They did it, they fucking did it.
can someone explain this to me
Thirty years ago a legendary ET game came to fruition, so awful that as the tale told, all unsold copies of it were buried in a pit in New Mexico. A documentary film crew has just unearthed the stash, proving the legend true.
I don’t think people fully grasp just how awful it was. This one game, by the sheer merit of its unmatched shittiness, destroyed the video game and console market so thoroughly that the at home video game nearly went the way of the 8-track player.
It was literally so awful that it nearly changed the entire course of technology.
how can a video game possibly be that bad
People don’t really understand why it was terrible though, and the reasons why are extremely important and relevant especially today.
The game itself is bad, yes. It was built up to be an exciting hit for kids to play at Christmas in 1982. So much in fact, that retailers bought WAY more stock then could every be sold based on the hype.
However, people at the time liked the game. It looks bad now, but the game itself was pretty on par with the times. It wound up selling 1.5 million copies. Which would be great, except Atari was expecting to sell 4-5 million.
While initial reception was positive, critics started panning the game as critics do. While it was no worse than most other games at the time, it was stil frustrating and hard to play. It could not live up to the hype that had been built and negative press built up quickly.
But what was ALSO happening was a flood of cheap imitations on the market. ET is a licensed game, and like all licenses comes at a higher markup. So if you wanted to buy a game for yourself or your kid, would you buy 1 game, or 2 for the same price?
Atari was also screwing around with how they handled their distributors. Just before the game went to public, but AFTER the game had been bought and shipped, Atari announced that they were cancelling every existing contract with distributors and signing with only a select few.
So distributors, now pissed off and with an abundance of games that were NOT selling and with prices slashed horribly to sell games that people were quickly losing interest in, retailers put their claims to return a collective 2.5-3.5 million copies back to Atari. Atari, unable to recycle the cartridges or resell them in any way, wound up burying them in the Nevada desert.
This caused the Video Game Crash of the early 80s that put a dark mark on video games until Nintendo (and in some small part other game companies) to revive later.
It was the perfect storm. An over-hyped overpriced game sold to an increasingly frustrated and over-saturated market with retailers scrambling to make a dime while Game Devs blame the market for poor sales.
Some say the proverbial planets are aligning again, with way too many consoles putting way too samey games on the market at way too high a cost with a strong dependence on Pre-orders and pre-order exclusives.
Wanna give the game a shot? Internet Archives actually has a copy of it at this link:
this is like the dutch tulip bubble of our times