Submitted by PixelitisBlog 147d ago | news

E.T. Atari cartridges finally found in New Mexico desert

"What was often scoffed at as an urban legend has been revealed as truth: excavators have uncovered the infamous E.T. Atari cartridge landfill in a New Mexico desert.

The dig was organized by Canadian entertainment company Fuel Industries in order to film a documentary about the 1983 burial of purportedly millions of unsold Atari cartridges. The excavation was officially approved by the Alamogordo City Commission and started today.

Xbox's Major Nelson, along with other onlookers have tweeted out pictures of the excavation team holding these cartridges. Some of these are reportedly shrink-wrapped, complete-in-box copies of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which is often considered one of the biggest commercial failures in the history of gaming." - Patrick Kulikowski (Atari, E.T, Industry)

Alternative Sources
« 1 2 »
Naga  +   147d ago | Funny
There is no telling what unholy curse these fools have brought upon us all.
#1 (Edited 147d ago ) | Agree(165) | Disagree(3) | Report | Reply
BiggCMan  +   147d ago | Funny
That is truly amazing. I'm glad the industry was able to bounce back after the big video game crash in the 80's. I can't believe that mostly 1 game was the cause of all that mess.


Relientk77  +   147d ago
Lol @ the link
Angeljuice  +   147d ago
Videogames thrived in the 80's, C64 and ZX Spectrum were going really strong at the time (one of the best times to be a gamer) the games industry in other countries such as the UK was awesome.

It should be refered to as "THE NORTH AMERICAN CONSOLE CRASH".

If you were a gamer at that time chances are you wouldn't have noticed anything as you would have already moved on from the outdated Atari 2600.
#1.1.2 (Edited 147d ago ) | Agree(22) | Disagree(2) | Report
pedrof93  +   147d ago
I wonder if Microsoft will do that with the X1.
Mouktouk  +   147d ago | Intelligent
Well, actually the 1983 video game industry crash was not caused by a single game, but this game in particular was the symbol of that failure.

In the 70's, video games were being increasingly popular thanks to the success of games like Pong, Space Invaders or Pac-Man. Many manufacturers saw there a way to get easy profits. Thus, they started creating their own consoles and developing their own games, and due to a lack of control, it was pretty easy to copy or clone a successful video game.

Manufacturers started to flood the shelves with cloned and/or low quality games. As a consequence, they were producing tons of shitty games but didn't meet their sale expectations, meaning publishers had a bunch of unsold copies to deal with.

You need to understand how the video game industry works to understand how it failed.

Let's say you're a publisher. You ask a developer to create a game, and you decide to produce X copies of this game. Then you sell your copies to retailers, and retailers sell the game to the consumers. But what happens when you produce games that ultimately don't sell?

Every unsold copy of the game is sent back to the publisher, and you have two options there: either you refund the retailers for the unsold copies, either you send retailers a new game with a discount and you get rid of those unsold copies.

This is that mentality that caused the 1983 video game crash. Due to the amount of video game consoles on the video game market in early 80's, the concurrence of computers and the lack of quality control, released games were getting worse and worse, resulting a decrease in sales.

Retailers send the unsold copies to publishers, and in order to avoir a refund, they were rushing a new game to send to retailers, and so on. Many studios and manufacturers went bankrupt.

ET was just the best example of that era. Atari produced tons of cartridge, thinking the success of the movie would mean the success of the video game, but it mostly didn't (ET actually sold pretty well, 1 million copies IIRC, but Atari still produced way too much cartridges). And as retailers sent their ET cartridges back, Atari had to do something of all those unsold copies. According to the myth, they burried them in a desert in New Mexico.

In 1983, everyone were leaving the boat. The video game industry was no longer viable, and whoever stayed went bankrupt or was nearly dead. Nintendo developed the Famicom / NES keeping in mind what caused the 1983 crash and decided to impose quality control over their third party content.

