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E.T. Found In New Mexico Landfill

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the nuke-it-from-orbit dept.

Classic Games (Games) 179

skipkent sends this news from Kotaku: "One of the most infamous urban legends in video games has turned out to be true. Digging in Alamogordo, New Mexico today, excavators discovered cartridges for the critically-panned Atari game E.T., buried in a landfill way back in 1983 after Atari couldn't figure out what else to do with their unsold copies. For decades, legend had it that Atari put millions of E.T. cartridges in the ground, though some skeptics have wondered whether such an extraordinary event actually happened. Last year, Alamogordo officials finally approved an excavation of the infamous landfill, and plans kicked into motion two weeks ago, with Microsoft partnering up with a documentary team to dig into the dirt and film the results. Today, it's official. They've found E.T.'s home—though it's unclear whether there are really millions or even thousands of copies down there."

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179 comments

Why, God, why? (5, Funny)

n1ywb (555767) | about 3 months ago | (#46849877)

Put 'em back in the landfill where they belong. Or better yet in an incincerator.

Re:Why, God, why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46849995)

Or better yet, grind them up and refine the result to recover the metals inside, in particular the gold. Given the age, it might even be profitable to recover them just for the gold, in particular if it really is millions of them.

ET's not that bad. (3, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 3 months ago | (#46850015)

It's really not. I had it as a kid and enjoyed it. It could have used another 3 months polish (there's a rom hack floating around that does just that) and you _really_ have to read the instructions to play, but as a kid used to nothing more complex than Space Invaders I loved it. There were multiple screens (a big deal back then) and several different gameplay elements (also a big deal). I suppose it doesn't hurt that I bought it on clearance post crash, but I was so young it didn't occur to me that $5 bucks wasn't much money for a game.

Re:ET's not that bad. (5, Funny)

The Snowman (116231) | about 3 months ago | (#46850261)

It's really not. I had it as a kid and enjoyed it. It could have used another 3 months polish (there's a rom hack floating around that does just that) and you _really_ have to read the instructions to play, but as a kid used to nothing more complex than Space Invaders I loved it. There were multiple screens (a big deal back then) and several different gameplay elements (also a big deal). I suppose it doesn't hurt that I bought it on clearance post crash, but I was so young it didn't occur to me that $5 bucks wasn't much money for a game.

Randomly getting stuck in a pit with no way out was fun? Or every screen being identical? Yeah I know 1983 graphics were not great but damn, at least make them different colors or something. Even at four or five years old I knew that game was a bucket of fail.

It's not random (2)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 3 months ago | (#46850843)

Not completely anyway :). At four or five you're gonna have a hard time with ET. It's surprisingly complex, especially for an Atari 2600 game. The only things that are comparable are Raiders of the Lost Ark and Solaris (and Solaris doesn't count, it's a 16k cartridge, the larges the 2600 ever had) :)

Re:ET's not that bad. (1)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 3 months ago | (#46851145)

Randomly getting stuck in a pit with no way out was fun? Or every screen being identical?

Are you sure you are not talking about pitfall? I never did figure out that game. It was a giant loop
where you jumped over pits, etc... but didn't seem to have any objective or ending.

Re:ET's not that bad. (4, Insightful)

antdude (79039) | about 3 months ago | (#46850401)

When I was a callow ant, I got this game for Christmas from my parents IIRC. I was all :) to get this game because I enjoyed the movie in the theater. I never understood how to play it like most people. My older friend did and told me how. It wasn't too bad. Not a great game. There are worse games like these: http://www.deafsparrow.com/201... [deafsparrow.com] ...

Re:ET's not that bad. (4, Funny)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 3 months ago | (#46850475)

and you _really_ have to read the instructions to play No kidding! Once upon a time, having a $50 Atari 2600, the only game I had was asteroids. At a yard sale, I picked up E.T. for $1, though it had no instruction manual. I played that for way way way too many hours, thinking I needed some secret hidden one last piece to the phone. Of course I never found it, the atari broke and I sold that E.T. cartridge at a yard sale for $1. Fast forward 25 years I pick up a 2600 in a nice clean original box, along with E.T. and several other games with nice clean boxes and instruction booklets. I took it all home and I broke open the E.T. instructions. All that time I wasted... there was no one more piece to the phone, I always got them all! You just had to go back to the very spot E.T. landed at the beginning of the game and press the button. I beat the game in 5 minutes.

