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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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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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