(please apologize me if there is any grammatical mistake, I'm French but did my best to be understandable. The 1983 crash is a fascinating era and you should know that some practices that caused the crash are still living nowadays...)

tl;dr > The 1983 crash was caused by 3 factors:
- lack of morality / quality control;
- a huge flood of games and consoles;
- the video game ecomic system;
#1.1.4 (Edited 147d ago ) | Agree(59) | Disagree(3) | Report
BigPappaPump  +   147d ago
Bubbled up for that funny link.
Mr Pumblechook  +   147d ago
Some secrets should be left buried.
FamilyGuy  +   147d ago


What are they gonna do with them, how many were buried?
Monolith  +   147d ago
And now it will be the most successful game to date when geeks buy them all up for thousands of dollars! Lol watch.
OrangePowerz  +   147d ago
It wasn't really the fault of ET. Itbwas due to the oversaturation of the market with too many devices combined with a lot of low quality games that go thrown together quickly to cash in on the rising market.

That is also one of the reasons why we got the Nintendo seal of approval and in general on consoles more strictly requirements to release games.on the platform.
#1.1.9 (Edited 147d ago ) | Agree(7) | Disagree(1) | Report
Knushwood Butt  +   147d ago
Do retailers send unsold games back to publishers?

I don't think so. If so, there wouldn't be bargain bins.

Surely publishers end up with excess stock when they simply manufacture more than they can sell to retail.
Eyeco  +   147d ago
It only affected North America gaming, however PC gaming, Japan, Europe, and South America were doing just fine, theres this annoying myth that ALL of gaming somehow died in 1983.
#1.1.11 (Edited 147d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(2) | Report
Pekka  +   147d ago
@Mouktouk: Retailers don't send unsold games back to publishers. Just like with all other products in stores, retailers buy products from producers and those items which they can't sell at full price ends up in bargain bins. Publishers end up with excess stock because they have produced too many games and retailers never even order them from publisher. Even these copies of E.T. were probably never in stores.
Silly Mammo  +   146d ago
I bought this game with my birthday money. One of my earlier lessons in buyer's remorse.
randomass171  +   146d ago
The crash was actually due to a number of contributing factors. Arcades were still big and consoles were relentless expensive for much less graphical fidelity. I think people blame it on ET because it was just such a bad game. Then came ol' Nintendo to give everyone the NES and resurrect and bring consoles into dominance. :)
UltimateMaster  +   146d ago
What a waste.
GameSpawn  +   146d ago

I think you did a good job there. Though it should be noted that the console gaming market (capitol-wsie) was MUCH smaller back then compared to now. Even during the NES/SNES/Genesis eras the market was relatively small. It wasn't until the PS1-era that the Home console market exploded and became HUGE (hundreds of millions of consoles and possibly billions of copies of software sold).

As such the size of the market has become somewhat self-sustaining with checks and balances to prevent over-saturation from too many consoles (arguably one of the biggest contributors to the crash in the '80s). It is very difficult for a 4th console to become successful to live alongside the other three. Hell even the 3rd console usually has to scrape by with whatever fate hands them.

Floods of bad software (read shovelware) were detrimental in the '80s because the market was smaller and there was more to loose. Now, that is just not the case (just look at the amount of shovelware on the Wii). Publishers have gotten so big now that 10-15 shovelware games, no matter how bad they sell, don't make a dent in the publisher's operational costs and are usually floated by even one mediocre game selling remotely well not even considering super successes of AAA titles.

The only way for the market to crash again is for all three major players (Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft) to make ludicrously STUPID decisions all at the same time. The market has reached the point where 1 out of 3 could completely fail and the market would be unphased, and 2 out of 3 could fail and the market would survive long enough for at least 1 minor player (new entry to the market) to rise in the ranks to become a major player.
UltimateMaster  +   146d ago
Here's the good thing about physical copies.
When they suck, I can bury them or resell them.
When I download them, I lost my money 100% and stuck with a sh*tty game until i delete it, but still lost my money.
My concern is that everyone buys digitally and the publishers don't give a damn, they have our money and gives us crappy unfinished games in return.
UltimateMaster  +   146d ago
Shovelware or not, they aren't as bad as ET...
Nintendo had that Seal of Quality, it's the reason why games were great back in the day.
It prompted consumer confidence to buy the console.

