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It's Game on Again for Atari's E.T.
April 27, 2014

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E.T. is still looking for a final release.

Acting on an informed tip, a construction crew gathered in a desert in southeastern New Mexico to dig under a concrete-covered landfill, in hopes of finding up to 1 million copies of an Atari videogame that flopped. They found a few cartridges.

"E.T. The Extraterrestrial," a game that Atari released in conjunction with the hugely popular movie in the early 1980s, was not at all popular with videogame enthusiasts or with fans of the movie. A soon-to-be-released documentary on the demise of Atari tells the story of the videogame, which sources say was rushed into production and, therefore, contained several fundamental flaws. Among the demerits identified by several enthusiasts was the propensity of the main character, the lovable E.T. from the movie, to get into impossible situations.

The site, about 80 miles south of Alamogordo, N.M., has been the source of speculation for a few decades, since a landfill employee first identified the possibility of a huge stash of the discarded games. News reports of the time reported that truckloads of discarded game cartridges from El Paso, Texas, were dumped in the landfill.

Hasbro sold Atari to a French company in 2001.

The documentary is due to be released later in 2014, by Xbox, Microsoft's gaming console company.

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