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Buried Atari 2600 ‘E.T.’ cartridges under New Mexico finally confirmed

An excavation team finally confirms the reality behind one of gaming’s most notorious urban legends.


Whenever someone mentions the infamous gaming crash of 1983 in the United States, the game that is always popularly mentioned is E.T. the Extraterrestrial for the Atari 2600. Never again was a game ever blamed wildly (even excessively) for such a huge catastrophic event, that it had basically became a popular symbol of corporate failure in gaming many decades later.

But one particular famous urban legend of this game was the supposed report or news that truckloads of the thousands of unsold game cartridges were transported, crushed, thrown and buried in a landfill area in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The news, though it confirmed that discarded items and materials from Atari’s factories were indeed being thrown in the landfill, it never specified that these were E.T. game cartridges, leading people to speculate and theorize as to what really happened. For many years, it became a sort of mystery, the stuff of legend for gamers.

That is until now. As part of the upcoming film documentary by Xbox that is centered on the first generation Atari consoles, a decisive plan to confirm the urban legend was set in motion after Fuel Entertainment acquired the rights to excavate the area mid-December last year. A team of filmmakers and excavators then went to the infamous landfill site a few days ago. After hours of searching around the area, they finally found where the unopened, unsold cartridges are buried, proving the urban legend to be true after all these years.

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The Xbox One TV documentary series itself is scheduled to start around June, so we’ll probably see the final results of their excavation efforts in the first completed episode.

Christian Crisostomo
Christian Crisostomo is your average tech geek who loves learning about any new stuff that is related to technology and tech development. He's currently mesmerized at the wonders of technology in East Asia, writing about all the stuff that he has seen and learned there.

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