These days, with HD gaming, the industry does not even try to take risks.
We barely got a few new IPs and most of them are Indies.
But you know there will be another Call of Duty, Another Assassin's Creed, Another Skylander, Another [Insert your yearly franchise here] that isn't anything different from the previous one.
#1.1.18 (Edited 146d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report
PeaSFor  +   147d ago
Naga, E.T spirit is now free roaming on this earth, may the old and new gods help us all!
Ol_Boy  +   147d ago
Winter is coming!
ChozenWoan  +   147d ago
Forget "Collectors Edition" of games...
The new hot item on the market is......
!!!!!"Compost Edition"!!!!! games

Now if only they could find all those EV1s GM got rid of.
#1.3 (Edited 147d ago ) | Agree(14) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Soc5  +   147d ago
They're heeeeerrrre!
SegaSaturn669  +   147d ago
What are they talking about? This is clearly the work of Walter White!
Metallox  +   147d ago
Did they find million of copies or just a few? ? I'm looking for the information but I can't find anything useful :/
Dudebro90  +   147d ago
They said they found tons.
Gremdude  +   147d ago
Read the article. They said "lots" and the pics shows a handful of cartridges--many of which are not even ET. I smell MS BS.
Soldierone  +   147d ago
It's a whole bunch, but it isn't just ET, it's all kinds of Atari games.
randomass171  +   146d ago
I think the number was at least a million or two. Guess we'll find out when the documentary hits the XB1's network.
Relientk77  +   147d ago
Wow after all this time

I sometimes still play this game on Atari for kicks lol
tigertron  +   147d ago
They've doomed us all.

I wonder if they'll all die like those who dug up Tutankhamen?
#4 (Edited 147d ago ) | Agree(15) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
The_KELRaTH  +   147d ago
I'd say it's a dead cert lol

But at least they'll die knowing that ET cart became the biggest selling game in 2014/15:)
majiebeast  +   147d ago | Funny
They dug it up so later they can dump all the unsold copies of Kinect Sports Rivals.
Ripsta7th  +   147d ago
Or knack?
ErcsYou  +   147d ago
Can I throw my copy of Haze in there too?
Monolith  +   147d ago
Knack was an excellent game, stop jumping on the band wagons poser.
Classic platformer with a strong crash bandicoot vibe. As well as two player with decent visuals.
Stop hating something you never played.
CoLD FiRE  +   147d ago
How dare you suggest anything remotely negative about a Sony game?
yazter  +   147d ago
@Monolith Knack was awful. It was generic and lacked any innovation. I platinumed that game after I forced myself psychologically to do so because I didn't want the money to go to waste (I don't sell my games)

If you like it, that's your preference, but Knack was an average game at best.
randomass171  +   146d ago
They should throw Superman 64 in there. Seriously.
GameDev1  +   147d ago
lol, nice one
thexmanone  +   146d ago
Leave it to the PS4 fan to troll. People like this ruin N4G
Crazay  +   147d ago
That is super awesome. I wish I could have been there to se that and bring home a copy of that.
Aghashie  +   147d ago
Never get to play that infamous ET game back when I was a kid. I wonder how bad it really was...
esemce  +   147d ago
Google Atari 2600 emulator and roms and find out for yourself.
GamingSinceThe80s  +   147d ago
It's just awful!I played it as a kid and thought I was just to young and dumb to get it.Just to find out years later that it was rely an unplayable mess of a game.And this was only one of many of those said games.It's games like this that SCARRED ME FOR LIFE!
eclectified  +   147d ago
Exact same here! There were 3 game instances that changed the way I pursue games. E.T. was the first followed by Top Gun for the Nintendo and San Francisco Rush for the PS1. Since those fails, I refuse to buy a game before a review from from a trusted source or before I rent/borrow it.

