Buried no more! Atari E.T. games dug up (pictures)
Atari tried to make thousands of E.T. game cartridges disappear in 1983. But too many people knew where they were, and now a crew has excavated them from a landfill in Alamogordo, N.M.
Zak with E.T. box
ALAMOGORDO, NM -- Buried in the old landfill here since 1983, thousands of Atari E.T. game cartridges are hidden no more.
Saturday, after months of waiting for the day to come, an excavation crew dug into the landfill in search of the games, which Atari dumped here after one of the biggest business failures in the history of video games.
And with more than a hundred video game fans on hand to witness the event, the crew was able to find the games. Here, Zak Penn, director of a film about the hunt being produced by Fuel Entertainment and Lightbox, and supported by Microsoft's Xbox Entertainment Studios, announces that the crew has found the first cartridges.
The production company set up TVs with an Atari 2600 and a playable version of the E.T. game. Unfortunately, it wasn't one of the cartridges dug out of the landfill. The production company tested some of the games they found to see if they still worked but decided to keep that information secret as a special reveal for their film.
Zak Penn holds up for all to see the first E.T. cartridge the crew found. The discovery meant that months of preparation and hard work to get permission to do the dig was not for naught. Many had wondered if the games were there at all, or even if they were, if the crews would find them in a 300-acre landfill.
Large piles of garbage dug up by an industrial excavator lay on the ground at the side of the Alamogordo landfill. As seen here, they were filled with evidence of Atari's having buried thousands of games there in 1983.
Before the first game was found, a member of the public walking to the bathroom found the top of an old Atari 2600 joystick, briefly getting the crowd excited about what was in store for the day. But it was not known if the joystick was originally buried along with the games.