Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Sci-Fi Games

Salvaging E.T. In Software, Instead of New Mexico 146

Posted by timothy
from the dust-to-dust dept.
Yesterday, we mentioned a just-approved effort to uncover the remains of goods dumped by Atari in New Mexico decades ago. New submitter Essellion writes "Among the games that legend has it are there is the Atari 2600 E.T. game, infamous for how bad it was. However, an excavator of another kind has cast doubts on how bad it was by exploring in depth the E.T. ROM, how it played and why, and designing some bug fixes for it."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Salvaging E.T. In Software, Instead of New Mexico

Comments Filter:
  • by I'm New Around Here (1154723) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @06:20PM (#43891613)

    It sucked. With or without any bugs that I have forgotten in the mists of time, the gameplay was horrible, the field of play was idiotic, and it lacked any immersion into the movie storyline. It sucked.

    • by BitterOak (537666) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @06:30PM (#43891689)

      It sucked. With or without any bugs that I have forgotten in the mists of time, the gameplay was horrible, the field of play was idiotic, and it lacked any immersion into the movie storyline. It sucked.

      I think you hit onto its key problem, which was immersion into the movie storyline, or any storyline for that matter. Contrast that game to Adventure for the Atari 2600. I really felt I was wandering mazes and entering castles with that one. (Okay, not like a modern first person RPG, obviously, but this was a 2600, after all.)

      • You're both spoiled. Obviously, you've never played The Fabulous Wanda.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        I think you hit onto its key problem, which was immersion into the movie storyline, or any storyline for that matter. Contrast that game to Adventure for the Atari 2600. I really felt I was wandering mazes and entering castles with that one. (Okay, not like a modern first person RPG, obviously, but this was a 2600, after all.)

        Exactly. Just because it was low-graphics, didn't mean it was impossible to have an immersive experience. Many games were very likable for their gameplay, but were just blips and blocks moving around. ET was a spinning cement block, with rat shit falling out onto you.

        And if you were a balrog, I would certainly mod you up. For me, I'm just wondering how my first post was deemed to be redundant. Maybe someone doesn't know the meaning of the word. ;^)

      • by ClintJCL (264898)
        I found E.T. orders of magnitude more immersive than Adventure.. And a better game, with more fun, skill, and strategy to boot. Guess we can't all agree.
    • by radiumsoup (741987) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @06:38PM (#43891751)

      yeah, but for what I had as a kid, it was the most complex game available (to me) at the time, and was a sink for MANY hours at a time (until I would inevitably hit into one of the bugs that caused you to be unable to continue). I can't recall if I ever finished it or not, but I doubt it. It's still in my parent's garage somewhere, probably right behind my C64 stuff.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816)

        I finished E.T. repeatedly. I thought it was a pretty snazzy game. I could read, though, and I read the manual.

        My favorite 2600 game was Star Raiders. I got it when it went on sale at Kay-Bee toys because nobody wanted to pay extra to get a keypad they'd probably never be able to use again (and they were right about that.)

        • by Nimey (114278)

          I was able to finish ET as well, but not every time. I used to be able to hack Haunted House too, but I can't do either of them anymore.

          My current favorite 2600 game is Seaquest.

        • by steveha (103154)

          My favorite 2600 game was Star Raiders.

          Hmm. Did you ever try Activision's game Starmaster? I thought Starmaster was a much better Star Raiders game than the official Star Raiders cartridge. (We had both.)

          The original Atari 800 Star Raiders was a classic. I need to get an emulator and play that again.

          I also played the Atari ST version of Star Raiders and it wasn't as good as the original. Better-looking, though. I did love the fact that there was a button that did something dangerous, and you had to hi

        • by Cinder6 (894572) on Monday June 03, 2013 @02:52AM (#43893815)

          Hating of ET has become popular in recent years. Honestly, though, it's neither the worst game ever, nor even the worst game on the 2600.* It was even one of the best-selling 2600 games at 1.5 million copies--unfortunately, Atari produced somewhere around 5 million copies. That, combined with the high cost of licensing it, made for significant losses.

          *I actually enjoy it somewhat.

        • I loved Star Raiders. "3D" space flight/fight simulator that was way ahead of its time.

