Digging Up the Archive

One of the biggest apocryphal tales in videogame history involves the reported burying of thousands of copies of E. T. the Extraterrestrial (Atari Inc., 1982) after its historic flop. The game, a poorly designed and nearly unplayable mess, such a mess that E. T. has become shorthand for many of the things wrong with the videogame industry now and then, was initially rushed to stores by the holiday shopping season to capitalize on the success of Spieleberg’s film by the same name. The sales of the game were so bad that supposedly Atari had nearly a million copies left unsold, which disappeared and rumors circulated that many of these unsold cartridges were buried. And they were! reports on Microsoft’s uncovering of these buried games in “30 Years Later, Microsoft Uncovers Buried E. T. Cartridges,” which has been done in coordination with making a documentary about the search for this buried archive. Next up, Microsoft will try to find Jimmy Hoffa.


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