Re:ET's not that bad. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 3 months ago | (#46850981)

Wait, you mean you have to put the cartridge into an Atari 2600?

No wonder I had so much trouble beating the game.

Yes, Yes it was that bad (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850589)

Speaking as someone who solved the game without the instructions; I can say with certitude that it was the most godawful thing I have ever played. If this thing had a budget of a few hundred dollars, I wouldn't have minded, but the rights alone COST $25 MILLION DOLLARS. To put this in perspective the budget of the E.T. Film was 10.5 Million Dollars.

Re:Yes, Yes it was that bad (3, Informative)

mikael (484) | about 3 months ago | (#46850679)

The game was incredibly hyped up - every game magazine was talking about it as if the messiah was about to return. One of the problems was that the cartridge box art was way ahead of what the console systems could do. On every game, everyone expected the graphics to really look like the box art. Then you'd find the game levels were usually a black rectangle surrounded by colored walls with a few obstacles and some scrolling.

Re:ET's not that bad. (5, Informative)

dmomo (256005) | about 3 months ago | (#46850703)

I liked the game too as a kid. It had its shortcomings which by the way are all addressed here. ET is no longer an awful game:

http://www.neocomputer.org/pro... [neocomputer.org]

Re:Why, God, why? (3, Interesting)

radiumsoup (741987) | about 3 months ago | (#46850045)

not that there's much use for them now, to be sure - but as a kid, this was one of those games I spent hours and hours and hours on trying to beat... I had always thought it was me not being able to figure it out (I had no way of knowing otherwise, really) and only now am I aware, because of articles like these, that it was practically unbeatable due to its shoddy planning. As for the quality, it was what it was, and it wasn't really any worse than the other games available for the 2600 at the time, so I didn't really know the difference. I liked it because it made me think about strategy in ways I hadn't otherwise yet learned at 8 years old, it taught me planning because I mapped out on paper some of the puzzle piece locations so I could try and find a pattern (sorta like D&D, even though I was never allowed to play that), and most of all because it certainly taught me patience beyond my years. I look back fondly at the E.T. game - not for the gameplay, but for what I learned as a young gamer because of what I now know are its flaws.

But yes, now that they're there in the ground, no real reason to dig them up - they're not going to be worth anything and all it really does is waste time and money to verify an "urban legend". Big whoop.

Re:Why, God, why? (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 3 months ago | (#46850203)

As for the quality, it was what it was, and it wasn't really any worse than the other games available for the 2600 at the time, so I didn't really know the difference. I liked it because it made me think about strategy in ways I hadn't otherwise yet learned at 8 years old, it taught me planning because I mapped out on paper some of the puzzle piece locations so I could try and find a pattern (sorta like D&D, even though I was never allowed to play that), and most of all because it certainly taught me patience beyond my years. I look back fondly at the E.T. game - not for the gameplay, but for what I learned as a young gamer because of what I now know are its flaws.

You forgot the most important lesson, sometimes no matter what you do or think you could have done differently you're fucked because you're set up to fail. That's important to remember when the project you're on fails miserably and the crap rolls downhill, of course assuming you weren't the screw-up.

Re:Why, God, why? (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about 3 months ago | (#46851103)

You forgot the most important lesson, sometimes no matter what you do or think you could have done differently you're fucked because you're set up to fail. That's important to remember when the project you're on fails miserably and the crap rolls downhill, of course assuming you weren't the screw-up.

Ahh, so they had to bury/destroy the game because it was imparting a life lesson that was dangerous to expose the hoi polloi to.

Re:Why, God, why? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 3 months ago | (#46850973)

not that there's much use for them now, to be sure - but as a kid, this was one of those games I spent hours and hours and hours on trying to beat... I had always thought it was me not being able to figure it out (I had no way of knowing otherwise, really) and only now am I aware, because of articles like these, that it was practically unbeatable due to its shoddy planning.

I bought the game new (on sale, natch) at Kay-Bee toys as a child, and beat it in about three days. I was not then nor am I now an amazingly apt gamer.

You didn't read the instructions. Shame on you.

I knew how to beat Raiders and after literally hundreds of tries I never managed to parachute into the hole beneath the tree branch. I'd say E.T. was easier than Raiders.