    • by Belial6 (794905)
      E.T. was better than 80% of the other Atari games. The problem with E.T. wasn't that the game was bad. It was that it came out just as people were switching to C64 and Apple II for their gaming fix. It was an end of lifecycle game for the 2600, yet was manufactured as if it were an anchor launch title.
      • by hairyfeet (841228)
        Are you fucking stoned? Seriously? Better than 80%? Sorry I have to throw a flag, bullshit on the field. Fuck all the Pacman and Galaga knockoff were better than that boring as hell POS, even the game designer apologized for making it! It doesn't deserve to even be named in the same breath as Star Raiders, Haunted House, Night Driver, Yar's Revenge, Pitfall!, Space Invaders, hell I could go on all day with the amount of truly great games there was for the 2600 while ET was nothing but a quickly thrown toget
        • by Pubstar (2525396)
          If memory serves me right, wasn't it Nolan Bushnell that wrote the game? Anyways, if you haven't seen the Code Monkeys episode on E.T., you should. It's on Netflix.
          • by narcc (412956)

            No, it was Howard Scott Warshaw. The same guy who made Raiders of the Lost Ark and Yar's Revenge. Spielberg specifically requested Warshaw for the project after the success of Raiders.

            • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Monday June 03, 2013 @05:57AM (#43894325) Journal
              And they gave him FIVE WEEKS to go from nothing to RTM! I'm sorry but they could have chosen any killer dev and it wouldn't have mattered with that time table, no way in hell.
            • by Quirkz (1206400)

              Which is funny, because Raiders is the only Atari game I could never figure out how to do anything with, and generally died on the second screen. I couldn't tell what I was looking at, couldn't figure out what areas were safe or deadly, and couldn't figure out how to accomplish anything. I didn't have a manual. That's probably most of the problem. But I didn't have the manual for a lot of other games and muddled through well enough. Raiders had to be about as unintuitive as it gets.

    • by nman64 (912054)

      I still have the game. I know exactly where it is, along with my Atari consoles and controllers. I played it not too long ago - I pull it out from time to time to demonstrate it and other Atari games to those who missed out. I thought the game sucked when it was new, and I still think it sucks now. The game was horrible. Its contribution to Atari's downfall may be overstated, but the game really was terrible. It was one of my least favorite Atari titles, and that's saying a lot.

      • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Sunday June 02, 2013 @11:01PM (#43892997) Journal

        As somebody who was actually there and who was friends with many of the store owners in my area at the time? I can tell you what caused the crash and it was NOT ET, ET was just a really famous flop, like how they made more Pacman carts than there were 2600 consoles and ended up having to give away Pacman carts with just about every promo.

        No what REALLY caused the crash was how business was done back then which very few people know about. I am about to tell you how retail worked when it came to games, i bet you'll spot the fatal flaw before I'm even done explaining it, ready? Here goes....

        The way retail for games worked was a store would buy X number of carts from a company or distributor and then when Y number of carts didn't sell they would RETURN those carts to the company who would then give them new product or a refund and then recycle the carts. This way the retail channel wasn't overloaded with old product driving down the price, even small stores could have a nice selection (since they knew they'd get replacements or cash for all unsold product) and a lot of the cart could be recycled thus lowering production cost for the company, so a win/win for them and retailers.

        By now I'm sure everybody sees the fatal flaw in this little arrangement, Atari lost a couple of high profile cases which made it so ANYBODY could make a 2600 cart and the next thing you know an assload of fly by night companies are cranking out such "gems" as Chase The Chuckwagon and a ton of really lame one trick games. Well naturally all these lame half assed games didn't sell but when the retailers went to send the product back to get new products or a refund most of the companies just cashed out and folded.

        And THIS is what caused the crash! You see the retailers didn't want to have warehouses and shelves filled with shit nobody wanted, and they couldn't send it back, so by the middle of 83 instead of paying $20+ a game I was buying games at a buck a pop or 12 for $10...now why would I pay $20 for a single game when I was getting 5 Coleco games for $5, or a dozen Atari games for $10? Not to mention the same thing happened to the handhelds so I was getting cool handhelds like Football and Pool for a couple of bucks a pop, so why would I pay $20 for one game?

        The answer is I wouldn't and neither would anybody else which is why the price went into a freefall, due to the high price of chips back then even if you made a truly great game thanks to how low the prices hit you often wouldn't even be able to make back what you paid to have the cart made, much less make a nickel in profit, and THAT is why so many companies folded. Being buddies with the kids of the retailers I got to hear how many of them ended up losing tens of thousands because of how much they had paid for product VS what it would sell for (which was a shitload of money back then) so naturally most of them dumped every bit of product they had and didn't want a damned thing to do with anything video game related for quite a long time. I know that in my area the NES didn't even show up until late '88 simply because all the retailers feared another pocket raping which considering how many of them were left in bad shape after the crash you really can't blame them.

