The Legend Is Real: Atari and ET cartridges uncovered at fabled New Mexico dumpsite

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So… the legend goes that following the release and dismal failure of an Atari 2600 game in 1983, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, licensed to tie-in with the release of the feature film by the same name, a large quantity of unsold cartridges (with estimates ranging from several thousand to several million carts) were said to have been buried at a dump site just outside Alamogordo, New Mexico, in the White Sands desert.

Nearly thirty years later, Canadian entertainment company Fuel Industries was able to secure the rights to excavate the site in order to film a documentary about the legendary videogame burial and the resulting (short lived) game industry crash of the early 1980s that followed.

The film crew’s mission was to once and for all answer the question over whether or not the (by now) fabled burial ever happened, and on April 26th 2014, they got their answer. This is what they found:


Amongst those present at the excavation was former Atari manager James Heller, who is said to have been the one to originally order that a total of 728 000 Atari cartridges be buried at the site, a lot of which have since been found since the digging began this weekend.

In association with Xbox and production company Lightbox, Fuel Industries is set to air the documentary about the legendary E.T. and Atari cartridges as an exclusive Xbox One and Xbox 360 series – here’s a snippet of the documentary revealing the uncovering of the very first cartridge:

The Dig: Atari and ET Cartridges Uncovered – Documentary Teaser

Had you ever heard the legend of the buried E.T. cartridges, and did you ever doubt the story was true?

It’ll be interesting to see the full documentary when it’s aired later this year.

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