Atari 2600 “E.T.” Landfill Update

You may have noticed for previous posts, and the fact that my editorial is called “Retro Monday“, I like old games. So the story about Atari putting thousands of unsold 2600 cartridges of  “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial” in a New Mexico landfill.

In a past post, I talked about the plans to have an excavation in the now disused landfill where the cartridges are meant to have been buried had been approved by the appropriate local authority’s and was going ahead. The dig was also being film for a documentary.

Now the story can now move from the ‘urban legend’ section and into sold truth.  Today, via the Twitter of Major Nelson, (AKA Larry Hryb, AKA Microsoft, one of the backers of the documentary so a sponsor of the dig,) showed the long lost cartridges. Some are in fairly sold condition too.

The ‘E.T.’ is often seen as the worst game of all time and is often attributed to the 1983 video game market crash. Most of the cartridges where returned and ended up in the hole. The game is now a collectable because of whole shityness so the landfill may be holding a fair amount of money. So, I predict there may be a few of the cartridges appearing as auction pieces in a time not long from now. It makes send. Film makers want to make money, right?

Either way, this should bring the history of one of the most remembered games in history to a close. Although, I have to say that I would never of expected to see “E.T. Found In Landfill” as a actual headline used by actual journalists.


The “E.T.” Diggy-Diggy-Hole Documentary

Some of you may remember the “Retro Monday” I wrote a few weeks back about the 1980’s game “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial” for the Atari 2600. Long called the ‘worst game of all time’, most of the game cartridges where buried near Alamogordo, New Mexico as no one else wanted them. A group of companies, (Xbox Entertainment Studios, Fuel Entertainment, and LightBox Entertainment) now want to dig-up where they where supposedly buried and film their exploits to make a documentary.

Their plans however came to a screeching halt in March after their ‘waste excavation plan’ was denied by New Mexico’s Sold Waste Bureau due to a lack of detail. They had until the 17th March to file a new plan that satisfied their regulations for the plan to be cleared and for the dig to begin.

The plan now, according to Alamogordo News, has been cleared and the dig can begin as long as they tell the New Mexico Environmental Department 5 days in advance. In addition, if they find anything they have to register with the New Mexico Environmental Department as a waste hauler before then can remove anything from the site. A lot of red tape when looking for a 20-year-old game that reportedly caused the 1983 video game crash.

I am very intrigued by all of this. The “E.T.” game is one that will always be remembered because how astoundingly bad it was. What they may found may vary from a few hunks of decomposed plastic and microchips to quite a few artifacts for the gaming history archives. After 20 years, it more likely they will find the former then the later. Either way, I will be checking out the documentary if or when it gets finished, no matter the outcome.