A multimedia and marketing firm has secured permission to dig up a landfill used by the video game company Atari in the early 80s. This dump site may or may not contain 3.5 million copies of the notorious video-game adaptation of E.T.
The local government in Alagora, New Mexico has given the go-ahead to the documentary crew of Fuel Industries to break ground in a underground desert dump site. The Canadian based company hopes to be Indiana Jones and uncover secrets from the past about Atari, namely the location of the unsold E.T. games. This level of excitement over mthyos surrounding obscure flops like E.T. certainly seems esoteric, but Fuel still hopes it will be fruitful, as do the fan boys with an over developed sense of irony.
The Atari 2600 gaming console was one of the most successful of its time, and so its executives saw fit to capitalize on an adaptation of Spielberg’s E.T., a similarly huge worldwide sensation. However, as a corporate big wigs are wont to do, negotiations over the game took longer than expected, and the game was rushed through development to be released in time for the holiday season. The result was an infamously bad game, for its time and all times, and it was huge commercial failure. Later, E.T. the game became an object of ironic cult fascination, receiving dubious distinctions, like the magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly’s “Worst Game of All Time.”
Nerd legend has it that in the great video game crash of 1983, Atari dumped the remaining 3.5 million copies, along with failed prototypes of various kinds, in the aforementioned landfill, but the truth of this claim is debated, hence Fuel Industries interest in confirming the truth.
In regards to cultural travesties like the E.T. game, Troll 2, and a bevy of other famously bad art objects gaining attention, it seems postmodern glee is a rich commodity in this day and age. Hopefully Fuel will uncover the lost E.T. games, because if they don’t, then and only then will we feel like losers for caring so much.