Atari E.T. games dug up by Xbox documentary makers in New Mexico

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by Joe Curtis| 28 April 2014

The infamous game cartridges are blamed for the 1980s gaming industry slump.

Hundreds of copies of allegedly the worst video game ever made have been dug up by Xbox documentary makers from a New Mexico landfill.

Gamers have long speculated that 1980s game company Atari dumped potentially millions of copies of "E.T. the Extra Terrestrial" in a landfill site in Alamogordo, and Microsoft Xbox filmmakers found the first batch of cartridges after three hours of sifting through trash over the weekend.

The Xbox dig had its hopes pinned on uncovering the missing cartridges after the movie-inspired game was credited with contributing to the collapse of the gaming industry while it was still in its infancy.

Atari is reported to have been unable to sell many of the five million copies produced in 1982, and is rumoured to have buried the cartridges in the middle of the desert at night.

The dig has attracted games enthusiasts including author Ernest Cline, whose novel Ready Player One centres around 1980s gaming hits like Pac-Man.

Upon Saturday's discovery, he simply tweeted "Success!", with a picture of a volunteer holding up a dusty copy of an E.T. game cartridge.

The documentary's director Zak Penn told Reuters: "For a lot of people, it's something that they've wondered about and it's been rumored and talked about for 30 years, and they just want an answer.

"I don't know how much people would pay for a broken ET game, but as a piece of history, it has a much different value."

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