The Search For Lost ‘E.T.’ Atari Games Is The Week’s Most Important News

By Amelia Mularz

Do you still covet your 1982 copy of the “E.T.” video game for Atari? Yeah, we didn’t think so. Even still, news broke earlier this week that a Canadian film company has secured the rights to excavate a landfill in New Mexico in search of old copies of the awful game, which has notoriously been named the worst video game in history (yep, even worse than “Grey’s Anatomy: The Video Game”). Fuel Industries, the studio behind the big dig, hopes to make a documentary film out of the project.

Apparently this desert dumpsite, or the “Atari Graveyard,” as it’s been called, is the stuff of geek lore. Shortly after the “E.T.” game flopped, Atari reportedly dumped 3.5 million copies of the game in the landfill. To the gaming world, unearthing this treasure trove of outcast cartridges would be akin to discoveries like Tutankhamun’s tomb or the Rosetta Stone. Certainly the archaeological value of E.T. the video game is as great, if not greater than those other finds. Plus, how amazing would it be to learn more about the ancient civilization of the 1980s? Who were those people? What made them tick?

Aside from the E.T. cartridges and bits of antiquated game systems, experts believe the excavation may reveal other artifacts from the era, including:

1. Loads of Bonkers wrappers.
2. Stickers used to simulate zits and pustules in a game called Girl Talk.
3. Cans of Ecto Cooler, a form of sustenance at the time.
4. Pogo balls (a primitive form of transportation).
5. A slew of stuffed toys with curious names like Wuzzles and Popples.
6. Discarded pieces from Mouse Trap, a game that never worked properly.

No news on exactly who will be manning the dig site, but we vote for ex-cast members from both “Goonies” and “The Wizard” for a super bizarre treasure hunt/gaming crossover film. In any event, the documentary is sure to be epic.