Re:Why, God, why? (5, Informative)

greg1104 (461138) | about 3 months ago | (#46850301)

Well, first they tried to get the cartridges to levitate themselves out, but they kept falling back to the bottom of the landfill.

Mod Parent Up (1)

turrican (55223) | about 3 months ago | (#46850591)

That in particular annoyed the shit out of me... but I still played.

Re:Why, God, why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46851181)

Obviously should have used Reese's Pieces....

Re: Why, God, why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850509)

So is it true Apple did the same thing with all the Lisa computers it never sold?

Re: Why, God, why? (2)

damnbunni (1215350) | about 3 months ago | (#46850579)

Unsold Lisas were rebadged and packaged with a Mac emulator as the 'Macintosh XL' and 'Macintosh Professional'.

So no need to bury them.

Re: Why, God, why? (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#46850919)

I still see the need.

Re: Why, God, why? (2)

stoploss (2842505) | about 3 months ago | (#46851097)

Unsold Lisas were rebadged and packaged with a Mac emulator as the 'Macintosh XL' and 'Macintosh Professional'.

I, too, played "You Don't Know Mac" in the mid 90's on a PowerTower Pro 225.

Re:Why, God, why? (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#46850905)

E.T. wasn't as bad a game as it is now made out to be. It was bad, ok, but not that show piece of "worst game of all times" it's made out to be now. It just had a lot pushing against it.

1) Hype. The game was hyped like ... I have no idea if there has ever been anything hyped like that in contemporary history so younger... wait! SPORE! Yes, that about does it. No, not even close. Spore was hyped as the next best thing in computer gaming, the game to end all other games and whatnot... E.T. was worse. Way worse. It was like THE GAME for the 2600 would be coming, the ultimate pinnacle of computer gaming. If you won't have it, you'd be a NOTHING, your friends would not talk to you anymore, your dog would pack and leave ... you get the idea. The only thing they possibly didn't promise that this game would do is cure cancer. Nothing can possibly live up to such a standard, not today and by no means a game in that time and age back then.

2) Game-after-movie. Now, today games modeled after movies are usually rather well done. Most of the time, ok. Franchise holders don't want to tarnish their name with a bad game, knowing that their main audience for the movies is usually the same that buys the game, and the experience a movie goer has with the game that follows it may well be a deciding factor in the success of your sequel. Not so back then. Even until way into the 90s, games after movies were a surefire way to simply KNOW that they would suck donkey balls. There simply were never any good games modeled after movies. They were usually quick cash grabs that relies only on the movie title to sell. Also, considering that game budgets were tiny compared to today, the setback for the name already meant that for the game itself you only had a few pennies left. Usually games-after-movies were some kind of generic nondescript ripoff of an old idea with the movie hero somehow pasted into it. Often just by name only ("and this here is Rambo. He is. No, really. He has a bandana, see? Yeah, that white pixel that follows his head... somewhat...")

3) Rushed production. That game was rushed. Badly. The movie was out, the negotiations for the rights dragged on and the game needed to hit the shelves NOW or the hype about E.T. might lose steam before it's in. Nobody cares about a game for a movie of a year ago. And back then, movie and game were not being developed alongside each other, the game didn't even get designed until after the movie was halfway successful.

4) The big console crunch. While E.T. is usually one of the things blamed for the collapse of the video game market in 83, I dare say that it was less the game and more Atari buying its own hype. It seems they honestly believed that not only would everyone who owns a 2600 buy E.T., they even went as far as assuming that they'd sell 2600 units like hotcakes and that everyone would want at least one E.T. unit.

5) Complexity. When you play the game, you almost instantly get the impression that you're dealing with a very complex, very elaborate and very "rich" game. Soon after you notice that it has the depth of a wading pool, hiding behind an unnecessarily cryptic interface. After a while you simply can't shake the feeling that this game was supposed to be a LOT more but corners had to be cut. to the point where that square the game should be became a circle, so to speak. The gameplay hints at a lot more depth than there actually is, that the game's designer had a lot more planned for you, but time constraints and of course the limited ability of the console didn't let him deliver that promise.

In the end, what you have is a "could have been" title. It shows a lot of promise, actually, it also promises a lot, but it simply cannot keep that promise in the end. If anything, E.T. is a load of broken promises.

