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 E.T.  landfill excavation finally given the go-ahead
E.T. landfill excavation finally given the go-ahead
April 4, 2014 | By Mike Rose

April 4, 2014 | By Mike Rose
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    16 comments
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing



Newsbrief: During the North American video game crash of 1983, it was reported that Atari buried millions of copies of video game E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial in a New Mexico landfill. Now a group of film companies have been given the go-ahead to dig the site up.

According to a report from Alamogordo News, the NMED Environmental Protection Division Solid Waste Bureau has approved a waste excavation plan by Xbox Entertainment Studios, allowing the company to dig the site up and hunt for the legendary buried games.

Alongside LightBox Entertainment, Xbox Entertainment is currently finalizing plans to begin the dig, through which is hopes to find evidence of the game cartridges.

The dig has been delayed for a long time, due to complaints from residents and chemical testing in the ground.


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Comments


John Paduch
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....why? FFS, this isn't like buried treasure, they're digging up a LANDFILL. The mess those cartridges are buried inside of will make those cartridges.. hmm.. let's say, not worth keeping as collectibles?

Oh wait, it's xbox entertainment studios. Now I get it. Ughh.. I can just see the absurd sensationalism now. ><

Doug Poston
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Ignoring the fact that it isn't about the cartridges themselves, but the adventure of finding a bit of gaming lore.

The real reason is that a group of people think they can turn this into a 'Reality Television' program.

TC Weidner
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I agree John, I dont get what the payoff is here. I understand shows like Gold Rush etc because there is a real payoff... gold . Here the payoff is trash. Its not like ET is a super rare game, you can go to ebay right now and get one for a few bucks.

Jacek Wesolowski
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Well, I, for one, would like to know if the cartridges are really there. I don't want one. I just want to see what happens next.
I imagine some people might be interested in a landfill copy, because, unlike an eBay copy, it's part of a legend. As an industry we don't have that many legends of our own, so we need to appreciate the ones we have.
It would also be interesting to see how many copies were dumped.

Bart Stewart
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The cartridges will be found next to Al Capone's treasure, the keys to Lemuria, Mu, and Atlantis, and the perfectly preserved bodies of Amelia Earhart and John Gotti.

E Zachary Knight
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And you leave out Jimmy Hoffa because...?

Bart Stewart
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Beeeeeeeeecause I failed to check my sources and mistakenly said John Gotti instead of Jimmy Hoffa?

That's probably it. I think.

E Zachary Knight
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This is a documentary researching a video game legend. This is not some profit seeking operation. So I don't think the complaints of the first two commenters hold up.

However, I have a complaint of my own. I heard the tales of thousands of ET carts being dumped because demand was waaay overestimated. It is an awesome illustrating the crash of the 80's. My fear is that this excavation will turn up bupkiss and will debunk what is a great gaming bedtime story.

David Richardson
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I don't know that, should the dig fail to turn up any results, that it would "debunk" or otherwise diminish the legend.

Now, finding something, on the other hand, I think would take a bit of mystery out of the tale. A map to buried treasure is exciting -- a chest with some old coins in a museum much less so.

Martin Goldberg
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The over manufacturing is another myth. At the time of the release of ET there were already 11 million 2600 consoles out there. Five million ETs for an initial release is not in any way an over estimation, especially since the movie was highly anticipated at a time. Atari did dump material in Alamogordo, but it was not an "ET Dump."

Andrew Wallace
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I thought no one knew where they were buried. Was that just people dramatizing the story?

Doctor Ludos
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Yes, this is a perfect example of story that was dramatized so much, that nobody knows the real story anymore...

From what I've read (see below), the dump location was known, it's the exact content of the landfill that has been forgotten or dramatized to the extreme.

Mike Griffin
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If they manage to find these thousands of E.T. carts, maybe they can melt them down and re-purpose the plastic into something more useful... like a giant mutant E.T. statue with a plaque commemorating the 80s game industry crash ("Never Again"), or build a merry-go-round (called "Elliot") for a kid's park.

I jest.

Brandon Van Every
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Nobody here has an archaeological bone in their body?

Phil Maxey
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I was thinking the same thing. This absolutely has historical worth, whichever way you look at it this was an event in the birth of interactive fiction in the history of humankind, just because it's only 30 years ago doesn't mean it's not worth doing this. Time goes so quickly, and before you know these cartridges really will be like buried treasure. The only thing I'm curious about is what happens if they find them? then what? they try and sell them for some hugely inflated price on ebay? that I don't approve of, put them in a display in a museum somewhere.

Doctor Ludos
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After reading the outstanding book "Atari Inc. - Business is fun", the legend seems less thrilling: according to the the authors of this book (and the research method and the materials they have seem pretty solid), this is not an E.T. landfill, but an Atari production site landfill. So, if they manage to dig up anything besides dirt and concrete, it should be broken VCS consoles parts and damaged cartdriges of many games, not only E.T.

That being said, I'm still curious to see what they manage to discover, and I'll totally buy a documentary about this, even if they fail to discover anything...


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