Microsoft's Atari 'E.T' landfill excavation event successful, game cartridges found

There are tons of urban myths that turn out to be false but today, one of them can be confirmed as fact. An excavation of a old landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico today to see if it really was the place that millions of Atari 2600 "E.T." game cartridges were buried in 1983 has proven that is indeed what happened.

The event, which is being filmed as part of an upcoming documentary on both the game and its now infamous fate, is being funded in part by Microsoft. The excavation was open to the public to view and, as reported by IGN, it wasn't long before the digging crews found some copies of "E.T."

 

In fact, it wasn't just "E.T" Atari games that were found buried in the landfill. Both IGN and Microsoft's Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb posted images of other cartridges that were found in the pile, some of them in fairly good condition, considering they have been under tons of dirt for 30 years. The currently untitled documentary will examine the burial of all those games as well as the history of the "E.T" title, which is considered one of the worst games ever made; the film will be shown exclusively on Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles later in 2014.

Source: IGN and Larry Hryb on Twitter | Images via IGN and Larry Hryb

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Odd that they kept so quiet about this, they must have known they would be found once the dig started. A pretty interesting footnote in gaming history has been closed here, it's sad that the games and systems were not recycled however.

Since the news about this game come out, and checking some youtube videos, it seems that people think it's the worst game ever because they didn't read the instructions. It really doesn't look that bad if you knew how to play it.

Played E.T. long enough to get stuck in the bottom of a hole with no way out. Had that happen 2 or 3 times and just said screw it.

30 years of buried plastic and still intact. As others posted, it is kind of concerning the environment damage we are doing by using huge amount of plastic and it is everywhere. Well, I guess one day meteor will fall on earth and there will be big bang and whole plastic and all toxic materials will be evaporated.

We now have shredders that can take care of the e-waste pretty awesomely. Makes it easier to deal with in the long run, grind down and process for other uses by melting the metals off and so forth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1_uvM-5xKs

I was also surprised at the level of debris which was still around there that would have normally broken down after 3 decades like paper bags and newspaper. But like someone said, the lack of air probably slowed it down quite a bit.

Believe it or not it was one of the better games on the 2600; there were far worse. Even dog food companies were making games for that system, and let's not even mention a certain game about General Custer.

The main problem people had was falling into the pits repeatedly because of the weird perspective. It looked like E.T. should be able to walk in front of them but that wasn't the case, not a single pixel of your character could touch them or you would fall in.

"the film will be shown exclusively on Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles later in 2014."

You would have thought Microsoft would want to avoid putting more garbage on Xbox One.

Still they can put this in between the Making of Xbox One and the official launch of Xbox One documentaries and its would fit in nicely.

Lord Method Man said,
Why is Microsoft digging them up? Do they need to clear up space in the landfill for all the unsold Xbox Ones?

They are planning on having a windows 8 excavation 30 years from now.

/s

I'm surprised, it was always said they were crushed to bits and/or buried in concrete. I certainly would have thought the paper would have decomposed by now. Those actually look playable though.

Thrackerzod said,
I'm surprised, it was always said they were crushed to bits and/or buried in concrete. I certainly would have thought the paper would have decomposed by now. Those actually look playable though.

Paper, and other things, has a hard time decomposing without air. When they're buried pretty deep without air it effects the process from what I remember hearing.

I would have expected the ground water to be harsher on the paper still, it's in really good shape considering it's over 30 years old

Well, it's a dump in New Mexico in a desert. There is not much moisture that helps the decomposing process. If this games would have been buried in Seattle it would be a different outcome.

they found allot more then in the photo ther is tones or something still being dug up . and do you honestly thing Atari would just bury one copy of 2 games i mean come on

Plus, the chances of finding a couple of games in a land fill, are near impossible... So there has to be a lot of them for them to randomly come across them.

xendrome said,
Plus, the chances of finding a couple of games in a land fill, are near impossible... So there has to be a lot of them for them to randomly come across them.

Ha that's what you think!
It's actually a very well planned marketing stunt by Microsoft and Atari for their new Xbox One exclusive game 'Diggy-Diggy Hole Simulator 2015' :)

sagum said,

Ha that's what you think!
It's actually a very well planned marketing stunt by Microsoft and Atari for their new Xbox One exclusive game 'Diggy-Diggy Hole Simulator 2015' :)

Dig Dug?

I know we bury tonnes of garbage every day, but anyone else find it a bit sad to see all this plastic and stuff just dumped under our feet and forgotten, oh my, 1 day all of this will come back to bite us I believe

yes, no doubt, I think about it off and on, esp when I go to throw away a plastic item or whatever , and I always cringe when i see an item packed in that much wrap its crazy. My kid had this little easter choc egg and it was in this huge box with plastic! and the box said 10% less packaging, oh my, you tell me a society that can invent so many wonderful things cannot have a decent method of disposing of plastics and other junk that would take thousands of years to break down, boggles my mind, sorry

MrWhistler said,
I know we bury tonnes of garbage every day, but anyone else find it a bit sad to see all this plastic and stuff just dumped under our feet and forgotten, oh my, 1 day all of this will come back to bite us I believe

Too true. Not sure what it'll actually take for our throwaway society to change the way it works either..

I bought that one.. definitely a contender for the "worst game ever" title. Curious what they'll do with them after the documentary is done .

I suddenly have a craving to fire up Yar's Revenge and Warlords in the emulator..

Torolol said,

which can easily done by bundling & integrating the emu with the rom images.
'

Once I can run Windows 8 apps on the Xbox One and if someone gets a Super Nintendo emulator running on it, I will be a happy customer.