Atari E.T. landfill excavation potentially on hold

Cartridge dig plan yet to be approved by local environmental department

Plans to dig up the New Mexico E.T. landfill site have been temporarily put on hold, according to a local news outlet.

Alamogordo News reports that the proposed excavation of the city's disused landfill has yet to be approved due to a lack of detailed information about the plan.


Specifically, the New Mexico Environment Department has stated that the excavation plan is too "generic" and does not offer a detailed description of exactly what will take place during the dig.

Production companies LightBox Interactive and Fuel Entertainment have requested permission to dig up the landfill in order to search for and make a documentary based on the much maligned 1982 Atari 2600 title E.T., which is widely believed to be one of the causes of the 1983 game industry crash.

According to urban legend, anywhere from thousands to millions of cartridges were buried at the Alamogordo landfill then covered up, with at least nine semi trucks full of Atari products said to have been dumped at the site in 1983.

Part of the NMED's concern over the dig relates to a 2004 study of the landfill which found elevated levels of several chemicals. "22 compounds of concern" were said to have been found at the site.

However, an executive producer at LightBox Interactive told the AP that the dig will go on despite the NMED's concerns.