Microsoft Granted Clearance To Excavate Millions of ‘E.T.’ Atari Game Cartridges For Documentary


Some say the past should stay dead. Microsoft disagrees.

The New Mexico Environment Department has reached an agreement with Microsoft which will allow the company to excavate a landfill site where over a million copies of the infamous Atari video game E.T. The Extraterrestrial are believed to be buried. Why? To make a movie, of course.

As far as video game legends go, few date back as far as the story behind E.T. The Extraterrestrial. Released in 1982, the game was instantly panned by critics and players alike for being both endlessly confusing and impossibly difficult. Glitches were frequent, the graphics were poor (even for Atari), and the story made absolutely zero sense. It was a mess in every way, and many believe it caused the gaming industry crash of 1983.

When Atari realized just how poorly the game was being received, they knew there was no way they could sell the million-plus units sitting in their warehouse and – as the story goes – they dumped the unused units in a New Mexico landfill.

You can view a video showcasing the nonsensical gameplay of E.T. The Extraterrestrial below.

Microsoft originally announced plans for a documentary on the long lost E.T. cartridges back in December, but the New Mexico Environment Department was not too keen on the idea of someone digging around in their long-buried landfills. That opinion has since changed, and at some point in the coming months the project will move forward.

No release date for Microsoft’s E.T. documentary has been announced, but a late 2014 release is expected. Zak Penn, writer of X2, will direct.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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  • XBlueCollarHardcoreX

    Awesome article… This is why I come to this site.

  • HaulixJames


  • RadioDazed

    New Mexico Environment Department’s opinion changed… how un$urprising.