New Mexico Dig Unearths E.T. Cartridges and Other Atari 2600 Hardware

Paul Lilly

An urban legend in video game lore turns out to be true!

After sitting in a landfill covered with concrete for 30 years, numerous unsold "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" cartridges for the Atari 2600 console have been dug up , confirming reports of their fate form the 1980s. Largely considered by many the worst game of all time, legend had it that truckloads of E.T. cartridges, along with other Atari 2600 hardware, were dumped in the landfill, but the story was never confirmed until now.

Filmmakers working on documentary and excavators received permission to dig up the Alamogordo landfill, which took place over the weekend. Twitter updates kept the Internet community in the loop, and interest heated up when an old and dusty Atari 2600 joystick turned up. After that, the excavators found an E.T. cartridge, box, and manual, followed by several more.

According to Microsoft's Xbox Wire blog , there are "a lot more down there," though the exact number isn't yet known.

"But at this point, we can safely report that those long-buried cartridges are actually, 100 percent there. Crazy, isn't it!? And it sounds like some other games are down there, too: Centipede, Space Invaders, Asteroids, and possibly more. 'Lots of boxes' is what we're hearing," Xbox Wire says.

The working title for the documentary featuring the dig is "Atari: Game Over." It will focus on the rise and fall of Atari, the latter of which E.T. may have a played a role.

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