Of course, this leads to some heavy disappointment. When you expect a so-so game, E.T. would probably have delivered. When compared to other 2600 games, it's not really that bad a dud. It's a dud, no doubt about that, but nothing that needs to be pulled in front of the curtain as the bad sheep of game history. What makes E.T. that poster child for bad games is simply

o) expectation
o) hype
o) big name
o) bad judgement of its maker

Seriously, if E.T. had been just another 2600 title that hadn't been hyped and that wasn't overproduced (allegedly Atari produced more E.T. cartridges than 2600 machines had been sold), nobody would talk about it anymore. It would just sit quietly on the shelf with the other 2600 duds that you buy 'cause they look cool and where you were pissed that the game stunk so badly.

Re:Why, God, why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850991)

Hype. The game was hyped like ... I have no idea if there has ever been anything hyped like that in contemporary history

3D printing? The way the nerds were going on and on about it it was like the Eschaton and the singularity were imminent right about spring 2014.

You can find this game online cheap (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 3 months ago | (#46849891)

WTF are they digging this up for?

Re:You can find this game online cheap (5, Informative)

kruach aum (1934852) | about 3 months ago | (#46849909)

To determine the truth value of a proposition, namely whether or not Atari buried a shitload of bad video games under the literal earth. Not so that those games could then be played.

Re:You can find this game online cheap (3, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 3 months ago | (#46850279)

Maybe I'm missing something but why is this such a big deal. Landfill is an obvious place to dump a bunch of stuff you don't want. Or did Atari not use an existing landfill but sent people out to dig a hole specially for these cartridges?

Re:You can find this game online cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850317)

Maybe I'm missing something, but why exist? There is no god, and we'll all die in the end anyway.

Oh, that's right: to strive to do whatever we love. Welcome to humanity - enjoy the ride!

Re:You can find this game online cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850293)

Yeahbut... what does that even mean?

We have documentation from the 80's that this happened. So, 30-odd years go by, and some people say, "I wonder if that was true... let's dig the shit up and see!"

So they dig it up, and sure enough, there are ET carts buried there. Great! Now we know! Cover 'em back up.

So now in 2045, why should they believe these guys any more than we believed the guys from 30 years ago? Should they dig up the landfill again, to establish the truth value of the proposition once more? I mean, our records from now might not be any better than the records from the 80's, which we didn't believe.

How long does one need to wait? Right after they shovel the dirt back over, someone could say, "show me!"? One day seems too short, yes? But apparently 30 years is not too short. How about 15 years? If someone disbelieves it again in 15 years, should we do this again?

Re:You can find this game online cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850413)

In 2045 they'll be able to watch the documentary they're filming about the whole endeavor, so I doubt they'll dig them up again.

Re:You can find this game online cheap (2)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 3 months ago | (#46850525)

Oh sure. NASA fakes a moon landing, but you think Microsoft can't fake a film about a landfill in the desert?

Re:You can find this game online cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46849957)

You can find pictures of Mars online for free. WTF do people want to go to Mars for?

Re:You can find this game online cheap (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#46850923)

It's there. That's always been enough reason for me.

Re:You can find this game online cheap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46851033)

So's the bottom of the ocean, the center of the Earth and the surface of the Sun. Where's the nerd rage over that?

Re:You can find this game online cheap (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46849965)

WTF are they digging this up for?

To make room for the surface tablets.

Re:You can find this game online cheap (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 3 months ago | (#46850111)

To make room for the surface tablets.

Sure it's not to make room for unsold Blackberry 10s and Zunes?

At least the surface pro tablets were perfectly functional solitaire players

Re:You can find this game online cheap (2)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | about 3 months ago | (#46850391)

i thought it was for the Kins

Re:You can find this game online cheap (2)

Richy_T (111409) | about 3 months ago | (#46850947)

Broken chairs.

Re:You can find this game online cheap (5, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 3 months ago | (#46850257)

It wouldn't work. Microsoft products can only be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom.

Re:You can find this game online cheap (2)

I'm New Around Here (1154723) | about 3 months ago | (#46850533)

Why on middle earth would you want to pollute the lavas of Mount Doom with Zune players?

Subject... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46849899)

I was hoping, for just a moment in though, that possibly this is the news I have been waiting for. Proof of alien life. Instead, it was something better! I can now tell my uncle I was right about the landfill!

landfill (1)

andyh (5426) | about 3 months ago | (#46849915)

pretty sure I played this game. no wait. dug up games on a landfill site, that was it, different type of game.

