E.T.’s home has been found.
Earlier today, an excavation crew uncovered the truth behind one of the biggest urban legends in video games: the E.T. landfill. Thus far the crew has unearthed a couple hundred copies of Atari‘s failed adaptation, many of which are still in surprisingly good condition.
For those that don’t know the urban legend, it goes like this. Back in the early ’80s, Atari released a video game tie-in for Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. And, like most video game tie-ins, even those released today, E.T. was panned across the board. The game was so bad, in fact, that it still regularly tops lists of the worst games of all time, right alongside horrible titles like Custer’s Revenge for the Atari 2600 and Superman 64.
In fact, the game was so bad that Atari was having trouble selling any of their existing inventory, which reportedly included at least a few thousand copies of the game. So, rather than let them set in store shelves, Atari decided to do the least eco-friendly thing possible and dump the E.T. copies in a landfill in the desert. Or so the story goes…
For a long time the E.T. urban legend was just that, and few thought that Atari had actually dumped thousands of E.T. copies. Yet, there was an overwhelming amount of evidence that suggested Atari did dump something in Alamogordo, New Mexico back in the early ’80s and so the quest to uncover the truth was born.
Which brings us back up to earlier this morning, where a select group comprised of Microsoft employees, eager fans, and a documentary crew proved the legend to be true. The hole may not hold the thousands of copies that were originally rumored, but there are certainly quite a few E.T. cartridges to go around.
While there aren’t too many video game-related urban legends floating around, this one was one of the biggest. Gamers for years have used E.T.’s failures as the touchstone not just for bad movie tie-ins, but bad games in general, saying that such-and-such-game deserves the same treatment.
So there you have it, the urban legend is real. E.T.’s real home, the Alamogordo landfill, has been found.
Would you want to own one of the disposed of E.T. cartridges? What are some other video game urban legends that you like?
Source: Major Nelson