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 (320 km) 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.
The approximate size of the dig site at an old Alamogordo
landfill measures 150 feet by 150 feet (46 meters by 46
meters)off the city's main commercial street.
"For a lot of people, itís something that theyíve wondered about
and itís been rumored and talked about for 30 years, and they
just want an answer," said Zak Penn, the film's director.
When the game was first released in 1982 it retailed for around
$29.99, but now often sells on eBay for less than $5.
"I donít know how much people would pay for a broken ET game,
but as a piece of history, it has a much different value," Penn
(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Lisa Shumaker)
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