As nature intended. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46849945)

Considering you spent most of the game stuck in a pit, they were just returned to their natural habitat.

That word doesn't mean what you think it means (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | about 3 months ago | (#46849949)

An "urban legend" refers to something that sounds true, but may or may not actually have happened (though usually not, and when actually real, usually they blend several unrelated events into one narrative). It usually has a moralistic component to it, where somehow the naughty teenagers or the careless company or what-have-you gets their just desserts.

By contrast, the burial of ET in the desert meets none of those criteria. Atari dumped millions of cartridges in the New Mexico desert to dispose of them, we have an abundance of documentation from the era that it really happened, and the only "moral" to the story involves not expecting your developers to cover your $12M bet with their own asses in the month before Christmas.

Otherwise - Very cool, to see these recovered. Now they can properly recycle them as eWaste, rather than just letting them slowly leach lead into the ground.

Re:That word doesn't mean what you think it means (2)

huskerdoo (186982) | about 3 months ago | (#46850159)

In its time the ET Landfill was an urban legend simply because the Internet wasn't commonplace. The "abundance of documentation" was hard to come by for a kid in rural Washington in the late 80s. Because of this, I had to stick to my sources that were available to me, that being the cousin of a friend of a best friend's older cousin who lived in the southwest somewhere a few years ago.

Re:That word doesn't mean what you think it means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850353)

That doesn't make it an urban legend. There are thousands of historical events I have no access to documentation on, that also doesn't make them urban legends either.

Re:That word doesn't mean what you think it means (1)

RyoShin (610051) | about 3 months ago | (#46850195)

I don't know about recycling--if there really are that many cartridges, you could make some chic video game partitions or something out of them, assuming the only thing physically wrong with them is having some dirt/dust.

Re:That word doesn't mean what you think it means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850201)

There's no required "moral element" to an urban legend, and in fact that aspect isn't even that common.

Just go to snopes for a near-exhaustive list. Most aren't moralistic in nature, just statements of asserted fact.

Re:That word doesn't mean what you think it means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850231)

"An abundance of documentation", despite the fact that the guy who created the game, who knew everyone who worked at Atari at the time, had no knowledge of it happening. What documentation do you have that's more credible than that? Made up documentation, perhaps?

Re:That word doesn't mean what you think it means (2)

Carewolf (581105) | about 3 months ago | (#46850385)

The NY Times and other contemporary articles writing about it, and the fact that the games are documented being made and were never sold. They had to go somewhere.

Re:That word doesn't mean what you think it means (5, Informative)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 3 months ago | (#46850251)

Atari denied it.

When prompted key Atari figures would not comment and the lead programmer said there is no way we would have done that.

Locals say otherwise.

I was interested and there maybe more gems there (like ET was a gem) like the experimental controller that never hit the market, documents, and other materials. Centipede was found there too. It looks like they just cleared a whole warehouse and dumped it.

So yes this qualifies as an urban legend.

Re:That word doesn't mean what you think it means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850363)

You hate everything don't you?

Re:That word doesn't mean what you think it means (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850823)

I agree. The term "Urban Legend" is clearly defined: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_legend

The term "Factoid" is possibly more appropriate http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Factoid

"A factoid is a[n...] unverified [...] statement presented as a fact, but without supporting evidence."

kind of a waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46849955)

not trying to bash Atari but making a million cartridges is kind of a waste of raw materials. hope the materials in the cartridge didn't seep into the groundwater at least. i don't blame Atari thought because they thought the game would become popular.

So where are the burial grounds for... (4, Funny)

theodp (442580) | about 3 months ago | (#46849977)

...Windows ME [wikipedia.org] and Vista [wikipedia.org] ? :-)

Re:So where are the burial grounds for... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850053)

Probably next to the hole they dug for Microsoft 'Bob' [wikipedia.org]

Re:So where are the burial grounds for... (2)

mysidia (191772) | about 3 months ago | (#46850117)

Burial wasn't sufficient for Windows ME; it had to be nuked from orbit [nukeitfromorbit.com] .

Re:So where are the burial grounds for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850383)

I am still running ME on a I-Opener. Work G-r-r-r-e-a-t!

Though the fan I had to install is loud.

Re:So where are the burial grounds for... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850449)

ME was bad and Vista a bit bloated, but both of them combined aren't as bad as Win8!

