Even after news reports from that era were unearthed (mentioning E.T. as one of many Atari games supposedly buried), most were still understandably skeptic of the veracity of this story. Then, a Canadian production company looking to make a documentary about the buried games decided to get their hands dirty. Literally. After securing funding from Microsoft, the crew started taking ground samples from the Alamogordo, New Mexico, landfill, using newspaper dates to determine where the pixelated turds might be buried.
Once they settled on a place, the crew knew they had one chance to get it right -- the city had only given them permission to make a single giant hole in the ground in the pursuit of video game history. They dug 20 feet down with cameras rolling until they found some old Atari equipment, but that didn't prove anything: Throwing your Atari in the trash was the third most popular hobby of 1983, just behind Safety Dancing and cocaine. Then, it began: They found a complete boxed copy of E.T. -- and then another, and another.
Surprisingly, those Starbursts still don't expire until 2019.
The team hit the mother lode, recovering hundreds of copies of E.T. and other games that ended up selling for somewhere between $37,000 and $108,000 (reports conflict) on EBay, while simultaneously solving the second greatest mystery in video game history. Now, all that's left is to assemble an elite team of experts to find out what the hell happened to Half-Life 3.
Jacopo is the author of License To Quill, a James Bond spy-thriller starring William Shakespeare and Guy Fawkes, which you should totally buy now.
Psst ... want to give us feedback on the super-secret beta launch of the upcoming Cracked spinoff site, Braindrop? Well, simply follow us behind this curtain. Or, you know, click here: Braindrop.
Yes, lots of pop culture mysteries have been answered by the truly dedicated. Like we know when Ice Cube's good day took place. And we know how much the bill was that New York sent to The Avengers. See those and more in 6 Mind-Blowing Pop Culture Questions Answered By Super Fans and 5 Insane Pop Culture Questions Answered By Super Fans.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, and check out A Moment By Moment Breakdown Of The Worst Music Video Ever, and watch other videos you won't see on the site!
Also, follow us on Facebook, and let's all try to figure out how large The Labyrinth really is.
Did you know cats modeled their "meow" after the cries of human babies, just because they knew us humans care about that noise? Did you know dogs can read your mind (emotionally), and live in constant suspicion that you know where the good food is (you totally do)? In the next LIVE episode of the Cracked Podcast, host Jack O'Brien leads Cracked's team of pet-loving/fearing comedians through all the ways our dogs and cats are more powerful, creepy, and awesome than we ever could have imagined. Jack will be joined by Carmen Angelica, Dan O'Brien, Alex Schmidt, and Jake Weisman at the UCB Sunset Theatre on Wednesday, March 9, at 7 p.m. Purchase your tickets here!