Atari ET excavation finds 30-year old game

UPDATE: They've found the game they were looking for. 

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Although some still maintain that it is an urban myth, the green light has finally been given to dig up thousands of copies of what is often claimed to be the worst game of all time.

Atari is alleged to have buried thousands of unsold cartridges of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in New Mexico in the 1980s. The movie tie-in game, originally for the Atari 2600 console (otherwise known as Atari VCS), was such a flop that the manufacturer is believed to have dumped them in an Alamogordo landfill. Urban legend even claims that they were then encased in concrete.

Now the New Mexico Environmental Department has, after some red tape hurdles, approved the excavation, which will be filmed as part of a documentary series about video game culture. The show is a collaboration between Microsoft's Xbox Entertainment Studios and Lightbox Entertainment.

It will be directed by filmmaker and screenwriter Zak Penn (Avengers Assembled, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Incredible Hulk) and is likely to be screened on Xbox consoles when it is finished.

"When [Lightbox] approached me about this story, I knew it would be something important and fascinating," said Penn. "I wasn't expecting to be handed the opportunity to uncover one of the most controversial mysteries of gaming lore."

To find out what all the fuss is about, you can play an emulated version of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial online at virtualatari.org.