gamer in Boston. “Other games you could play for hours. The art work was so impressive I thought it would be this groundbreaking game, but I took it home and I was at a dead end pretty quickly. You fall into a hole and there’s no way to get out, so you had to restart the system.”

The excavation of the Atari 2500 game, released in 1982, is part of a Fuel Entertainment and Xbox Entertainment Studios collaborative documentary directed by Zak Penn, who directed “The Avengers” and “X-Men 2.”

“Other than garbage and the truth, I have no idea what we’ll find. I think that’s what’s exciting, we won’t know exactly what’s down there until they start digging. Alamogordo, April 26, be there to find out the truth,” Penn said.

For gamers, this event is a big deal, which is why Xbox — which now produces original content — chose the speculation of the sites whereabouts as the basis for its newest documentary.

“I think people have a certain nostalgia for it, that’s why I was interested in it, people care about going out and finding these things,” said Gallagher.

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