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(MMGM)   The Great Atari Landfill Expedition, intended to dig up thousands of copies of the worst video game ever made, will begin on April 26. This would be a good time to leave New Mexico. Actually, it's always a good time to leave New Mexico   (mmgn.com) divider line 389
    More: Followup, Atari, Atari video game burial, ROM cartridge, Zak Penn, landfills  
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11921 clicks; posted to Main » on 14 Apr 2014 at 9:47 AM (14 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-14 10:47:10 AM
I'm pretty sure they somehow managed to make more copies of ET than there were Atari consoles in existence. That probably didn't help.
 
2014-04-14 10:47:53 AM

jake_lex: You might be inclined to think that the ET video game isn't actually as the reputation it has gotten would lead you believe. That we're just sort of lookigna t it through the prism of today's games, and if you look at it on its own terms, compared to Atari 2600 games of the time, it's not so bad.

You'd be wrong. It was a piece of shiat even by 1982 standards. I remember my parents bought it for me because I loved the movie E.T. It was my first taste of truly bitter disappointment, the first lesson that something you really want might turn out to be crap after all.


Sooo true.  It was the first video game I ever played that was a total, utter disappointment.  Christ it sucked.
 
2014-04-14 10:50:36 AM
Came for AVGN references, leaving satisifed.
 
2014-04-14 10:52:48 AM
Subby's obviously never been to New Mexico. Really pretty landscapes you will not find anywhere else.
 
2014-04-14 10:53:50 AM
I'd like to hear the phone call where they pitched this to the game developer.

ms: 'hey! We are working on this exciting project we hoped you would want to be involved with.'

game dev:'oh really? Well what is it'.

ms:'well we were sitting around talking about games and the topic of the worst game ever came up. It was really a short discussion, out of millions of crap games that abortion of code your queefed out in the 80's was the obvious pick. I mean just wow was that horrible. So we talked more and decided to do a documentary about it. We were hoping you'd let us film you and you could tell us a bit about just how you managed to make something so awful'.

game dev:'umm... ok I guess. You want to send a crew to my office or you going to fly me to washington or what?'

ms:'oh no. This is the best part. you remember how you guys farked up so hard on this that you had to bury thousands of carts in some crap hole landfill in the middle of the new mexico desert? We are going to dig those farkers up. Get some construction shoes and a shovel, maybe a mask too its probably pretty stinky there!'

game dev:'sigh'
 
2014-04-14 10:55:23 AM

AugieDoggyDaddy: Why are they bothering to dig this up?   The cartriges are not particulary valuable, as danteman195  pointed out.

 Is the whole point to make a documentary movie about digging in a landfill for something with the dubious distinction of being the worst ever? Or is there something more nefarios going on?


Well... the cartridges were just a front.

And when he had opened the seventh seal obsolete game cartridges, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.
 
2014-04-14 10:55:36 AM

Aar1012: Historically, it's considered the worst game ever made. Sure, you can argue games like Superman 64 or Sonic 2006....but it's a solid pick that's been on the list for decades.


And again...

No one has made a game that is was so bad they had to bury it in the desert, have the hole capped with concrete, and then have the site sealed and blessed by holy men from eight different faiths in order to seal away its evil for all of time.

We've put in less effort to do away with vampires or demons.
 
2014-04-14 10:56:16 AM

FatherChaos: [s3.amazonaws.com image 200x200]

In the author's case, "the worst game I've ever played, so it only applies to my opinion and is not a universal standard"

E.T. was bad, but there are worse.  MUCH worse.


http://www.enviro-bear.com/
 
2014-04-14 10:57:38 AM

Random Anonymous Blackmail: Rapmaster2000

I was so fired up for ET the video game. I don't think we played it for more than an hour. It sucked that bad. Atari's Pac-Man port was garbage too.


Pac-Man for Atari pissed me off, I was expecting something similar to well Pac-Man not what ever the hell they shipped. I actually beat E.T... don't really remember how but I did it.


