Because even horrible games like E.T. deserve a resurrected comeback
It’s one thing to bury what deeply matters to you, but it’s a whole other story to dispose of something you never want to see again. When the great video game crash of 1983 prompted then-giant Atari to chuck all of their unsold games down the trash chute, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial was one of the casualties that people were actually relieved to get rid of. During its time, many considered the nightmarish game to be the sole cause of the video game culture’s demise, but now that its mythical burial ground has been disturbed and the horrid game unearthed, has the wayward alien come back to exact revenge on us all?
The Catastrophe That Was E.T.
It was the glorious era of 1982. People were hyped, and the air was crisp with the hope of a new game for Atari 2600. The company knew that the market was ripe for the taking, and then they made the worst decision that would ruin them forever: they released E.T. the Extra Terrestrial video game . All the game really intended to do was cash in on the massive blockbuster success, but when you spend the whole game looking for parts for a space phone and in doing so fall down a myriad of holes that are there for no apparent reason, you’re sure to curse the game forever, reign in the death of the industry, and throw out the game in a dump where it will never see the light of day.
The Legend of the Atari Dump
You know what? That was exactly what Atari did. In 1983, allegedly more than 10 trucks of unsold games were dumped in the Alamogordo landfill in New Mexico. And unlike time capsules, these games were supposed to stay buried forever to forget about the shame that E.T. brought to the franchise. Some people might think that a bad game would just stay on a dark corner of a dusty old shelf at home, but to go to great lengths of entombing it under 40 feet of dirt only means one thing: the game was just that bad. The hush-hush graveyard had always been an urban legend, but like any juicy secret, the truth didn’t stay buried for too long.
E.T.’s Return to Earth
Because E.T. just couldn’t resist coming back to Earth, Microsoft and Fuel Entertainment took it upon themselves to bring this intriguing story to light. They went on a mission to play Dig-Dug in real life, braved the dust and heat of the desert, and excavated the fabled burial site. And after 30 years, there the video game was, grimy but fully intact. E.T. the Extra Terrestrial video game might have been hated by the whole gaming community in its day, but now that it’s been discovered in the ancient treasure trove, everyone is actually extremely excited. As part of a documentary series for Xbox One and Xbox 360, the film for the dig is directed by Zak Penn of The Incredible Hulk fame. “We found an intact ET video game,” he says. “The actual cartridge is still in there.”
E.T. Excavation: Fact or Fiction?
But, as with any incredible discoveries, not everyone takes kindly to the truth. Conspiracy theories are now spreading across the Web as netizens claim that the whole dig was a hoax. Some believe Microsoft to have faked the dig in order to generate news on their upcoming documentary series, while others say that it’s basically impossible for the games to still remain unscratched and whole after all these years. Whatever side you believe in, the fact remains that it has certainly generated a whole lot of buzz surrounding the horrible game that supposedly single-handedly destroyed the industry during its time. No publicity is bad publicity, right? It turns out that the E.T. game might actually still have some hope, and that after E.T. phoned home, he decided to come back to Earth after all.
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