Video game myth became reality today when workers discovered hundreds of copies of the movie tie-in game E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 buried in a New Mexico landfill.
A New York Times article from 1983 reported that Atari buried 14 truckloads unsellable equipment, including Atari console parts and game cartridges, in a landfill outside Alamogordo, New Mexico, but security kept potential observers far from the dump site. E.T. is considered one of the worst video games of all time and a major cause of the 1983 video game market crash due the millions of dollars then-industry leader Atari lost on the project. The game became notorious for its ridiculous premise (players take the role of ET and collect Reese’s Pieces and telephone parts in order to call home)and unreasonable difficulty. The burial of every remaining copy of the worst game ever has become an urban legend among gamers.
Today, The Verge reports that construction workers exhumed the game cartridges while seeking information on the 1983 crash for an upcoming Xbox Entertainment Studios documentary about the evolution of the video game industry. The documentary, which is slated for release in 2015, will hopefully shed further light on this fascinating story from the games industry’s dark days.