When the news hit earlier this year that Atari's 30-year-old landfill of games had been unearthed, it seemed too good to be true. This was an urban legend. There wasn't actually supposed to be a hole somewhere in New Mexico full of E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial games, was there?
But indeed, the mythical landfill did exist, and soon we'll be able to see how the excavation came together.
Atari: Game Over is a forthcoming documentary that will chronicle how the excavation happened. Zak Penn, the director of the film, recently tweeted that the documentary will premiere on Xbox Live Nov. 20.
Atari: Game Over premiering Nov 20 on XBOX #ataridoc
— Zak Penn (@zakpenn) October 31, 2014
There's no word yet on if or when the film will make its way to other platforms, but since Microsoft's Xbox Entertainment Studios helped produce the film and organized the excavation, I think it's safe to say that if you want to see this movie soon, you might want to invest in an Xbox.
In case you don't understand why this event warrants its very own documentary, here's a refresher on why the discovery was kind of a big deal. Back in 1982, Atari was a massively successful company that revolutionized the video game industry as we know it. Still, creating, manufacturing and shipping the E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial game in time for the 1982 holiday season was a risk for Atari. The company pre-printed millions of copies of the game in the hopes that it would have another hit on its hands.
However, the exact opposite happened. E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial had a lot of bugs and was too complicated to play. Some even call it the worst video game of all time. It didn't fly off the shelves as Atari had anticipated, and it was a huge flop.
This major failure and the ensuing North American Video Game Crash of 1983 hit Atari hard. With millions of dollars of unsold inventory sitting in a warehouse, the company decided to dump it all in a pit in Alamogordo, N.M., as if it never even existed.
The landfill soon became a legend among video game fans, who were rewarded back in April when a team of video game archaeologists finally uncovered it. Inside, they found buckets of copies of the E.T. game as well as several other titles for the Atari 2600 console. Some say there were as many as 750,000 cartridges inside.
The trailer for Atari: Game Over premiered at San Diego's Comic-Con in July. Judging by the trailer alone, the documentary looks like it will be a pretty comprehensive look at the rise and fall of Atari, in addition to the process of unearthing this landfill. I still don't think we've heard a very good explanation for why dumping all of these video games in a landfill was the best decision, so hopefully this documentary will finally answer our many questions.
Image: taylorhatmaker / Flickr