Note: This blog post has been moved from an older blog.
When I was a kid, I remember going down the rabbit hole of Wikipedia articles. On one visit down the Wikipedia rabbit hole, I read the list of video games notable for negative reception. On that list was E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, a game based on the movie of the same name.
As for why the game failed, it had to do with the high expectations placed on it from all over. Atari’s investors were banking on high sales figures (a minimum of 5 million units) and gamers expected a great complement to the movie which did way better than the game. The commercial failure of E.T. not only killed Atari, it arguably aggravated the gaming crash of 1983. With so many unsold units, they were buried in a desert in New Mexico. I’m sure the environment enjoyed getting millions of non-biodegradable playthings being forcibly inserted into it.
During my trip to the United Kingdom, I went to the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge, England. Among all the computers and game consoles was an Atari 2600 running E.T. As I tried to play it, it was clear why its the worst.