Friday, December 20, 2013

Xbox Live Documentary Goes Digging for Atari’s Long-Lost E.T. Cartridges

Image: Atari
Xbox Live Documentary Goes Digging for Atari’s Long-Lost
E.T. Cartridges

One of the weirdest videogame urban legends out there goes like this: In the early 1980s, Atari found itself with millions of unsold copies of the videogame adaptation of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial it created for the Atari 2600 console. With no idea what else to do, the legend goes, Atari buried them in a small town in New Mexico. No one seems to know exactly what happened, but next year a documentary film crew plans to finally unearth the story for a film that will premiere in the most ironic, yet oddly apropos place:


As part of a deal, announced today, between Xbox Entertainment Studios and producers Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn, the as-yet-untitled documentary will be released through Xbox Live on the 360 and new Xbox One sometime in 2014. The doc, the first in a series of films the producers will make for Xbox, will be directed by Zak Penn – creator of Syfy’s Alphas – and present the backstory of the mysterious cartridge burial the history of Atari. It will also follow multimedia studio Fuel Entertainment as they excavate the 100-acre landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico where the videogames are rumored to have been dumped.
“When Simon and Jonathan Chinn approached me about this story, I knew it would be something important and fascinating,” Penn said in a statement. “I wasn’t expecting to be handed the opportunity to uncover one of the most controversial mysteries of gaming lore.”

That particular piece of lore dates to 1983, when Atari found itself with boatloads of unwanted copies of a reviled game and – again, according to legend – opted to simply bury them. The truthiness of the story has always been questioned, but a man named Ben King, who grew up in Alamogordo, told ABC News earlier this year, “I was maybe around 8 or 10 years old when this happened, and I remember when they did it … I remember people going out there to dig up the site to get the games. To stop them, they [the city] placed concrete over them.”

The announcement of the new documentary series of which the Atari mystery will be a part comes about seven months after the Microsoft-run Xbox Entertainment Studios announced its first piece of exclusive original programming – a live-action Halo series being produced by Steven Spielberg. At the time, XES president Nancy Tellem said, “TV on the Xbox One will immerse you, allowing you to virtually jump into the action.” For the documentary series, she said, Jonathan and Simon Chinn would focus on the impact of technology on our lives.

Simon Chinn, who produced the Oscar-winning documentaries Man on Wire and Searching for Sugar Man, said doing a series for Xbox offered the chance to “make a unique series of films around the extraordinary events and characters that have given rise to the digital age.” The announcement of Simon and Jonathan Chinn’s arrangement with Xbox comes the same day the pair, who are cousins, announced the launch of a multi-platform company called Lightbox, which will handle production of the documentaries for Xbox.

“They are consummate storytellers and they plan to match their creative sensibility with the best talent in the industry,” Tellem said in a statement. “These stories will expose how the digital revolution created a global democracy of information, entertainment and commerce, and how it impacts our lives every day.”
Filming on the Atari cartridge documentary is slated to begin next month and will be available on Xbox One and Xbox 360 sometime in 2014. — by Angela Watercutter |

No comments:

Post a Comment

"Be as smart as you can, but remember that it is always better to be wise than to be smart."

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...