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The Great Atari Desert Excavation of ‘14

April 18, 2014

If you’ve always wanted to go to the deserts of New Mexico and dig up unsold, unwanted, unloved E.T. video game cartridges…now’s your chance.

Atari ET ExcavationIt’s a pretty popular urban legend: In 1982-83, Atari lost more than $300 million (and nearly went bankrupt) when it manufactured too many copies of a video game based on the smash hit movie E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial. Designers were only given six weeks to design the game, and the final product was so poor that the unsold stock was destroyed and buried in the New Mexico desert.

Nearly a year ago, we told you this story, along with the update that the city council of Alamogordo, New Mexico, granted a permit to let a film crew poke around the desert/landfill to see if they could find the unsold E.T. games.

Well, the excavation is finally taking place, and it will be open to the public—spectators can watch, but not assist in the digging. Director Zak Penn will be there to gather footage for a documentary on the E.T. debacle, as will the game’s programmer, Howard Scott Warshaw.

So, if you like video games and archaeological digs, get yourself to the Alamogordo Landfill in New Mexico on April 26th at 9:30 a.m. It’s at 4276 Highway 54 South. If you go, report back to us. You can write, email…or phone home.

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