Is it bad that I want one of those E.T. cartriges? Lol
Irishguy95  +   146d ago
Top Gun wasn't unplayable dude, it was just close to impossible to land.
bleedsoe9mm  +   147d ago
i remember not being able to comprehend it , at the time i thought it was just because i was a kid , but now i realize it was maybe the worst video game of all time .
GamingSinceThe80s  +   147d ago
Maybe we should start a support group.lol I'm only laughing on the outside because games like ET f-CKED me up inside.
bleedsoe9mm  +   147d ago
@GamingSinceThe80s i swear i read your story after i wrote mine , glad i'm not the only one that had a scar left by this game LOL
#7.3.2 (Edited 147d ago ) | Agree(4) | Disagree(0) | Report
Muzikguy  +   146d ago
I've been gaming a long time too but I can honestly say I've not put more than 10 minutes into this game lol
rainslacker  +   147d ago
I kind of remember playing it when I was pretty young. All I really remember was falling into a hole...often...and not being able to get out.

I actually do have a copy of this game in my collection now, but never felt like getting my retro fix from it.
MazzingerZ  +   147d ago
Haha you're not alone there, I was 8 or 9, I guess that gave everybody a nightmare, falling into the hole was game over for me and it happened just after 2 screens...ET wouldn't stretch its neck enough LOL

We're part of gamimg history! Something positive at least ;-)
#7.4.1 (Edited 147d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(0) | Report
Aghashie  +   147d ago
Lol! Thanks for feedback everyone.

@ esemce

Will do. Never crossed my mind emulating the game. I am from the Atari generation and some how I feel like I am missing something for not having experienced this game on my own.

Even if this is the worst game in history I want to know for myself! Lol!
The_KELRaTH  +   146d ago
At least the Atari 800 version wasn't erm awful!
Teddy-Duchamp  +   147d ago
I wouldn't mind owning one of these! The gaming community has grow spectacularly since these cartridges where banished to the sands, a piece of gaming history im sure many would like to own.
Soldierone  +   147d ago
Thats why I'm waiting for them to hit Ebay. Surely some of the construction workers will sneak a few into their pocket, and they will sell for buttloads on Ebay.
randomass171  +   146d ago
Yikes, I think these will actually be pretty expensive considering how historical they are. Unless you specifically want one of these landfill carts I would try to find an independent game shop that sells old games. You might get a reasonably priced copy of ET there.
Clown_Syndr0me  +   146d ago
I bought a copy on eBay a few weeks back for £5.50, I think they're worthless :(
Teddy-Duchamp  +   147d ago
Sorry for mistakes, I blame my phone ;)
Teddy-Duchamp  +   147d ago
Soldiering, I think money could be made from these, I'll be scouring the net for my copy, any one else, please let me know if your successful in finding one too.
ThichQuangDuck  +   147d ago
Drithe  +   147d ago
I want to play the game!
silkrevolver  +   147d ago
Opening Pandora's Box....
MultiConsoleGamer  +   147d ago
I want a game from this landfill!
sander9702  +   147d ago
It's gonna take a long time to blow all those cartridges
MasterCornholio  +   147d ago
I thought it was an urban legend.

Gremdude  +   147d ago
It still is. 5 or 6 cartridges is not the legend. MILLIONS of cartridges was.
Monkeycan8  +   147d ago
That's fantastic!!

And now what? what was the point of doing this?
Revvin  +   147d ago
They have made some space in the landfill for Windows 8 tablets
Nuk  +   147d ago
I think you meant blackberry playbooks
Muzikguy  +   146d ago
+1 because you share my hate for windows8
Dlacy13g  +   147d ago
Its a pretty amazing story when you really think about it. For so long many thought it was just some crazy myth and that it wasn't real.

Well, I can't wait for the documentary now as I love this kinda stuff. Hats off to the guys that dreamed up this idea to dig it up.
MasterCornholio  +   147d ago
I thought it was joke making fun of how a firm gets rid of a terrible product.

But its real.

