Atari: Game Over, director Zak Penn’s documentary about Atari, the video game crash of 1983, and the landfill in New Mexico where the notorious E.T. game was buried, will premiere November 20 on Xbox Live, according to Penn.
This past April, Microsoft funded a highly-publicized excavation of a landfill in New Mexico, in which Atari had supposedly buried countless unsold copies of the famously awful game adaptation of E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. Although it wasn’t a secret – it was covered by journalists at the time – the event had faded into urban legend because of its silly premise and its ties to the industry crash that tanked the North American video games market for a few years after its initial bubble in the early 1980s. Penn’s documentary will cover the excavation itself and the events that led to it three decades ago.
The film is one of the few projects to survive the recent collapse of Microsoft’s short-lived Xbox Entertainment Studios, along with the Ridley Scott-produced series Halo: Nightfall. Game Over was set to be first of a six-part series, called Signal to Noise, about the video game industry, but the fate of the rest of the series is not clear.