1982 Ad (1)

theodp (442580) | about 3 months ago | (#46850031)

E.T. Needs Your Help! [staticflickr.com]

Re:1982 Ad (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#46850931)

Back then I wasn't half the programmer I am today, I guess I come too late.

Documentary deleted scenes (4, Funny)

linebackn (131821) | about 3 months ago | (#46850079)

What you won't see in their documentary is the part where after digging the big hole, they accidentally fall in, and can't get the heck out!

Re:Documentary deleted scenes (2)

mysidia (191772) | about 3 months ago | (#46850149)

where after digging the big hole, they accidentally fall in, and can't get the heck out!

That part had to be censored due to copyright/licensing issues

eBay here we come... (2)

MindPrison (864299) | about 3 months ago | (#46850105)

I'd expect to see 1000's of eBay sellers offering E.T. *Rare* vintage Atari game from now on, Seller location: New Mexico....kind of like all those phones that people tried to sell with "Flappy Bird" installed.

Re:eBay here we come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850325)

Except it's not rare at all. You can buy 50 of them at any given time on ebay if you wanted to, which nobody does. http://www.ebay.com/sch/items/?_nkw=e.t.+atari&_sacat=&_ex_kw=&_mPrRngCbx=1&_udlo=&_udhi=&_sop=12&_fpos=&_fspt=1&_sadis=&LH_CAds=

Re:eBay here we come... (1)

MindPrison (864299) | about 3 months ago | (#46850357)

Except it's not rare at all. You can buy 50 of them at any given time on ebay if you wanted to, which nobody does.

Err...actually...

I'm that nobody, I bought one from eBay.

Re: eBay here we come... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850435)

See, you didn't buy 50, just 1.

Re:eBay here we come... (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#46850937)

The most numerous cartridge in history being not rare? You don't say... next you wanna tell me the coin set I bought on the TV shop that's guaranteed to have a chance to increase in value isn't a limited edition either...

AVGN (1)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | about 3 months ago | (#46850141)

Considering that the AVGN just did a movie based on this legend, I wonder what his reaction will be?

Re:AVGN (2)

chispito (1870390) | about 3 months ago | (#46850171)

Considering that the AVGN just did a movie based on this legend, I wonder what his reaction will be?

No need to wonder: http://cinemassacre.com/2014/0... [cinemassacre.com]

The movie is still in post, by the way. It isn't done yet.

E.T Hype Fest (5, Insightful)

l0ungeb0y (442022) | about 3 months ago | (#46850153)

As a kid in early 80's, I remember the unprecedented media onslaught around E.T., which was a harbinger for things to come.
They had cross over promotions for everything from Reese's Pieces, McDonald's Happy Meals, Breakfast Cereals, Lunch Boxes and Underoos.
While watching Scooby-Doo and other afternoon cartoons, then it seemed nearly every other ad on TV was either a tailer for ET or ET related.

And then... the big day came, the Movie came out and with bated breath I waited in one of the longest lines ever at the theatre for what was surely the greatest movie ever made. Only to find myself half asleep in a dark movie theatre waiting desperately for the most boring piece of sappy ass garbage to end so I could go home.

And that day in 1982, a 10 year old boy became jaded and cynical.
It was truly a "Drink your Ovaltine" moment.

Re:E.T Hype Fest (4, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 3 months ago | (#46850265)

...waiting desperately for the most boring piece of sappy ass garbage to end so I could go home.

And that day in 1982, a 10 year old boy became jaded and cynical.
It was truly a "Drink your Ovaltine" moment.

And then you had to watch Star Wars Episode 1 with Jar Jar and racing graphical effects in an unrealistic plot.

Re:E.T Hype Fest (3, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#46850975)

Star Wars Ep1 had a plot? Throughout the movie I was waiting for the pod racer game [wikipedia.org] ad to end and the movie to start.

Re:E.T Hype Fest (3, Informative)

greg1104 (461138) | about 3 months ago | (#46850345)

And then after Spielberg replaced all the guns in the movie with walkie-talkies, it ruined that one good scene where Elliott shot his eye out.

The hype around the movie was pretty bad, but I don't remember this as the most overhyped Atari 2600 game. I'd give that honor to the 2600 Pac-Man. The first commercial [youtube.com] in heavy rotation for that one didn't even show the real gameplay. They kinda ripped off the music to "Pac-Man Fever" there too.

