Grab some Reese's Pieces: Franklin Institute to screen documentary on Atari's buried history

Eric Walter
August 09, 2018 - 2:41 pm
Studio artist rides E.T. figure to its new home in the film experience at Madame Tussauds New York for the anniversary of Universal Studios/Amblin Entertainment's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial on June 10, 2014 in New York City.

Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Madame Tussauds


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Thursday night at the Franklin Institute, video game fans will have a chance to dig into one of the most embarrassing incidents in the history of Atari.

As part of their "Game Masters" exhibition, the Franklin is hosting a screening of "Atari: Game Over," with an introduction and Q&A with archaeogamer Andrew Reinhard.

The film follows Reinhard's 2014 quest to unearth hundreds of thousands of "E.T." video game cartridges that were buried in a New Mexico landfill. 

"E.T.," based on the award-winning 1982 film "E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial," was roundly reviled among gamers and is considered by many to be the worst video games of all time and one of the biggest commercial failures in video game history, and the '80s video game giant was desperate to be rid of it. 

What is an archaeogamer? What did Reinhard find? Why was "E.T." so bad? All this and more will be revealed in a discussion led by the Franklin’s environmental scientist Rachel Valletta on Thursday at 6 p.m.