Atari ET landfill to be excavated by Canadian entertainment company Fuel

By James Dohnert , Updated Jun 03, 2013 10:30 AM EDT

New Mexico is known for two things aliens and Breaking Bad. One of those things has led to elaborate cover-ups and generations of mysteries. Aliens will forever be synonymous with New Mexico. So its only fitting the greatest ET cover-up comes from a small town in the Southwestern state.

In 1983, Atari attempted one of the biggest extraterrestrial cover-ups of all time. The gaming company buried a dirty secret deep in the New Mexico desert. Atari buried the Reeces Pieces loving movie character ET deep in the desert of Alamogordo, New Mexico. Well, it buried a videogame about the lovable movie alien.

The story goes that Atari dumped as many as nine dump trucks full of ET games for the Atari 2600 in an Alamogordo trash dump. Atari was reportedly forced to dump the games after failing to sell millions of the title after the release of the ET movie.

Critics slammed the video game adaptation for just about every aspect of the title. Everything from the story, gameplay and graphics was reportedly awful. Video game retailers had such a difficulty time selling the game that they returned their stock of title back to Atari. The game company then promptly dumped the games in the desert.

Atari has never admitted to the dumping. Reports from the time said that Atari did use the dump. However, nobody knows exactly what was put there.

Now, a company has set out to unearth the truth behind the urban legend. Canadian entertainment company Fuel is currently attempting to excavate the landfill in order to find the terrible games.

According to TV news station KRQE, the city of Alamogordo has given Fuel approval to dig up the site. The entertainment company will get the chance to excavate the site over the next three months. Its stay at the site will cover the 30-year anniversary of the dumping.

KRQE reports that a former employee at the landfill may even know the exact spot of the cover up. Joe Lewandowski tells the station that he saw what Atari dumped and knows exactly where it happened.

"It was the game systems, actually the game systems themselves it was actual cartridges and games, ET and so on," says Lewandowski.

Whether Atari dumped the game at the site will hopefully be discovered later this year. With any luck Fuel will be able to solve the alien secret in Alamogordo, New Mexico this September.

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