Re:E.T Hype Fest (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 3 months ago | (#46850433)

Yes it was ( is ) over hyped, but it really wasn't THAT bad..

Re:E.T Hype Fest (0)

kamapuaa (555446) | about 3 months ago | (#46850701)

What the fuck? ET is a great movie. You were just a stupid kid. It was Steven Spielberg at his prime, it's the only one of his movies I think you could argue was better than Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Re:E.T Hype Fest (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850801)

It's really Star War's fault. That movie came out in 1977 with no hype to speak of, and within months the demand for toys, games, food, pictures, bubblegum cars, you name it, was in-sane. It shocked a lot of people and upset a lot of apple carts, and the merchandise demand was scary. Before Star Wars, there was almost none of that. Maybe you'd get a lunch box and maybe some sort of "turn the page at the tone" record. After Star Wars, anything that Hollywood made suddenly had product tie-ins.

Star Wars changed movie merchandising into a giant industry, in an instant. Subsequent block busters did nothing to change this. ET came along later, another sure-hit sci-fi movie, which it was. Sci-fi was a sure bet. Spielberg at the helm was a sure bet. Slap ol' ET on anything and it would sell, or so they assumed anyway. Because up to that point it had mostly worked, and nobody wanted to be caught out having missed a chance to license something, anything, from the next Star Wars of merchandising.

For the boring nature of the ET movie itself, that's all Spielberg trying to revisit some things he had to leave out of Close Encounters. The plot for ET sprang directly from unused ideas from that movie, one of MANY unused ideas leftover from CE. That movie has a ridiculous number of script rewrites and redos and wholesale gutting of plots and ideas. Most of them were left unused for good reason. By some small miracle what finally did end up in CE were the good parts and Spielberg's UFO movie worked. ET was built from the scraps just like his phone.

Re:E.T Hype Fest (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850877)

This is bullshit.

E.T. was based on a scrapped ~sequel~ to Close Encounters, that Spielberg thought up after CE had already been released. It was not based on things that were cut out of the original movie.

Danger? (1)

relic2279 (2653747) | about 3 months ago | (#46850161)

I wonder what kind of safety precautions they used. Many landfills have to have vents drilled deep into the ground to keep methane from building up or it can cause an explosion (the vents look like tubes sticking out, they're usually tipped green). I'm kinda curious how far down they had to dig. They kind of skimp on the details. The picture of the guy holding up the game doesn't look like a typical landfill I'm used to seeing, I wonder if it really was a landfill, or just a junk yard dumping ground.

I went there in 2006 (5, Interesting)

huskerdoo (186982) | about 3 months ago | (#46850179)

My wife and I were driving across the USA in late 2006 (the last day of 2006 even). I accidentally/intentionally routed us about 400 miles out of our way to pay a visit to the landfill. I had found the address on the net. We got there and I couldn't quite find it, then realized all the suburban build up was probably blocking it. Sure enough, behind the Sonic was the remains of the landfill. My (patient) wife stayed at the Sonic while I spent a couple hours wandering around the landfill site. She didn't have the same level of excitement about it that I did.

I found bits of trash, but no Atari cartridges. I took a lot of photos and video that I need to get online. (now 7 years later). I have one there though:
http://www.humanclock.com/news... [humanclock.com]

After we got back home to Portland I put up a blurb about it on my website. The very next day I received an email from a guy in Brazil who excitedly wrote: "WOW! YOU ACTUALLY WENT THERE!" I showed the email to my wife and said: "Look honey, I am not alone!"

Ok but .... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850237)

Who gives a shit. It was a fucking terrible video game that isn't even worth remembering. Slashdot, news for useless dumb fucks.

This. Is. Not. A. Legend. Or. A. Myth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850271)

FFS

Do others exist? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 3 months ago | (#46850425)

Being serious here, are there legit copies that exist out in the real world or is this it? If there are others, leave these in the ground. They will be rotted beyond belief at this point. There is really nothing to be gained in that case.

I'm all for digging up the 'only copy in existence' to stick in a museum, but i dont think that is what is going on here.

Re:Do others exist? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#46851001)

Yes, some idiots (one being me) actually bought the game and have the cartridges. They're by far not rare, you can get them fairly cheaply on e-bay (compared to a few REALLY rare ancient games they're practically thrown at you 'til you surrender).

