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Saturday, April 12 2014 12:10

Did the ATARI E.T. Burial Really Happen? On April 26th, the Story Will Unfold...

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By most accounts, the Atari 2600 Game based on Steven Spielberg's 1982 film, E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL, was one of the worst video games ever made - and one of the biggest failures of all-time. Like many children of the day, E.T. made an impact on me, and my parents bought me a copy of the game. At the time, I don't know if I knew how bad it was, though 30+ years later, I'm also not sure it was as terrible as people claim that it was. I do know that it was frustrating, not particularly "fun," but also that I played it often, if only to force myself to beat it. Which I did. On a Global scale, the game did so bad, that Atari is said to have buried millions of copies somewhere in a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico. But did they?

Atari definitely buried something in New Mexico, but 30 years have raised this story into Urban Legend status. Now, on April 26, 2014, Fuel Entertainment and Xbox Entertainment Studios (along with Lightbox) will begin a public excavation of the site... to see just what lies beneath that desert.

Details have been posted on the Xbox website about how to attend, but the results will be a part of a documentary film that will  unearth the mystery behind the bizarre story, which has been rumored to include everything from brand-new games to consoles, personal computers, or just broken and returned merchandise from a closing Atari warehouse. 

Will you be watching?

If you'd like to re-live the game, the Internet Archive has a browser-playable version as part of their Historical Software Collection.

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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