E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial Dump Faces Excavation

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E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial Dump Faces Excavation

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial screen

The legendary burial ground of millions of unsold copies of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 is going to be dug up - if it can be found.

If you have any knowledge of videogame history at all, you'll have at least a peripheral awareness of the infamous "E.T. landfill." Released in 1982 for the Atari 2600, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial - E.T., for simplicity's sake - was a stinker of biblical proportions. Millions of copies went unsold and millions more were returned, back in the day when you could do such a thing, and Atari, so the story goes, dumped them all - as many as 20 truckloads - into a landfill near Alamogordo, New Mexico. The whole thing was then entombed in concrete, and all involved vowed to never speak of it again. (I'm guessing on that last part.)

The burial slowly faded into obscurity and eventually became something of an urban legend, and even the precise location of the dump site was lost, in part because Alamogordo was appalled by the sheer volume of crap being poured into it and put a halt to the practice. But as so often happens, the fading of memory was followed by the growth of curiosity, and earlier this week Alamogordo approved the excavation of the site by a Canadian-based film company, Fuel Industries, which wants to produce a documentary on the "Alamogordo landfill legend."

The challenge of locating the dump site has apparently been met by Joe Lewandowski, who ran a garbage company at the time of the E.T. dump and claims, Commander Adama-like, that he knows where it is. With Lewandowski pointing the way, Fuel Industries has six months to find and dig up the site, a span of time that will cover the 30th anniversary of the burial. And while Alamogordo was less than thrilled with the scale of the event when it happened, it now hopes that some good will come of it. "I hope more people find out about Alamogordo through this opportunity that we have to unearth the Atari games in the landfill," Alamogordo Mayor Susie Galea said.

Even if the excavation is successful, the odds of finding intact E.T. cartridges are extremely slim, as they were all reportedly crushed before being trucked to the dump. And a big part of me hopes that it ends in failure regardless; as exciting as the prospect of discovering such a historically significant location (in videogame nerd terms) may be, there's something romantic about knowing, or at least believing, that somewhere out there in the vast desert are the buried remains of millions of copies of one of the most notorious videogames of all time, a game of such dark portent that it almost killed the videogame industry that now pervades nearly all aspects of our society. It's a good legend, and one of the few that's truly our own - and I'm not sure I want to see it brought to an end.

Source: KQRE

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This seems a lot like poking an evil spirit with a stick for fun /nerd forboding

though seriously, if they find it it'd be kinda neat I guess.

I'm hoping that the toxic sewage that was the E.T. game created a giant sink hole down into the mantle below the Earth's crust. In that hole, they finally meet their end. And, from what this film team will find, is nothing but a very deep hole.

Wow can we get the Mythbusters in on this?

Jamie: "So Adam how are we going to find this supposed dumping ground of bad games?"

Adam: "Truth be told I have no idea, BUT I do know that when we find it we're going blow it up and film it on highspeed"

Nothin goods gona come outa that hole. Your just messing with things that were better left buried and forgotten. If I were you boy I'd listen to me and stay away from that place. Some say I'm just a crazy old man. But I know better than them, they don't live round these parts. So just stay away from that landfill site boy, you hear me?!

Was the game that bad?

...Of all the words I've gathered, of all the courage I've mustered, of all the great events I've witnessed, there is only one word to this.

...Impossible.

is this to a cover up?
really its to see if theres any more room for the xbones and PS4's from this crash?

waka waka

I sadly had the privilege??? of playing this game back in day and if I remember correctly it was horrible.

As for finding the exact location, it actually wouldn't be that hard. The location the dump operator gives you can easily be narrowed down with aerial photography and pin pointed. I do this general sort of thing for my job all the time.

As for digging them up, I'm sure once they do that they'll have to cart them all off to a contamination landfill due to the heavy metals and junk found in cartridges of that age.

Overall, just leave the damn things down there

Evil Smurf:
Was the game that bad?

Saying it's bad is an insult to the word bad itself. Played it before...never again. >.<

OT: Something tells me that trying to find it will be more trouble than it's worth, plus they probably put some sort of hex on the burial ground or something.

It should remain undisturbed for future archeologists to discover after the fall and subsequent rebuilding of society.

Evil Smurf:
Was the game that bad?

"Go Right" is a more polished game with a better story, and was marketed as "the worst game ever" by Adult Swim if that quantifies how bad ET was in any way.

Evil Smurf:
Was the game that bad?

