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E.T. is awesome

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This game always intrigued me, and I never understood the mechanics. A few days ago, I read the manual and beat the game with a couple hours. It's a very early roguelike with plenty of great qualities and features.


I watched E.T. as a kid, and I guess I liked it okay but I'm not a fan. I like this game way more than the movie.


I'm also sure this is old news to most people. But there is a romhacked "fixed" version (praised by HSW himself). You should play this version, can get at: http://www.neocomputer.org/projects/et/


These programmers do an amazing job. I want to be clear that the game isn't just "okay," that it's actually amazing. If you look around Atari blogs, the general consensus is that "it wasn't that bad actually," or the focus in own the video game "crash." Or it's buggy, or whatever. Plenty of games have bugs/glitches: gamers love these things most of the time. However, I liked the colors, collision, and most of the bugs. The only feature I wanted was to fix the bug that automatically dumped you into a hole when moving east from the city and west from the forest. They made it so easy to just hex edit the change I wanted and nothing else. They made reading about romhacking the game very interesting. I couldn't stop reading the posts, just to get some insight in asm, atari hacking, and the game. Definitely a must read, even if you don't really give a shit about E.T.


Then, after playing some more I realized that the "bug" only makes the game a little more challenging and might have even been intended.


So now I'm back to playing the original game.


Unexpected adventure.





If you want to get real into it, you have to start reading Random Terrain's posts on the game...





End with conspiracy theories ravings:



Level 4 in the original Legend of Zelda is, in my opinion, a reference to E.T. (which I suspect Miyamoto played and enjoyed). It's always been clear than Zelda was heavily inspired by Adventure, so this makes some sense (i.e. the devs were playing every adventure console game they could get their hands on). Thinking about this some more, even the underground screens that give you items in Zelda are a lot like the pits in E.T... Zelda's warp whistle is also similar to the warp arrows. Both heros are green and explore forests, fields, and ancient buildings. Both feature secrets everywhere (a feature more like Rogue than Adventure). Nintendo has never been about randomization, probably because they know it creates games that can be played forever. Nintendo wants you to keep buying the re-hashes instead of selling you the formula.


This game is better than Jurassic Park.



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I've long said that ET was a symptom of the crash, not the cause of it. But the media loves to repeat easy narratives, so they keep repeating the story that ET wrecked the industry.

 

For a game to be so bad that it stops people from buying games, it would first have to sell a lot of units so that people would know how bad it was ET didn't. The reason they buried so many copies was they were unable to sell the vast majority of the copies they produced! Also why would people stop buying Intellivision and Colecovision games because ET existed on the 2600? That whole idea makes no sense.

 

I also agree it isn't a bad game. It's one of the few I'll still play.

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When I decided to collect VCS games for my collection, two I immediately went for were Raiders and E.T. It's a great adventure game that's incredibly deep for it's time. Graphics are great too. Even as a kid I was drawn to its completely. I know why people say it's "the worst game of all time", but it more of a symbol of the crash rather than a reflection on its quality.

 

It deserves a spot in every VCS collection.

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No, E.T. is not awesome. E.T. is a tedious, unintuitive game about falling into pits that it took you 30 years to figure out how to play.

 

If it were actually awesome, people would thought it was awesome when it came out.

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I think the biggest problem with ET is that they used one of the best family movies of all time (strong appeal to kids!) and then made a complex game aimed at 12 and above. It's a game where you had to READ THE MANUAL. With the big name attached to it, it needed to be much more simple for the average 7 year old or adults who couldn't read.

 

I received it Christmas Eve of '82 and loved that game; although, after 5 minutes of roaming around, I realized I needed to crack open the manual. My nephew and I must have played it till 2:00 am.

 

I also remember finding that Yar Easter egg a few weeks later and no one at school would believe me.

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I'm down to play some quirky 2600 games...

I've really tried to give this game a shot, but it's just frustrating.

In some platformer games, you fall down down a lot, but half the fun in platforming is jumping from platform to platform, so ascending back up to where you were isn't a chore, it's part of the fun.

