E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (video game)

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E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (also referred to simply as E.T.) is an adventure video game developed and published by Atari, Inc. for the Atari 2600 video game console in 1982. It is based on the film of the same name, and was designed by Howard Scott Warshaw. The objective of the game is to guide the eponymous character through various screens to collect three pieces of an interplanetary telephone that will allow him to contact his home planet.

Warshaw intended the game to be an innovative adaptation of the film, and Atari thought it would achieve high sales figures based on its connection with the film, which was extremely popular throughout the world. Negotiations to secure the rights to make the game ended in late July 1982, giving Warshaw only six weeks to develop the game in time for the 1982 Christmas holiday season. The end result is often cited as one of the worst video games released, and was one of the biggest commercial failures in video gaming history.

E.T. is frequently cited as a contributing factor to Atari's massive financial losses during 1983 and 1984. As a result of overproduction and returns, unsold cartridges were also buried in a New Mexico landfill. The game's commercial failure and resulting effects on Atari are frequently cited as a contributing factor to the video game industry crash of 1983.



E.T. is an adventure game in which players control an alien (E.T.) from a top-down perspective. The objective of the game is to collect three pieces of an interplanetary telephone. The pieces are found scattered randomly throughout various pits (also referred to as wells). The player is provided with an on-screen energy bar, which decreases as time passes. To prevent this, the player can collect Reese's Pieces, which are used to restore the energy of the character; when enough are collected, the player can call Elliot to obtain a piece of the telephone. After the phone pieces have been collected, the player must guide the character to a call-ship area, which allows him to call his home planet. When the call is made, an interplanetary spaceship appears on-screen, and the player must reach the spaceship in a given time limit. Once the spaceship is reached, the game starts over, with the same difficulty level, while changing the location of the telephone pieces. The score obtained during the round is carried over to the next iteration. The game ends when the energy bar depletes, or the player decides to quit.[2]

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