        So yes ET sucked and was a badly made POS, but honestly no single game had jack shit to do with the crash, it was a badly set up business practice that gave retailers a false sense of security which caused them to buy more stock than they could really afford to lose money on that caused the crash.

        • by chrismcb (983081)

          next thing you know an assload of fly by night companies are cranking out such "gems" as Chase The Chuckwagon and a ton of really lame one trick games.

          It is common knowledge that the plethora of horrible games led to the crash, and ET is just used as a poster child.

          • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Monday June 03, 2013 @05:52AM (#43894303) Journal

            But that is where you are wrong, it really wasn't the horrible games, it was an economic system built AROUND games that ultimately caused it to crash.

            In a way it is comparable to the housing crash, you had a system that was rewarding behavior that in any other time would have been seen as a BAD idea is rewarded. As I said I was buddies with the kids of the retailers and they ended up with a LOT more product than they could really afford to lose money on, but thanks to the retail gaming system that was in place? Well they didn't have to worry about that did they? They could just hand back every single product that didn't sell and get new product that would, and they could keep doing this until the product was sold.

            Now imagine how warping such a system would be, imagine if you KNEW, without a shadow of a doubt, that every single laptop your store carried was guaranteed to sell because if it didn't? Why you'll be handed a brand new laptop to replace every single old laptop until every one were sold! What do you think that would do to the electronics section of every store, when they know that they simply can't lose when it comes to that product? Well that is EXACTLY what happened with games, you had stores picking up MUCH more product than they would have because they couldn't lose, see? They would get their money back or they would get the profits, no way they can lose!

            And THAT is what called it, not the bad games. After all if their system worked like every other product they wouldn't gamble on more than one or two copies of a title and IF it sold then and ONLY then would they buy more copies of that product. Instead the system actively encouraged buying all the product you could possibly fit on the shelf because at the very least you'd get ALL of your money back, and every sale was profit time!

            So really the fact that there was a glut of bad games in reality only made the system collapse faster, when if you take a good hard look at the way the system then worked then the obvious conclusion is that it had no other way it could end, all it would take is a few of the big companies having some bad quarters or games that flopped, even good games that just didn't catch on, for the whole system to fall down like dominoes.

        • by am 2k (217885)

          ANYBODY could make a 2600 cart and the next thing you know an assload of fly by night companies are cranking out such "gems" as Chase The Chuckwagon and a ton of really lame one trick games. [...] by the middle of 83 instead of paying $20+ a game I was buying games at a buck a pop or 12 for $10

          This actually reminds me a lot of the current state of iPhone games. The difference is just that there's no per-sale cost involved and there are many more customers, so this might actually be sustainable on the business side in the long run. However, it's just the same issue with the gameplay.

          • by Rich0 (548339)

            Well, the price is the same (actually, many iPhone games are cheaper due to inflation), but it isn't quite the same thing. The publishers make the games with the plan to sell them for a dollar, and they get a dollar for every copy sold, and nobody loses anything.

            Some factors that make phone apps different:
            1. You have a single retailer (the app store / play store / etc). That means that even if they were stuck with inventory they could make the strategic decision to not depreciate the market without worry

            • by hairyfeet (841228)

              This is why I have argued for years that digital games should be sold on the Steam style of cheap bundles, because you really are removing a LOT of the risk with a digital distribution system. After all if you sell 1 copy today and 10k tomorrow, how much stock do you need? NONE because its simply making copies of 1s and 0s, no need for shelves or trucks or warehouses.

              When the market crashed some of my friend's dads literally ended up with full semi loads of games that were only worth a small percentage of w

    • by Virtucon (127420)

      All of those games sucked that had the movie genre however kids still wanted them and with the novelty (yes novelty) of the 2600 people would buy something new just to show it off. Game Stop hadn't been invented yet but I'm sure that after you paid $20 for ET in their store, they'd charge you a disposal fee if you tried to return it.

      What's even funnier about all of this is now I have this vision of a bunch of archaeologists out in the middle of the desert trying to find the ancient runs of the lost city of

    • That was pretty much ALL 2600 games. I don't remember ET being all that much worse.

    • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Sunday June 02, 2013 @10:28PM (#43892863) Journal

      Dude I also had that game, when the big crash happened i bought it and like a dozen more for $5 at my local Magic Mart (man i miss that store) and the one thing this all ignores is this....it wasn't fun. I don't mean like it had some bad bits you just had to plow through, I mean the whole thing was not fun at all. The pits were unpredictable and if you fell in you had to do this sloooow as hell neck stretch to get out, the entire game felt pointless and random, it really wasn't a fun game.

      The simple fact is while everybody talks about how the market was flooded (which caused the crash) what they ignore how many truly good and even great games there were. Sure many of them were knockoffs of the hits, Ladybug for Coleco is a good example as it was a Pacman clone but in level designs and excitement I thought it was a better game than the original, but when you had so much competition you can't just throw together some shitty levels, slap a movie license on them, and not expect it to bomb. hell that is why movie license games have such a bad rap after all,a trend that continues to this day with the likes of Iron Man and Battleship the movie game.

      Atari was already in REALLY bad shape thanks to corporate mismanagement, such as losing most of their best devs by refusing to give them credit for their work, but ET is the perfect example of what being bought by WB did to that company. Once WB bought it it was no longer about making fun games people would buy, it was all about product marketing and timetables and who gives a shit about whether its even playable, much less fun.

      So I'm sorry but this guy is full of shit, it WAS that bad. You couldn't even enjoy it in a "so bad its good" sense like you could a bad movie or a bad game like "You Are Empty" (if you haven't tried it? Plot makes ZERO sense and one level you are attacked by 30 foot tall mutant attack chickens, I swear to God, you are chased around a farm by old coots with double barrels and 30 foot chickens, now THAT is good cheese!) because everything about it was just boring and unpleasant. If it hadn't had the ET movie license and been pushed so hard nobody would even remember this thing ever existed,its THAT boring and bad.

      • by evilviper (135110)

        The pits were unpredictable and if you fell in you had to do this sloooow as hell neck stretch to get out, the entire game felt pointless and random, it really wasn't a fun game.

        And then after the tedious neck-stretching levitation, you'd get back to the surface, and inexplicably fall back in, maybe a couple times in a row. And on the third exit, you've run out of energy, and ET just anticlimactically dies in the pit, and nobody cares.

        Yes, the game had no logic and no point. Why are ET's radio parts sprea

      • by antdude (79039)

        As a callow ant, I remember getting it as Christmas gift. I was all happy. Haha.

    • Two articles (three pages NetworkWorld [networkworld.com] without images and one page PCWorld [pcworld.com] with images) on "How hacking fixed the worst video game of all time... So why should you give it another chance? Because code hackers managed to fix some of the games most glaring problems, and now it's actually fun to play..."

    • the gameplay was horrible, the field of play was idiotic, and it lacked any immersion into the movie storyline. It sucked.

      Compared to the other Atari games? Custer's Revenge was worse, aside from issues with projection. Hit detection seemed pretty wonky with the arrows.

      Plus the game was nothing aside from dodging arrows and raping a woman tied to a cactus. ET had very little rape in it.

    • by Yunzil (181064)

      Eh, it wasn't that bad. I kind of liked it actually. It's certainly not as bad as its reputation. Pac Man was worse in every way.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@h a c k i sh.org> on Sunday June 02, 2013 @06:30PM (#43891693)

    If you like this kind of investigation, you might be interested in hacks of the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man. The port from the arcade was notoriously bad, because the hardware of the Atari basically didn't map well onto the graphics needed for the game. As a result, everything is basically wrong: the pills are fat dashes, the elegant outline graphics of the original are blocky opaque colors, etc. But worst of all, since the Atari's two sprite registers are used to draw both Pac-Man and the ghosts, whenever there are more than 2 ghosts+PacMan on a horizonal scanline, they start flickering because the porters resorted to the horrible hack of round-robin rotating which sprites got to be drawn in the 2 sprite registers. (This looks slightly less horrible on a CRT with phosphor decay, but it still looks bad.) Anyway, if you want more on the details of why this port sucked, and how it can be traced to hardware mismatches, it's covered in detail in ch. 4 of the book Racing the Beam [amzn.to].

    But on to the hacks: Rob Kudla discussed and did some work [kudla.org] towards a better Atari 2600 port in the late 1990s, and there are now a number of attempts [strategywiki.org], though many of them do cheat by doing things like using an 8K ROM rather than the original 4K.

