atari-game-over

Microsoft has completely shut down Xbox Entertainment Studios, but at least one of the bygone studio’s projects has still managed to see the light of day. Atari: Game Over, which chronicles the disastrous impact of the 1982 E.T. video game often regarded as the worst of all time, is now available on Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Atari: Game Over‘s subject is one of the most famous urban legends in video game history. The E.T. game was so poorly received that, in 1983, Atari decided to bury hundreds of unsold copies at a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

This story remained the stuff of legend until this year, when an excavation effort run by Fuel Industries turned up the long-discarded cartridges. Atari: Game Over, directed by Zak Penn,  shares this story with viewers and includes interviews with Howard Scott Warshaw (the designer of the E.T. game) and Atari founder Nolan Bushnell.

Xbox owners can view the film directly from their consoles. For the rest of us, it’s available on the Xbox website, though viewing it requires both the Microsoft Silverlight plugin and a Microsoft account.

Atari: Game Over became the first original project announced by Xbox Entertainment Studios when it was revealed in December 2013. The film drew attention thanks to its high-profile producers, Jonathan and Simon Chinn; Simon also produced Academy Award-winning documentaries Man on Wire and Searching for Sugar Man.

Originally, Penn’s film was intended to be the first installment in a six-documentary series called Signal to Noise, though with the demise of Xbox Entertainment Studios, the future of that project is unclear. At the very least, Xbox users–especially those who are also fans of video gaming’s Golden Age–will be able to enjoy Atari: Game Over.

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