The consensus is a resounding 'yes', though I didn't mind the game. Then again I was 7 years old, and it was one of the first games I got with the Atari 2600 that Christmas. You could say my tastes can only go up from there.

This is a neat idea, but I'm not sure why anyone would attempt this. It's like trying to find the worst Time Capsule ever.

Well, there goes my treatment for a stoner videogame roadtrip movie about the quest of some idiots to find this sacred place.

Some things are better left buried, the game is cursed I say. Legend has it that Atari had everyone who knew the location of the game killed so they may never tell another soul where they buried it. Now their spirits guard the burial site, made cruel and twisted by the scorn and anguish of gamers past who bought E.T.on release, awaiting to offer the same fate to any fool who comes searching for the games.

That's just stupid.
Didn't they ever see Poltergeist?
Nothing good can come of this.

Evil Smurf:
Was the game that bad?

It was bad in all the ways Superman 64 was bad.

It Had a rushed development time
Based on a well-loved license, while doing that license a huge injustice
Had little to no actual story
Game gave you no sense of direction or accomplishment
Controls were sloppy and hard to use
Aesthetics were terribad, even for the day's standards
Game was incredibly buggy, which when compiled with the above meant it was hard to tell if something was going on was because of a bug or because of actual accomplishment

Add on top of this the notoriety that THIS game was what everyone and their mom was betting on to save the crumbling gaming scene, followed by it failing massively and bankrupting everyone involved (thereby almost ending gaming as it existed), and yeah, it was kinda terrible.

NO! THE VAULT MUST REMAIN SEALED! YOU KNOW NOT WHAT ANCIENT EVIL YOU MAY UNLEASH!

It's like searching for El Dorado.

Except instead of being filled with gold, it's full of shit.

alfinchkid:

Evil Smurf:
Was the game that bad?

It was bad in all the ways Superman 64 was bad.

It Had a rushed development time
Based on a well-loved license, while doing that license a huge injustice
Had little to no actual story
Game gave you no sense of direction or accomplishment
Controls were sloppy and hard to use
Aesthetics were terribad, even for the day's standards
Game was incredibly buggy, which when compiled with the above meant it was hard to tell if something was going on was because of a bug or because of actual accomplishment

Add on top of this the notoriety that THIS game was what everyone and their mom was betting on to save the crumbling gaming scene, followed by it failing massively and bankrupting everyone involved (thereby almost ending gaming as it existed), and yeah, it was kinda terrible.

that sounds awful, why are they digging it up? ROMs of it exist I'm sure.

Uh, why are they doing this? Serious question, what is to be gained from digging up a bunch of broken old games? What are they going to do with them once they've been dug up? Bury them somewhere else?

I find the timing of this scavenger hunt and its proximity to the launch of the next generation of consoles extremely disturbing. E.T. the video game is exactly why the industry crashed all those years ago. The symbolism is the stuff of nightmares.

Evil Smurf:
Was the game that bad?

It's not the worst game ever made, or even the worst one made at the time. (It's definitely not worse than most of what the Angry Video Game Nerd has played.) The bigger problem was that they produced a buttload of copies and hyped it like crazy. Imagine being promised something like Skyrim and getting something more on par with Kinect Star Wars. The same thing happened with the 2600's port of Pac-Man. I think I read that for both games, they produced more cartridges than there were actually 2600s in people's homes (keep in mind that the 2600 had been out for quite some time by this point), counting on people being so interested in playing the games that they would be willing to actually buy one to play them on.

TV Tropes has a useful article on the situation.

This cannot end well. We already know what is going to happen when they open that can of bees...

Evil Smurf:

alfinchkid:

Evil Smurf:
Was the game that bad?

It was bad in all the ways Superman 64 was bad.

It Had a rushed development time
Based on a well-loved license, while doing that license a huge injustice
Had little to no actual story
Game gave you no sense of direction or accomplishment
Controls were sloppy and hard to use
Aesthetics were terribad, even for the day's standards
Game was incredibly buggy, which when compiled with the above meant it was hard to tell if something was going on was because of a bug or because of actual accomplishment

Add on top of this the notoriety that THIS game was what everyone and their mom was betting on to save the crumbling gaming scene, followed by it failing massively and bankrupting everyone involved (thereby almost ending gaming as it existed), and yeah, it was kinda terrible.

that sounds awful, why are they digging it up? ROMs of it exist I'm sure.

I've never played it and wouldnt mind a look, having said that if it's as bad as people say then they must dig it up and restore a few copies for future prosperity torment. Also as a perfect "what NOT to do" list.

