E.T. cartridges unearthed in New Mexico

Copies of Atari's disastrous 1982 adaptation were indeed buried in the desert

A documentary team accompanied by senior figures at Microsoft has unearthed copies of Atari's disastrous E.T. game in the New Mexico desert.

The idea that Atari dumped huge quantities of its financially disastrous 1982 game is one of the industry's most enduring legends. And on Saturday that legend was finally proved as true, when copies of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial were unearthed for a documentary backed by Microsoft, Fuel Entertainment and Lightbox Entertainment.

Microsoft's Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb and social media director Jeff Rubenstein were present for the crucial moment, and both tweeted pictures of their success to a waiting world.

However, while these photos have proved the rumours to be true, it isn't clear just how many cartridges were actually found. Estimates of the number discarded by Atari have ranged from the hundreds of thousands right into the millions, but the pictures released from the dig site show only a handful of copies.

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Latest comments (5)

Not sure about this whole urban legend thing, the guy who actually dumped them there and then had them covered has always said. Yeah they are there, I was in charge of dumping them there way back in the .....80s.. 1980s. I dont get this whole story. This was no secret,

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 28th April 2014 4:40pm

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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
This was no "legend" or "myth" at all, just YEARS of terrible "reporting" of actual facts, thus the tales grew and grew over time. Hell, people have dug holes and dropped stuff they don't want in them for centuries, so a company not wanting to pay a dime for warehousing stuff they couldn't sell on a regular basis deciding to take the easy way out wasn't exactly new or unheard of.

I was around back then and man, stores were blowing out games left and right and still some people stayed away in droves, especially if they'd paid full price a few weeks previously and were wondering what the hell was happening that games selling for $40 or so one week were down to five bucks or well under in some spots within a month or so.
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Justin Biddle Software Developer 3 years ago
Greg: That is essentially the basis of a legend or myth. Some form of truth which has grown in the telling until you're no longer sure how true it is or not. And as for someone claiming it happened because they were there, this again is often the basis for many urban myths as well. In this case he was telling the truth but until they found them no-one (not even present day Atari) were certain if it was true or not. Of course once you have definitive proof it's easy to say "yeah this guy claimed it was true all along" but until that proof was found it carried no more weight than any other person claiming interesting stories of long ago.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Justin Biddle on 30th April 2014 12:16pm

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Jonah Falcon Writer 3 years ago
What did Centipede do to deserve this? (sniff)
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 3 years ago
I wonder what kind of grade those carts would get if I sent them into VGA.
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