There's more than that in landfills (4, Funny)

hawguy (1600213) | about 3 months ago | (#46850459)

My mom threw away my old Atari 2600 console in the late 1980's along with a dozen cartridges. If anyone wants to mount an expedition to recover it, I can tell you approximately where it's buried. Oh, and there were some umm... magazines with it that I used to keep under my bed, you can keep the 2600, but I'd like to have the magazines back for educational purposes --I haven't finished reading the articles.

Re:There's more than that in landfills (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#46851009)

You realize that the ... "articles" have more wrinkles now in reality than they could possibly have in the magazines, yes?

trapped (3, Informative)

v1 (525388) | about 3 months ago | (#46850463)

Tina Amini, deputy editor at gaming website Kotaku, said the game tanked because "it was practically broken." A recurring flaw, she said, was that the character of the game, the beloved extraterrestrial, would fall into traps that were almost impossible to escape and would appear constantly and unpredictably.

THAT

My parents never bought me a game console, but a few of my friends had them, and I had two friends with 2600's that had that cart. I recall trying to play it, and yes, immense frustration. You'd walk around on a 2d map with a grid of rooms, and random rooms would be trapped. I could spend 10 minutes trying to levitate out of a trap. My friends usually had better luck, because they'd been playing it so much more, but even they would average several attempts to get out of a single trap. I can see why peope would return the game. Ten minutes of that and the cart came out and something else went in.

iirc, the trick was to let go of the levitate button AND hit the only correct exit direction, at precisely the moment you emerged from the hole. Otherwise, you'd fall right back in. (I never did really get the timing down, I only got out on rare occasion, I think due to luck) After a few attempts, you'd be out of energy. I think elliot would magically stop by with a handful of reeces pieces or whatever, at a cost of your score, but all that did was extend the frustration. It was impossible to beat the game without both a good memory and escaping several traps. If you had difficulty with the (random) map, you could easily have to deal with dozens of trapped rooms.

Imagine climging up a ladder and just as you peek your head over the roof edge someone is swinging a shovel at you. You have a split second to dodge the shovel and pull them off the roof or you're falling. Now repeat that 15-20 times. That was 90% of the game.

You don't have to dig up E.T. (1)

Snufu (1049644) | about 3 months ago | (#46850503)

He's self-resurecting.

Emulation to the rescue (4, Interesting)

newsdee (629448) | about 3 months ago | (#46850551)

This story reminds me of this guy who has fixed the game by ROM hacking: http://www.neocomputer.org/pro... [neocomputer.org]
Quite an interesting read if you're familiar with (or wondered about) Atari or assembly programming.

Cant read it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850621)

They have disabled ipad zoom on their size and I am not wearing my contacts.

C'mon Slashdot! (3, Funny)

jdavidb (449077) | about 3 months ago | (#46850645)

This should've been billed as: "Worst video game ever made, recovered with Microsoft sponsorship."

Re:C'mon Slashdot! (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 3 months ago | (#46851017)

Well, maybe they can learn a thing or two...

They belong in a museum! (1)

bitt3n (941736) | about 3 months ago | (#46850741)

a museum buried in a landfill.

I ordered these for a store I worked at (1)

buzz_mccool (549976) | about 3 months ago | (#46850837)

As a teenaged employee at our town's only computer store, my boss had me order a large number of Atari 2600 games for Christmas 1982 thinking I knew what would sell. He told me to go wild. I think I ordered some number in the teens of the E.T. cartridges because the movie was so popular, I thought it too would be a sure hit. That was the title I ordered the most of. Most of the other cartridges I ordered sold well (I recall Wizard of Wor sold out), but not E.T. and my boss held me responsible for the poor sales. I quit a few months later.

There's nothing 'infamous' about this story (1)

DavidinAla (639952) | about 3 months ago | (#46850845)

"Famous" and "infamous" don't mean the same thing. Look them up. There's nothing "infamous" about this landfill or the legend. Please quit misusing this word.

E.T. in 1983 (1)

cstacy (534252) | about 3 months ago | (#46850921)

Back in 1983, your games didn't "Phone Home".

Someone posted the unearthing to youtube (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46850939)

NeXT: Apple Lisa (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#46851039)

I hope for the next project they dig up the landfill of the 2700 Apple Lisas. That would be interesting to see.

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