Did Atari bury millions of E.T. copies in a landfill in New Mexico? We'll soon find out if it's fact or fiction

Excavation of reported burial site given the go-ahead; documentary chronicling the effort will be exclusive to Xbox when it launches this year.

Did Atari actually bury millions of copies of its failed movie tie-in E.T: The Extra Terrestrial in a landfill in New Mexico, or is that just a myth? We won't have to wait much longer to find out, as Alamogordo News reports that the New Mexico Environmental Department has given a documentary crew the go-ahead to start excavating the site in search of the game.

Alamogordo city commissioners approved the search in June, but the project was later put on hold because a waste excavation plan needed to be finalized before the digging could begin. That proposal has now been accepted, and the the two companies producing the documentary, Fuel Entertainment and Lightbox Interactive, can get to work.

Xbox Entertainment Studios is commissioning the project, which will debut as a multi-part documentary series exclusively on Xbox platforms later this year.

E.T. was released in December 1982 for the Atari 2600, with millions of copies produced under the assumption that the link to the hit Steven Spielberg movie would guarantee sales success. The failure of the game is believed to be one of the main contributing factors to 1983's crash of the video game industry.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

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Discussion

74 comments
bicyclebill
bicyclebill

This is beginning to sound like a sequel to Geraldo Rivera's infamous attempt to uncover what was in Al Capone's vaults.

And those of us of a certain age remember how that turned out.

MuffintopX
MuffintopX

I wonder if they've been pressed together into a better game like a diamond.

Rakou
Rakou

YES!! Finally a reason to buy the damn console.. (Sarcasm)

Digital_DJ_00
Digital_DJ_00

I'm willing to bet that this "documentary" will get scrapped if the remains of unsold E.T.'s in the desert is just a hoax. How anti-climactic would an ending like that be....

TheKeef
TheKeef

They should make the game exclusive to Xbox Live.

LJNkickstarter
LJNkickstarter

Let the game rest in peace.. What if they do exist? I will shit brix

youngzen69
youngzen69

I will tune in just to see what the ugly truth is. Was those games crushed? In which case finding any evidence will be next to impossible. Or were they dumped in that landfill complete copies? In which case bags the question what sort of condition are they in after being buried all of these years. 

mikees1
mikees1

I can understand the urgency last year when someone made a mad rush to dig up British Spitfire MkIX's buried in their shipping containers in Burma at the end of the second world war, they're vintage and worth money whatever the condition. A mangled beyond recognition Spit is still going to be upwards of £10,000. A complete display model millions, and a working one millions and millions. 


But this isn't a Spitfire, its a game that was buried because it was crap. I think the place it is in now is the best place for it!

Anthonyccc
Anthonyccc

Exclusive to xbox haha I'll be watching this somewhere online and probably even then skipping most of it. 

drwhoiscool
drwhoiscool

Who didn't have 47 copies of this game for their 2600?  Worst unfinished piece of garbage ever...

theKSMM
theKSMM

Kudos to GameSpot for actually creating a game listing complete with box cover artwork for this 30-year-old Atari 2600 game!

Hurvl
Hurvl

Exclusive, schmusive, I'll find out about the important stuff featured in the documentary soon enough anyway.

edant79
edant79

....Why would anyone care? That's the real question.

Furwings
Furwings

Glad AVGN already filmed all the scenes from the movie before they go and dig it all up! ;)

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

Damn I remember when this game came out, and played it - it sucked in deed. They have been making this documentary for decades - Geraldo opened up Capones vault in a night on live tv, what is taking so long. 

Suaron_x
Suaron_x

I don't see the fascination with this subject.  I played the game, it sucked.  Who cares if they buried it.  This game should be forgotten.

nurnberg
nurnberg

I don't believe they will find anything.

andfx8
andfx8

Looking forward to this

broly180
broly180

I DON'T THINK SO Exclusive to XBOX? XBOX ONE STILL SUCK.....

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Supposedly there's a whole lot more copies of Pacman buried in there than E.T.


Pacman sold 8 million copies but they made 12 million, and there were purportedly a massive amount of returns once people realized how awful that version of the game was.  E.T. didn't have close to that many extra copies.

gamerno66666
gamerno66666

Damn this is gonna be sooooooooooo good.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

They could actually make a lot of money on this, if there's really millions of the cartridges and they are only lightly decomposed (which could be likely), they could turn around and sell the Atari Limited Landfill Edition of the E.T. game for $2 to $5 a piece on ebay.  You know some people would love to have one of those cartridges as a discussion piece on their mantle, it's a part of history.


God, I'm so good at making money for other people, but the only way I've ever made money for myself is by pimpin', and I'm not even that good at it... hmm.

steelmouth
steelmouth

You know sometimes some mysteries should just be left as they are, we don't need answers to everything 

atopp399
atopp399

has anyone asked Atari?  Why would they lie about it?

Pewbert
Pewbert

Yay to exclusivity. Why let all the people watch when you can let only certain people watch WOOHOO

chewbacca72
chewbacca72

They'll probably also find the remains of the game's designers in there too.

gatsbythepig
gatsbythepig

Is this considered reporting news?

Oh right, it's Eddie on Gamespot... nevermind.

Xristophoros
Xristophoros

this is very exciting. i cannot wait to see how this plays out. my only question is: why can't they ask someone reputable (who is still alive mind you) at atari who knows the truth? why has this become some sort of urban legend? surely, there must be a soul out there somewhere in the world who has the proof to back up whether or not this story is true... but in any case, digging holes in the dessert is more exciting :D

DawgByte2
DawgByte2

Isn't AVGN essentially doing the same thing with his "movie"?

drwhoiscool
drwhoiscool

@Chaos_Dante_456 it had no point to it, it was unfinished & ridiculous.  They sold it on the name, just like Final Fantasy 13.

jenovaschilld
jenovaschilld

@Suaron_x  No one wants to see their mistakes or skeletons uncovered from the past, but other people do - and always have. And that makes money. 

Dannystaples14
Dannystaples14

@broly180  Well making a documentary that is exclusive is hardly going to make it the best console ever is it?

blikketty
blikketty

@Thanatos2k  Until the day I die, I will never get the horrible sounds from the 2600 version of pac man out of my head....

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

@spacecadet25 According to the lore, the cartridges were smashed together in a junkyard smasher before being buried.  Not likely they're in any sort of recognizable state.

steelmouth
steelmouth

@atopp399  Its like when someone ask you do you watch porno or masturbate, You don't just answer such

punisher1
punisher1

@Pewbert  honestly it will be on youtube a few days later. just saying.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@Xristophoros I agree that digging holes in 'desserts' is exciting, but they are going to be digging holes in the desert, which is a lot more laborious and a lot less tasty. :)

grenadehh
grenadehh

@DawgByte2  No. Considering AVGN isn't MS and can't afford to physically excavate nor actually accomplish anything.

sinclairhxc
sinclairhxc

@Dannystaples14 @broly180 YES!  i'm buying it just for this.  then taking it back after having experienced the best piece of content offered on the dumb thing.

spacecadet25
spacecadet25

@Thanatos2k @spacecadet25DangWell if that's the case if they don't find them then they can just fake the find for the documentary.  "We think this crunchy stuff and sludge over here is them!"  

What would be really sweet is if instead of finding this they find Jimmy Hoffa's body instead.  Maybe that's why this whole thing is so secretive, they had someone secretly bury the cartridges where Jimmy Hoffa was secretly buried, maybe because in the 70's and 80's it was a really good secret spot to bury stuff?