Evil Smurf:
that sounds awful, why are they digging it up? ROMs of it exist I'm sure.

There's still a fair number or the original carts kicking around (I own one), so even if there isn't a ROM right now, there could be.

They're digging it up for the same reason we dig anything up- it's a legend, it's folkfore, it's something people care about. It's a way to cash in on gaming nostalgia by focusing on the greatest failure in gaming history and the crazy story of how it concluded.

If there was enough info to go around, I'm sure there would be a documentary on Polybius too. Hell, someone might do that anyway- if we can get sequels to fake mermaid specials, why not?

I also already see 'some certain few, a bit elder game developers' in their secluded rooms on their knees sweating any praying "Please Lord, don't let them..."

FizzyIzze:
I find the timing of this scavenger hunt and its proximity to the launch of the next generation of consoles extremely disturbing. E.T. the video game is exactly why the industry crashed all those years ago. The symbolism is the stuff of nightmares.

By god! what if it's true! That the spirit of insanity that possessed the businessmen behind all those horrible business practices of Atari and helped cause the great videogame crash of "83" has possessed today's console businessmen!

oooooooo! This story reminds me that the Angry Videogame Nerd's movie will be coming out soon!

CyberMachinist:

FizzyIzze:
I find the timing of this scavenger hunt and its proximity to the launch of the next generation of consoles extremely disturbing. E.T. the video game is exactly why the industry crashed all those years ago. The symbolism is the stuff of nightmares.

By god! what if it's true! That the spirit of insanity that possessed the businessmen behind all those horrible business practices of Atari and helped cause the great videogame crash of "83" has possessed today's console businessmen!

It's a plot straight out of a horror movie.

As far as their reasoning for literally digging up the past, I don't see the point of making a documentary about it. Maybe if they have some real insight from the guys responsible, like the film Something Ventured.


Long ago, in the distant time of 1983... this land was plagued by an unspeakable evil.
The demon called itself... E.T. for the Atari 2600.
It's foul conception was from the greedy womb of a dying company.
No one foresaw the coming of the Beast, for it dwelled in the hopes of children.
When it arose from the depths, it came in an inconcieveable quantity.
Many men tried to fight it, tried to send it back from whence it came... all failed.
For a time, all seemed lost.

But then, taken up by the company that created it, the beast was drawn into the desert.
The brave Atari cast the evil into a stalwart tomb, and buried it deep within the sandy wastes, never to escape.
Having redeemed themselves, Atari collapsed upon the desert soil, and was taken up in the embrace of bankrupcy.
Many others suffered similar fates, but hope, like a spring flower in full bloom, rose again.
The evil of the Great Crash came to pass, and the industry was born anew.
However, the demon still lays deep beneath the sand, waiting for a foolish mortal to free it from it's prison...

That day has come at last...

RJ 17:
oooooooo! This story remind me that the Angry Videogame Nerd's movie will be coming out soon!

At least he's got a good start for a sequel now...

Kind of reminds me of "ready, Player one" by ernest cline.

I expect to hear stories about everyone involved in the excavation dying mysterious deaths. Come to think of it this is basically the plot to Amnesia the Dark Decent, some guys dig up an ancient artifact and unleash an unspeakable evil that kills all who cross it's path.

The fools know not what they do.

Evil Smurf:
Was the game that bad?

As many have said so far, yes. It bad.

My guess of what this all means for us players, and developers?
0_0 When they find and unearth it, the next video game crash people have been talking about will happen at that same moment.

Think about it. It would be the E.T. game's ultimate revenge!

alfinchkid:

Evil Smurf:
Was the game that bad?

It was bad in all the ways Superman 64 was bad.

It Had a rushed development time
Based on a well-loved license, while doing that license a huge injustice
Had little to no actual story
Game gave you no sense of direction or accomplishment
Controls were sloppy and hard to use
Aesthetics were terribad, even for the day's standards
Game was incredibly buggy, which when compiled with the above meant it was hard to tell if something was going on was because of a bug or because of actual accomplishment

Add on top of this the notoriety that THIS game was what everyone and their mom was betting on to save the crumbling gaming scene, followed by it failing massively and bankrupting everyone involved (thereby almost ending gaming as it existed), and yeah, it was kinda terrible.

Is it still bad from the standpoint of going in knowing it's bad, that it's looked at as the worst game ever made? Expectations that large are hard to meet, especially for people who enjoy playing and watching terrible games and movies.

Andy Chalk:
Released in 1982 for the Atari 2600, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial - heretofore referred to as simply E.T.

Heretofore means before, not after.

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