Landfill Dig Finds Hundreds of Copies of 'Worst Game Ever'

Crews reveal truth behind legend

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 26, 2014 4:00 PM CDT

(Newser) – Gaming lore holds that huge quantities of the supposed worst video game of all time—Atari's ET—were buried in a New Mexico landfill. Turns out, those who believed the story were right. In a dig in the southeastern city of Alamogordo, crews found hundreds of copies of the game. The dig drew some 200 locals and fans, the AP reports. It will appear in an upcoming documentary by filmmaker Zak Penn.

The 1983 game was rushed out after the ET film was released, CNET reports, and the hurry showed. The game sold more than a million copies, but it was soon recognized as horrendous; its failure is considered one reason for the temporary decline of the industry, the AP notes. The embarrassed Atari, it seems, somehow got rid of millions of cartridges—but their whereabouts was uncertain. A city official, however, said the games were in the landfill, as did a 1983 New York Times article. Now, after delays in the search process, it seems the official was right. Here's the first copy found, via the Dallas Morning News.

A man takes a photo of an ET doll in Alamogordo, N.M, Saturday, April 26, 2014.   (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca)
An E.T. doll is seen while construction workers prepare to dig into a landfill in Alamogordo, Saturday, April 26, 2014.   (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca)
Workers sift through trash in search for decades-old Atari 'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial' game cartridges in Alamogordo, NM, Saturday, April 26, 2014.   (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca)
Film Director Zak Penn shows a box of a decades-old Atari 'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial' game found in a dumpsite in Alamogordo, NM, Saturday, April 26, 2014.   (AP Photo/Juan Carlos Llorca)
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