Many people regard Atari's 1982 E.T. game as not only the worst game ever made, but one of the biggest follies in video game history. With millions of unsold copies, there's speculation of the leftover cartridges being buried in a New Mexico landfill and encased in cement. There's everything from extensive websites to music videos devoted to the rumors.
The premise of the game was you played as E.T. collecting pieces of phone equipment hidden in various pits and put the pieces together to "phone home." You start off with 9999 points, and die slightly as you move. You had to avoid a scientist and a FBI agent and could power up by eating Reese's Pieces, which looked more like specs of rectangular crud on the screen. Most of the game time was comprised of falling into pits and floating out of them slower than two snails fucking. When you finally gathered all the pieces, you could call your ship to send E.T. home. Then, the game repeated another round no more challenging than the first.
Living with two older brothers, I was privy to the world of video games since birth. We owned E.T., and as long as I could get someone to switch on the system for me I'd keep popping in it in with false hopes of entertainment. Most of the time I'd fall in to so many miserable pits I'd either want to toss the joystick through the TV or I'd get so frustrated I nearly pissed myself. I got better gameplay from Strawberry Shortcake Musical Match-Ups. At least Strawberry never got stuck in a fucking pit and wouldn't float her fat ass out.
(CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE COMMERCIAL)
Even the commercial seems poorly executed. The kid is playing Atari on what appears to be a wicker basket and kneeling on the floor. It's like they drove around the neighborhood until they found a house with a nice garage and then paid some kid $20 to let them hook up a smoke machine and record him pretending to play Atari. With that smile, there's no way he was really playing E.T., there had to be some Knight Rider episodes airing instead.
E.T. was a $20+ million dollar game produced in 5 weeks that was lucky to peak 5 minutes of continued play. Kids were more likely to play with a concrete block than with the E.T. Atari game. Even the commercial seemed to depict this, as it featured a boy tossing a ball into his garage and getting tossed the game in return. The kid was better off with the ball.