It's true – ET really was buried in the desert

by Shane Dillon

A POPULAR gamers’ joke (and urban legend) has it that in the early 1980s, up to a million copies of ET: The Extra Terrestrial (for the classic Atari 2600 console) were secretly buried somewhere in a New Mexico desert, as the game was truly terrible.
However, it turns out that an awful lot of copies of the game have only just been found in a 30-year-old landfill at Alamogordo, New Mexico, backing up matter-of-fact discussions from a former Atari manager who had been asked to find a cheap way to get rid of 728,000 cartridges.
Putting such a legendary turkey into a big hole and pouring concrete over them turned out not to be a permanent way to get rid of such rubbish after all.
It’s a bittersweet gaming story for games enthusiasts – ET’s spectacular failure largely led to the downfall of Atari, ushering in the games crash of the early 1980s that decimated America’s gaming sector – so, to have found the long-missing games, thus proving the myth was true all along provides food for thought, as well as some mild amusement.

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