Sunday, April 27, 2014
Long Lost Mythical Cache of E.T Atari Cartridges Recovered from Landfill
They did it, I can't believe they actually did it. Dumpster Divers everywhere got handed their place yesterday as an 'excavation team' dug through 30 years of various trash and (presumably) unsold Bart dolls to find the ultimate piece of gaming history.
While lightly reported on back in 1983 by various sources, the fact that Atari dumped hundreds if not thousands of unsold E.T The Extra-Terrestrial cartridges largely remained a myth until yesterday.
Struggling with the video game crash of the early 1980's, Atari dumped this load of unsold cartridges into a landfill in New Mexico (close to the city of Alamogordo) since they were basically worth pennies at the time. I go into more detail here as to why E.T bombed so hard (from when I added the game to my own collection) but in a nutshell, Atari shelled out millions for the licencing fees of the movie only to rush the release by making one poor chap program it all in five and a half weeks so it could coincide with the 1982 holiday season. This resulted in E.T The Extra-Terrestrial being one of the worst games of all time, and the former urban myth of the landfill site just added to the story.
Why would anyone in a sane state of mind do this? For a documentary, of course.
Microsoft is producing various shows for its Xbox One and Xbox 360 systems which include one on gaming history. This story of course is incredibly famous among the gaming community, so it makes sense as it's something people would watch (myself included).
The whole situation may ultimately seem a bit weird, but I'm glad someone with the money went to the effort; it's something that's been on the back of many gamers minds for decades.