The Truth Behind E.T + Something a Lot More Disturbing

In case you missed it – for the past week the internetz has been going bananas about Microsoft digging out tons of Atari cartridges in a desert in USA. Microsoft? Yeah, they are sponsoring a documentary about the “urban myth” that Atari’s game E.T was so bad that they buried it in a desert in USA in 1983. And now they’ve dug it out, and revealed the truth! Well…

1. It’s not news. It’s always been known that they buried cartridges (New York Times from 1983). Wikipedia even claims that kids looted the site to find not only E.T-carts but also Raiders of the Lost Ark, Defender, and Bezerk.

2. The E.T game was an experiment made in a few weeks. Whether the game is crap or not is up for debate, but it was a bold move in a flood of boring.

3. Atari made bad business choices and market predictions. They over-produced and over-priced their games, under pressure from their owner Warner. This was one of the factors of the North American video game crisis. It wasn’t about one single bad game. It was a bubble that burst. And it took years before it would inflate again, when Nintendo stepped up to show it’s done…

4. We now know for sure that it wasn’t only E.T in there, but several other games. In total more than 700,000 cartridges.

It’s going to be interesting to see the documentary, I guess. But the reporting of BREAKING! single game actually buried in the ground wow! is just wrong. The true story is more like a tech-bubble leading to tons of crap in the desert, which pissed off the locals living there. And that is actually not so far from how it works today. Only a lot more toxic, on a much larger scale, and completely normalized.

Planned obsolescence and “e-trash” commerce makes sure that tons of toxic tech-stuff  is shipped to e.g Africa and China to kill the kids who work with it. It’s a tech bubble – since both the production and disposal of consumer tech is ecologically and socially unsustainable – only this bubble is out of sight, and way more serious. Hey, maybe that could be topic of your next documentary on Xbox, Microsoft?

e-waste_kids2-6661

Toxics e-waste documentation (China : 2005)

One Response to “The Truth Behind E.T + Something a Lot More Disturbing”

  1. Linda Says:

    Yeah, keep using your computer until it really breaks down! :-)

    Don’t make software that overuses the hardware (like Adobe Flash taking an unnecessary amount of processing so the chipmarket would get a boost; rumor of a while ago).
    And in case new operating systems need to be released, keep it possible to use the old hardware. Cannot connect my scsi scanner to Vista :-( Am not gonna buy a cheap ass 3-in-one that I don’t need. Oh, printer ink is a whole other story…

    Tbh, I do have my downs somtimes, feeling I’ve chosen the wrong profession… Everything gets implemented/sold and it is only afterwards that ethical questions are made. “but everyone wants it and it works, so your argument is invalid”. Efficiency is possible but never sought. Because efficient systems (and business processes) do not provide jobs. Damn, stopping now. I can go ranting forever…

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