A film crew is about to embark on a dig in the New Mexico desert for millions of E.T game cartridges.
Followers of videogame history will be aware that some games just don’t sell as well as the publishers and developers would hope for and one of the most famous games that sunk faster than a boat made out of Swiss cheese was E.T on the Atari 2600.
This catastrophic failure of a movie videogame tie-in was expected to shift millions of copies of the game back in 1982 when it came out. The gaming public however didn't subscribe to Atari's point of view and avoided it like the plague even though because it was rushed out to coincide with the continued popularity of Steven Spielberg’s iconic movie and wanted a release in time for the lucrative Christmas season.
As we all know most movie tie-in games are bad because they are rushed out to coincide with its release in the cinema (although there are some exceptions to this). In this case E.T was so unplayable that hardly anyone went out and got it.
The Atari Corporation had naturally stumped up a great deal for the license and as had been the norm until this point, gamers snapped up game after game time and time again so what could possibly go wrong? Well, as we all know no one brought them (and those that did sent them back for a refund).
So what do you do with millions of unwanted cartridges? Store them in a warehouse at immense cost and hope that someday they all sell? No, you cut your losses and bury them in the desert!
The cartridges were taken by truck in September 1983 to the small town of Alamogordo, New Mexico and unceremoniously dumped in a landfill site and thus began the legend of E.T the videogame who’s exact location has been lost to time so why are we writing about this today?
Well after many attempts and failures in finding the horde of games a Canadian film company called Fuel Industries is about to embark on the ultimate gaming archaeological quest and on the 26th April they will start digging in the rumoured location where they were dumped and will be filming it for a documentary about the legend of the lost E.T cartridges and we hope that they manage to find them as this will be real life video game history in the making, however what you would do with the estimated three million cartridges is another thing altogether.
We’ll keep you posted on whether they find them or not, however if they don’t find we’re sure that the legend will continue to grow.