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Hundreds of Atari 2600 'E.T.' cartridges unearthed in N.M. dig, millions more possible

The Atari 2600 gaming system was credited for creating a huge boom in the video game market in the early 1980′s. But their ill-fated release of the “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial” game was blamed for the early downfall of the market.

There had been rumors that possibly millions (the estimates were over 5 million) of unpurchased and unwanted E.T. game cartridges — considered by most to be the worst console video game ever released — were buried by the Atari company in the middle of the night in hopes to never be heard from again.

According to a Reuters report, gamers had believed that the mass-burial of cartridges had taken place in a landfill in Alamogordo, about 200 miles southeast of Albuquerque, N.M. 

It looks like they may have been right.

Microsoft Corp’s Xbox Entertainment Studios embarked on a documentary and a dig at the rumored burial spot, and it didn’t take long for them to turn up some evidence of Atari’s attempt to sweep their 8-bit mistake under the rug.

Hundreds of the E.T cartridges were unearthed under a layer of trash after only a few hours of digging, and there’s no telling how many more will be found.

“For a lot of people, it’s something that they’ve wondered about and it’s been rumored and talked about for 30 years, and they just want an answer,” said Zak Penn, the film’s director.

The Ebay market for E.T. cartridges is about to be severely watered down it would seem.

Tags: Atari 2600 Video Games

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