Back in 1982, a single videogame managed to all but collapse the videogames market. E.T., one of the worst games ever made, arrived on the Atari 2600 after receiving horrendous reviews, massively knocking the already-fragile company and sending it into freefall. The legend goes that Atari dumped the enormous volume of unsold cartridges and hardware into a secret landfill site so that their shame could be forever buried under tonnes of New Mexico soil.
30 years later, however, a film company has received permission to locate and excavate the monument to all their sins.
Fuel Entertainment has secured permission from the city of Alamogordo to conduct a search for the missing cache, in order to produce a 30th anniversary documentary.
"ET was one of the first videogames based on a licensed property, and one of the earliest and most poignant examples of mass over-hyping in digital entertainment," Mike Burns, CEO of Fuel Entertainment, told the BBC. "With the city of Alamogordo's approval to explore the dump site, we're currently looking forward to moving further into the planning and preparation process.
"We don't know exactly what we'll find, but it's bound to be interesting."
Atari never explicitly confirmed whether the alleged dumping took place, though many apocryphal stories point to massive dump trucks arriving in Alamogordo in 1983, with journalists ordered to keep away from their destination.
Next time, Atari, consider the Marianas Trench instead. Atari US is currently seeking to offload its franchises as part of bankruptcy proceedings, though the separate Atari S.A. plans to operate as normal. [BBC, thanks to regular commenter and reader ODB for the tip]