Follow us:

Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Janet I. Tu.

April 28, 2014 at 6:17 AM

Microsoft unearths long-buried Atari “E.T.” game cartridges — part of Xbox TV series launch

It’s been an urban legend for decades: That in 1983, game company Atari buried thousands, if not millions, of its not-well-received, unsold “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial” game cartridges in Alamogordo, N.M.

Over the weekend, an excavation crew found out that the urban legend appears to be true.

Zak Penn, director of “Atari: Game Over” (working title), and Andrew Reinhard, archaeologist,  hold up Atari 2600 “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” game cartridges excavated in an Alamogordo, New Mexico landfill on April 26. (Photo from Microsoft)

Zak Penn, director of “Atari: Game Over” (working title), and Andrew Reinhard, archaeologist, hold up Atari 2600 “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” game cartridges excavated in an Alamogordo, New Mexico landfill on April 26. (Photo from Microsoft)

The crew, being filmed for a documentary that will air later this year on the Xbox platform, unearthed those not-well-received “E.T.” cartridges, along with what looks to be other games as well, including Space Invaders, Asteroids and Centipede, Microsoft said. (Here’s an Associated Press story from the site of the dig.)

The dig came about after production company Fuel Entertainment acquired the exclusive rights to excavate the landfill, with the help of local Alamogordo garbage contractor Joe Lewandowski. Fuel Entertainment brought the idea to Xbox Entertainment Studios, Microsoft’s 2-year-old studio that’s working on developing original TV-show and interactive content for the Xbox platform.

Archaeologists sift through debris to find buried game  cartridges during the April 26 dig in Alamogordo, New Mexico.  (Photo from Microsoft)

Archaeologists dig through debris to find buried game cartridges during the April 26 dig in Alamogordo, New Mexico. (Photo from Microsoft)

The dig will be part of a documentary with the working title of “Atari: Game Over” that Microsoft is targeting for a late summer or fall release. It will be the first of a series of six tech-focused documentaries.

The series is part of a slate of shows that Microsoft is working on and is presenting today before advertisers and marketers.

These shows — which the company is referring to collectively as “Xbox Originals” — represent Microsoft’s latest effort at producing TV show-type content and marks its first foray into producing a whole slate of what it calls “premium” shows for the Xbox platform.

But even as  the first of the shows are set to air in June, company executives are still trying to figure out a slew of questions, including: What will work for its core audience, who its larger audience might be, what interactive features make sense for each program,  and what its overall business model will be.

Here’s my story running in today’s Seattle Times, taking a look at Microsoft’s latest effort to get into original TV programming.

Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: xbox, xbox entertainment studios

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►