'E.T.' Atari cartridges exhumed in New Mexico, confirming legend

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:31 AM ET

An urban myth became reality Saturday when construction crews in New Mexico uncovered a large stockpile of Atari games buried in the desert.

Hundreds of people watched as the fabled site was dug up and revealed the cache of old-school games, according to Larry Hryb, known online as Major Nelson, director of programming for Microsoft's Xbox Live live tweeted Saturday's dig.

Hryb tweeted photos of the slightly smashed games, some still in shrink-wrapped packages.

The story goes back to 1982 when five million copies of E.T. the Extra Terrestrial video game were made. The game sold 1.5 million copies, but after bad reviews Atari was stuck with 3.5 million game cartridges, which were alleged to have been crushed, and buried the desert in Alamogordo, New Mexico, then topped with concrete.

A film crew was recently able to get permission to dig up the site and the footage will be part of a documentary titled Atari: Game Over.

It's not yet known how many games were found in the desert, but Hryb's photos show E.T. wasn't alone, other unsuccessful games were buried also.


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