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jefframsey

E.T. *NOT* the worst game ever!

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Besides reading a manual to learn how to play and to look at the variations chart (if the game had variations), I cared about the B.S. story they made up about a game back then. It was part of the experience of playing an Atari 2600 game. The story in the manual + box art + your imagination = a better experience.

 

Now you have people who don't want to spend 10 minutes reading an Atari 2600 manual, but they will sit through hours of cut scenes in modern games. And how about those horrible NES years where there was text, text and more text in adventure games where the NPCs wouldn't shut up? Keep hitting the skip button and more text and more text and more text and more text. Just shut up and let me play!

 

https://youtu.be/bvrO5_oCvSw?t=51

 

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3 minutes ago, Random Terrain said:

And how about those horrible NES years where there was text, text and more text in adventure games where the NPCs wouldn't shut up?

ugh..  I couldn't play those games then, and I can't play them now

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1 hour ago, zzip said:

But we actually read the manuals in those days.  We had to.   There were no tutorials to show us the ropes.   Lots of 2600 games would make no sense without the manual:  Adventure, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Riddle of the Sphynx, Superman, Star Raiders.    ET wasn't unique in that regard

And how could I forget Swordquest?   They definitely were not playable without the manual.  (they also weren't playable with the manual, but that's another story)

 

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1 hour ago, zzip said:

But we actually read the manuals in those days.  We had to.   There were no tutorials to show us the ropes.   Lots of 2600 games would make no sense without the manual:  Adventure, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Riddle of the Sphynx, Superman, Star Raiders.    ET wasn't unique in that regard

 

This is true. I did read the manual to Superman. Without, that game would have been just flying around until I touched the kryptonite satellites (good name for a punk rock band) and then I would have just walked around aimlessly until I got bored. Star Raiders was a really personal one for me. My first home console was a 5200 and I had Star Raiders. I think maybe I had the manual at one point, but lost it before I ever read it. Needless to say, I hated that game for years, and spoke ill about it on occasion. It wasn't until I revisited it later on, found and read the manual, that I understood the game and enjoyed it.

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28 minutes ago, Random Terrain said:

Besides reading a manual to learn how to play and to look at the variations chart (if the game had variations), I cared about the B.S. story they made up about a game back then. It was part of the experience of playing an Atari 2600 game. The story in the manual + box art + your imagination = a better experience.

 

Now you have people who don't want to spend 10 minutes reading an Atari 2600 manual, but they will sit though hours of cut scenes in modern games. And how about those horrible NES years where there was text, text and more text in adventure games where the NPCs wouldn't shut up? Keep hitting the skip button and more text and more text and more text and more text. Just shut up and let me play!

 

+1

 

I setup a new game for my daughter on her PS4 and it is like this. Spend an hour or more downloading updates, then start the game and spend another 30 min to an hour watching the cut scenes and opening credits.

 

"If I wanted to watch a movie instead of playing this game I would do so."

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22 hours ago, Jin said:

Anyone who has played Fire Fly is well aware that E.T. is not the worst game on the Atari 2600, let alone the worst game of all time. :lol:

 

I always thought, Robin aka Walker aka Schussel, der Polizistenschreck is the worst game.

But FireFly is really a good candidate, too.

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We all have different definitions of mediocre to low quality games.  The games I loved most were adventures with a narrative and you couldn't play them without understanding them.

 

For instance, I no longer have a single moment of patience for repetitive rubbish.  Pitfall! is a great example.  Boring as heck.  Pitfall 2 has a point and I can forgive the tedious climb to rescue Quickclaw, but Pitfall! has nothing to bring me back; I already got my patch.  It just challenges me to not fall asleep in the next 20 minutes. And, I have fallen asleep playing it (more than once).  It also doesn't help that there's nothing to push me forward besides the clock--and I have to play a virtually perfect long game to threaten my high score.  So tedious.

 

ET, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman, Adventure, and Dragonstomper all provide a narrative and replay value. Those games never bored me--and I still play them after all these years.  I have to figure something out each game, there's always a fresh challenge, and there's a win condition.  If I wanted to play for points and high scores, the arcade had better graphics and a high score screen on public display. 

 

I love arcade games and there are some great ports on the Atari, but the adventure games were always my favorite.  

