The story of the world's worst videogame

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Currently available on Netflix streaming -


You mean ET was worse than this?


Actually yeah, ET on Atari was essentially unplayable. Besides being rushed to market in order to capitalize on the success of the movie, the game basically consisted of take a step and falling into a hole.

Critics bemoaned the gameplay’s repetitive use of falling down holes.[11][34] Emru Townsend of PC World discussed the game with a group, and found a universal dislike for the pits that E.T. falls into, describing it as “monotonous”.[34] Writer Sean “Seanbaby” Reiley also criticized the pits, claiming that they are “time-consuming” and “difficult to leave without falling back in”.[35] Trent Ward, a former Next Generation Magazine reviewer, commented that this element prompted him to immediately return the game for a refund after purchasing it in his youth,[36] and the children who found games in the New Mexico landfill gave the E.T. cartridges away because, as one later said, the “game sucked … you couldn’t finish it”.


I thought this was going to be about Custer’s Revenge.



the game Over documentary is quite excellent. and shows that it was a bit of an overstatement about the game burial being some mass conspiracy thing. Just more a way to deal with excess inventory.

I have to admit beyond the classics like asteroids, centipede, donkey kong, missile command, pitfall…the only two games I truly loved on Atari were Chopper Command and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

There is one particular tank mode in Combat that still quite fun. You can control the tank shells after you fire them. If you’re deft enough you can steer them around obstacles and blast your buddy even though they’re tucked away.

I set up my old 2600 a while ago and this level was, by far, the most fun out of all my old games.


I’ve been meaning to watch this one:


Another Atari documentary about culture and game programming in the early 80’s is Howard Scott Warshaw’s own Once Upon Atari which is now easily obtainable at GOG. It’s a good watch.



people who continue to falsely claim that ET is the worst videogame ever clearly never played the Journey: Escape game.


I owned and played both ET and Journey:Escape, likely for hours on end. Of course, I was ten years old at the time. I remember being entertained by both.

As for “best 2600 game”, I’ll give the nod to Star Raiders, which was an obsession of mine at the same age. I’m amazed at how complex the 2600 port of the game was for its hardware, and how the developers also had to come up with a keypad for the keyboardless 2600.


Rodney Greenblatt? The Dazzleoids guy?!

One of the basic issues was that ET didn’t actually match up with where the game considered ET to be, the perspective was poorly drawn. So you fell in holes every other step, were captured and ended up in jail. Add the fact that there was zero instructional help and you didn’t understand why there were holes or why this guy was chasing you or any of the things you had to do or what was where why.

This was posted here a few years back, it’s fascinating and fixes, well, everything. Keep in mind, even with everything working perfectly this game is still a slog.


yeah, we owned and played both, too, and really liked it. i actually think the Raiders of the Lost Ark game was just as poorly-done as E.T., but it wasn’t as repetitive as the Journey one. as for best? hard to choose, but my first thought is Pitfall. more than any other atari 2600 game, i think i spent the most time with that one. getting all the way through felt like SUCH an accomplishment.


I always sucked at video games. I was just peachy playing ET because it made sense as much as any other game, to me.

Adventure. That was a game that gave me anxiety.


Since I didn’t get the E.T. game, I assumed in my childhood that Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 was the worst. There was so much hype and so little to show for it.

But there were people, like my spouse, unfamiliar enough with the arcade version to not realize how bad the port was… and to this day, still associates the four-note “doodoo doodoo” sound, and the dull thud/dings when eating dots, with the game more strongly than the actual intro tune and “wakka wakka” sounds.

And then there was the bizarre Superman game.