In ET you just hold the button, and press up, and hope to god that you've figured out how to not fall back in the hole. It takes time. It's tedious. It's not fun. There's no interaction. It's time you waste waiting for the fun to start and it never does.

I get that there's a trick to not falling back into the holes, I get that practice makes perfect, I get that it all makes sense after a while...

But I just don't think I have any interest in mastering this game, or even beating it, ever. I don't like the game play.

If I was a child when this game came out and my folks got it for me, I would have been absolutely gutted that they spent such a large amount of money on something I wouldn't be able to enjoy no matter how hard I tried.

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End with conspiracy theories ravings:

 

Level 4 in the original Legend of Zelda is, in my opinion, a reference to E.T. (which I suspect Miyamoto played and enjoyed). It's always been clear than Zelda was heavily inspired by Adventure, so this makes some sense (i.e. the devs were playing every adventure console game they could get their hands on).

 

It's a snake, from page 34-35 of the manual.

http://www.nesfiles.com/NES/Zelda/Zelda.pdf

 

engel_zelda04.gif

Edited by CapitanClassic

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For what Mr. Warshaw did in a 2-3 month period is a true masterpiece, no exceptions. As a gamer with 40 years of gaming experience, this is a great game. Is it top ten, NO. Is it it top 20, NO. Does it deserve to be on the shit list because it ended up in a fucked up landfill, NO. Some games are like a fine wine, until you can learn it or acquire the taste, you are a lost puppy.

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Excerpt from my YT review:

"The games programmer, Howard Scott Warshaw, was impressively able to design, program, get sign off from Steven Spielberg on the completed project, all in a time span of just five weeks. It contained the first sanctioned video game Easter egg, meaning permission was granted before inserting it into the game. This game also contains one of the earliest examples of in game product placements, Reese's pieces. ET is a single player game.

 

I am pretty sure I received this game for Christmas that year. At the time it really didn’t matter to me how good or bad the game was, I had the ET game and I was a happy camper. Atari produced over five million copies of this game"

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For what Mr. Warshaw did in a 2-3 month period is a true masterpiece, no exceptions. As a gamer with 40 years of gaming experience, this is a great game. Is it top ten, NO. Is it it top 20, NO. Does it deserve to be on the shit list because it ended up in a fucked up landfill, NO. Some games are like a fine wine, until you can learn it or acquire the taste, you are a lost puppy.

He actually only had 5 weeks to work on the game. Personally, I always liked the game despite the issues with falling back into the pits. Whenever I heard people hating on the game, I had no clue why. I just figured they didn't read the manual. :)

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Whenever I play E.T. it feels like I'm playing a prototype that's about 90% complete. For only five weeks of work, 90% is really damn good, but it still needs some tightening up and tweaking.

 

And frankly I don't like the game play at all. Trying to find the randomly placed magic patches of grass where E.T. can use each of his abilities is tedious and boring. But with only five weeks there wasn't really time to consider other options. It was take the first idea and run with it.

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You might not like the genre of game that ET is in - but you have to admire the technical achievement. You also have to admire the game design. HSW could also have cobbled together a pacman clone, an adventure hack or something similar. Instead he tried to create an original game. it's a very good job - he created an original and interesting game that actually used the source material over and above just copying some imagery.

 

There are a few gameplay changes that would have helped - for example the hack that ensures you only fall into pits when the bottom of the ET sprite hits them is one example of an improvement. But it's easy to look back now on this and be critical.

 

I'm not a huge fan of the game. Wasn't back in the day either. I always avoided licence tie ins (still do), and I prefer games to be arcade like - but that doesn't mean I can't admire the game.

Edited by davyK
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Then, after playing some more I realized that the "bug" only makes the game a little more challenging and might have even been intended.

Of course this is not a bug ! Bugs don't exist, they are features ! ;)

Edited by Cambouis de l'Atari

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E.T was ahead of its time, kids didn't get it (well, except for Lauren Gonzalez, 12 years old at the time, mastered the game with no problems)

Edited by high voltage

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I may be an E.T. apologist. I had it as a kid. I loved the movie, so it was natural that my parents would have gotten me the video game.

