The legendary Atari dig that unearthed copies of decades-old games from a landfill was recorded for a documentary premiering later this month.
What do you do if you make a video game so bad it causes the entire industry to crash? If you're Atari, the answer is "bury it all in a New Mexico landfill," naturally. After decades of this persistent gaming industry urban legend, an Xbox-sponsored dig uncovered the old copies of E.T., Centipede, and other Atari classics earlier this year. If you didn't get a chance to fly to New Mexico in April, you'll get another chance to experience the unearthing of the games that almost broke the industry. Atari: Game Over, a documentary about the dig, is premiering on November 20.
The news comes from writer/director Zack Penn, who posted the announcement on Twitter. Atari: Game Over, a production of the now-defunct Xbox Entertainment Studios, will make its debut on Xbox Live; no further release plans have been announced.
E.T. the Extra Terrestrial launched for the Atari 2600 in 1982 after less than six weeks of development time; the poor quality of this and several other titles, along with overproduction, are generally believed to have led to the 1983 video game crash. Thankfully, gaming recovered and the industry moved on, though Atari hasn't been a dominant force in decades. There's some irony in watching Atari: Game Over on the system of a manufacturer that wasn't even in the Console Wars in the 1980s. And if just watching the Atari dig isn't enough, you could always try to get your hands on some of the old games as well.