E.T. the Extra Terrestrial

Oh, hey there E.T.! E.T. is awesome. He’d stick his neck out for anyone.

Review Date: January 23, 2021

Release Date: December Something, 1982 (I’m just phoning in this performance)

Platform: Atari 2600

Genre: Action Adventure, allegedly

Anecdotes: Occasionally, my aunt (not the mother of the earlier mentioned cousins) would throw family parties just to show off the grand record collection that filled an entire closet. However, what do us kids do while the adults are rocking? Simple, bust out the Atari 2600. And hide any game that isn’t ET, because they knew we’d spend hours trying to figure ET out. Spoiler alert: We never did figure it out. It felt like there were hundreds of rooms and we had no idea where to go. It turns out there were ONLY SIX.

E.T. gets the stigma of being called the worst game of all time by a significant percentage of the gaming community. The game gets a lot of hate. There are plenty of reviews ripping the game to shreds. I don’t think the game is that bad. It’s not even the worst game on the system. Of the games I’ve played, that honor goes to Miniature Golf. The Pac-Man port is rather awful, too.

There’s also the story of how a stockpile of cartridges were found in a dumpster in 1983. While there is evidence that the burial story is true, I don’t believe E.T. specifically had anything to do with it. The video game industry suffered a hard fall in 1983 in North America; I won’t spoil it (although you likely already know), but one particular game resuscitated the industry in 1985. (Check back on February 4 for that game.) Anyway, between the sales dive and the high quantities, Atari had a lot to get rid of. Whether or not E.T. caused the industry to crash is debatable. I’m of the opinion that E.T.’s effect was small. I think people just got bored with gaming.

Greater Than, Less Than, Level One!

Description: As E.T., you are to collect three phone parts, then make the phone call to have someone bring the ship to the forest for him. There really isn’t much more to it. The game is based on the movie of the same title, released on June 11, 1982.

Ah, there’s one of the phone parts: the cord.

Positives: The game is short. For a 4-bit game, the animations are good and everything is identifiable. There is a tracker bar at the top to help E.T. out and it also records what phone parts he has. The game moves at a fair pace, although E.T. himself is a bit slow.

Everyone knows the best place to find flowers is at the bottom of a well.

Negatives: The map is confusing and there are only six rooms. The object of the game and how to pull it off are completely unclear. The wells are a major annoyance, mainly because of a glitch that causes E.T. to fall right back into a well he just escaped.

I failed. Poor Elliott had to see this.

Grade: C

That’s it for the Atari 2600. Atari 2600 in review:

Number of games reviewed: 10

Best game: Space Invaders

Personal favorite: Bowling

Worst game: Miniature Golf

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