You used a bat, usually
 
2014-04-14 10:58:00 AM

chitlenz: jake_lex: You might be inclined to think that the ET video game isn't actually as the reputation it has gotten would lead you believe. That we're just sort of lookigna t it through the prism of today's games, and if you look at it on its own terms, compared to Atari 2600 games of the time, it's not so bad.

You'd be wrong. It was a piece of shiat even by 1982 standards. I remember my parents bought it for me because I loved the movie E.T. It was my first taste of truly bitter disappointment, the first lesson that something you really want might turn out to be crap after all.

Sooo true.  It was the first video game I ever played that was a total, utter disappointment.  Christ it sucked.


This is what's weird. I mean that game sucked so hard, but everyone with a 2600 had a copy of It. The reasons it lost so much money actually had nothing to do with the insanely bad gameplay
 
2014-04-14 10:58:42 AM

scottydoesntknow: kling_klang_bed: *squinting my eyes, making sure this isn't from I-Mockery*

Oh, there's worse games out there. I vaguely remember playing the ET game as a kid, but Legend Of Kage and any of the Ultima games are even worse, IMHO.

True, but E.T. was one of the games that helped bring about the Video Game Crash of 1983. It was a terrible game that chose an even worse time to drop. Those two ingredients help vault it to the top of terrible video games.


Plus it cost so much to make (due to licensing) that they would have had to sell more cartridges than there were consoles to break even. The whole thing was a major fiasco.
 
2014-04-14 10:59:29 AM
I had that game when I was a kid. I still remember the looped sound of ET walk and the sound it made (for whatever reason) when ET raised his neck. It really was a crappy game.
 
2014-04-14 10:59:39 AM

FatherChaos: [s3.amazonaws.com image 200x200]

In the author's case, "the worst game I've ever played, so it only applies to my opinion and is not a universal standard"

E.T. was bad, but there are worse.  MUCH worse.


No, the author is stating fact.  It is literally the worst game ever.

Your opinion doesn't change the fact of the matter.
 
2014-04-14 11:01:19 AM
I remember playing it, didn't seem too bad.  I'm thinking many people just didn't understand the game play or how to read the objectives (which admittedly took some figuring out in the days of no internet).
One question though: When you beat it at the end, what the hell was that mouth thing that would open and closing while making that weird ass noise?
 
2014-04-14 11:01:45 AM

Tyrone Slothrop: Plus it cost so much to make (due to licensing) that they would have had to sell more cartridges than there were consoles to break even. The whole thing was a major fiasco.


Something of an object lesson on the hubris and overreach that comes at the peak of a bubble or fad.
 
2014-04-14 11:03:17 AM
Yours truly played that game for like a minute on my friend Troy's Atari back in the early '90s.

He was a "rocker", I was a nerd.  We didn't agree on everything, but we agreed that E.T. should be thrown away, but his dad would have kicked his ass for that because it cost money to buy, which kind of makes sense, but I do know his dad did not play it.

I remember grabbing the cartridge from among two dozen other, better games. At first I was so happy, then my buddy gave me this face: :\ "Nah, man...it suuuuuuuucks. Let's listen to Anthrax" I'm sure those were his exact words.
 
2014-04-14 11:03:35 AM
On another note, anyone remember a 2600 game that was in space?  Like you had a couple fleets and you had to fly around and destroy an invading alien force?  I seem to recall the cool thing about it was that you could position and move your ships, but then when combat started the view shifted to first person from the fighters.

Anyone remember that, or am I having a bad 80's flashback??
 
2014-04-14 11:06:00 AM

sendtodave: FatherChaos: [s3.amazonaws.com image 200x200]

In the author's case, "the worst game I've ever played, so it only applies to my opinion and is not a universal standard"

E.T. was bad, but there are worse.  MUCH worse.

No, the author is stating fact.  It is literally the worst game ever.

Your opinion doesn't change the fact of the matter.


