ALAMOGORDO, N.M. - A decades-old urban legend was put to rest today when workers for a documentary film production company recovered "E.T." Atari game cartridges from a heap of garbage buried deep in the New Mexico desert.
The "Atari grave" was, until that moment, a highly debated tale among gaming enthusiasts and other self-described geeks for 30 years. The story claimed that in its death throes, the video game company sent about a dozen truckloads of cartridges of what many call the worst video game ever to be forever hidden in a concrete-covered landfill in southeastern New Mexico.
The search for the cartridges of a game that contributed to the demise of Atari will be featured in an upcoming documentary about the biggest video game company of the early 80s.
As a backhoe scattered a huge scoop of 30-year-old trash and dirt over the sand, the film crew spotted boxes and booklets carrying the Atari logo. Soon after, a game cartridge turned up, then another and another.
Film director Zak Penn showed assembled gaming fans one cartridge retrieved from the site and said that hundreds more were in the surrounding mounds of garbage.
About 200 residents and game enthusiasts gathered early today at the old landfill in Alamogordo to watch crews search for up to a million discarded copies of "E.T. The Extraterrestrial" that the game's maker wanted to hide forever.