 

 

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4 hours ago, jefframsey said:

I can totally see where I am being a revisionist, this review being 37 years later and all. I never played this game in 1983, or at least I don’t remember playing it. (I would have been 5.) And yes, it’s easy to say RTFM now, with all of the vast and complex places computers and computer games have taken us since then. In the 37 years that have passed, there have been several great games for other systems that would be nearly impossible to enjoy without reading the manual. (Star Raiders on 5200 was one for me personally.) In-game or on-screen instructions have since changed that but there were lots of them. 

 

The revisionist comment that you made really drives home my point: I think ET was as much of a case of being ahead of its time conceptually, than it being a rushed game or an unfinished game. In 1983, you could probably play 95% or more of the VCS games without reading anything before hand. Also, there were not many games at that time that tried to pull off a 3D landscape with such a limiting system to do it with. 3D on the VCS platform would be crazy hard to do a good job implementing today, even with all of the bank swapping and everything else currently going on with the platform. 

 

 

All those words, when you could've just typed "I agree completely".😏

 

Despite my coincidental use of "RTFM", my comment wasn't directed toward you directly; rather it was for those who argue that very point.  But even if I had read ithe manual and just don't recall, at age ~14 I had more-enjoyable games to play than "ET Falls Down a Hole".

 

Perhaps the real question is if it should be judged by today's standards or by yesteryear's?

 

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4 minutes ago, PlaysWithWolves said:

 

All those words, when you could've just typed "I agree completely".😏

 

 

What'd be the fun in that? 😉

 

 

Perhaps the real question is if it should be judged by today's standards or by yesteryear's?

 

Exactly. Or even by NES-era standards.

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1 hour ago, orange808 said:

For instance, I no longer have a single moment of patience for repetitive rubbish.  Pitfall! is a great example.  Boring as heck.  Pitfall 2 has a point and I can forgive the tedious climb to rescue Quickclaw, but Pitfall! has nothing to bring me back; I already got my patch.  It just challenges me to not fall asleep in the next 20 minutes. And, I have fallen asleep playing it (more than once).  It also doesn't help that there's nothing to push me forward besides the clock--and I have to play a virtually perfect long game to threaten my high score.  So tedious. 

finally someone agrees with me that Pitfall 2 is much better than Pitfall!    Pitfall was innovative, but it really does get repetitive fast.

 

1 hour ago, orange808 said:

 

ET, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Superman, Adventure, and Dragonstomper all provide a narrative and replay value

And they randomize some aspect of the game so that even if you now know how to solve them, you still have to go exploring.

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NES standards?  What standards?

 

Well, I've played Hydlide, Deadly Towers, and Bible Adventures and they are all unplayable rubbish.  Acclaim made a ton of embarrassing crap licenced games (Total Recall, etc, etc).  Tiger Heli is a rushed, lazy, and generic port.  Donkey Kong 3 is awful.  Urban Champion is a joke.  

 

I still play ET and I won't ever touch any of those games again.  Life's too short.

 

Edited by orange808
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By "standards", I meant the general consensus at the time.

 

Should E.T. be judged by the general consensus at the time?  Or by today's ability to look back and appreciate the special bits we've all come to take for granted in games now?

And if it's the latter, does that mean I have to watch the Star Wars Prequels again?   Because I don't wanna, and I hear they're really underrated.

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ET was a popular game in the neighborhood.  One set of brothers on the block grabbed a copy at Albertsons for $5, we all tried it, played for hours, and everyone (finally) begged their parents for five bucks.  A bunch of us a special trip on our bikes to get copies on a Saturday.  We did that with a few games after they got cheap.  One kid would get it and everyone else would rush to get one before they were gone (and the marked down games always seemed to disappear fast.)

 

FWIW, I didn't "learn" to appreciate it later.  I liked it when I saw it.  Of course, it helps that I played it the first time with someone that demonstrated how to win and told me what to do--and what the icons meant.  That's what you did when you were the first one to get a good game (worth demonstrating and showing off).

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I would say it deserves to be called one of the bottom 10 to 20 or so for the system, but Karate and Pac-Kong are way worse.

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Skeet Shoot is usually the game provided as an example of a "worse" game whenever this topic comes up again over the past 30+ years :lol: 

 

re: "At the time", when E.T. was new I didn't think it was all great and I would NOT have called it very fun though even back then, but then again I wouldn't have said it was horrible either (like Skeet Shoot).  I played and knew the game though simply because I had it.  But it couldn't hold a candle to even Raiders of the Lost Ark to be honest. 

