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See the buried E.T. Atari 2600 cartridges get dug up in person

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Fans of video game history may want to book flights to New Mexico. On April 26, a team of documentarians and garbage contractors will excavate the fabled landfill where E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Atari 2600 cartridges are said to have been buried three decades ago, and the public can attend the dig.

The excavation is the basis for a documentary being produced by Fuel Entertainment, which secured the rights to dig up the landfill last year. Xbox Entertainment Studios, the Microsoft division that creates original programming for the Xbox brand, is also working on the project; the E.T. film will be the first in a series of documentaries from the group. Zak Penn, who worked as a writer on The Avengers and X-Men 2, will direct the documentary.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, a tie-in for the film of the same name, was released in 1982 on Atari 2600. Considered one of the worst games ever made, it failed to sell, and Atari allegedly buried the excess cartridges — reportedly millions of units — in the New Mexico desert.

The excavation will take place in Alamogordo, N.M., from 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET, at the Alamogordo Landfill. For more on the project, check out our interview from July with Fuel Entertainment.

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