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Searching For E.T. In Atari’s Tomb

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A landfill in southern New Mexico, rumored to be the final resting place of the 1982 Atari video game E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, is about to be excavated. The big dig is part of a Canadian television company's attempt to unearth the legendary game.

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Susie Galea

The regional landfill near Alamogordo, N.M. that may be E.T.'s final resting place.

— A landfill in southern New Mexico, rumored to be the final resting place of the 1982 Atari video game "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial", is about to be excavated. The big dig is part of a Canadian television company's attempt to unearth the legendary game.

Video gaming pulls in almost twice as much money as Hollywood every year. But in the early 1980s, the industry almost died off completely. In 1983 the Atari company, with a facility in El Paso Texas, was desperately looking to dump 21 truckloads reportedly full of the E.T. game. It had been heralded as one of the biggest flops in gaming history.

According to folklore, Atari found a regional landfill in the New Mexican desert and sealed the remnants of the notoriously horrible game in a cement tomb.

Alamogordo Mayor Susie Galea said the company denies ever offloading their bunk product, but that several local witness have come forward over the years, to confirm the rumor.

"New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment and there's many urban myths throughout the state, mainly Roswell has the aliens," Galea said. "But they're not able to confirm it definitively. And by unearthing the Atari landfill, we'll be able to confirm the urban legend is true. So it's kind of exciting."

The Alamogordo City Commission has approved excavation of the regional landfill by the film company, which has its sites set on making a documentary.

Exhuming what could be ET's final resting place will begin just as soon as the film company pays its $26,000 deposit to the city.

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