Photo by Larry Hyrb
This past week the public was invited to help out in digging up a location in a New Mexico desert where unsold copies of the the Atari E.T. game were buried. Microsoft’s Larry Hyrb was among the diggers. Things got very interesting when they dug up an Atari joystick in shambles. “A bit of evidence that we’re digging in the right place… ” the tweet reads, with accompanying picture. Then came the picture of the unearthed E.T. cart, confirming the urban legend to be true. Larry then posted another picture showing that E.T. wasn’t the only game buried in the landfill.
So why all the hubbub? Well back during the Atari days, The videogame bubble was growing in size, but consumer confidence was waning. Like Pac-Man before it, Atari placed its bets on the E.T. game becoming a big seller in the holiday season of 1982 since the movie was such a big hit. Well, the game got released to poor reviews and poor sales. Many believe this was what caused the Videogame Crash of 1983. Soon, there were reports that Atari had buried all the unsold copies of E.T. they had in a New Mexico landfill. However as time went on, skeptics were wondering if the news was true. It soon became an urban legend.
Since then, many had tried to dig out the E.T. carts to confirm the urban legend true. Even Atari founder Nolan Bushnell got in on the action (though only in jest). Many tried to find the right spot for where to dig since the landfill isn’t there anymore, only for the expeditions to end in failure. Couple this with money spent on digging equipment and time ticking away before the carts and boxes fully decomposing underground, things were looking grim.
That is until today. So congrats to the people that confirmed the legend to be true.