30 Years Later, Microsoft Recovers Buried E.T. Atari Cartridges
By Malik Forté on April 26, 2014
The first of possibly thousands of Atari E.T. games was recovered from the depths of an old Alamogordo, N.M. landfill, after 31 years of bizarre mythology. Xbox Entertainment Studios and Lightbox Entertainment teamed up to film a documentary specifically based on the fidelity of the urban legend, and at 12:45 MDT today, the truth was unveiled in front of hundreds of onlookers surrounding the landfill.
For those unfamiliar with the E.T. folklore, it all began over 30 years ago after the Atari E.T. game was released and saw a huge decline in sales due to it’s horrible quality after being rushed to the market. Got to love those licensed games, right? The tale concludes with the remaining millions of E.T. Atari games disappearing, many believing them to have been pitched into a random landfill in New Mexico. Many would have scowled at this story or simply laughed it off as it seems highly unlikely if it were last week, but not after today.
Lots of Atari packaging had been unveiled prior to the discovery of the E.T. cartridge, including several cases for the game Centipede. The game was actually in very good condition for having been lodged underground for three decades. Microsoft Studios’ Jeff Rubenstein and Major Nelson took to twitter with their excitement about epic find:
Here it is up close – the very first ET cartridge exhumed after 30 years pic.twitter.com/nb8tv33w8F
— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) April 26, 2014
After a day in the desert, this recently exhumed ET cartridge may be in better condition than I am pic.twitter.com/L57oIRLfXz
— Jeff Rubenstein (@jeffrubenstein) April 26, 2014
The Atari E.T. game has been regarded as one of the worst video games in history and the model example for what licensed movie games should try to avoid becoming. But even so, this awful game has brought us the most exciting bit of gaming history thus far this year, and that in itself is worth cracking a smiling over.