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Plan to Exhume Millions of E.T. Atari Cartridges Put on Hold Over Environmental Concerns

Maybe this is a sign that this terrible game should stay buried?


Last June, we told you about a documentary film crew that planned to excavate a long-closed landfill rumored to be the final resting place of millions of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Atari game cartridges. Unfortunately, the plan is on hold, and it’s not clear when, if ever, the cartridges will be dug up.

E.T. is said to be one of the worst games in history. I am old enough to be able to personally attest to the game being unplayable nonsense garbage. It’s also possibly the first example of an awful game bred from expensive licensing coupled with too-fast development and release. Millions of dollars were spent licensing the property, and when the game flopped for being terrible, Atari allegedly dumped the leftover cartridges in a New Mexico landfill.

A documentary crew from Fuel Entertainment and Lightbox Interactive announced their plan to dig up the cartridges from the Alamogordo, New Mexico landfill said to be the site of Atari’s big dump, but the appropriate paperwork was denied in February of this year. Levels of certain chemicals were found to be high during a 2004 study that requires further testing, according to the New Mexico Environmental Department. The film companies have not reapplied for the proper permits to excavate the site.

The documentary has already begun filming, and could continue once this issue is resolved. When and if the documentary is finished, the plan is for Microsoft to release it through the Xbox One. It has the potential to put to rest one of the oldest and most pervasive gaming myths of all time.

(via The Associated Press, image via Peter Taylor)

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Glen is a comedian, writer, husband, and father. He won his third-grade science fair and is a former preschool science teacher, which is a real job.