The E.T. Atari Game Landfill Documentary Wants You To Be A Part Of It

By Nick Venable | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

e.t. atariEverybody loves hearing urban legends — or so I was told by the old man at the campfire — but so many just rehash the same old nonsense. The girl with the tinsel in her hair actually died many years ago, McDonalds makes food out of slime, and that one pop star who had so much sperm inside of her that she passed out on stage. We know these are total bullshit, but we’re not quite sure about the fate of arguably the Worst Video Game Ever, the Atari 2600’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which is said to have been buried in bulk beneath a New Mexico landfill back in 1983. Fuel Entertainment revealed plans last year to create a documentary centered on the game’s mysterious demise, and they recently announced the upcoming filming will be open to the public!

Pour yourself a bowl of Reese’s Pieces and make your way to the Alamogordo Landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico (you can find the address below) on Saturday, April 26, between the hours of 9:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Fuel Entertainment contacted garbage contractor Joe Lewandowsky to assist them in securing the rights for a large-scale excavation to occur within the landfill, which filmmaker Zak Penn (Incident at Loch Ness) will document for the Microsoft-produced doc. Anybody who wants to can show up to watch a legend get proven true or false, though I’m sure officials will have to set up some giant wrinkled-finger boundaries to limit the number of people who’ll be allowed in.

Because even though this sounds like nonsense to those outside the video game world, this may be the fanboy equivalent of finding Jimmy Hoffa’s body. One of the first games based on a movie — Steven Spielberg’s E.T., obviously — this shitstorm was famously created under pressure in only five weeks prior to the 1982 Christmas season. It was a highly anticipated release for both consumers and Atari, who manufactured far more games than the demand called for. And though E.T. met initial success following its release, abysmal word of mouth and critical reviews meant millions upon millions of game cartridges went unsold, and the failure played a large part in the video game crash of the early 1980s.

It was the Alamogordo Daily News that first reported in September 1983 that many truckloads of E.T. games and Atari systems were driven out to the landfill, which was chosen due to its relative privacy and daily garbage compacting. All of the Atari-ware was supposedly crushed, buried, and topped with cement, but the story has never been officially confirmed.

Until Penn & Co. dig them up that is. Fans who make it out to the excavation will also get to see appearances from E.T.‘s game designer Howard Scott Warshaw, a team of archaeologists, and other people tied to the game and the film. Plus, anybody who shows up has a chance to be interviewed for the film itself.

Below you can see this awful game get its just desserts from the Angry Video Game Nerd, who actually has his own indie movie currently in production which also focuses on the notorious E.T. game, though in a different capacity.