On Saturday, April 26, 2014, I watched folks live-tweet the excavation of Atari 2600 ET cartridges from a New Mexico landfill. A few hours after the dig began workers pulled up several cartridges complete with their packaging.
I played ET at home during the dig. I have the original cartridge (photo right), but I played using an emulator so I could post screenshots. I don’t remember finishing the game as a kid, but I beat it in an hour with the Stella emulator on the easiest setting.
Despite not finishing the game as a child, I think it says something that I saved the cartridge along with a handful of my other favorites through various moves over the years. It wasn’t until college that I learned the game had been a disaster for Atari and that the gameplay was considered poor and broken.
Overall, I think the game is okay. It’s possible the emulator made it easier to win, so I’ll have to try it again one day on a real Atari 2600. I’m glad I kept my copy, because the newly unearthed cartridges seem crushed and slightly melted.