Seriously, the thing helped create the Video Game Crash of 1983. The only other game that really is credited to that? Pac-Man for the Atari 2600
 
2014-04-14 11:07:06 AM
ET was definitely the worst 2400 game I played.  Predator was the worst NES game.
 
2014-04-14 11:07:29 AM

Uzzah: HypnozombieX: I think it was the only Objective based Atari game I played. Everything else just went on and on running up a score.

You never played Adventure?

[upload.wikimedia.org image 480x315]


Superman was another one.
 
2014-04-14 11:07:38 AM

FatherChaos: [s3.amazonaws.com image 200x200]

In the author's case, "the worst game I've ever played, so it only applies to my opinion and is not a universal standard"

E.T. was bad, but there are worse.  MUCH worse.


This is true..... I think what makes E.T. (and the 2600 Pac Man) get some of the brunt of being the "Worst Ever" is not that they were the absolute "worst", but, they had EXTREMELY high expectations and debuts, and were tied to the biggest movie of all time at the time, and the biggest arcade game at the time.

Yeah, a bunch of 3rd rate developers put out much crappier games than E.T. and Pac Man... but, not many people bought them, and they didn't get that much attention at the time.   E.T. and Pac Man had HUGE spotlights on their debut's, and they did not  .  Which was proven by Ms. Pac Man for 2600.... if that had been pac man (minus the Ms Pac additions), that would have been a much better reception.   E.T.'s issues was mostly gameplay over display issues.
 
2014-04-14 11:08:06 AM
scottydoesntknow: kling_klang_bed: *squinting my eyes, making sure this isn't from I-Mockery*

Oh, there's worse games out there. I vaguely remember playing the ET game as a kid, but Legend Of Kage and any of the Ultima games are even worse, IMHO.

True, but E.T. was one of the games that helped bring about the Video Game Crash of 1983. It was a terrible game that chose an even worse time to drop. Those two ingredients help vault it to the top of terrible video games.


Never heard of that crash, but remember I was 2 years old at that time. :-p
 
2014-04-14 11:09:49 AM

dletter: E.T. and Pac Man had HUGE spotlights on their debut's, and they did not


Meant to say... they did not deliver of the expectations of being big projects.
 
2014-04-14 11:10:00 AM
And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood
 
2014-04-14 11:10:15 AM
The Atari version of ET was probably still more playable than Pong.  Pong cost well over $100 in 1976 dollars and got boring in about 20 minutes.  Imagine 40x60 pixels at the most and in black and white--not monochrome--but literally black and white.

Still, it was a computing monster compared to the TS 80 me and my brother had--imagine a computer with 2k of memory...
 
2014-04-14 11:11:01 AM

corn-bread: On another note, anyone remember a 2600 game that was in space?  Like you had a couple fleets and you had to fly around and destroy an invading alien force?  I seem to recall the cool thing about it was that you could position and move your ships, but then when combat started the view shifted to first person from the fighters.

Anyone remember that, or am I having a bad 80's flashback??


Sounds like Star Raiders to me.
 
2014-04-14 11:11:02 AM

chitlenz: http://www.enviro-bear.com/



...dafuq?!
 
2014-04-14 11:11:17 AM
There's also the fixed version of ET, which solves the pixel perfect collision detection as well as a host of other issues:

http://www.neocomputer.org/projects/et/
 
2014-04-14 11:11:27 AM
Will Geraldo be there?
 
2014-04-14 11:11:29 AM
Who knows, in a thousand years, even you may be worth something!
 
2014-04-14 11:11:45 AM
Pac man was a bad game but Raiders was a WTF am I playing game. I can't remember E.T. I don't think we had that one.
 
2014-04-14 11:11:52 AM

ZenMechanic: My late friend, Emru Townsend wrote an article for PC World back in 2006 on this subject.   http://www.pcworld.com/article/127579/article.html?page=2

Worth a read.