 

I naturally tended to play the easiest variation (GAME #3) without the doctor & the spy guy and was content playing it that way.  Even though I was relatively good at it, my primary frustration with Game #1 was that the characters would consistently interrupt the spaceship coming to pick you up. I didn't know how to get around that aside from calling the ship over and over again and hoping the timing worked out.

 

I WILL say though that one day I made the flower turn into a YAR and was absolutely flabbergasted at what happened. I could never do it again to the point I wondered if I had even really saw it. It wasn't until decades later in the age of the internet I finally got closure by reading about that particular easter egg and that it was something that actually existed. :lol:

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19 hours ago, high voltage said:

I own all 3 mythicon games, still sealed, and I guess they gonna stay this way.

I don't know, I used to really enjoy Sorcerer back in the day, but I realize that I am nearly alone in that regard.

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Do we really need another one of these topics?

 

ET the worst game?  Nope, not by a longshot.  There are plenty of games that are way more boring or broken to the point of being unplayable.

 

ET is certainly a victim of high expectations, tho.  On that scale, it may qualify as second-place to Atari's Pac-Man.

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BTW such a scale would be subjective...so it would be impossible for everyone to agree on "the worst offender" there.  And pretty much N/A for anyone who did not live during the hype.

 

My own choice would probably rank Laser Blast on top.  This was one of my very first titles, and I expected it to be at least as enjoyable as Space Invaders.  After that, I learned not to buy into hype as much.

Edited by Nukey Shay
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1 hour ago, Nukey Shay said:

Laser Blast

I have a soft spot for laser blast because it was the only game I was able to flip the score on (digits all turn to exclamation points) and I made a version of it for the TRS-80.

 

So it was boring and repetitive, but at least you can play it!  I remember the Xonox games being practically unplayable.  Those would be some of my picks for worst games!

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8 hours ago, orange808 said:

NES standards?  What standards?

 

Well, I've played Hydlide, Deadly Towers, and Bible Adventures and they are all unplayable rubbish.  Acclaim made a ton of embarrassing crap licenced games (Total Recall, etc, etc).  Tiger Heli is a rushed, lazy, and generic port.  Donkey Kong 3 is awful.  Urban Champion is a joke.  

 

I still play ET and I won't ever touch any of those games again.  Life's too short.

 

I remember when they released Donkey Kong on the NES. I was finally gonna have the real thing with all four levels. How could those jacklegs not have the pie factory level on that port???!!!

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1 hour ago, D Train said:

I have a soft spot for laser blast because it was the only game I was able to flip the score on (digits all turn to exclamation points) and I made a version of it for the TRS-80.

 

So it was boring and repetitive, but at least you can play it!  I remember the Xonox games being practically unplayable.  Those would be some of my picks for worst games!

Some Xonox games are great, Ghost Manor, Spike's Peak, Sir Lancelot, and Robin Hood are my 4 favourites. Artillery Duel good two player.

But indeed, Chuck Norris/Super KungFu, Tomarc, Motocross suck...

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18 hours ago, orange808 said:

ET was a popular game in the neighborhood.  One set of brothers on the block grabbed a copy at Albertsons for $5, we all tried it, played for hours, and everyone (finally) begged their parents for five bucks.  A bunch of us a special trip on our bikes to get copies on a Saturday.  We did that with a few games after they got cheap.  One kid would get it and everyone else would rush to get one before they were gone (and the marked down games always seemed to disappear fast.)

 

FWIW, I didn't "learn" to appreciate it later.  I liked it when I saw it.  Of course, it helps that I played it the first time with someone that demonstrated how to win and told me what to do--and what the icons meant.  That's what you did when you were the first one to get a good game (worth demonstrating and showing off).

That's how Raiders of the Lost Ark was in my neighborhood.   We all spent a chunk of the summer trying to solve it.

 

I can't imagine what my Raiders experience would have been like if my friend hadn't shown us where to use the grenade, and we didn't bother to RTFM.   Probably would have just dismissed it.    Instead it's one of my favorite 2600 memories.

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12 hours ago, Nukey Shay said:

Do we really need another one of these topics?

 

ET the worst game?  Nope, not by a longshot.  There are plenty of games that are way more boring or broken to the point of being unplayable.

 

ET is certainly a victim of high expectations, tho.  On that scale, it may qualify as second-place to Atari's Pac-Man.

