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Not so fast: Environmental concerns halt Atari 'E.T.' cartridge dig

New Mexico environmental regulators have put the kibosh on the excavation of millions of Atari "E.T." game cartridges from a garbage dump there.

According to The Guardian, the New Mexico Environment Department has said that filmmakers planning a documentary about the burial of the cartridges in 1983 owing to catastrophic sales must first acquire a waste excavation plan.

At South by Southwest earlier this month, filmmakers from Lightbox and Fuel Entertainment said they were almost ready to start digging into the garbage dump in Alamogordo, N.M., to look for the cartridges. Their research had led them … Read more

The 404 1,443: Where we're taking the couch by storm (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Neil Young just destroyed his funding goals for a digital music player on Kickstarter.

- Meet the people making new games for Atari, Super NES, and Virtual Boy.

- Funny or Die was Healthcare.gov's No. 1 traffic referrer yesterday.

- Bill O'Reilly bites back at Obama's appearance on "Between Two Ferns."… Read more

Digging for Atari's 'corporate shame,' the buried E.T. games

AUSTIN, Texas -- E.T. wants to go home. But first there will have to be a massive excavation of a city's garbage dump.

As is part of video-game industry lore, in 1983 Atari ran screaming from its ill-advised E.T. game and hastily and quietly buried millions of cartridges. Somewhere. No one was quite sure where.

It turns out the where was Alamgordo, N.M., and almost certainly deep in the giant city garbage dump. Last year, a team of filmmakers announced they're working on a documentary about the infamous E.T. game disaster -- which cost … Read more

Play Frogger, Asteroids free from your browser

Long ago, in a living room far, far away, games like Donkey Kong Jr., Frogger, Laser Blast, Joust, Pac-Man, Q-bert, Centipede, Burgertime, and Dig Dug ruled our every waking moment. Pixilated characters beeped their way across our TV screens as we challenged our friends and families to a match on our Atari 2600, Atari 7800 ProSystem, Magnavox Odyssey, ColecoVision, and Astrocade game console systems.

Now, thanks to The Console Living Room from the Internet Archive, fans of vintage video games can relive their high scores to their favorite games from the early '80s. … Read more

Documentary on Atari's E.T. to kick off Xbox film series

Xbox Entertainment Studios has teamed with a documentary production team for a series of film-length documentaries that will air exclusively on the Xbox One and Xbox 360.

The production company, Lightbox, is helmed by two-time Academy Award-winning producer Simon Chinn ("Searching for Sugar Man" and "Man on Wire"), and Emmy-winning producer Jonathan Chinn (FX's "30 Days" and PBS' "American High").

According to the Chinns, the film series will revolve around "the extraordinary events and characters that have given rise to the Digital Age." … Read more

Samsung's acquisition list zeroes in on software -- report

Samsung's recent acquisition shopping list zeroes in on several software names, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.

According to the paper, some of those possible targets have included Unity Technologies, a San Francisco-based gaming platform developer; Green Throttle Games, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based company that makes game controllers and software that connects mobile devices to televisions; Israeli mobile search engine Everything.me; Israeli video-chat app maker Rounds; and location-sharing app Glympse of Seattle, Wash.

It's not clear from the report whether Samsung is still looking at any of the companies aside from Glympse. In … Read more

The 404 1,338: Where we'll have the orange taco (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Weekend movie review: "I am Street Fighter," a documentary for the franchise's 25th anniversary.

- Weekend visit to the privacy store at the New Museum.

- Sony unveils PlayStation Vita TV.

- The next video-game movie lurches to life in the form of New Line's "Rampage."

- Refrigerators, dishwashers, and deadbolts: CNET's new high-tech appliance reviews.… Read more

Crave Ep. 124: Obscenely overpriced phones and tablets

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Crave has compiled a list of some of the most ridiculously opulent smartphones and tablets from around the world -- and surprisingly, they do a lot less than a cheap Android phone. Plus, a plush toy and app combo that turns your phone all cuddly. And a warp-speed look at Windows updates from Windows 1 to Windows 8. … Read more

Atari dig aims to uncover infamous E.T. game cartridges

There's a special place 200 miles south of where I live. It's a place of legend, an ancient burial ground. Supposedly, a stretch of land near Alamogordo, N.M., is the final resting place for one of the most infamous disasters in gaming history: the Atari E.T. game.

According to a New York Times report from 1983, Atari dumped 14 truckloads of unsold game cartridges and other detritus into a landfill. "Guards kept reporters and spectators away from the area yesterday as workers poured concrete over the dumped merchandise," it reads.

The E.T. game earned its status as one of gaming's biggest bombs by pretty much stinking up the entire video game industry at the time. Critics and gamers alike hated the plot, the way it looked, and just about everything else about it. That's why Atari got stuck with several million unsold copies.… Read more

The 404 1,280: Where we dig up the truth (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Film crew to dig up Atari landfill site, maybe score 3.5 million copies of E.T.

- The opposite of standing desks: the computer workstation for the person with everything.

- Unlocking The Truth is the most brutal sixth grade metal band ever.

- Hatebeak: a death metal band fronted by a parrot.

- Ex-military snipers called into shoot feral goats from helicopters to protect Galapagos Tortoise population.… Read more