The Game That destroyed the Atari 2600

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E.T on the Atari 2600
E.T on the Atari 2600

Video gamers of a certain age undoubtedly remember the 1983 classic, “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial”, for Atari 2600. Designed to be one of the most marketable games ever released for the system, it instead became one of its biggest failures and hastened the video game crash of 1983. But what happened? Why did this much-anticipated game fall flat on its face? How could something so popular go so wrong? Retro gaming fans will want to check out this detailed account of how “E.T.” singlehandedly destroyed the Atari 2600.

The Games Premise



The Atari 2600 game E.T. was released in September of 1982. It is based on the film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, released in June of that same year. The game was developed by Howard Scott Warshaw, who created the games Yar’s Revenge and Raiders of the Lost Ark. The goal of the game is to help E.T. phone home, but this is no easy task as you must avoid government agents, aliens, and falling into pits. The game was not well received by critics and is often considered one of the worst video games ever made. However, it has since gained a cult following and has been included in several lists of the greatest worst games.

E.T and its Notoriously Bad Gameplay



E.T. was met with a collective groan from gamers across the globe. The gameplay was notoriously bad, with players spending most of their time walking in circles or getting stuck in pits. The graphics were also primitive by today’s standards, and the sound consisted of a series of bleeps and bloops. In short, E.T. was a major disappointment. It holds the dubious distinction of being one of the worst video games ever made. However, there is one silver lining to this dark cloud: E.T. has become something of a cult classic, and gamers now enjoy playing it for its camp value. So even though E.T. is a terrible game, it’s still worth checking out – just don’t expect to be entertained for very long.

It is estimated that only one in every four copies of E.T were sold. As a result, Atari found itself with a vast surplus of unsold games. In an effort to get rid of the unwanted inventory, Atari allegedly buried millions of copies of E.T. in a landfill in New Mexico. The story became the stuff of legend, and in 2014, a team of archaeologists set out to find the buried games. However, their search was unsuccessful, and the mystery of the buried E.T. games remains unsolved.

Did you like this fun tech fact? Then read about The World’s Very Fist Computer.

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