The Atari landfill dig has begun, and even though some have discounted the legend as myth, some copies of the E.T. video game have indeed been uncovered. There have been other pieces of video game history buried at the site in Alamogordo, NM, as well, but most importantly the legends have been proven true.
It was assumed that the game which caused the crash of the video game industry in the 80s hadn’t really been buried in mass at the famed landfill. Perhaps thousands of angry gamers just wanted to forget the game even existed, or the company itself just wanted to “ditch” the evidence. After all, it took Nintendo’s first US console and a followup to the classic Mario Bros to bring one of the world’s most expensive and time consuming hobbies back from an early grave.
Thankfully the pits that were nearly impossible to get out of in the E.T. video game weren’t an indication of how hard it would be to find copies during the Atari landfill dig. The most daunting factors may have been the desert heat and the high winds blowing gales of dust everywhere. Alongside the E.T. video game, box, and instructions, a copy of Centipede and the crushed remains of the Atari 2600 joystick were also found in the New Mexico landfill. So far the excavation has been full of history, uncovering the gaming equivalent of the Fountain of Youth.
Microsoft is behind this momentous occasion, having hired the archaeologists and footed the bill for the CAT tractors which have been making the job a little bigger than the movies have shown the profession to be.
— Nadia Oxford (@nadiaoxford) April 26, 2014
When we normally think of archaeology, we get a picture of Harrison Ford in a fedora and toting a whip (Indiana Jones), or Richard Attenborough holding up a piece of amber with a mosquito in it (Jurassic Park). We don’t normally think of men wearing hard hats and construction gloves, but pictures from the Atari landfill dig site, some of which were taken by Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb, have shown this to be the reality of the profession involved in the excavation.
The moment gaming historians have likely been waiting for came when one of the men in the dump announced:
“We found an E.T. case, and the chip is still in it. And there are a whole hell of a lot more in there.”
It is yet unknown if James “The Angry Video Game Nerd” Rolfe has been present at the excavation, even though he has his own more fictional version of the search for the E.T. video game being made for his myriad of fans.
The Atari landfill dig will be a multiple part documentary shown exclusively on Xbox Live later this year, funded as early as last June and only recently approved. Will you be tuning in to watch the momentous occasion?
[image via allgamesbeta, xbox.com]