Atari's E.T. game found in Alamogordo landfill

Updated: 04/26/2014 10:30 PM | Created: 04/26/2014 9:49 PM
By: Lauren Hansard, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It's been a mystery for more than 30 years.

A video game, "E.T. The Extraterrestrial" for Atari, was allegedly so bad, the company tried to get rid of all the copies. It's rumored truckloads of the game were buried in an Alamogordo landfill in 1983.

The video game company claims that never happened, but on Saturday, that landfill was dug up as crews filmed for a documentary to find out the truth once and for all.

Nearly 200 people from around the country came to find out if the rumors are true. No one knew what to expect.

"I just hope we find something that is identifiably Atari. I'm not as excited just to find some Atari cartridges, but just to see that something was here that belonged to Atari," Devin O'Leary said.

"I came out to see history in the making. They may find something, they may not, but whatever we find, we're at least going to know right?" Devin Mack said.

Crews dug through 30-year-old trash, game enthusiasts watched with anticipation, as a California documentary crew caught every moment.

And finally, after two hours of digging, they found what everyone has been waiting for.

An E.T. for Atari game cartridge in the box with instructions. Fully intact after 30 years underground.

"It's here, it's a verifiable fact.  We've been talking about it for forever and we were right," Amy Galloway said.

"I feel happy, it's cool. I'm watching the myth actually come to life now.  It's no longer just an urban myth, it's no longer a tall tale, it's now a fact," Samuel Leon said.

"We didn't expect to find as much as we did. So far, although we've just started, but you know there was always the doubt whether we would find anything at all.  So it's pretty satisfying," Zak Penn said.

Penn is directing the documentary.

"When I first saw the game, definitely a sense of relief and then excitement because it was an intact E.T. game," Penn said.

But that wasn't all they found.

"So far we found a bunch of E.T. cartridges, Missile Commands, Centipedes still shrink wrapped actually," Penn said.  "You know I only got a glimpse of it down there.  I'm not allowed to stay in the pit, but there were hundreds of games down there to start, and that was just the first bucketful. So I think we're looking at a lot of games down there."

"If I would have just said, 'No, I can't do the game in five weeks' 32 years ago, none of this would have happened today," Howard Scott Warshaw said.

Warshaw created the game... The game known as the "worst ever."

"Why is it so bad? Well part of it was because it was done in only five weeks that was all that was available to it," Warshaw said. "At a time when no game had been done in less than 5-6 months, this game was done in five weeks. There was no time for tuning, there was no time for that, so a lot of people didn't like the way it came out."

But for the first time in 30 years, we know the truth.

The documentary will air on Xbox One and Xbox 360 later this year.

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