Zero Punctuation: E.T. - "The Worst Game Ever"

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E.T. - "The Worst Game Ever"

This week, Zero Punctuation reviews the worst game ever.

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So now Zero Punctuation has reviewed the most lacking in good and the most having in good games ever (joking, of course). Admittedly it did allow for more Let's Drown Out references in the faster form so who am I to complain?

It was okay, but for a segment exploring games history, you'd need a bit more time to explore the less obvious parts and implications thereof.

Alternatively, Yahtzee could dive into lesser known games, something a la Richard Corbett's 'Saturday Crapshoot' over at PCGamer.

Perhaps instead of talking about the summer drought he could do games he haven't gotten around to yet like Sniper Elite 3 :/

Many publishers complained about Nintendo's third party licencing rules back in the NES days but it was all to prevent the atari crash all over again. So yeah someone did learn something....only to forget it many years later.

Grand Theft Auto 3 would be a fascinating game to look back on now, given its incredible influence over gaming as a whole.

I find it funny that he brings up that notion of Nintendo stigmatizing gaming when they did that only a few years ago with Gabby Douglas drawing on a 3DS and declaring "I'm not a gamer" like it was positive thing.

The whole history of humanity is pretty learning lessons the hard way only to forget them pretty quickly so as to repeat the whole cycle all over again. As the saying goes the more things change the more people will fuck up...wait I may have gotten that mixed up.

Intresting topic to see here.

There probably will never be such a thing like an entire industry going down the Gulli again, but I kinda see it coming for certain Genres, that will get into "first flop, then Forgotten" Terretory.

I get the feeling next time we're going to be taking a look at the bit wars of the 90s. Maybe he'll bring up the 3DO. Remember that? I highly doubt it, considering what a bomb it was. I only ever knew what it is because of the AVGN.

On a side note, is anyone else getting a little paranoid about the flood of low quality indie games on Steam? It just has me nervous. It probably won't crash the entire industry, but it might cause a recession in indie games.

I'd like to live in the alternate world where Magnavox Odyssey prevented Atari & other consoles from ever existing. Then we could all have debates over Ralph Baer vs. Bill Gates when it comes to console vs. Windows PC.

And then maybe Humble Bundle & Steam wouldn't exist. So I couldn't make them take my money.

Still kind of odd ET is the worst game ever when compared to Custer's Revenge.

An interesting and informative video. It make me wonder if anyone would dare to go back in time to fixed all of that (given the progammers more time to coded the game properly).

Also yes like a tool, I did look up Mac and Me mention in the end credit.

Well, it's certainly bad...but WORST?
I can think of less playable games.

"It caused the crash of 83'!"
No, not really. The shovelware gambit was going on for YEARS without relent or remorse at that point. E.T. is just the lynchpin because it was attached to a very prominent Spielburg film rather than the likes of "Contamination .7"

It's pure grain shit, make no mistake. But at least it doesn't crash every 10 fucking minutes, or wipe all your saves, or render the cart completely and utterly unplayable (Mega Man Battle Network 4 had a glitch that did exactly that).

I'm glad that Yahtzee actually brought that to light. Good on him.

Huh. Did anyone else think it looked like ET had a "coin purse"?

Anyway, that was an interesting diversion for the drought. :D
I too wonder what the games industry would be like if Atari hadn't pooed the bed, but kind of like Yahtzee said, ET was really just the final nail in their coffin. ;p

Also, don't worry Yahtzee. You'll be back to having too many games soon enough. ;D

That ending killed me. Keep up the good work.

I remember having fun with Atari2600 games back in the day... but standards were a bit lower then. Good thing gamers developed more taste with time and saw that not all was good and shiny.

BTW: why not review "Divinity: Original Sin"? It's the best thing to happen since the Baldur's Gate remakes. It's true!

Interestingly, I think nowadays there is has been a resurgence of the problem that led to the crash: that of 3rd parties running rampant. While it isn't because of inexperience it is because of ineptitude. While revenue has increased, profits seem to decrease perhaps due to budgets inflating. You can also blame this on developers not cutting back on worthless bullshit and pushing cinematic but ultimately shallow experiences that don't really do anything for the industry. Thus we have the gaming equivalent of the New Hollywood movement; a bunch of arrogant, wannabe auteurs wasting money like it grows on trees but unlike New Hollywood they don't have the talent to balance it out (there is a distinct lack of Godfathers, Taxi Drivers, Apocalypse Nows, and The French Connections in the industry). Thus we have an industry that thinks it's bigger than it really is and refuses to cut back even thought it'd be in their best long-term interests. Maybe I would believe it's due to cynical cash-grabbing if it weren't for the fact that too many company have been making stupid business decisions. If they're going to be businessmen, at least be COMPETENT businessmen.

I have heard this story too many times. Do king of dragon pass. Or clout the flash game.