    • by gmhowell (26755)

      And yet Ms. Pac Man on the same system displayed nowhere near the same amount of suckitude.

    • No, the problem was not the hardware, as the ports of Ms. Pac Man and Jr. Pac Man for the 2600 were pretty decent. The problem was bad management. Tod Frye was given an unreasonable deadline and only 4K, despite repeatedly requesting 8K (which is not "cheating", mind you). Atari's CEO even dismissed warnings that the game was not up to par. So what they released was pretty much a prototype.

    • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Monday June 03, 2013 @06:52AM (#43894489) Journal

      I'm sorry but you are wrong and here is why...it wasn't a horrible port, in fact it was a miracle, because you are taking a system designed to play pong and managing to get all that shit on the screen and actually get it to WORK.

      Imagine being given an arcade game of Crysis level graphics and being told you have to port that to a 100MHz Pentium I with a 4Mb Matrox card, because THAT is what we are talking about here. Pac Man ran on arcade hardware that frankly was a decade ahead of what the 2600 had under the hood, it had a lot faster CPU, more memory, not to mention all the custom hardware that was the order of the day back then. The 2600 as you noted only had TWO sprite registers, that's it, and the reason for that is when it was cooked up in 1976 the rage was Pong so it was designed to play those types of games, a little block being hit back and forth by little paddles, and that was pretty much it. That is why so many of the early games were like combat, with no real "enemies" to speak of, just two players, each controlling a little pile of blocks that shot a little block at each other.

      I mean when you look at the actual specs of the hardware [wikipedia.org] with a cut rate version of the MOS 6502 only capable of accessing a MAX of 4kB of RAM, a truly pathetic 128 BYTES of game RAM, and no frame buffer at all, the fact that they were able to make an actual playable version of such an advanced game that had came out years later is frankly a miracle and I think the dev really deserves credit for that, for this really was no minor feat.

  • by spire3661 (1038968) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @06:34PM (#43891727) Journal
    I was young, maybe 8 or 10. I had games for a long time but i had no way of judging good from bad games. In the atari days i could only afford a few games and they were all 'good' to me. E.T. wasn't the worst thing ever, im pretty sure i beat it a bunch of times. I never really thought about it until everyone talked about it years later.
    • Re:Wasn't so bad (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Creepy (93888) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @06:52PM (#43891845) Journal

      I'm in your boat - while I never owned ET, I did rent it for a couple of weeks, and I'm pretty sure I beat it a couple of times. I did read the manual, mainly because I had a lot of time between renting the game and getting home (we lived 10 miles out of town and a good half of that was city). While I didn't have fond memories of it, I didn't abhor it like some people. Now 2600 Pac Man was abhorrent, especially after playing it on a ColecoVision and Intellivision first.

      • I liked the 2600 Pac-Man. Not a patch on the other versions, but if someone wanted to play Pac-Man in our house, it was fun, it worked, and had a decent pace.

        And then after we ran it for a few hours the vitamin would sometimes split into two pieces placed randomly that couldn't be picked up. And then there was time my mom got the score to roll over and was annoyed that there was no victory message or kill screen. Good times.

    • Exactly. I had it as a kid and thought it was 'alright'. It wasn't good, but it wasn't bad either. I had a lot of fun playing around with it and even beat it a few times (looking back on it, it really isn't that hard). The 'worst game ever made' thing didn't start until the 90's and even then it's not a title the game deserved. There are a ton of worse games out there, but E.T. is so high profile that it's easy to pick on. Bottom line: Not a good game, but not a bad game either. Quite frankly I think
      • by Quirkz (1206400)

        Seconded. I posted above about how unintuitive Raiders was. I had the manual for ET and managed to figure it out. It may have been aggravating, but I could do it. On Raiders, I didn't have the manual, and couldn't tell what I was looking at. Often I died just by moving onto a wrong part of the screen without even understanding what there was killing me.

  • ET's big failure... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bieeanda (961632) on Sunday June 02, 2013 @06:41PM (#43891767)
    ...was forced multimedia. You could pick up and plug in virtually any other Atari game (Star Raiders and its keypad accessory aside), and understand what you were doing inside of a minute. ET required you to read the manual, a feat for some players, doubly so if it had fallen behind the TV, in order to decipher the pictograms that appeared at the top of the screen and the behavior of the 'enemies'.