Who's expectations?  That's complicated.  The problem was Atari management and an IP that didn't inspire any excitement or high expectations from gamers.

 

Old guys that didn't play video games and viewed the business as a quick money making fad made the sales "expectations".  Those were the expectations of the same people that believed Atari computers shouldn't be an open platform for third party software.  They didn't know what they were doing--and they weren't trying very hard to figure it out.

 

That was rich disconnected old men making dumb decisions.  Their expectations were nothing less than stupid.  There's no other word for it.  

 

Now, the expectations that *mattered* were gamer expectations.  I personally never gave ET a second thought at release.  ET was for little kids and old people.  It didn't inspire us much.  There's no fan fiction, sequels, or video games for the franchise.  there is no franchise.  It isn't Star Wars or Indiana Jones.  It isn't Mad Max, Tron, or Dirty Harry.  I remember what was really cool; it wasn't ET.  We made fun of ET lunchboxes.  It was something you watched and moved on.  It was a "phenomenon", but the Baby Boomers and Lost Generation were the ones loving it; us X kids didn't care after we watched it.  ET isn't truly inspiring to the mind of a boy; it's just a movie.

 

ET was definitely a misguided license that wasn't marketed properly.  It definitely wasn't the kind of game that sells a ton.  It was a complex and difficult game for the newly minted "gamer" demographic (I think I might be one of those) packed inside a casual IP.   That's not the game's fault.  They hired the wrong dev for the IP.

 

I saw ET and thought it was for little kids.  There's the first problem, right?  Kinda like when Capcom made an awesome adventure game based on Willow; lots of people missed it because Willow wasn't a movie that got us genuinely excited to see it again.  ET isn't a lasting character that inspires imagination.

 

Almost everyone I know got the game discounted.  The target for the game didn't want the game at release.  Most of us discovered it later.  I didn't have a ton of money and games were $30.  That was a lot of money--and I didn't get games often; I couldn't afford to blow my cash on lame kiddie game.

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35 minutes ago, orange808 said:

Who's expectations?  That's complicated.  The problem was Atari management and an IP that didn't inspire any excitement or high expectations from gamers.

 

Old guys that didn't play video games and viewed the business as a quick money making fad made the sales "expectations".  Those were the expectations of the same people that believed Atari computers shouldn't be an open platform for third party software.  They didn't know what they were doing--and they weren't trying very hard to figure it out.

 

That was rich disconnected old men making dumb decisions.  Their expectations were nothing less than stupid.  There's no other word for it.  

 

Now, the expectations that *mattered* were gamer expectations.  I personally never gave ET a second thought at release.  ET was for little kids and old people.  It didn't inspire us much.  There's no fan fiction, sequels, or video games for the franchise.  there is no franchise.  It isn't Star Wars or Indiana Jones.  It isn't Mad Max, Tron, or Dirty Harry.  I remember what was really cool; it wasn't ET.  We made fun of ET lunchboxes.  It was something you watched and moved on.  It was a "phenomenon", but the Baby Boomers and Lost Generation were the ones loving it; us X kids didn't care after we watched it.  ET isn't truly inspiring to the mind of a boy; it's just a movie.

 

ET was definitely a misguided license that wasn't marketed properly.  It definitely wasn't the kind of game that sells a ton.  It was a complex and difficult game for the newly minted "gamer" demographic (I think I might be one of those) packed inside a casual IP.   That's not the game's fault.  They hired the wrong dev for the IP.

 

I saw ET and thought it was for little kids.  There's the first problem, right?  Kinda like when Capcom made an awesome adventure game based on Willow; lots of people missed it because Willow wasn't a movie that got us genuinely excited to see it again.  ET isn't a lasting character that inspires imagination.

 

Almost everyone I know got the game discounted.  The target for the game didn't want the game at release.  Most of us discovered it later.  I didn't have a ton of money and games were $30.  That was a lot of money--and I didn't get games often; I couldn't afford to blow my cash on lame kiddie game.

 

I watched Siskel & Ebert every chance I got back then to keep up on the latest movies since I wouldn't be able to see most of them until they were on TV. I actually got to see E.T. when it was new in a busy movie theater and it seemed like people of all ages enjoyed it.

 

https://youtu.be/VerlHBy9UAA?t=391

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muf76fSYyc8

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLCuCOP2qcc

 

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