Wow, 1 degree of separation. Emru & I worked together at the same newsweekly (he was the technology reporter), and he helped me get my start in tech writing.
His passing broke my heart.
 
2014-04-14 11:12:03 AM
Lately I've been learning a bit about programming the 2600 and other systems of that era like the NES, and it amazes me, given their primitive capabilities, that anyone could make a game from them, much less a good one.
 
2014-04-14 11:12:20 AM

jake_lex: You might be inclined to think that the ET video game isn't actually as the reputation it has gotten would lead you believe. That we're just sort of lookigna t it through the prism of today's games, and if you look at it on its own terms, compared to Atari 2600 games of the time, it's not so bad.

You'd be wrong. It was a piece of shiat even by 1982 standards. I remember my parents bought it for me because I loved the movie E.T. It was my first taste of truly bitter disappointment, the first lesson that something you really want might turn out to be crap after all.


The whole falling into a whole to find parts for the phone thingy and then having to mash that little orange button on the controller down to extent E.T.s neck in order to float up out of the hole, only to reach the top and not hit the exact pixel needed to escape the hole, and ET falls all the way back down to the bottom of the hole was frustrating. It could take as much as an hour to figure out where that farking narrow opening was and hit it just right to get out of the god dam hole.

So, yeah ET was POS even by the 80's standards.
 
2014-04-14 11:12:47 AM

corn-bread: On another note, anyone remember a 2600 game that was in space?  Like you had a couple fleets and you had to fly around and destroy an invading alien force?  I seem to recall the cool thing about it was that you could position and move your ships, but then when combat started the view shifted to first person from the fighters.

Anyone remember that, or am I having a bad 80's flashback??


Star Raiders?   had a keypad you used?
 
2014-04-14 11:14:12 AM

TheDirtyNacho: Lately I've been learning a bit about programming the 2600 and other systems of that era like the NES, and it amazes me, given their primitive capabilities, that anyone could make a game from them, much less a good one.


All in all, it's all done with ones and zeroes.
 
2014-04-14 11:14:19 AM

HypnozombieX: Ok, I don't know why people keep hating on the E.T. game. I don't remember it being that bad. In  fact I think it was the only Objective based Atari game I played. Everything else just went on and on running up a score.


Not true. Pit Fall had an end. No really, if you played for like two hours on one game you eventually hit the end of Pit Fall.
 
2014-04-14 11:14:53 AM
I think subterranean expeditions in New Mexico have at least a ten percent chance of initiating a Resonance Cascade.

wiki.blackmesasource.com
 
2014-04-14 11:16:27 AM

Uzzah: HypnozombieX: I think it was the only Objective based Atari game I played. Everything else just went on and on running up a score.

You never played Adventure?

[upload.wikimedia.org image 480x315]


Or Haunted House which was basically the same game.
 
2014-04-14 11:18:07 AM

NickelP: game dev:'umm... ok I guess. You want to send a crew to my office or you going to fly me to washington or what?'


From interviews it sounds like he's proud of what he was able to accomplish with the game given the extremely limited time given to create it.  No one really blames that guy since most of the issues, like time given for development, marketing, over production, etc, were entirely not his fault.  I'd bet he finds the whole thing amusing by this point and probably just as curious if the landfill even exists.
 
2014-04-14 11:18:34 AM

kling_klang_bed: scottydoesntknow: kling_klang_bed: *squinting my eyes, making sure this isn't from I-Mockery*

Oh, there's worse games out there. I vaguely remember playing the ET game as a kid, but Legend Of Kage and any of the Ultima games are even worse, IMHO.

True, but E.T. was one of the games that helped bring about the Video Game Crash of 1983. It was a terrible game that chose an even worse time to drop. Those two ingredients help vault it to the top of terrible video games.

Never heard of that crash, but remember I was 2 years old at that time. :-p


Meh, everybody goes on and on about the great Video Game Crash, but it really only affected over extended companies. It didn't really affect PC title developers and a short while later along came the NES.
 
