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E.T. excavation opens up to spectators

E.T. excavation opens up to spectators

There has never been an official confirmation that the landfill site is where the better part of 3.5 million unsold E.T cartridges were buried.

The impending excavation of the landfill where Atari was rumoured to have crushed and buried millions of unsold E.T. game cartridges has been opened up to the public.

The event is set to become part of a documentary backed by Xbox Entertainment Studios and produced by Fuel Entertainment. The dig was given the green light last week and now Microsoft has extended the invitation to attend to everyone.

Attendees might even be interviewed for the documentaries alongside E.T the Extra-Terrestrial video game designer Howard Scott Warshaw, the team of archaeologists and other people connected to the project.

Work on unearthing the dumped cartridges will begin on April 26 and 9:30 AM and run through until 7:30 PM at the Alamogordo landfill site in New Mexico. Xbox Entertainment Studios will be publishing the finished film as part of a documentary series.

Plans to unearth the abandoned cartridges were first announced in June 2013 and the project was briefly put on hold last week as the team was required to obtain special permission before any digging could take place.

The landfill site is purportedly the final resting place of the bulk of approximately 3.5 million unsold cartridges of 1983's E.T video game from Atari, a title often name-checked as one of the worst video games in the industry’s history and a commercial failure that is credited as almost killing off video games as a business entirely.

Whether or not the burial site does in fact inter these cartridges has never been officially confirmed, and official statements claim that only broken and returned materials were dumped.

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SinxarKnights 11th April 2014, 11:19 Quote
It was my understanding this wasn't actually true. The story sorta says that but I guess we will find out when they go digging in the trash.
Gareth Halfacree 11th April 2014, 11:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by SinxarKnights
It was my understanding this wasn't actually true. The story sorta says that but I guess we will find out when they go digging in the trash.
According to my copy of Atari, Inc: Business is Fun, it's an urban legend given wings by the fact that Atari did dump a bunch of stuff at the site - just not 3.5 million unsold ET carts. But, like you say, digging the thing up should give us confirmation either way.
Hustler 11th April 2014, 11:27 Quote
Fires up Stella....plays ET and wonders however did this entertain me as a child...can only think it was the fact you could extend ET's neck by pressing the button.
AlienwareAndy 11th April 2014, 11:43 Quote
Hmm very interesting. Beats digging up rusty old metal on Time Team !
Maki role 11th April 2014, 11:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlienwareAndy
Hmm very interesting. Beats digging up rusty old metal on Time Team !

I dunno, all those broken clay pots and buried fence posts always had me at the edge of my seat...
SMIFFYDUDE 11th April 2014, 12:34 Quote
Wouldn't the 1st of April have been a better date for this dig
ChaosDefinesOrder 11th April 2014, 14:35 Quote
I thought the entire point of this dig was to see if the legend was true, with one of the potential expectations from the outset being that is was a myth all along?
Jim 11th April 2014, 23:35 Quote
I find it hard to believe that the best way of discovering what happened 30 years ago is to start digging.
Cheapskate 12th April 2014, 03:38 Quote
Hmm.
A landfill... in the New Mexico desert... in April.
Sounds like a blast. Five minutes of that and I wouldn't care if Atari launched their trash into space.
Umbra 12th April 2014, 13:02 Quote
http://www.slashgear.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Screen-Shot-2013-12-19-at-10.34.20-AM-580x387.png

Should be easy, they might also find some members of the local drug cartels from the last few decades
sotu1 13th April 2014, 14:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by snootyjim
I find it hard to believe that the best way of discovering what happened 30 years ago is to start digging.

Yet this is what we do to find out what happened 30 million years ago!
Jim 13th April 2014, 15:15 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sotu1
Yet this is what we do to find out what happened 30 million years ago!

Well, I can't think of any better way to work out what happened 30 millions years ago. My point is that even 300+ years back, we can usually use documentation to work out more than we can by digging, so to suppose that it's the best option for something that happened 30 years ago is nuts.
LordPyrinc 15th April 2014, 06:29 Quote
It's an interesting story, both in the legend of the burial and in the complete and utter rubbish that the game came to be. My first gaming system was an NES, though I think I might have played E.T. on a friend's Atari way back then. I don't put much stock in the story of them burying the cartridges out there, but some things are simply about the mystique and the experience of an event like that. If it were closer, I might even consider going for the heck of it. Who knows, they might finally find Hoffa instead.
Pookie 15th April 2014, 09:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Umbra
http://www.slashgear.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Screen-Shot-2013-12-19-at-10.34.20-AM-580x387.png

Should be easy, they might also find some members of the local drug cartels from the last few decades


So they were crushed and covered in concrete. Really, what is the point of trying?
Retro_Gamer 15th April 2014, 09:31 Quote
Its an interesting bit of folklore from the 80's, after the video game crash apparently Atari crushed said E.T Cartridges, dumped them in the landfill and covered them with concrete. Another variation on the same theme was faulty non working carts and other faulty Atari Hardware was crushed etc.

Its going to be interesting to actually see if they do unearth anything from the site, apparently Atari did crush and dispose of something there, just what though remains to be seen!

Thinking on this, wondering when the AVGN Movie is going to come out as he is doing the whole E.T Mexican Landfill theme.

