That December, Kassar dumped 5,000 shares of company stock mere minutes before Atari issued a press release stating that fiscal results for the year were "substantially" below expectations. As a result, the company soon found itself in possession of several million essentially useless video game cartridges, which it would be entirely unable to sell. Unearthed from a landfill, the object personifies the video game crash that took place from 1982 to 1985. ", "People think I should be ashamed of E.T.  The rushed development resulted in lackluster gameplay, and on release, the game was critically panned, and is now seen as one of the worst ever made. , Of the recovered materials, a fraction has been given to the New Mexico Museum of Space History for display, and another 100 to the documentary producers Lightbox and Fuel Entertainment. was all about the deadline," Warshaw said.  Though the excavation was momentarily stalled due to a complaint by the New Mexico Environmental Protection Division Solid Waste Bureau citing potential hazards, the issues were resolved in early April 2014 to allow the excavation to proceed. were buried in New Mexico near Roswell, the event was forgotten and elevated (or devolved) to a status of an urban legend. ", On September 27, 1983, the news service UPI reported that "people watching the operation said it included cassettes [sic] of the popular video games E.T., Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, the consoles used to convey the games to television screens and high-priced personal computers. cartridges that had been dug up was taken by the Smithsonian Institution for its records, calling the cartridge both representative of the burial site but also in terms of video games, how the cartridge represents "the ongoing challenge of making a good film to a video game adaptation, the decline of Atari, the end of an era for video game manufacturing, and the video game cartridge life cycle". , Starting on September 29, 1983, a layer of concrete was poured on top of the crushed materials, a rare occurrence in waste disposal. trash heap, though, was one of joy and satisfaction. with Spielberg, and that those talks continued deep into July.  However, on December 7, 1982, the company reported that its earnings had only increased by 10–15%, rather than the predicted figure. New Mexico dig set to proceed", "Microsoft invites you to attend the Atari Landfill excavation on April 26", "Witness Video Game History: Attend Atari Landfill Excavation on April 26", "Success! About 300 cartridges remain to be sold at a later date given the historical value of the cartridges. Up until 2014, the goods buried were rumored to be unsold copies of E.T. was the death of Atari." When the game came out, over one million customers bought the games, but Atari did not sell anywhere close to four million.  Atari, Inc. would go on to lose $536 million in 1983, and was sold off by Warner Communications the following year. "I seriously doubt that [E.T.] During a department meeting on July 26th, 1982, he called everyone's bluff. The music video for the song "When I Wake Up" by Wintergreen depicts the band traveling to the landfill site and proceeding to dig up the abandoned cartridges; the video's director Keith Schofield had worked with video game-based music videos before. When the latter game received its official port to the Atari 2600, Atari was confident that sales figures would be high, and manufactured 12 million cartridges—despite having sold only around 10 million Atari 2600 consoles. cartridges away because the "game sucked ... you couldn't finish it". , Further to the problems caused by Pac-Man's underwhelming sales, Atari also faced great difficulty as a result of its video game adaptation of the film E.T.  As recently as October 2004, Howard Scott Warshaw, the programmer responsible for the E.T.  E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial designer Howard Scott Warshaw, Ready Player One author Ernest Cline and film director Zak Penn attended the event as part of a documentary about the burial, as did local residents such as Armando Ortega, a city official who was reportedly one of the original children to raid the dump in 1983.  In addition, Atari's CEO, Ray Kassar, was later investigated for possible insider trading charges as a result of selling some five thousand shares in Warner less than half an hour before reporting Atari's lower-than-expected earnings. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $22 million. Atari Landfill", "Historic Atari E.T.  The City of Alamogordo approved the auction of the games in September 2014, to be sold through eBay and the Alamogordo Council website.
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