E.T. Went Home To A New Mexico Desert Landfill

Back in 1983, Atari had a flop on their hands with “E.T. The Extra Terrestrial”. Officially, no one knew what happened to the scads of unsold cartridges, but the legend was that Atari secretly just dumped them all into a New Mexico landfill and covered them up with concrete. (Um, yeah, it was a different time.)

After more than three decades, a company called Fuel Entertainment managed to get the rights to excavate the Alamogordo site and invited Microsoft’s Xbox Entertainment Studios to film the whole shebang.

Atari dig

The result? Al Capone’s vault it was not. The excavators hit pay dirt.

“The findings started out very promising, with an old, dusty Atari 2600 joystick buried in the landfill,” reads an Xbox Wire post. “Then an ‘E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial’ cartridge. A box. An instruction manual. And the confirmation of ‘a lot more down there’. How many more, we don't know just yet -- but at this point, we can safely report that those long-buried cartridges are actually, 100 percent there.”

Atari dig

In fact, the group found other game cartridges including “Centipede”, “Space Invaders”, “Asteroids”, and more, and there are “lots of boxes” down there yet to pull up.

The legend was real, and Xbox Entertainment Studios will have a Zak Penn-directed documentary called “Atari: Game Over” all about it later this year.