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No more E.T bashing, there are games that are really garbage, ET is not one


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#76 zzip ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 9, 2017 10:08 AM

Good points. All I know is that in my little world kids were still enthusiastic about video games in 1984-85. The video game press of the time made a marked turn towards computer game coverage, indicating that appetite for video games hadn't changed -- just the platform. Consider the success of the Commodore 64 around the same time.


Yes but the videogame press itself died out around 1985. I remember Electronic Games magazine tried to change to "Computer Entertainment" magazine. That lasted 3 months. (They switched my subscription over to their sister publication "Video" which covered VCRs and video releases, which had only about a half page of videogame coverage every month) so covering computer games wasn't enough to save them. The other publications had a similar fate.

 

I should also point out regional variability as well. I think it took a while for video games to catch on where I lived up in the boonies of Northern Alberta, Canada. I don't even remember seeing a commercial for a video game until 1982. By 1984, when I got my 2600, demand was such that popular titles like Ms. Pac-Man were still selling for $40, which was a hefty sum in 1984 dollars. I think the bust caught up with us in '85 though because by that time games were getting harder to find. That could also be due to hardly any games being produced -- blowback from the U.S. based crash.


That makes sense. It was a much less globalized world and you couldn't just download that hot new app "Pacman". You had to encounter it in the wild to catch "Pacman Fever".

1985 was definitely the low point as I recall. By then most of the new arcades folded, the magazines had folded, games were harder and harder to find in most stores, with Toys R Us being the exception. It was also the point where games were considered the most "nerdy" as you mentioned in your other post.

Edited by zzip, Wed Aug 9, 2017 10:09 AM.


#77 zzip ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 9, 2017 10:13 AM

How would you know you're supposed to bring a golden cup back the yellow castle in Adventure?


Great point. I would say Adventure was more abstract and at least as confusing to pick up as ET, yet that's a classic.

#78 redsteakraw OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 9, 2017 6:06 PM

 

I've never understood this quote.

 

Damn near EVERY game released on the Atari had "hard to decipher" graphics, unobvious gameplay mechanics, and tons of game select variations that can be further altered with the difficulty switches.

The idea that "most people" never read the manuals just seems unbelievable to me.

...

 

People read these manuals back in the day. They had to have.

 While you may not know what each variation or special item does you can get an idea and be able to play enough to at least have fun.  That is all a kid really would want or expect.  With E.T. you won't even have fun without reading through all of it's convoluted mechanics.  Take surround, Enduro, Defender, Bezerk, barn storming, keyston kapers and river raid.  You can pick them up and have fun without having to read anything.  The atari joystick ony has one button so it was rather easy to find things out through trial and error, that is except E.T.  Most kids don't read or if they do it is usually after some frustration.  Most people kids don't need to read the manuals.



#79 AtariWarlord OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 9, 2017 6:12 PM

 While you may not know what each variation or special item does you can get an idea and be able to play enough to at least have fun.  That is all a kid really would want or expect.  With E.T. you won't even have fun without reading through all of it's convoluted mechanics.  Take surround, Enduro, Defender, Bezerk, barn storming, keyston kapers and river raid.  You can pick them up and have fun without having to read anything.  The atari joystick ony has one button so it was rather easy to find things out through trial and error, that is except E.T.  Most kids don't read or if they do it is usually after some frustration.  Most people kids don't need to read the manuals.

I must have been weird then -- reading the manuals was all part of the fun for me. Activision manuals in particular were a lot of fun to read -- lots of humor and there were even tips from the programmer. I'm an aspiring technical writer and I find Atari's manuals were, in particular, excellent examples of technical instruction. 



#80 zzip ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:33 AM

I must have been weird then -- reading the manuals was all part of the fun for me. Activision manuals in particular were a lot of fun to read -- lots of humor and there were even tips from the programmer. I'm an aspiring technical writer and I find Atari's manuals were, in particular, excellent examples of technical instruction.


My friends and I always read the manuals too. It was part of the experience. And generally they were shortish and easy and fun to read.

#81 Tempest ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:55 AM

Sometimes the manual really adds a lot of depth to the game.  For example the manual for Tutankham adds descriptions and stories for all the treasures and enemies which makes them really cool.  Otherwise they're just random blobs.



#82 Petran79 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:09 PM

Don't want to overstay my welcome on this topic, but another idea occurred to me. There may have been a slight generational "blip" between the first generation of video gamers and the second. By 1983-84 that first gen were becoming teenagers or were already into their teenage years. Back then there was a significant "nerd" stigma to video games and being a "nerd" at the time was considered a bad thing. As a result, a lot of kids likely abandoned video games. The industry just needed a new generation of kids to sell to, and they got it with the NES/Sega generation. The difference is those kids stuck to their guns and most of them are still playing video games to this day.

