howard warshaw

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

I’d like to take a moment to remind all of you reading this that E.T. is a bad game. Many of you know this already of course, but a disturbingly large number of you have been insisting lately that it’s a great but misunderstood game.

I understand it. It’s a bad game. There’s absolutely nothing enjoyable about trying to locate the one randomly located patch of grass where E.T. can perform the ability you need in that instance. It’s actually excruciatingly tedious.

It’s absolutely amazing that this game was finished in just five weeks. That doesn’t make it an amazing game.
The man who made 'the worst video game in history' - BBC News
The video game of ET has been blamed for destroying the tech company, Atari. Here the programmer, Howard Scott Warshaw, gives his personal account of the fiasco.

“It was the hardest I’ve ever worked on anything in my life,” says Warshaw, who was the game’s sole programmer. “I started working at the office but after a while I realised there was a problem; I still have to go home to sleep and eat occasionally.

"So we had another development system installed in my house so that I would never be more than two minutes away from working on the code except when I was driving.

"There was a manager who was assigned to make sure I was eating so that I’d be able to keep going.

"When it came to the end of the process, my reaction was, ‘Wow, I did it!’”

On making E.T.


The Urban Legend That Inspired Fans to Dig the ‘Worst Video Game Ever’ Out of the New Mexico Desert

In December of 1982, E.T the Extra-Terrestrial came out for the Atari 2600. Howard Scott Warshaw was given the job of designing it after huge success with Yars’ Revengeand Raiders of the Lost Ark. However, he was only given five and a half weeks to do it in. The result was critically panned, with E.T. known as one of the worst games of all time and partly blamed for the North American games industry crash of 1983. Atari printed way too many copies, and it was believed that millions of these cartridges were buried in a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

It became something of an urban legend in the industry.