Microsoft wins approval to excavate Atari's legendary E.T. dump site

Microsoft wins approval to excavate Atari's legendary E.T. dump site
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

April 4th 2014 at 11:30AM

Film crews gear up to document recovery of thousands of game cartridges and consoles

The planned excavation of the fabled Atari dump site said to be filled with thousands of copies of E.T. The Extraterrestrial game cartridges has overcome its latest hurdle.

According to Alamogordo News, The New Mexico Environment Department has granted approval for the dig having previously blocked previous plans, claiming they were "too vague". There were also concerns that the ground held certain chemicals found to exceed federal thresholds.

Xbox Entertainment Studios, Fuel Entertainment and LightBox Entertainment however will now be able to dig up portions of an old Alamogordo landfill to search for the game cartridges, believed to have been dumped there after the title's catastrophic failure which nearly single-handedly destroyed Atari.

The NMED has asked to be notified five working days in advance of any excavation and the companies must register as certified or commercial haulers of waste before they can start the dig.

News of the dig first emerged last year when film company Fuel Industries, which plans to document the whole excavation, was granted permission by Alamogordo to dig up the landfill site, which has remained buried since 1983. It was believed that Atari dumped 14 truckloads of discarded cartridges and computer equipment into the area, and covered the landfill over with concrete.

The company has around six months to excavate the land and find the game cartridges, if they exist.