Bytor  +   147d ago
I believe they had millions of 2600's sitting in a warehouse that got buried to.
Gremdude  +   147d ago
Again, there is nothing here that impresses me. A handful of cartridges in a landfill. I dare you to find any landfill in the United States that DOESN'T have some 2600 cartridges in there.
Skate-AK  +   147d ago
Haha. That's funny it's true.
wannabe gamer  +   147d ago
If indie games were all physical instead of digital then we would be looking for a new desert hole to bury them in.
Nuk  +   147d ago
There goes the value of my in box sealed ET.
rainslacker  +   147d ago
Sell it now and rebuy one later.:) My copy is complete, but not sealed. Think I got it at a yard sale. It was in a box of 22 2600 games for $5.:)
SoulSercher620  +   147d ago
And so the nightmare we all thought forgotten... has returned
Magnus  +   147d ago
Shame they found that shitty game I always liked the tale of what happened to that game. And the secret behind it but now the tale is gone. I wonder if some of those games will appear on ebay.
matrixman92  +   147d ago
They were actually buried there by a local shopping mall for publicity...hasn't anyone even seen that episode of the Simpsons with the angel
SilentNegotiator  +   147d ago
Go figure the people at Atari were too big of d*ckheads to recycle the cartridges.
rainslacker  +   147d ago
Recycling wasn't a big thing back then. Very few landfills or city ordinances required it.
SilentNegotiator  +   147d ago
Regardless of regulations, this was the 80s. They had the means.
gigoran  +   147d ago
And nobody is thinking that this could possibly be faked news by them or that it was planted?

Would be pretty funny if they dug up a bunch of dirty medical waste and Major Nelson got pricked by a needle. Would bring a lot of real life drama into their documentary.
Muzikguy  +   146d ago
I want to know who goes around digging in landfills?!

Edit: the story is interesting. Why is MS interested in doing a documentary like this? I'm a bit confused. Is it to show what they wanted to do to gaming isn't "as bad" as what some have already done? Forgive me, I had to. I have to LOL at a comment in there telling MS to bury millions of consoles while they're there to count them as sold
#27.1 (Edited 146d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
Immorals  +   146d ago
Why would they do that? The consoles will sell, and burying them would just be money wasted.

If anything, Sony should be critised for poor resource management, like any other company with terrible stock issues.
Muzikguy  +   146d ago
I was just joking man. That seems a crazy reason to criticize Sony for. I was just laughing at the comment when I saw it posted on that site
Immorals  +   146d ago
Why is it? Sony are a hardware company. They should be able to keep up, if not, they should release in less markets. Pure and simple.
Jack_Reacher  +   147d ago
Am I right in thinking that some company made an atari 2600 that fits in a replica of the controller. The actual controller is a little bigger and had a load of games on the rom inside. Or did I dream this.
#28 (Edited 147d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
sAVAge_bEaST  +   147d ago
M$, don did it again.. Breaking those sacred $eal$.

Next they'll be dumping Xbone$

(Is that MisterX -top right- in the back ground of Hyrb. Or is it just Team Astro/Turf}

#29 (Edited 147d ago ) | Agree(6) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
The_BoZZ1991  +   147d ago
« 1 2 »

Add comment

You need to be registered to add comments. Register here or login
New stories

F1 2014 Preview - Mouse n Joypad

10m ago - Gale writes - "Of course, pretty visuals and nice sounds won’t make do if the gameplay can’t hold... | PC

Gargoyle's Quest II: The Demon Darkness - NLife Review

16m ago - "Although many people are familiar with the Red Arremers, the notoriously persistent enemies from... | Wii U

The Witcher Adventure Game Beta Review | RyattaReviews

1h ago - The forthcoming board and online game is actually pretty fun, despite being online only in the be... | PC

Hyrule Warriors Review - Guardian

1h ago - "Nintendo’s inability to furnish the Wii U with a steady stream of compelling games has led to it... | Wii U

Destiny The Game

Now - Explore Mars, Rediscover Venus, Reclaim the moon, Protect Earth. Become Legend. The wait is over! Destiny is now available to play, Pick up your... | Promoted post

Front Towards Gamer -- PAX Prime 2014: Interstellar Marines Hands-On Preview

1h ago - Zero Point Software attempts to bind stealth and shooter in Interstellar Marines. | PC