Dig for ‘buried treasure’ of Atari games expected to get go-ahead

8 Apr 2014

The Atari 2600 console

After initially being blocked by the government of the US state of New Mexico, a film crew has received permission to dig up a landfill to search for a cache of unsold Atari games, including the legendary game ET.

Originally conceived a few years ago as part of a Xbox documentary about the legendary stash, after much bureaucratic red tape, the crew may now hunt for the estimated 3.5m unsold copies of ET.

One of gaming’s longest-running urban legends, the site will be excavated by Fuel Industries, a multimedia film crew that had planned to release its documentary last year to coincide with the believed 30-year anniversary of Atari’s supposed burial of the Atari 2600 hardware and software collection.

The game of ET was created following the release of the incredibly popular Steven Spielberg film of the same name but because it was rushed and poorly planned, the game is considered one of the worst to have ever been released and played a huge part in the company’s downfall.

According to Xbox Entertainment Studios president Nancy Tellem, who is overseeing the documentary’s release, “These stories will expose how the digital revolution created a global democracy of information, entertainment, and commerce, and how it impacts our lives every day.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic