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Xbox Producing Doc on Atari and E.T. Video Game

Movie E.T. Atari Documentary by Joey Paur

We are going to start seeing a lot of original programing coming from Xbox in the near future. One of those projects is a Halo series being developed by Steven Spielberg. We have no idea when we'll see that, but we do know what the first exclusive Xbox film will be.

A production company called Lightbox will be developing a series of films about the start of the digital revolution for Xbox Entertainment Studios. The first of these films will be an interesting-sounding documentary about Atari and the story of how they literally buried millions of copies of their E.T. video game. Here's some information from the press release,

The first film in the groundbreaking series investigates the events surrounding the great video game burial of 1983.  The Atari Corporation, faced with overwhelmingly negative response to “ET the Video Game,” buried millions of unsold game cartridges in the middle of the night, in the small town of Alamogordo, New Mexico. Drawing on their relationships with outstanding creative talent, each film will be helmed by a different director and will range from an hour to feature length.  Zak Penn (X-Men 2, Avengers, Incident At Loch Ness) has signed on to direct the first film.

I'm really curious to see what led to the dumping and burying of the games. Atari confirmed that this happened back in 1983, and concrete was later poured over the landfill that it was dumped in. There are not a lot of details on the behind the scenes story of this, but my interest has been sparked, and I want to know more. Here's a little information I found on Wikipiedia:

Atari thought it would achieve high sales figures based on its connection with the film, which was extremely popular throughout the world. Negotiations to secure the rights to make the game ended in late July 1982, giving Warshaw only five and a half weeks to develop the game in time for the 1982 Christmas season. The result is often cited as one of the worst video games released and was one of the biggest commercial failures in video gaming history. The game's commercial failure and resulting effects on Atari are frequently cited as a contributing factor to the video game industry crash of 1983.

E.T. is frequently cited as a contributing factor to Atari's massive financial losses during 1983 and 1984. It is speculated that as a result of overproduction and returns, millions of unsold cartridges were buried in an Alamogordo, New Mexico landfill. In 2013, plans were revealed to conduct an excavation to determine the accuracy of reports about the burial.

Trying to bury their shame away, I guess.

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