    Its integration with the actual story was pretty lackluster too, like a five year old relating the film to a distracted parent, who went on to explain it to a coder in a foreign language.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't agree. Adventure was pretty highly regarded, and I dare you to find someone who can pick that one up in a minute without the manual.

      • I don't agree. Adventure was pretty highly regarded, and I dare you to find someone who can pick that one up in a minute without the manual.

        How about this refinement, then?

        Adventure did need some reading of the manual to figure out the mechanics, gameplay, etc. But, and this is the crucial difference: playing the game was rewarding after doing do. And things actually made a degree of sense. Some things were attracted to the magnet, some weren't. Different dragons behaved differently. Objects had specific purposes. And so on. And then there were the undocumented things which one had to discover the old-fashioned way: word of mouth, luck, or just

      • Actually, I think Adventure was BETTER without the manual(never had it, still love that game to this day). That game's mechanics were complex enough that you couldn't figure it out completely in a few minutes, but simple enough that you could basically figure the whole game out in an afternoon of trial and error. It was that sense of well....adventure that made that game so great.
    • by willith (218835)

      I'd very much have to disagree. Atari games were often quite opaque—Yar's Revenge is a good example of a game that didn't make a lick of sense unless you'd read the manual. There wasn't room on the ROM for any handholding. Plus, most games had dozens of different modes of play available through the game select switch (like Combat, or Space Invaders), and figuring out the differences between them absolutely required a manual.

  • Atari video game burial: [wikipedia.org] The goods disposed of through the burial are generally believed to have been several million copies of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, a game which had become one of the biggest commercial failures in video gaming and is often cited as one of the worst video games released; and the Atari 2600 port of Pac-Man, which had been commercially successful but critically maligned.

    E.T. was a commercial failure -- do you really think it would be worth recovering a few million reproductions of

    • The copies of Pacman may be worth a little more, because hey: people still want to play that.

      Not really. I had it and at the time it was fine as the expectations of 2600 games was pretty low for most of us. But I've read that years later people were returning pacman due to it being so unlike the original arcade version. They made 12 million units, so there are plenty out there. My daughter has one of those Jaks Pacman games that can be plugged into the TV and looks and sounds just like the original.

    • by chrismcb (983081)

      What would copyright law say about restoring and reselling boards with a copy of a copyright work that was not sold, and the author ordered destroyed?

      Absolutely nothing. As copyright law has nothing to say about boards. About the software in the ROM? Again nothing, if you manage to salvage the ROMS, then you aren't making copies of the ROMS.

      • by mysidia (191772)

        Absolutely nothing. As copyright law has nothing to say about boards. About the software in the ROM?

        The point is copyright restricts performance, distribution, and modification, not just copying.

        The first sale doctrine has been used to establish a precedent that allows you to re-sell copyright works you have purchased. The right of the copyright holder to make the copy exercised by the first sale, flows; that is: this allows you to resell the work, the first sale permits it.

        But there's a problem

    • > E.T. was a commercial failure
      Not really. It sold 1.5m units. It's just they actually made way too many. It was a failure only inasmuch as they paid too much for the licence and made too many. In terms of sales it did OK.
  • I really don't understand why people are even discussing this anymore. I have this game, it sucked, it was 20 something years ago - no one should care. Moon Patrol was the shit.
    • I really don't understand why people are even discussing this anymore. I have this game, it sucked, it was 20 something years ago - no one should care. Moon Patrol was the shit.

      Indeed, that is why the previously linked arstechnica.com [arstechnica.com] story includes:

      reports suggest the dump may also contain unsold consoles, PCs, and even prototypes of the Atari Mindlink controller

      The "oh we'll find 3.5 million copies of E.T." is just the satire -- that they'll have to dig through waist-deep crap to get to the gems.

    • I really don't understand why people are even discussing this anymore. I have this game, it sucked, it was 20 something years ago - no one should care. Moon Patrol was the shit.

      There's often more to learn from failure than from success.

      Also, the failure was spectacular. It's become sort of a legend, as spectacular events will.

    • Apparently E.T's second name was "Cetera"

  • E.T. Wasn't that bad of a game, it was just a terrible, terrible, terrible financial decision on Atari's part, neither was Pac-Man. But Atari paid a stupidly-high licensing fee for E.T. then rushed the production and then produced far more inventory than was needed for demand, mix that with the fact that Pac-Man was produced with 2 million more cartridges than Atari had sold consoles leads to a poor outcome.

