The New Mexico Environment Department has given the go-ahead for a proposed excavation of a landfill site where truckloads of Atari cartridges are rumoured to be buried.
The dig can now go ahead, although Fuel Entertainment, Xbox Entertainment Studios and LightBox Entertainment must give the authority five days notice, and use approved waste haulers if any material is removed from the site.
Microsoft told the Alamogordo News said it is “finalizing plans as we speak”.
E.T. is often credited with causing the great video game industry crash of 1983, but the appallingly shoddy rush job was just the last straw after Atari and its competitors saturated the fledgling console market with absolute rubbish. The industry would not recover until Nintendo’s introduction of the original NES.
Thousands of unsold E.T. cartridges are said to have been dumped in landfill, and although the story is often thought of as apocryphal, Microsoft picked up on Fuel’s plans to dig up the site, investing in a documentary chronicling the excavation for Xbox original programming.