Documentary aims to unearth millions of E.T copies

Six-month dig in New Mexico landfill aims to find out if Atari buried millions of copies of unsuccessful movie tie-in back in the eighties.

A documentary team has been given approval to excavate the site where million of copies of Atari's commercial flop E.T. are rumoured to be buried.

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.

Local news site KRQE (via ArsTechnica) reports that Canadian film production firm Fuel Industries has been granted six months of access to the site in Alamogordo, New Mexico where the millions of copies of E.T are rumoured to have been crushed and covered in concrete. The results of the dig are to be part of a documentary attempting to answer one of gaming's most enduring myths.

The excavation coincides with the 30th anniversary of the alleged dump.

Mayor of Alamorgordo Susie Galea said "I hope more people find out about Alamogordo through this opportunity that we have to unearth the Atari games in the landfill."

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martingaston

Martin Gaston

Hi! I'm Martin, for some reason or another I have managed to convince the people who run GameSpot that I am actually wor
261 comments
sune_Gem
sune_Gem

Wouldn't it just be easier to ask Atari if it's true or not?

DrKill09
DrKill09

ET was not that bad.  From what I've played of 2600 games, it seemed better than a lot of the crappy arcade ports, like Rampage, where the characters were giant blocks.

True, it was not on the same level as River Raid, the Pitfall games, or Berzerk, but I have played FAR worse on the system.

Sevenizz
Sevenizz

I bought this game at a flea market for a buck last weekend.  It's not 'that' bad.  Considering the limitations of the system and what most developers made - it's actually pretty decent.  There's a lot worse for the 2600.

daabulls23
daabulls23

It's like a treasure hunt...except the treasure has a hand in it giving you the finger. It's still interesting, though.

Riddick123
Riddick123

Have fun digging through the dirty diapers and rotten food.  

Fastenprune
Fastenprune

Wow.. Just wow.. Seems like every article related or not about Microsoft is getting attacked by Sony kiddies who have nothing better to do with their small lives then to jump on every article and troll.

Wouldn't it be really funny if the Xbox One turns out to be the better console, just saying

robert83a2
robert83a2

Yep, I give GREEN LIGHT for this PROJECT.

We will need the place for the Kinect module of XBOX ONE.

danielbirchal
danielbirchal

Microsoft probably will evaluate this place next year to dump the XBONEs. 

cryingdevil63
cryingdevil63

AVGN movie will be covering this,can't wait!

komuchen
komuchen

Are there really people that still care? It's a cool story and it should stay this way, I don't care if it's real or not. The story of teh SWORD and crown on the other hand, that would've been awesome find. It's even better than the dog

Hurvl
Hurvl

No matter if it's true, it's still a good story and good stories can survive anything, even the truth.

flamingboard
flamingboard

Great, now they're going to devalue my cartridge. That was my retirement account assholes!

yman173
yman173

Ill never understand why this one game has caught all the heat for being the worst of all time. There were a LOT of crap games coming out in the 2600 heyday. (Raiders Of The Lost Ark anyone?).

I actually owned the game and for my 10 year old mind, I thought it was OK. Not great, but definitely not as bad as everyone else said it was. I remember being able to complete it and feeling the same satisfaction as getting to day 3 of Missle Command.

Not trying to defend what did amount to a pretty poor game for its' time, but Im just curious as to why this one was any worse than a few dozen others.

Master_Turismo
Master_Turismo

Maybe Superman 64 found its way in that pile too.

ManatuBeard
ManatuBeard

Great news! 

They are going to need to space to bury all the unsold Xbones in a couple of years!

JRD1912
JRD1912

Millions? I would find it hard to believe millions of people owned an Atari, and I had one. Ok, wow, figured I should look up units sold and it was 30 Million for the 2600.  Thats actually ****ing retarded...Thats still a god damn respectable number today let alone the 80s.

OldKye
OldKye

"After this we will be one step closer to solving the age old mystery.

Who took the cookie from the cookie jar?"

soulless4now
soulless4now

I hope they find them. Would give me some good future laughs. 

TongLong
TongLong

Leave them where they belong, or, at least dig a hole where they are, add all remaining copies of 'Aliens: Colonial Marines', and promptly cover the hole with 40 feet of concrete.

sidewinder2617
sidewinder2617

sorry ET...

youll never be able to leave our earth..

our crack and hookers have won you over forever....

not to mention weed...gateway to the stars my ass

mikeyMKII
mikeyMKII

Tonight, on Unsolved Mysteries....

proximaxx
proximaxx

You dumb-ass Canadians,we buried it for a reason !!!!

TheKeef
TheKeef

E.T. the game. I remember being so very young and wanting the game to be great, because E.T. at the time was just huge.