    The 2600 had a bunch of trash released for it (along with a handful of great gems) its just that
    • E.T. Wasn't that bad of a game, it was just a terrible, terrible, terrible financial decision on Atari's part, neither was Pac-Man. But Atari paid a stupidly-high licensing fee for E.T. then rushed the production and then produced far more inventory than was needed for demand . . .

      E.T. may not have been the worst 2600 game ever. I played some no-name cartridges picked up in a sale basket at the drug store that were worse. "Sneak and Peek" comes to mind. It was hide-and-seek. On TV. Seriously, one player looks away while another hides in one of the oh, four, available low-res hiding places. If you had a TV and a room for it, you'd have more fun just playing actual physical hide-and-seek in that room.

      But dollar for dollar, E.T. was amazingly awful, and set back movie-inspired video gam

      • I think ET just showed that licensed games are nearly uniformly terrible. I mean, its an exception that a game based off of a movie, TV show or book turns out to be good. Film and video games are two separate mediums and rarely can you turn a good movie into a good game (and you certainly can't turn a good video game into a good movie http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Mario_Bros._(film) [wikipedia.org] ). Indeed with the exception of Goldeneye, Capcom's Disney games (Duck Tales, etc.), some of the Star Wars games and some
        • by Y-Crate (540566)

          Where's My Perry? is the only licensed game I've been bothered to care about in as long as I can remember.

  • ...I've never known how to play it. Had the module, but no manual. It was almost as bewildering as Raiders of the Lost Ark. Didn't help that I hadn't, and still haven't, seen either movie (honestly...). Sadly my favourite 2600 games are rarely mentioned any more (most are by Imagic and Activision, not Atari).
    • by gmhowell (26755)

      ...I've never known how to play it. Had the module, but no manual. It was almost as bewildering as Raiders of the Lost Ark. Didn't help that I hadn't, and still haven't, seen either movie (honestly...). Sadly my favourite 2600 games are rarely mentioned any more (most are by Imagic and Activision, not Atari).

      Dragon's Lair and Kaboom FTW!

      The ET movie had essentially nothing to do with the game. Seeing or not seeing it would in no way change your understanding of the game.

      • by Bambi Dee (611786)
        I'm stil extraordinarily fond of Moonsweeper, Pitfall II, and HERO... I'd go so far as to say that Moonsweeper looks good :o (the swooping and swaying of the little orange UFOs across the "3D" "landscape", especially)
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday June 02, 2013 @07:10PM (#43891941) Homepage Journal

    I beat ET repeatedly back in the day as a kid. I guess being able to read was what did it. But even though I literally have seen someone do it, I've never been able to get into the cave while parachuting.

  • I inherited a 2600 and a ton of games from my cousins when I was 5 or 6 years old, back in 1986-ish. No manuals, just the console, an assload of games, and a few different controllers (joysticks, paddles, etc). It was AWESOME!

    ET was superbly bad. Loved the movie back then, was amped to play the Atari game, and it was all a total clusterfuck of terrible, and a complete waste of time to even my fledgling mind at the time. Combat, PacMan, Pitfall, Keystone Kops, Tapper, Pole Position, Missle Command, Defender,

    • by greg1104 (461138)

      The Tron arcade game was great though, also released in 1982. And after the terrible ET game, the early arcade games based on Star Wars and Star Trek from 1983 are all great fun to play. Not all of the home games based on movies are bad either. The Atari 2600 "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back" was decent.

      • by jaminJay (1198469)
        Just look up the number of times a 'Batman' title has won 'Game of the Year' or similar (not always based on a movie, but they're in there).
        • You're speaking the truth. The Arkham games in particular are truly superb examples of games done right, in literally every regard. There's an engaging story with plenty of plot and twists that never gets bogged down, fun and rewarding gameplay with a diversity of experiences ranging from beat'em up style action to stealth (which is nearly impossible to design and implement in an engaging way alongside action) to puzzles to moderate RPG-style character progression elements, plenty of unlockable extras, some
  • I've still got my ET cartridge somewhere. I played it back in the day, an I don't recall it being all that horrible. Like most games of the time you HAD to read the manual to know what each little pixelated object was supposed to be and what to do with it. There was one really nasty "bug" or perhaps mis-feature where trying to get out of a pit involved immediately changing directions right as you reached the top. Not obvious, no visible indication it was needed, and not mentioned in the manual - but most Wi

"Floggings will continue until morale improves." -- anonymous flyer being distributed at Exxon USA

Working...