Atari cartridges found in New Mexico landfill
By Joseph J. Kolb
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (Reuters) - Documentary filmmakers digging in a New Mexico landfill on Saturday unearthed hundreds of "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" cartridges, considered by some the worst video game ever made and blamed for contributing to the downfall of the video game industry in the 1980s.
Some gamers speculate that thousands or even millions of the unwanted cartridges made by Atari were buried in a landfill in Alamogordo, about 200 miles southeast of Albuquerque.
Who dumped the videos, how many they buried and why they did it inspired the dig and a documentary of the event by Microsoft Corp's Xbox Entertainment Studios.
The first batch of E.T. games was discovered under layers of trash after about three hours of digging, a Microsoft spokeswoman said, putting to rest questions about whether the cartridges would be found at all.
She could not immediately provide an exact count of how many cartridges were uncovered.
The game was a design and marketing failure after it was rushed out to coincide with the release of Steven Spielberg's 1982 hit movie "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," and it contributed to a collapse of the video game industry in its early years.
Atari is believed to have been saddled with most of the 5 million E.T. game cartridges produced. According to New York Times reports at the time, the game manufacturer buried the games in the New Mexico desert in the middle of the night.
A game enthusiast later tracked down the suspected burial site and spread the word about the location, said Sam Claiborn, an editor at video game news site IGN. Continued...