Microsoft cleared to exhume E.T. from landfill for original documentary (update: now with a start date!)

Microsoft's been given the go-ahead to dig through a New Mexico landfill in the hunt for dumped copies of Atari 2600 title E.T., local media reports. Not without aim, of course, but so Xbox Entertainment Studios can collect crucial material for its first original documentary, which'll look into the alleged mass burial of unsold copies of the game. Released in late 1982 when the video game industry, including Atari, was struggling, E.T. was universally panned and a commercial flop. With millions of cartridges returned by retailers, gaming lore has it that Atari quietly shipped off this useless inventory, among other unwanted paraphernalia, to a landfill site. Opinions are mixed and evidence inconclusive as to whether this actually took place, though, hence a documentary to get to the bottom of it. As much as we'd almost prefer the mystery to remain one, let's hope Microsoft come across something or there mightn't be a documentary at all.

Update: reports that the excavation's start date is set for April 26 of this year. That's soon!