Is E.T. still trying to phone home after all these years from an Alamagordo, N.M. landfill? Two companies who want to dig him up think so.
Fuel Entertainment and LightBox Interactive recently reported plans to go into the landfill, which has been closed since the late 1980s, to dig for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Atari game cartridges that are fabled to have been dumped there in the 80s, just before the landfill closed. The games were dumped after their huge commercial failure, which many say was a nail in the coffin for the 2600 gaming system that was one of the first and most innovative platforms of its kind.
Fact or Fable?
The two companies are sure that this fabled cache of cartridges exist, and they had wanted to record the dig. The recording was part of a plan for a documentary to be released by the Microsoft Corp. for the Xbox One console, and the company even planned to offer their fans giveaways of the cartridges if they were unearthed. Some parts of the documentary have already been filmed, and Lightbox still plans to head to New Mexico to continue filming.
The rumors about these games stem from when Atari paid E.T. creator Steven Spielberg millions of dollars to license the breakout movie’s name and then pushed out a video game in less than two months. However, the game was clumsy, difficult to understand, and had none of the charm of the movie. Players were not impressed, and the game was a commercial flop. Supposedly, a huge cache of the cartridges and game systems were dumped into the landfill soon after, and the search has been on for them ever since.
Environmental Concerns Halt Dig
Although the city of Alamagordo told the companies they could dig last June, state officials have shut them down, saying the proper papers have not been filed and that landfill contaminants pose a huge risk for anyone digging. Papers filed by the companies in February were rejected by the state, and new ones have not been submitted.
Considering the levels of toxicity that were discovered in the dump, it might be for the best if Atari’s version of E.T. remains buried in history, and in the trash.