2014-04-14 11:19:29 AM

Gary-L: TheDirtyNacho: Lately I've been learning a bit about programming the 2600 and other systems of that era like the NES, and it amazes me, given their primitive capabilities, that anyone could make a game from them, much less a good one.

All in all, it's all done with ones and zeroes.


Believe it or not I programmed a few demos for the Atari 2600 back in the day. It was a really neat machine to program for. 128 bytes of RAM, 4K ROM. You had to be really tight with your code. No video RAM so you programmed the video in real time scanline by scanline.

/wsync
 
2014-04-14 11:19:37 AM
static.giantbomb.com
SORRY, BUT YOUR CARTRIDGES ARE IN ANOTHER LANDFILL
 
2014-04-14 11:23:16 AM

CruJones: I feel like playing Combat and bouncing some white shells off walls and killing your tank.


Combat
Target FUn
Target Fun
Laser Blast
Demon Attack
Frogger

good times, good times
 
2014-04-14 11:23:46 AM

Ghastly: Gary-L: TheDirtyNacho: Lately I've been learning a bit about programming the 2600 and other systems of that era like the NES, and it amazes me, given their primitive capabilities, that anyone could make a game from them, much less a good one.

All in all, it's all done with ones and zeroes.

Believe it or not I programmed a few demos for the Atari 2600 back in the day. It was a really neat machine to program for. 128 bytes of RAM, 4K ROM. You had to be really tight with your code. No video RAM so you programmed the video in real time scanline by scanline.

/wsync



There were some impressive pieces of hacking that went into those games.  I can't fault the programmers, IIRC the guy that wrote ET had about 2 weeks to do it.
 
2014-04-14 11:23:55 AM

shineyviper: Also, yes, Pac Man for the 2600 sucked terribly, but Ms. Pac Man on the 2600 more than made up for it and was a thing of wonder and beauty.


I will always remember that my older brother and I would both pitch in to cover half the cost of Atari carts.  A few days before Pac-Man came out I did something and got grounded which meant I couldn't play video games.  It came out and after playing it for twenty minutes my brother turned it off and declared it was garbage and I wasn't missing anything.

It wasn't until two weeks later that i got to find out for myself.

I never got to the redemption part of Ms. Pac-Man.

Pac-Man was so terrible I think it essentially was the last console game I played until the PlayStation.
 
2014-04-14 11:24:09 AM
April 26 is my birthday. I got ET for my birthday when I was a wee pup. The expedition begins on my birthday this year. I can't help some sort of circle is complete.
 
2014-04-14 11:25:04 AM

Slaves2Darkness: Meh, everybody goes on and on about the great Video Game Crash, but it really only affected over extended companies. It didn't really affect PC title developers and a short while later along came the NES.


The marketing for the NES had to change because of the crash. They had to market it to distribution companies as a toy and not a gaming console. It's why there is R.O.B. the Robot and it's an Entertainment System. It's why Nintendo had the Seal of Approval - Sure they handed it out like candy but they used it as a means of preventing over saturation
 
2014-04-14 11:25:14 AM

clkeagle: Rapmaster2000: I was so fired up for ET the video game.  I don't think we played it for more than an hour.  It sucked that bad.  Atari's Pac-Man port was garbage too.

Isn't there another landfill somewhere with all the Pac-Man cartridges? If I remember right - by the time Pac-Man was about to hit shelves, they were already set to ship Ms. Pac-Man (which is a great 2600 game). So they did the same thing as ET - dumped all the secondary shipments instead of letting them go to retail.


2600 Pac-Man shipped in early 1982. Ms. Pac-Man in early 1983 (roughly a year later).

The Ms. Pac-Man port was actually decent for the 2600.
 
2014-04-14 11:26:40 AM

Mentat: ET was definitely the worst 2400 game I played.


It was so bad, it downgraded the hardware itself by 8%.
 
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