“Bad” [bad] noun; adverb; adjective — 1. not good in any manner or degree.

When time flies it moves at warp speed.  We just celebrated our one-month anniversary in our new house (squee!).  We are also 11 weeks out from the wedding.  Did I mention that “my fiancé” will soon become “my husband”?   I know you’re like um, yeah, whatevs…games?  But seriously, 11 weeks is not a lot of time considering that I have to work, play house, plan, and try to maintain a modicum of calmness throughout.  Honestly, I still think about video games; I really do.  Maybe, someday, I’ll get to play them again.  Reading other blogs has helped me stay connected and remain grounded when everything else feels so up in the air.  Many thanks to the gaming blogosphere for keeping me in the loop and entertained!

Now on with it, shall we…?

Since a lot of (happy) crap seems to be piling up in my life right now, why not recall a game that was, indeed, a pile of (unhappy) crap.  E.T. the Extra Terrestrial.

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial cover art © Atari, whether they like it or not (source)

Long written about as one of the industry’s Worst. Games. Ever. (this blog post is particularly fitting), there’s little I have to add to that saga.  If you’ve never played the game, well…it’s really something you have to experience first hand to know how bad it is, like inhaling a Slurpee in one gulp or eating wasabi paste point blank.

This guy offers a really great review that exemplifies the frustration, confusion, and suckitude associated with this game.  And it’s all true…all the things that happen on the screen actually happened in the game.  No one could make this shit up, seriously.

E.T. arriving in his ship. And it’s all downhill from there. (source)

In related news, I have a confession to make:

I’m not a big fan of E.T. the movie.

Like licking a toad, this is why she went so wacky. (source)

I have no problems with the movie itself – it’s a fine film replete with cute aliens, mean government agents, Drew Barrymore before her Lindsay Lohan years, Reese’s Pieces, and levitating bicycles.  I never saw the movie as a child (or I don’t remember doing so).  Perhaps if I had seen it before I saw Return of the Jedi, Superman II, The Dark Crystal, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Gremlins, The Goonies, Labyrinth, Legend, and Ghostbusters, then I might like it more.

So playing E.T. on our Atari was, for me, pretty much without any knowledge of the movie.  Just like everyone on the planet at that time though, I knew about the “phone home,” glowing finger, and levitating tropes, so at least some of the story’s concepts weren’t completely foreign.

Does this look like fun? I didn’t think so. (source)

The point of E.T. was…well…I don’t know what the hell the point was; it certainly wasn’t to make anyone any money.  In my case, the point was to waste a good thirty minutes of life a day while waiting for dinner to be ready.  But, here’s the really sad thing: I actually thought I could play the game and maybe even beat it and save E.T. or meet whatever goal the game was supposed to offer.  I was young, eager, naïve, and a little stupid – this was exactly what you had to be to even attempt to derive any “enjoyment” from the game.

The “government agents”/”scientists” trap ET and bring him to this screen. He then gets “saved” by “Elliot.” It’s all so very dumb. (source)

At the risk of re-hashing everything that’s ever been written about the game, there was really no point to it all.  The gameplay was unbearable, the movement between screens was awful, the “plot” and “chase scenes” made no sense, “treasure finding” was a ridiculous venture, and when the “timer” at the bottom of the screen ran out, you died.

If Hell is a video game, it will be E. T.

The one strange glimmer of joy that I personally got from the game was resurrecting flowers.  In the game, if you weren’t running, you were falling into various holes.  Some holes contained special items and the occasional dead flower.  I liked bringing the flowers back to life.  That was good.  And sad.

Possibly the saddest screenshot ever. (source)

E. T. the Video Game is a perennial favorite on everyone’s “worst of” lists.  And yes, many, many, many, oh so many unsold copies of the game were supposedly buried in a desert in New Mexico.  You, of course, don’t need to become Indiana Jones in order to play this game.  E.T.’s been emulated, for your pleasure. Try it for yourself just after you’ve meticulously and triumphantly beat [insert game name here].  That way you might not be as apt to crush your computer under the weight of ridiculousness and frustration.


  1. I’ve heard of that. Top on my list of games to avoid. Worst game I played was Izzy’s Quest for the Olympic Rings for the Super Nintendo. Don’t even know how it ended up in my house. Must’ve crawled out of the toilet. It was impossible, confusing, and had the butt-ugliest character in the universe. I need to give it away. Or better yet, launch it up into space (which your character occassionally does, which never made any sense at all).


    1. I have honestly never heard of Izzy’s Quest (have to go check the YouTubes for it now), but you make it sound pretty awful. I’ll be sure to avoid it if it ever shows up in life.

      ET was so very terrible, and even as a youngster I knew that but played anyway. I think that’s the only reason Atari sold any copies – we were all to dumb and young to know better. Plus, if there were game reviews back then, I wouldn’t have paid attention anyway. I would have still frustratingly tried to figure out how to get ET home. I’d say though, if the game ever came your way, give it a go; otherwise, just watch it on the internet and laugh.


Start a conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s