Movie Studio Set To Comb Desert Landfill For Notoriously Terrible ‘E.T.’ Atari Game

Is he in a sandy grave, waiting to return to the surface?

Is he in a sandy grave, waiting to return to the surface?

There is a legend, a legend of a magical place filled with millions of copies of the notoriously terrible 1982 E.T. title, among other failed Atari games. According to gamer lore, after the title flopped, millions of Atari cartridges were buried somewhere in the desert of New Mexico, perhaps in an attempt to forever bury the shame of the game’s extreme terribleness. Now one film company has been granted the rights to search a landfill in a quest to see if the legend is real.

As legend and Wikipedia have it, the major failure that was E.T. could’ve contributed to Atari’s downfall and subsequent sale to another company in 1983. The Atari Graveyard has, until now, been mostly considered an urban myth, a caveat of a tale whispered by the glow of computer screens by game developers wary of making the same mistakes.

Apparently, E.T. keeps falling into a hole, causing gamers to constantly be shunted back to the beginning of the game, ad nauseam, ad infinitum. Thus, its disposal in a dry, desert grave.

The Alamogordo Daily News dips into the local lore, as the city commission has granted a Canadian film studio the permission to search a landfill near the city to hunt for the buried games, which could include other titles as well as the unlucky E.T.

A District Commissioner involved in the plan reportedly admitted to having played the game himself and affirmed that yes, it was horrible. The city has given Fuel Industries the go-ahead to dig up the old landfill where the games are said to be buried, and it’s got six months to do it.

As for what will happen if and when the games are uncovered, that plan currently resides in the minds of studio executives but will likely include some kind of documentary about their undertaking. Godspeed.

A film company poised to search for ‘worst video game ever’ in Alamogordo [Alamogordo Daily News]