It's one of the most well-known legends in the game industry: in September of 1983, nine trucks supposedly made the journey to a New Mexico landfill before dumping hundreds of unsold copies of the official ET: The Extra-Terrestrial game, along with a number of other Atari products.
But is it true? No-one really knows, and no-one seems to know for sure exactly what (and how much of it) was buried either -- and some still are convinced the whole thing is a hoax.
On April 26, the legend will finally be put to rest and the truth will be revealed: the Ontario-based production company Fuel will be digging up the site at the Alamogordo Landfill to see exactly what, if anything, was hidden there. The expedition is being assisted by Microsoft's Xbox Entertainment Studios and media company Lightbox, while director Zak Penn (best-known for writing and scripting a number of superhero-related video game and movie projects) will be documenting the process for a series that will almost certainly be gracing your Xbox dashboards in the near future.
According to a post on Xbox News Wire, the excavation is a public event, so if you happen to be in the Alamogordo area, you can show up and watch history in the making -- and perhaps even be interviewed for the film.
Game designer for the disastrous ET game Howard Scott Warshaw will also be in attendance. Speaking in the November 2007 installment of his regular "Core Memory" column for UK games magazine Games™ (archived here, Warshaw once said of ET: "people worry I might be sensitive about the debacle, but the fact is I'm always happy to discuss it. After all, it was the fastest game ever done, it was a million seller, even after subtracting returns, and of the thousands of 2600 games, how many others are still a topic? Another thing I like to think about is having done ET -- consistently rated among the worst games of all time -- and Yar’s Revenge -- consistently rated as one of the best -- I figure I have the unique distinction of having the greatest range of any game designer in history."