E.T. Atari Landfill Documentary Is Now Available For Free On Xbox

In any other universe, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial would be a long forgotten game at this point. Not just because it came out for what's now an ancient game console -- the Atari 2600 -- but also because it was such a terrible game. And not just terrible, but considered by many to be the worst video game of all time. Incidentally, that's one of the reasons it's remembered today, though even bigger in importance is how badly if affected Atari. Toss in a legend about millions of cartridges being buried in the desert, and you have the making of a documentary.

Microsoft helped produce the documentary called Atari: Game Over, and it's now available to watch for free on Xbox and PC. If you're a student of video game history, this is one you'll want to put on your short list to watch, as it's filled with interesting revelations about the worst game of all time, its development, and Atari's rapid downfall in the early 1980s.

Atari: Game Over

One of the things it reveals is that E.T. took just five weeks to develop. At the time, it typically took five to six months to make an Atari 2600 game, but this was a special circumstance. E.T. was a huge box office hit, and after game designer Howard Scott Warshaw met with Steven Spielberg, he promised the director he could have an E.T. game finished in time for Christmas of 1983.

Mission accomplished, though it turned out to be a colossal failure. In fact, it was such a big failure, that Atari decided to bury what was reported to be millions of cartridges in a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

The hour-long documentary sheds light on what really happened to those cartridges, and also provides a history lesson in the rise and fall of Atari as a company.

You can check it out here.