 

And I loved the video game. I would've been eight or nine when we got it, and I I loved a couple different things about it. First, it was E.T. Second, it was a game I could WIN! I loved it! Unlike so many games, where technically speaking you play until you lose.

 

In fact, I didn't know it was horrible until just a few years ago when articles and stuff would pop up on the internet telling me it was the worst game ever or whatever.

 

But I liked what I liked and I certainly liked E.T.

 

Today? I'm curious. I doubt I've played it in 25 years. I'd like to find out how it holds up for me. My guess? Nostalgia will also win the game.

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FWIW I think E.T.'s an alright game. Certainly enjoyable enough, at least for me. I don't usually have too much trouble with the pits. Navigating the game world isn't too difficult (not that a map doesn't help), and if you know what the zones/icons do and how to actuate them (a.k.a. you read the damn manual), you can have some fun with this game. It has a great title screen and music. It has a goal, a story (beyond the usual "do X ad infinitum because Y," as was the stuff of most arcade games; okay, E.T. is still basically that, but on a bit bigger a scale), and even easter eggs. The scientists are annoying as hell though--I have to play the variations that exclude because they just frustrate me, stealing my shit all the time (I know, I know...git gud, bro! :P).

I think the idea of the game is bigger than what it actually ended up being, though. It packs a lot into a pretty small space, and is consequently kind of abstract. Definitely not a pick-up-and-play title, which is what people expect/ed and, I suspect, one reason why it was panned so much then and now (although today, it's mostly the myths that hurt it).

Now, E.T. isn't a title that's in my regular rotation (there are just a lot of games I like more), but when I play it, I have fun with it and wonder how it was subjected to such mythical hostility when there are demonstrably worse games on the Atari 2600 alone, let alone the shovelware on other systems.

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Y'know, the 8-bit home computer version of E.T. doesn't get nearly enough hate. It's like people don't even know it exists.

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I like these bi-monthly ET threads because it gives me a chance to proclaim my love for this misunderstood game. Loved it as a kid, love it now. :)

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I may be an E.T. apologist. I had it as a kid. I loved the movie, so it was natural that my parents would have gotten me the video game....

I didn't know it was horrible until just a few years ago when articles and stuff would pop up on the internet telling me it was the worst game ever or whatever.

 

I love how there are STILL people who played it as a child and are just hearing for the first time all the "It sucked and killed video games" statements and are responding with a "Huh? It did?" attitude.

 

I really wish we could find out how and when roughly it exploded from a game with mixed reviews to "Teh Worst Game [email protected]!"

Edited by Torr

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I think the biggest problem with ET is that they used one of the best family movies of all time (strong appeal to kids!) and then made a complex game aimed at 12 and above. It's a game where you had to READ THE MANUAL. With the big name attached to it, it needed to be much more simple for the average 7 year old or adults who couldn't read.

 

I received it Christmas Eve of '82 and loved that game; although, after 5 minutes of roaming around, I realized I needed to crack open the manual. My nephew and I must have played it till 2:00 am.

 

I also remember finding that Yar Easter egg a few weeks later and no one at school would believe me.

 

It's not even that complex of a game. You find the 3 pieces of an object and escape while avoiding the 'spooks'. - in other words exactly the same premise as "Haunted House" :) Just a bigger world with pits and icons. My 11 year old self had no problems figuring it out.

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I love how there are STILL people who played it as a child and are just hearing for the first time all the "It sucked and killed video games" statements and are responding with a "Huh? It did?" attitude.

 

I really wish we could find out how and when roughly it exploded from a game with mixed reviews to "Teh Worst Game [email protected]!"

 

I'm guessing because it sold bad, and there had long been a rumor that most ET carts were buried in a landfill (that was only confirmed as fact within the last few years), so it's legend grew out of that.

 

"It sold poorly" becomes "it was a bad game" then "the worst game ever" in retellings.

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