The story is familiar to countless gamers and marketers: Atari, once a pioneering behemoth of the video game industry renowned for innovative consoles like the Atari 2600 and games like Pong, saw their fortunes come crashing down in epic fashion in 1983 when holiday-season platformer E.T.’s abject critical and commercial failure brought the entire company, and video game industry, down along with it. The game was such a catastrophe that unsold copies were sent to a landfill in New Mexico, never intended to see the light of day again. It stands as an oft-repeated cautionary tale for publishers and manufacturers determined to avoid committing the same grave errors with their own products.

A new documentary filmed by X-Men: The Last Stand and The Avengers co-writer Zak Penn for WIRED titled Atari: Game Over will premiere free for all Xbox Live users tomorrow (November 20). Penn, a self-proclaimed nostalgia buff who “grew up on Atari”, traveled to the site of the infamous landfill for Atari: Game Over, overseeing an excavation operation that successfully recovered intact E.T. cartridges and refuted past rumors that the landfill had been sealed off with concrete.

Penn’s documentary, aimed at informing gamers about the infamous implosion from an all-new angle, features interviews with Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell and other figures instrumental in the company’s rise and fall from gaming glory. “They thought, ‘Hey! I’m a nerd. There are girls here. They’re talking to me — it’s good!’”, Bushnell says in one such interview, recalling Atari’s party-happy corporate culture designed to attract cutting-edge talent. The freewheeling workplace environment gave rise to a cast of executives and engineers who would “do what they want to do,” according to Warner Communications ex-co-COO Manny Gerard, breeding what amounted to a double-edged-sword as programmers encouraged to innovate powered Atari to skyrocketing levels of success in the late 1970s before inadvertently leading them to ruin in the form of a less-than-glamorous landfill when their outsized ambitions fell short.

No matter how you might feel about the ordeal, Atari: Game Over seems poised to offer a never-before-seen window into a time-worn tale.