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.