 

You have a point. Another thing to notice is that in the early 80s video game marketing did target the whole family, including both boys and girls. Even the computer tech industry had far more women as employees compared to today. After the crash majority of video game companies focused on boys and male teenagers for the most part, including even Nintendo. This had disastrous consequences from which video games struggle to recuperate even today.



#83 Petran79 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:10 PM

double post


Edited by Petran79, Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:12 PM.


#84 CapitanClassic OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:56 PM

 
You have a point. Another thing to notice is that in the early 80s video game marketing did target the whole family, including both boys and girls. Even the computer tech industry had far more women as employees compared to today. After the crash majority of video game companies focused on boys and male teenagers for the most part, including even Nintendo. This had disastrous consequences from which video games struggle to recuperate even today.

What disasterous consequences?
US_Inflation-Adjusted_Revenues.png

Other than the big crash in 1983, and recovery in the US after Nintendo introduced the NES, I don't see any major consequences. From my understanding, Nintendo did some demographic surveys and found that boys were playing their games more than girls, so it makes sense to market toward them.

I think you have marketing backwards. First you figure out who your audience IS, then you develop your marketing to target them, not the other way around.

Edited by CapitanClassic, Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:56 PM.


#85 Jinks ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:50 PM

Don't you dare say Friday the 13th is a bad game! It's a family favorite in this household. Lol.

We played that at sleepovers till 4am..

ET for the a8 computer is worse.

#86 Petran79 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:12 PM

What disasterous consequences?US_Inflation-Adjusted_Revenues.png
Other than the big crash in 1983, and recovery in the US after Nintendo introduced the NES, I don't see any major consequences. From my understanding, Nintendo did some demographic surveys and found that boys were playing their games more than girls, so it makes sense to market toward them.
I think you have marketing backwards. First you figure out who your audience IS, then you develop your marketing to target them, not the other way around.


I meant more from a social viewpoint. Gamergate and Feminist Frequency were the epitome.

#87 CapitanClassic OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:46 PM

After the crash majority of video game companies focused on boys and male teenagers for the most part, including even Nintendo. This had disastrous consequences from which video games struggle to recuperate even today.

I just don't see how it follows.
Are you contending that marketing for the most part towards boys and male teenagers has disasterous social consequences? It seems odd to blame marketing on either a (consumer revolt/sexism in videogame) or a kickstarter about tropes regarding female characters in video games.

Either way, I guess it is off-topic towards E.T. bashing. Which I personally don't care one way of the other. E.T. being a bad game that cause the crash has become a videogame myth, like Ralph Baer being the father of video games, or Doom causing the Columbine massacre.

#88 Petran79 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 21, 2017 4:23 AM

Disastrous for video games mostly and the way they are perceived. ET was a movie for the whole family after all. Bubble Bobble co-op play was made with couples in mind,according to the creator.

If you see various advertisements,not just videogames but hardware and software in general, during 80s and 90s,you'll notice a blatant sexism.

Now this is reduced to a degree because various voices that were muted or ignored during that era are now mostly heard and taken into account.
Except for online multiplayer games that are a minefield for everyone.

#89 zzip ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:30 AM

 

 

You have a point. Another thing to notice is that in the early 80s video game marketing did target the whole family, including both boys and girls. Even the computer tech industry had far more women as employees compared to today. After the crash majority of video game companies focused on boys and male teenagers for the most part, including even Nintendo. This had disastrous consequences from which video games struggle to recuperate even today.

 

There were deliberate attempts to market towards girls as well in the 80s.  I remember companies like Epyx making a line of games targeted towards girls, but it didn't work apparently.   There were concerns even then about how the hobby was overwhelmingly male.

 

I think the fact that the hobby had obtained a 'nerd' stigma in the 80s put off a lot of girls--  at least that was my experience growing up at the time.   Once personal computers became more mainstream that perception changed and that's when I saw a lot of girls become interested in computers


Edited by zzip, Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:31 AM.


#90 Cynicaster OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:22 AM

At Atariage and similarly pre-crash-focused discussion forums, it seems to have become de rigueur to defend ET.  I find myself wondering how long it will take before the game gets too much love, and the pendulum swings back the other way.

 

In all seriousness, I agree that the Youtuber onslaught against the game is misinformed and disproportionate, but at the same time, in my mind, ET is categorically a well-below-average game on the system.



