The E.T. Myth: Confirmed

While there are many gaming industry myths, perhaps none has been as pervasive as the E.T. landfill myth. It was during the ‘80s that Atari conducted its now-legendary feat of flooding the market with low-quality products—such as the unbelievably terrible E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial video game—and tanking the very industry it had helped to build.

The story goes that so many copies of the E.T. game went unsold that Atari drove millions (yes, millions) of game cartridges into the New Mexico desert and dumped them into a landfill there. Anyone familiar with this story may also know that a documentary team last year decided they would try to find out if the story actually had any truth to it.

And now we have the full story: The documentary team has successfully discovered copies of E.T. in a New Mexico landfill, which proves (more or less) that this famous, oft-cited-but-never-verified myth actually holds within it a measure of truth.

The documentary should be released late 2014 through Microsoft’s Xbox formats, but hopefully we’ll see it on other platforms as well. Notably, no one at Atari has claimed any knowledge about the landfill-dumping event, with a spokeswoman for the company stating that “nobody here has any idea what that’s about” and that they’re “just watching like everybody else.” That said, today’s Atari is a completely different company from the version of the company we had in the 1980s, with plenty of changeovers in between.


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Author: Dave View all posts by
Dave will tell you that he likes to play video games, this is in fact a lie. What he really likes to do is buy games, and leaving them sitting unopened on his shelf. He is a monster.

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