A plan to excavate a suspected mass burial of Atari ET video-game cartridges for a Microsoft Xbox documentary has been blocked, at least temporarily, by environmental concerns at the site in Alamogordo, N.M.
The Alamagordo Daily News reported this week that the New Mexico Environment Department has so far declined to give the waste excavation approval required to proceed with the dig.
However, the filmmakers tell the Associated Press that they are working to address the environmental concerns so that they can proceed with the dig.
Atari’s “mass burial” of unsold game consoles and cartridges in 1983 is considered by some to be an urban legend, but the filmmakers working with Microsoft’s Xbox Entertainment Studios say they believe they have found the site. The pioneering video-game company is believed to have buried “millions” of unsold units of the failed game, “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial.”
The resulting film would be the first in a documentary series produced by Xbox in collaboration with Lightbox, a media company led by two-time Academy Award-winning producer producer Simon Chinn (known for films including Searching for Sugar Man and Man on Wire) and Emmy-winning producer Jonathan Chinn (FX’s 30 Days and PBS’s American High).
It’s part of a broader effort by Xbox to expand into original content, following in the footsteps of Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.