Trove of Legendarily Terrible Atari Games Uncovered in New Mexico Desert

Buried ET The Extra Terrestrial Atari Games Discovered in New Mexico Desert
Workers hold an unearthed Atari game
Courtesy Larry Hryb

04/27/2014 AT 10:35 AM EDT

One gamer's buried trash is another's buried treasure.

Confirming one of the video game industry's most notorious urban legends, construction workers have found copies of the E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Atari game buried in a landfill in the New Mexico desert.

The E.T. game, manufactured for the Atari 2600, was so reviled for unplayability and general design, that Atari, cash-strapped and struggling to deal with a surfeit of merchandise, resorted to burying copies in a landfill in 1983. (Licensing the character's rights reportedly cost millions, dooming the game almost from the start.)

But this story was never officially confirmed – until now. Thanks to an upcoming documentary from Microsoft's Xbox Entertainment Studios that focuses on the video game industry, copies of the game and other Atari titles have been unearthed in the New Mexico desert, outside of Alamogordo.

The documentary is expected to come out next year. Coincidentally, it's part of a bigger push by Microsoft to create original content for Xbox owners: The biggest project of the initiative is a live-action Halo TV series produced by – wait for it – Steven Spielberg, director of E.T.

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