Infamous United States Burial Ground For Atari 2600 Failure 'E.T.' Being Excavated

et2600Atari's E.T. failed on so many levels, it had to be literally buried into the earth. Now, 30 years later, documentary creators are going to search for the long-lost resting place of E.T. for the 2600.

Many of us know the story, but for those unfamiliar, let's take a brief recap. Atari was king of video games in the late 1970s/early 1980s in many countries all over the world. But with many titles being of poor, and sometimes unplayable quality, the system was really stretching the limitations of the hardware. Eventually, the system tanked due to two games: an extremely poor quality port of Pac-Man, and the legendary 2600 game, E.T.. The latter of these was one which Atari was given licensing rights from Steven Spielberg, only the game was rushed in development, leaving an awkwardly messy title to be released in time for the Christmas season.

Atari bet everything on E.T., but when a very large percentage of the five million copies came back either returned or unsold, Atari had to cut it's losses. This resulted in various computer equipment, consoles and copies of both Pac-Man and E.T. being buried in an American landfill in Almogardo, New Mexico.


Evidence of the New Mexico Atari Landfill is seen above.

Because adults and even children began searching for these remains, concrete was poured over the equipment, along with everything being completely crushed. This was to avoid any injuries or dangerous materials that could harm treasure-seekers.

Now, 30 years later, a documentary group has received permission from the city to excavate Atari's urban legend graveyard to see what they can find. There have been tons of rumours about prototype games also in this landfill, but even if all of this is uncovered, it will all be crushed and cemented.

The film company, Fuel Industries, is being allowed a total of six months to try to uncover the Atari landfill and share the potential uncovering with gamers all over the world thanks to the supposed documentary.

Well, what do you think? Is it a waste of time to search for this (literally) massive pile of fail? Tell us what you think in the comments below!

Source: Alamogordo Daily News

Last Updated ( 01 June 2013 )  

Michael "Miketendo" Levy

Raised on an NES, Saturday AM cartoons and sugary cereal, Michael Levy was your average 80's kid growing up. Despite having odd obsessions with bears, peanut butter, zombies and Tifa Lockhart, 'Miketendo' is also the creator of the YouTube review series: D.Y.H.P.T.G?! (Dude, You Haven't Played This Game?!)

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(Link to this comment) Turkish 2013-06-01 10:22
I think this is all very interesting.
It always was to me.
I was growing up when all this happened, but it never really made an impact on me, until fairly recently.

I don't think they will find anything of much use, but you can never tell for sure.
Maybe Atari missed a couple, and they are now preserved in mint condition, in a fossilized state, still selaed and complete...haha.

Would be great for a museum. ;P
(Link to this comment) Collz69 2013-06-01 18:39
I hope they find this!

It's like finding Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster or something. Lol
(Link to this comment) martyg 2013-06-03 17:46
Mike, we already cleared that up in our book "Atari Inc. - Business Is Fun" released last fall, going by direct interviews and actual internal documents.

There were never thousands of ET games buried in Alamorgodo, that's a myth that sprung up later and was also never once mentioned by the actual press articles of the time. The dump there was simply a clearing out of Atari's Texas manufacturing plant as it transitioned to automated production methods and a focus on personal computer manufacturing. It had previously been one of the main plants for manufacturing of game cartridges and other hardware, and game manufacturing was being moved overseas to China.

As part of the transition the unused cartridge stock of a group of titles (not just E.T.), console parts and computer parts were all dumped there in New Mexico. It was covered in detail by the Alamogordo press at the time, and is just such a non-mystery that I'm surprised by all this.
(Link to this comment) martyg 2013-06-03 17:46
I'm also not sure where you got the idea of rumors of prototypes, that was never part of the rumor - just ET. There would be zero prototypes there, the Texas plant was a production plant. As in completed products in production. All development and prototypes were at Atari itself, in Sunnyvale.
(Link to this comment) jamalais 2013-06-05 19:20
Somethings should stay buried. That said I love documentaries look forward to seeing what happens

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