The wikipedia article on the crash has a fair bit of info if anyone is interested, well worth reading if you have never heard of it or don't know much about it. It didn't effect UK and Europe as such as we were all using home computers like Spectrum, C64 & Amstrad

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_video_game_crash_of_1983

After the crash the whole E.T Cartridge thing came to light and in 83 it apparently happened

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_video_game_burial
Gareth Halfacree 15th April 2014, 09:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro_Gamer
It didn't effect UK and Europe as such as we were all using home computers like Spectrum, C64 & Amstrad
Actually, we had our own crash at around the same time. In the early 80s, home computing really took off in the UK. Sinclair had launched the ZX80, the first fully-functional home computer to cost less than £100 - a fraction what Commodore, Apple and the like were charging. Acorn, staffed by former Sinclair Research staffer Chris Curry, launched the Acorn Atom to critical acclaim. The two companies began a tit-for-tat battle: Acorn aiming for the higher end, Sinclair driving down prices. The ZX81 could be bought for just £49.95 in kit form; its successor the Spectrum cost more at £129 for the 16K model but added full colour graphics and basic sound capabilities. Acorn, meanwhile, built a prototype which would become the BBC Micro - an official microcomputer for the BBC's Computer Programme, and the darling of the UK government's computer literacy project which put a computer into every secondary school and half of all primary schools.

Then it all started to go wrong. Acorn ditched its founding principles and launched the Acorn Electron, a cut-down and cheapened BBC Micro designed to compete with Sinclair on price; Sinclair, meanwhile, stopped making cheap tat and produced the Quantum Leap, or QL, a high-end machine for businesses. Neither succeeded; every home that wanted a computer had a computer, and the QL saw its price slashed from £399 at launch to under £99 while Acorn took a massive bath on Electrons that sat unwanted in a warehouse - fulfilment of pre-orders had been delayed, and retailers had seen the slump and pulled out by the time they finally hit the country.

The crash was swift and sudden: the UK computer market died on its arse. No, really: Sinclair was sold to Amstrad, Acorn went bust and became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Olivetti, and all those little incidental names nobody remembers now - Grundy, Oric, Tangerine, Dragon Data - all went by the wayside too. Amstrad survived thanks to a focus on business users, rather than home users, leveraging its line of word processors into a more fully-featured range of all-in-one PC systems that came bundled with a monitor and living off its profits from non-computing ventures. That didn't last long, though: Amstrad left the PC market years ago, selling the rights to its home computer stuff - including the Spectrum rights it acquired from Sinclair - to BSkyB, of all people.

Sure, people started buying home computers again - but not from UK manufacturers. The Amstrad CPC line enjoyed modest success in the UK, but the big winner was the US giant Commodore; the 8-bit C64 was succeeded by the 16-bit Amiga, and sold a storm before IBM compatibles caught up and put niche products out of business for good. Atari didn't do too badly in the 16-bit era, either - and d'you know who was leading Atari at that time? Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore. Funny old world, innit?

TL;DR: Tell Acorn and Sinclair that there was no UK market crash in the 80s.
Retro_Gamer 15th April 2014, 10:27 Quote
Yeah, it was very cut throat here with the home computers, not as many people used consoles in the UK and Europe as they did in America at the time. The crash came about due to over saturation of machines and games. Certain manufacturers even created addons that would allow you to play the Atari 2600 games on their machines. To much choice and stock that wasn't shifting off the shelves.

As for Commodore / Atari & Jack Tramiel. Know that one well, when he was essentially pushed out of Commodore and went over to Atari and the Amiga was well on its way to completion so Atari needed to come up with something quick, so the ST came to fruition, unfortunately the machine was a bit rushed and had poorer sound capabilities (even though popular with musicians etc at the time thanks to the midi port), it still wasn't a patch on the Amiga. They did catch up with the STe machines as it had better sound chip and visuals but a lot of the software companies didn't utilise the new features of the STe so there are only a handful of games. Handful, maybe 100 titles that used the extra features when thousands of games were available.

I remember the BBC Model B's well, we had a room full of them for our Computer Studies, nice machines but not as many people owned them in the home except the rich kids!!

Sir Alan Sugar created the CPC line to be a good all in one computer for home and business, thing is though people tended to go for either the C64 or Spectrum in the home. The CPC range done really well on the continent during the 80's and is actually still popular today with a good active scene still releasing demos etc. When they bought out Sinclair they seemed to keep the Spectrum line of machines cheap, no tape counter on the +2 machines is just a pain, especially the multiload stuff where it says reset counter!

Going back to the crash though and Nintendo were the ones to actually save the day and restore retailers faith. They named the machine NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) as if it had Games or Console in the title it would not have been stocked or sold. They included things like Rob etc with the machine so it was looked at as a toy and not forgetting they did the Nintendo Seal of approval on their games. This restored faith and the unit started off strong and went on for years to come.
Umbra 15th April 2014, 13:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pookie
So they were crushed and covered in concrete. Really, what is the point of trying?

http://www.slashgear.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Screen-Shot-2013-12-19-at-10.34.20-AM-580x387.png

I did find the picture on the internet so there is a slight possibility it might not be correct
Yadda 15th April 2014, 13:17 Quote
Someone should quietly bury a mock ET skeleton on the site before they get started.
Corky42 27th April 2014, 09:12 Quote
It looks like they have hit gold.

Diggers Find Atari's E.T. Games in Landfill.
http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory/diggers-ready-unearth-ataris-games-23477542?singlePage=true
Quote:
A documentary film production company has found buried in a New Mexico landfill hundreds of the Atari "E.T." game cartridges that some call the worst video game ever made.

Film director Zak Penn showed one "E.T." cartridge retrieved from the site and said that hundreds more were found in the mounds of trash and dirt scooped by a backhoe.
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