Date set for New Mexico dig for Atari 'E.T.' games (Update)

Apr 10, 2014

Organizers of a search in a New Mexico landfill for a rumored stash of what some call the worst video game ever made by Atari announced Thursday that the dig will get under way this month.

The dig at the Alamogordo landfill where Atari reportedly discarded millions of "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" game cartridges in 1983 is scheduled for April 26, officials with Microsoft-owned Xbox said.

The excavation will be open for public viewing, according to Xbox.

The company is joining with Fuel Entertainment and LightBox Interactive to search the landfill. All three companies are making a documentary about the project. Microsoft plans to release the documentary on its Xbox One console.

City officials told the Alamogordo Daily News on Wednesday that the city has rights to any discovered games. City Attorney Stephen Thies said any game cartridges will be stored by the city for possible marketing. However, a tentative agreement between the Alamogordo City Commission and Fuel Entertainment's parent company calls for Fuel to receive some games.

The city will give Fuel either 100 game cartridges or 10 percent, depending on which is the lesser amount, according to Thies. But Fuel cannot receive more than $2,500 worth of games. The company plans to hand out the cartridges to film crews.

City commissioners also want Fuel's $1.5 million liability insurance to be raised to $3 million.

"If they decide they don't want any of the games, then the original $1.5 million insurance will apply." Thies said. "Because it is our landfill, anything that's out there is our property, if any games are found those are our games."

All three companies gained approval last month from the New Mexico Environmental Department for their waste excavation plan. The agency plans to send a representative to monitor the project once it commences.

Atari paid director Steven Spielberg tens of millions of dollars to license the wildly popular 1982 movie's name, and game developers completed the project in just six weeks. In the game, the player takes on the role of the titular alien and tries to elude FBI agents while collecting pieces of a telephone to call E.T.'s spaceship.

The end result was a huge commercial dud that caused the troubled company's worth to sink even further.

Atari purportedly disposed of millions of game cartridges and other equipment by the truckload at the landfill. The area's supposed role as a gaming burial ground has taken on urban-legend status over the years.

The landfill was first used as a dumping ground in the 1920s but has been closed since the late 1980s, officials said.

Explore further: Microsoft to launch Xbox One in 26 more countries

3.5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Pioneering videogame firm Atari gets lifeline

Feb 05, 2013

Atari, the pioneering video game company mired in bankruptcy proceedings in both France and the US, said on Tuesday it had found a last minute buyer after the latest leading shareholder gave up on turning ...

Microsoft says used games will work on Xbox One

Jun 07, 2013

Microsoft's upcoming Xbox One gaming console will be able to play used games, clearing up a worry among gamers and video game retailers such as GameStop, which trade in used games.

Twitch live game broadcasting coming to Xbox One

Feb 25, 2014

(AP)—Xbox One will soon be Twitchier than the PlayStation 4. The popular video game broadcasting service Twitch is bringing a slew of fresh features to Microsoft's newest console. An update next month will ...

Recommended for you

US official: Auto safety agency under review

17 hours ago

Transportation officials are reviewing the "safety culture" of the U.S. agency that oversees auto recalls, a senior Obama administration official said Friday. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been criticized ...

Christian Bale to play Apple's Steve Jobs

Oct 23, 2014

Oscar-winner Christian Bale—best known for his star turn as Batman in the blockbuster "Dark Knight" films—will play Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in an upcoming biopic.

How to find a submarine

Oct 23, 2014

Das Boot, The Hunt for Red October, The Bedford Incident, We Dive At Dawn: films based on submariners' experience reflect the tense and unusual nature of undersea warfare – where it is often not how well ...

Government ups air bag warning to 7.8M vehicles (Update)

Oct 22, 2014

The U.S. government is now urging owners of nearly 8 million cars and trucks to have the air bags repaired because of potential danger to drivers and passengers. But the effort is being complicated by confusing ...

User comments : 0