Some secrets should stay secrets. Some things that have been hidden should never see th light of day. Some things are better left buried. Folks in New Mexico seem to agree. Environmental regulators from the Land of Enchantment are blocking two companies from digging up an Alamogordo landfill in search of a rumored cache of what some consider the worst Atari video game of all time: E.T. Officials say an approved waste excavation plan, or WEP, is needed before any dig can begin.
Who wants to find the worst video game ever made? Why, the makers of video games, of course. Fuel Entertainment and LightBox Interactive recently announced plans to
search the landfill for the game that proved a financial drain for
Atari. The companies plan to record the dig for a documentary to be
released by Microsoft for the Xbox One console. Filmmakers have
even offered fans the chance to enter a giveaway of anything that might
be unearthed. If this all sounds a little like video schadenfreude, you're probably not the only one. There was a time when Atari and Steven Spielberg ruled the world. It was a mythical time when women wore shoulder pads and men wore sunglasses at night. It was a different world. Expectations were different. There were people back then who played Dungeons and Dragons without irony. I know because I was one of them. The D&D players, not the sunglasses or shoulder pads. I was also the proud owner of an Atari 2600 console.I spent many hours in my parents' basement honing my Missile Command and Space Invader skills. These were elemental games that were rooted not in story, but in survival. E.T. was not that. It was a journey, a voyage. And it was nearly incomprehensible in eight bits, but it had a good beat and it was easy to dance to. It was a way to wile away the hours until something better came along. Because that's really what the 1980's were all about.
Now these retro-nerds want to dig up that somewhat mournful part of my youth? Go ahead, but you'd be better off trying to clear all the screens on Breakout.