#91 Bill Loguidice ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 22, 2017 9:31 AM

At Atariage and similarly pre-crash-focused discussion forums, it seems to have become de rigueur to defend ET.  I find myself wondering how long it will take before the game gets too much love, and the pendulum swings back the other way.

 

In all seriousness, I agree that the Youtuber onslaught against the game is misinformed and disproportionate, but at the same time, in my mind, ET is categorically a well-below-average game on the system.

 

That fact remains that both ET and Pac-Man WERE poorly received upon release. Differing impressions 35 years later won't change that. It's also undeniable that ET and Pac-Man have both received their unfair share of blame for their parts in the Crash, but they also make for easily digestible examples of key causes for the Crash (and yes, if that part ultimately makes the cut, I use them for something like that in a new Atari book I'm working on).



#92 hizzy ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:27 AM

Reception to ET might depend on your age. I was a pree-teen when ET came out and I loved it. Ditto for Pac-man. ET was such a phenomenon. I had the board game, stuffed animal, posters. I ate recees pieces. Arcades were kind of off limits, so I didn't know enough to be disappointed by pac-man. I was amazed through and through, and ET was similar enough for me to Adventure for me to love it.



#93 wongojack OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:41 PM

This discussion was better than the thread title suggested.  I'm bored with discussing ET as if something new could possibly be discovered from such a discussion.  Of 600 or so 2600 games, I'd say ET is safely in the top 150 and probably the top 100.  Without knowledge of all the stinkers and re-treads it would probably stand out near the bottom.

 

People's accounts of the crash in this thread and how the VG market compares today are much more interesting.



#94 Tempest ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 22, 2017 12:44 PM

ET for the a8 computer is worse.

 

You think so?  I actually like it a bit more than the 2600 version, but it's a bit too easy.  I think it was made for kids.



#95 up2knowgood OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 22, 2017 1:48 PM

People's accounts of the crash in this thread and how the VG market compares today are much more interesting.


Agreed. :)

#96 Good_Times OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 22, 2017 2:02 PM

I never really felt any sort of "crash", not sure if any of my friends/family did either. Sure, there were endless clearance bins overflowing with 3-for-$5 Atari/Coleco/INTV/etc. carts and tons of clearance in general, but I think most of us just viewed it as a natural transition, like when my brother finally sold his litttle b&w set in favor of a color model.

I remember sort of a short lull, maybe a year and a half or so, when we all seemed to focus more on other cool stuff - music, action figures, sports, monsters, mechanics & electronics, etc. - and then BAM; Nintendo was there with the NES and Sega was there with it's Master System and all was once again right with the world!

#97 Buyatari OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:30 PM

If you really want a truce then both sides have to stop.
It is so hard to sit there when someone says that it is a great game.

#98 SuperGoodPixel OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:34 PM

I never thought of E.T. as one of the worst games on the system. I find the game boring, but still amusing (if that makes sense). It's more like playing an unfinished idea. Clearly the worst game put out by Atari is "RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK". Unless you have someone sitting next to you explaining to you what you are looking at and what to do, the game makes no sense. Keep in mind I didn't play RAIDERS as a kid, as I had moved on from the Atari 2600 by the time this came out. So I don't have any "childhood fog" messing up my views on this game.



#99 Random Terrain ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:21 PM

It kind of reminds me of this little part from the movie Defending Your Life:

youtube.com/watch?v=rUZLnHrH7yw

 
I don't haphazardly fall into wells, I float down into a well instead of dropping like a stone, I don't struggle when getting out of the wells, I like hunting for the phone pieces and zones, and I like getting E.T. back home, so the game tastes good to me.

 

But for people who constantly fall into the wells, fall back in when trying to get out of the wells, and have random other problems, the game tastes like horseshit.



#100 zzip ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:43 AM

I never thought of E.T. as one of the worst games on the system. I find the game boring, but still amusing (if that makes sense). It's more like playing an unfinished idea. Clearly the worst game put out by Atari is "RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK". Unless you have someone sitting next to you explaining to you what you are looking at and what to do, the game makes no sense. Keep in mind I didn't play RAIDERS as a kid, as I had moved on from the Atari 2600 by the time this came out. So I don't have any "childhood fog" messing up my views on this game.

 

Raiders is my all-time favorite 2600 game!   It's an adventure game with more depth than most games on the system, so of course you need the manual to explain things,  the system didn't have enough storage for in-game tutorials like you'd find today.   My friends and I had a blast trying to solve it, and finally we did.  It ignited my love of adventure games. 






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