E.T. Found In New Mexico Landfill

E.T. Found In New Mexico Landfill

One of the most infamous urban legends in video games has turned out to be true.

Digging in Alamogordo, New Mexico today, excavators discovered cartridges for the critically-panned Atari game E.T., buried in a landfill way back in 1983 after Atari couldn’t figure out what else to do with their unsold copies. For decades, legend had it that Atari put millions of E.T. cartridges in the ground, though some sceptics have wondered whether such an extraordinary event actually happened. (Of course, news outlets like the New York Times reported on the dump back in 1983.)

Last year, Alamogordo officials finally approved an excavation of the infamous landfill, and plans kicked into motion two weeks ago, with Microsoft partnering up with a documentary team to dig into the dirt and film the results.

Today, it’s official. They have found E.T.’s home — though it’s unclear whether there are really millions or even thousands of copies down there. The AP reports they have found “hundreds” so far, and we’ll keep you updated as they keep digging.

Top image via Microsoft’s Major Nelson.

Here it is up close – the very first ET cartridge exhumed after 30 years pic.twitter.com/nb8tv33w8F

— Larry Hryb (@majornelson) April 26, 2014

More photos via Wired’s Chris Kohler:


  • At last, the Unholy Grail of gaming has been recovered!
    Is this a sign for the end of the electronic entertainment?

  • Didn’t anybody warn them about the curse?! Now the excavators and film makers are going to start dying one by one in bizarre circumstances until they re-bury those cartridges and let them rest in peace.

    • personally I would have gone with a pirates of the caribbean-esque

      Aye. That’s exactly what I thought when first told of the tale. Buried in the plains of Alamogordo that which cannot be found except by those who already knows where it is. Find it, we did. And there be the landfill… and inside, be the cartridges. We took them all! Ebaye’d ’em, traded ’em and fritted ’em away, for mortgages and power bills and pleasurable company.

  • So… now that they’ve opened the landfill, whats next? Kinda poinless unless they are planning to make lots of money off a documentary… about digging up a landfill.

  • Man, was so hoping they’d find a skeleton of ET and not the games…. damn misleading title :\

      • Me too, and I doubt we are the only ones. There’s some profit to made here. Number each one, and each one would be rather unique in it’s amount/type of deteroration. Own a piece of video game urban legend history.

  • Given the article’s title, it sounded like they were digging and broke through into an underground chamber in which there was a sarcophagus surrounded by piles of the ET game arranged at seven points on a circle, burning with an ethereal green glow. Upon opening the sarcophagus, they found ET’s still warm body which then opened its eyes, extended its neck and made a horrible screeching sound before taking flight and starting the Song of Irata to herald the ending of the world.

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