I couldn't do well at the game, and thought I was just bad at it. All these years later, reading all the things I have about this game, I think being buried in a landfill is too good for this game.

Dig them up, burn them, piss on them, bury them again.

steelmouth
steelmouth

I really hope we just leave it as a myth, don't try find out just let it be a mystery

Pawfalcon
Pawfalcon

This kind of pissed me off. Mostly because the idea of this game and its consequences pisses me off. "The failure of the game is believed to be one of the main contributing factors to 1983's crash of the video game industry."A game that SUCKED in just about every obvious way and obviously failed because of its being terrible led to a crash of the entire early video game market. Games Might have improved since then but people are pretty much just as stupid so seeing this is kind of depressing.

skaterlogo91
skaterlogo91

They buried it in a tomb. If you open it you'll trip the booby-traps.

starduke
starduke

Hmm, maybe they'll find where the original Big Foot is buried there too.

Halloll
Halloll

I didn't know the AVGN movie is a documentary.

wasakawaka
wasakawaka

I was wondering when someone would attempt this.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

I hope Atari just left a note, "you seriously went this far for such a bad game?" followed by a map leading you to another landfill, or Indian burial ground (both?), with just another note, "not here either #dealwithit"

Of course that would be awesome and make Atari seem like time travelers who didn't use their power to avoid the crash, but to mind f**k people instead with twitter #'s...

TruthTellers
TruthTellers

I remember hearing a rumor that there were actually more copies of the game produced then there were Atari 2600's. I would suggest to the documentary team that they just not bother trying to find the games, it may release a plague and destroy the rest of the industry as we know it.

Cyram0159
Cyram0159

@Sevenizz The point being that it was supposed to be tied to E.T. If you had to pay full price for that piece of crap 30 years ago, you'd be mad, too.

Riddick123
Riddick123

@Fastenprune Seems like you have nothing better to do with your life than get on an article and take time to troll Sony fans.  Xbox fans were pretty much the ones complaining the most.

komuchen
komuchen

@yman173 Raiders was a bad game? Huh... I didn't get the memo then.


Also, I think it's considered worst game, because it just screwed Atari - kinda like CoD have now industry. I mean, there were more copies of ET then 2600's, so it's obvious recepie for disaster - but who knew back then, game was created by Atari Master, so nobody expected game so medicore and bugged

smylexx
smylexx

@yman173 I agree with you. I also played this and found it passed the hours without making me want to throw the joystick at the screen. I've played FARRR worse games than E.T.

I think the reason the game gets a bad press was that Atari had pinned their hopes on selling this in huge quantities. They ordered millions of copies to be made and then, when the reviews came out, people stayed away in droves. 

Couple that with the start of the Spectrum and C64 titles coming out and this game already looked a little dated by the time it hit the shelves. It's the perfect storm of overexposure, over-valuing a franchise, underestimating the game buying public's intelligence and a rushed development time which gets it the stinky reputation.


erix43
erix43

@ManatuBeard 

You know what else is good news? You'll be dead one day. You know what else? You will never contribute to anything as massively as the creators of the "xbones" EVER. Get a life and stop spreading negativity. 

smylexx
smylexx

@JRD1912 Lack of competition from other consoles, lack of channels on TV and so on made the Atari incredibly popular. I bet there's a few older gamers on here that remember when TV shows would regularly attract audiences over 15 million too. 

It IS damn impressive though, isn't it?

flamingboard
flamingboard

@JRD1912 They made more copies than there were consoles. Apparently they thought it was so awesome everyone would buy 5 copies.

Hurvl
Hurvl

@Pawfalcon It doesn't say in the article how much it contributed or how many other factors there were that led to the crash, but it sure is a painful lesson that seems to have been forgotten. The gaming industry is larger and more diverse now, so I don't know if a single game plus some other stuff would be able to lead to another crash, but it's far from impossible. The misconception of MMO's as gold mines is oddly similar to the effects of the actual Klondike gold rush, where lots of people thought they could get rich. People haven't learned a thing.

wasakawaka
wasakawaka

Yes, just why did they have to first "crush them" and then "cover them in concrete" if not to protect us from the next video game plague?

Fastenprune
Fastenprune

@Riddick123 @Fastenprune I'm not trying to troll I'm just making a point

Hurvl
Hurvl

@smylexx @yman173 Your last sentence gave me a bit of deja vu, realizing that companies have far from learned from others mistakes. In the movie business as well, there have been several recent big-budget flops. In the gaming industry I come to think of Aliens: Colonial Marines and while it's hard to accuse it of being rushed with all of the delays, it hits the spot on the things you mentioned.

erix43
erix43

@Fastenprune 

He's a troll with no life. He's trying to stand apart so much because he doesn't have a GF..