Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
A search is currently underway to debunk/proove true one of Video Game history's great myths: are there really millions of old E.T. Atari game cartridges buried out in the New Mexico desert?…

For the XBox generation: Atari's 1982 game, based (and I use that word very loosely) on the inexplicably popular film about an intergalactic gob of faecal matter with Christmas tree lights for fingers and his quest to call his mates up and ask why the bastards ran off without him, is widely regarded as one of the worst games in the history of the planet. A game so bad that, with so many carts being returned or simply left unsold, it caused the video games industry to nearly sh*t itself into extinction.
Urban legend tells us that Atari loaded the millions of little boxes of Fail onto trucks, shipped them off to the desert and buried them (along with, we assume, a programmer or two), then coated the site with concrete.
One can never be too careful.
  • Listening to: Booming orchestral scores
  • Reading: a book
  • Watching: Gangster Squad
  • Playing: Minecraft
  • Eating: Bread
  • Drinking: Water
Add a Comment:
Afrodisium Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013
Damn. I had that game, too. Now I wish I had kept it simply to say I've got the piece Fail History.
RennisTora Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Wouldn't you know, I recall that he AVGN "angry video game nerd" was doing a film project about that very legend.
Marcusaralius76 Featured By Owner Jun 10, 2013
I want a copy, just to say I have it.
kiiviin Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2013
Do we dare to dig these games up? I for some reason fear a raiders of the lost ark face-melt happening.
BullDan Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
normally i'm all for digging up secrets from the past, but I think we can all live without that games resurrection.
SherbertTCat Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Its true, but in that the games were dumped in a landfill.
sdthom1 Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2013
As someone who grew up in the area, I can half-confirm the "urban legend". The reason I say "half confirm" is that the games weren't so much buried in a random hole in the desert as much as they were dumped in a landfill. The hole was pre-existing and already containing lots of other trash. The carts are probably still there (since digging in a landfill is kind of illegal). It isn't one of those things, however, where you can just walk around the desert with a treasure map hoping to dig in the right place.

A treasure map would be awesome, though.

That or a giant temple with Atari game based deathtraps to navigate...
Cyberpumpkin Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
Just one programmer, actually. Part of the legend (a part I think is actually true) is that some marketing genius decided to put out a game for the Christmas season.

The decision was made in July, and that was only the tip of a very large iceberg made of fail. Apparently, the manufacturers actually produced so many copies that even if every single Atari 2600 owner bought a copy, there would be an awkwardly large number of them still on the shelves.

Read that in a book on Nintendo's history, actually, but the basics are in Wikipedia as well.

Kinda weird that this has somehow turned into an urban legend. I mean, it's not that hard to believe, is it?
EJP-Gallant Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013
They cover those carts with concrete for a reason. THEY BURIED THEM FOR A REASON! FOOLS! Do they not know what they are going to unleash from that pit!?
amazon211 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013
It would be hilarious if the Xbox One consoles ended up being buried if the Xbox One flops like the ET game.
Lightdasher360 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
I love your wording so much.
Shattered-Universe Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013
I don't know if that's the case, quite honestly, but what I do know is this: I happen to own a still-functional copy of the game.

I also saw that a bunch of ROM-hackers fixed the bugs in the game, and actually made it more playable.
Nagflar Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013
There was only one programmer/developer/coder/whatever, and that's one of the reasons the game was so bad. Maybe he is buried down there, maybe he ain't.
Kimhoyer Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
A crap movie that had a crap game based on it.

I never knew the curse of the licensed movie game always sucking went back so far in time.
nitron100 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013
now i have a different question: if one were to find these cartridges, and surprisingly in working conditions, would playing it cause spirits to fly around, killing people that gazes upon the game and three of them die the worst way possible, like their flesh being vacuumed, face melts, or just simply explode?
niekitty Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013
that is...
the best description of that movie i have ever heard.
Kevemperor Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013
I went out there and searched all day and all I found was this lame old dead alien.
Skorpychan Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013
By 'buried in the desert', I assumed they always meant 'thrown into landfill'.
OmerTerry Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I remember playing that...thanks for the nightmares of being stuck in hole with no way out......
Jarvisrama99 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013
Wow. So they wasted concrete on a game no one gave a shit for. Thats sad.
m0n0cr0me Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2013
firts thought you were talking AVGN's movie-project.
t33n1ckXIII Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Does no one do their research anymore? Simple google search pulls up numerous results stating the carts were "crushed and buried nightly"([link] and "In order to keep the site from being looted, steamrollers crushed and flattened the games, and a concrete slab was poured over the remains.")[link]

