Microsoft's documentary on 'E.T' Atari 2600 cartridge landfill dig currently on hold

A documentary that was commissioned by Microsoft's Xbox Entertainment Studios a few months ago has now hit a bit of a snag, The film, which is supposed to center on digging up the place where millions of unsold  'E.T.' Atari 2600 game cartridges were buried, is now on hold thanks to issues with the site excavation plans.

The 'E.T.' game copies were buried in 1983 in a New Mexico location, after they sat on store shelves unsold. It remains one of the oddest footnotes in all of video game history. The Lightbox production company was supposed to start excavating the landfill and film it for the documentary, which would be shown exclusively on Microsoft's Xbox One and Xbox 360 consoles later this year.

However, the Alamogordo News reports that the production company's plans to dig up the landfill didn't get approved by the New Mexico Solid Waste and Ground Water Bureau. The agency said that the plan was "generic" and lacked specific site details. The article also says there are concerns that the site itself contains high levels of a number of unnamed chemicals and that the New Mexico Environment Department recommended back in 2004 that more investigation of the landfill was needed.

The production company has apparently filmed interviews for the 'E.T." Atari documentary already but it remains to be seen if they will continue the project if they are unable to dig at the landfill.

Source: Alamogordo News | Image via Atari

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"Microsoft's documentary on 'E.T' Atari 2600 cartridge landfill dig currently on hold"

it's probably much, much easier and likely for microsoft to prepare documentary filming of soon-to-commence win 8 landfill. throw in a couple of rt tablets, too, for emotional pull.

Lack of any type of quality control and licensing is what brought down the 2600 and the industry as a whole in the mid 80s. Anyone who wanted to could make an Atari 2600 game and sell it, as a result stores were filled with piles of $5 bargain bin crap that drowned out the quality releases that were being sold for around $40.

Its for this reason that Nintendo instituted the licensing requirement and the "Seal of Quality" policy when they released the NES and resurrected the video game industry.

When you understand the point behind it, the game isn't as dumb as people think. People never bother to read the manual which explained the entire concept of the game.

Look up an interview with the guy who made it on YouTube. The guy only had two weeks to make a game based on a huge Spielberg film.

IIRC he said Spielberg took one look at it and asked why it wasn't like Pac-Man and he was asked about the rumor of the cartridges being buried. Unless he was going along with the rumor thing, he said he didn't believe they actually buried them because it would have cost more to do that than what it took to make them and if they did, he was sure they'd have brought him there to see it. Was hard to tell he he was being honest or playing along with the myth. He said the biggest mistake was the vast amount of cartridges they had made thinking it would be a hit game. There were more E.T. cartridges than there were 2600 systems. Which is why it's soo easy to find. I used to have 10 copies of it myself. Only because I would buy small game lots at flea markets and if it was an Atari lot, good chance in was buried in the lot lol.

Thrackerzod said,
As Atari 2600 games go E.T. was far from the worst; in my opinion it was gold compared to many of them.

I agree. I liked it and iirc, it was pretty easy to beat. Yeah, it didn't make much sense looking back on it but it was fun at my age.

Lord Method Man said,
Its for this reason that Nintendo instituted the licensing requirement and the "Seal of Quality" policy when they released the NES and resurrected the video game industry.

Except the Nintendo "Seal of Quality" was anything but. They still had a lot of crapware. All they did was make sure Nintendo got their royalties. The one company that fought this, Tengen, had much better games and they got buried in lawsuits. Nintendo was almost as bad as Apple.

> thanks to issues with the site excavation plans.

A bit OT, and I don't want to sound like a grammar Nazi, but as a non-native speaker I wonder whether 'thanks to' is properly used here. I've been told at school that 'thanks to' has a positive connotation, whereas 'due to' / 'because of' should be used in the neutral/negative sense.

warwagon said,
if I found one at goodwill I would totally buy it.

only for collectors value?


bet you would not be able to play for more then 5 minutes, if that!!!

Max Norris said,
Oof I owned that stinker back in the day. Games based on a movie typically suck.. who knew?

Yup! E.T. taught us that games based on movies typically suck, and TRON taught us that movies based on games are typically killer awesome!!!

E.T. was terrible though. It made about as much sense as Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Shadrack said,
TRON taught us that movies based on games are typically killer awesome!!!

e.g. Wreck-It Ralph

Shadrack said,
... TRON taught us that movies based on games are typically killer awesome!!!

And then we were brought back to reality by
Super Mario Bros
Street Fighter
...

Shadrack said,

Yup! E.T. taught us that games based on movies typically suck, and TRON taught us that movies based on games are typically killer awesome!!!

Mario would disagree.

DConnell said,

Mario would disagree.

Psh.. not even! Actually, I've yet to see that one. But I did use triple exclamation marks in order to convey 3x the enthusiasm ;) (/s).

Shadrack said,
Psh.. not even! Actually, I've yet to see that one.

Don't. Just hit yourself in the head with a brick a few times. You'll have the same experience and save 100 or so minutes in the process.

Shadrack said,

Yup! E.T. taught us that games based on movies typically suck, and TRON taught us that movies based on games are typically killer awesome!!!

Sure they do (sarcasm or not :p). Just search for Uwe Boll and have fun.

Shadrack said,

Yup! E.T. taught us that games based on movies typically suck, and TRON taught us that movies based on games are typically killer awesome!!!

E.T. was terrible though. It made about as much sense as Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Yeah... Double Dragon and DOA: Dead or Alive were great movies indeed [/sarcasm off]

Shadrack said,

Yup! E.T. taught us that games based on movies typically suck, and TRON taught us that movies based on games are typically killer awesome!!!

E.T. was terrible though. It made about as much sense as Raiders of the Lost Ark.


Ugh... TRON wasn't based on a video game. TRON was a movie, and TRON Legacy is its sequel. It is NOT the exception to the "movies based on games suck" rule.

Strangis said,

Ugh... TRON wasn't based on a video game. TRON was a movie, and TRON Legacy is its sequel. It is NOT the exception to the "movies based on games suck" rule.

Uhhhhhggg....moooaaaan...grooaan...beeelllch

They were actually planned and released simultaneously (within the same year). But ok, the Game was based on the Movie. You win.