Do your homework, kids, and don't waste money...
Randommode Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Isn't that the plot of the Angry Video Game Nerd's movie? :lmao:
Wiimeiser Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
After the crash US stores outright refused to carry games, to sell the NES in the country Nintendo had to bundle the system with ROB to disguise it as something completely unrelated. In the UK the Commodore 64 cashed in on parents looking for computers for their kids that could be used as an educational tool, and it took until the PS2 to overthrow this madness.
kedamono-mizudori Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
I also heard the rumor that a RPG game company binned a complete run of a Nazi inspired game as well.
TomRedlion Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
If it's true that there is a warehouse worth of video game cartridges buried in the desert, especially this abomination of a game, leave them where they are. The game, as it was released suffered so many flaws it's ridiculous.
gulavisual Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Professional General Artist
why trow it on Mexico desert? damn. Hey Jollyjack may be that garbage could be wasted in some other place. The sea? Actually I played that game and that men in coat always grabbed ET and took it far away.
MechaGhidorah Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
I'm going to voice my opinion in the positive for this game. I bought the cartridge for $2 not too long after it came out, but since it came without any instructions on how to play it, my brother and I had a ball trying to figure out what the hell we needed to do. It took us a while, but once we did figure it out it was quite a triumph.
WickedPrince Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
ozwick Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Hobbyist Artist
That seems like a lovely urban legend. I'm pretty sure Atari, nearly in its death throes then from the decline of their games, wouldn't have spent any money burying those returned cartridges. Crushing and shredding would have been sufficient and a lot cheaper.
irg555 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
Alright, I'm not being sarcastic here, I'm telling the truth: Am I really the only person on the planet that didn't think the game was that bad? I remember as a kid playing it quite a few times, I even could beat it pretty well (I realize that's not really much of a challenge, I say it more to illustrate that I played it through multiple times). I got to say it wasn't my favorite game, but it was one I played fairly often.
Omny87 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
Well, it wasn't that the game was really bad- before E.T., there were loads and loads of video games on the market that were either shameless rip-offs of other games, half-assed movie/tv show tie-ins, or just crappy shovelware. The state of the gaming market had been in a steady decline for a while, but E.T. was the straw (or at least, one of the most notable straws) that broke the camel's back, and lost millions of dollars due to overproduction and abysmal sales.
Chwen-Hoou Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
I dunno why anyone would want to dig these up aside from the historical aspect. I heard they crushed these with a steam roller and even if one survived in tack, what shape will it be for being buried for around 30 years?
rudeboy308 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
Just as well I stuck mostly to Pitfall and Kaboom instead of farting around with E.T. Raiders of the Lost Ark was a bit of trouble, though.
leviadragon99 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
Ehhh, far more likely the plastic and parts were recycled... so how exactly is someone going to find that supposed site even if it does exist in the likely substantial area of that desert?
Mythrin Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Student General Artist
Maybe they'll find Jimmy Hoffa too.
PixlPhantasy Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I had that game! It was rather boring..but that's about all I remember about it.
Omny87 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
Frankly, "boring" is one of the worst things a game could be.
PixlPhantasy Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I was like it didn't phase me much at the time XD
Cogboy Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Student General Artist
I hope they find it. that would be hilarious
Dragnmastralex Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
this needs to be done again with half the hollywood writers and directors and 60% of the television writing staff instead.... i'll volunteer to dig the hole if they promise that Michael Bay is one of them.
Midnight-Vanguard Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I remember the game.. I actually had it... and sold it along with the rest of my atari crap just a few years prior to Nintendo's first system coming out. Odd game... Always losing life with whatever you fucking do, and only able to regain a measly few hit-points with the Reese's Pieces scattered throughout the game, (supposedly) It was a shit game... Although the movie did WONDERS for Reese's Sales that year, Since M&M turned it down..
MakarovJAC Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
Why the programmer? The stories says it was executive meddling which forced the game to be produced by only one person within 3 weeks before christmas.
henpitts Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
This is mostly my comments on the youtube link provide by *nomyai.

I remember how crappy Pacman was. Ms Pacman was actually better on the 2600 but I don't know who made it.
I rushed out and bought the 5200 for me and my boys and enjoyed it but the controllers were a bad design. I bought new controllers and eventually they would fail.
Our best game was Miner 2049. Enjoyed Joust and about 10 other games.
pokecheckartz Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
This ranks right up there with Jeraldo Rivera's "Al Capone's Vault" fiasco...for those of us old enough to recall that...God help us... ;)
The-Quill-Warrior Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Fitting title for this journal, mate.

I bet once they unearth the cartridges and play them for testing, their faces will melt.
henpitts Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
Unsolved Mysteries starring Leonard Nimoy.
nomyai Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013
Did a Google Search and find this: [link]
Kitsune-Genetica Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Oh sweet Jesus I hope they find it. That would be mindblowing.
sqrlyjack Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2013   General Artist
I can't wait to see AVGN's take on this.
Add a Comment:

:iconjollyjack: More from jollyjack

Featured in Collections

Journals by ShadowDhampire

Journals by JiminySticket

More from DeviantArt


Submitted on
June 4, 2013


14,370 (1 today)
21 (who?)