Zero Punctuation's Occasional Guide to Retarded Special Moments in Gaming History

Oh, Yahtzee.

And Rei Ayanami is clearly (clearly) the better embodiment of the word "waifu". Between her and Asuka, there's no debate. (Disclaimer: I have never watched Evangelion, but I have read the F*ckin' Otaku review of it.)

That's another critic who beat the Angry Video game Nerd to it. There are games out there worth reviewing, so I don't get his excuse unless he only does AAA game reviews now.

RatGouf:

Still kind of odd ET is the worst game ever when compared to Custer's Revenge.

Atmos Duality:
Well, it's certainly bad...but WORST?
I can think of less playable games.

'Did it cause the crash of the entire Western videogames industry?'

ET and to a lesser extent Pac Man for the Atari 2600 were major contributors to the crash, Custer's Revenge was merely a symptom and not as high profile as the two Atari titles.

At the exact moment that Yahtzee said the "beat music" line and the image with the boombox appeared, some upbeat electro music started playing on my headphones. I thought "ZP with music in? Interesting..." After a few seconds I thought "OK, is he going to keep that on for the rest of the review?"

Only after about 15 seconds did I realize that one of those self-playing video ads loaded in another tab. What fun those are!

Well this was a nice change of pace! Not a bad episode and a decent way to hold yourself over until the new releases. You could also review some games you missed. Like Fire Emblem: Awakening.

Just saying.

This is really weird timing. Last night I was holding up my copy of E.T. and laughing with a buddy about how I remember playing the game for ten minutes before running back to Tron game.

Weird that I hadn't even looked at my Atari library for the past decade and suddenly did it the same week Yahtzee would do a throw back to it.

Hmm... Maybe I have powers... what do I want him to review next? I... these powers are lost on me. I don't care what he reviews as long as he continues to do so.

Jman1236:
Many publishers complained about Nintendo's third party licencing rules back in the NES days but it was all to prevent the atari crash all over again. So yeah someone did learn something....only to forget it many years later.

The publishers back then might not have grumbled so much if Nintendo hadn't also claimed 70% of their sales.

Also, Nintendo's content regulations might have been an effective crap filter (though the Angry Video Game Nerd would probably contest that), but they also ensured console gaming would be seen as a children's toy for almost 20 years afterwards.

There were other big problems the game industry, and particularly atari were having. One Yahtzee alluded to was the dismal failure of the Atari port of Pac-Man. They bought the rights, and made more copies of the game than there were Atari 2600's.\

The problem was, the Atari wasn't capable of an arcade machine's clean color palate, nor could it render more than one computer controlled sprite at a time. To get around these limitations, the game was in various colors of the sewage rainbow, and the ghosts flashed on the screen in ways that brought new fun to eye strain. Of the ten million carts made, about five million were never sold or returned. Atari wasn't the only console in town, there were at least a dozen, even Atari's own 5200.

I can't believe he reviewed E.T. before The Wolf Among Us....

Oh yahtzee. I enjoyed this review as I do every review, but you're avoiding battlefield 4 as hard as you can, aren't you? I mean, seriously, you could so bust that game wide open and watch it bleed out on the floor. And we'd be applauding you.

I do like this new game history segment, though. I hope it continues.

Atmos Duality:

"It caused the crash of 83'!"
No, not really. The shovelware gambit was going on for YEARS without relent or remorse at that point. E.T. is just the lynchpin because it was attached to a very prominent Spielburg film rather than the likes of "Contamination .7"

It's also worth noting that it wasn't so much the issue as the fact that they were sure they'd sell over four million at Christmas and put them on expensive carts. Which, in fairness, Yahtzee does mention. But this is more the cause of the crash. Overspeculation on games like ET and Pac Man led to retailers having shelves full of unsold carts. It wasn't just a financial burden to the publisher, but also to the retailers. Faced with those full shelves, the retailers said "Whelp, that fad's over! What new toy can we find to replace it?"

Of course, this arguably couldn't have happened without a big name tied to it.

Anyway, I still enjoyed the episode, so I'm not knocking Yahtzee. Just engaging in some fact-based information in the comments section because it came up.

Falseprophet:

Also, Nintendo's content regulations might have been an effective crap filter (though the Angry Video Game Nerd would probably contest that), but they also ensured console gaming would be seen as a children's toy for almost 20 years afterwards.

I'd say AVGN was a pretty big testament to how horrible these regulations were at keeping bad games out. Many of the games James covers were hugely popular, some promoted by Nintendo Power, etc. And often, he only reviews the biggest offenders!

E.T. was not the game that crashed the gaming industry - Pacman was. Pacman was far more anticipated than E.T., and a far bigger disaster. Atari manufactured 12 million cartridges, but only sold 8 million. Also, once people realized the thing they bought sight unseen because they thought it was Pacman was actually a piece of garbage, retailers were deluged by people returning the game. It also fostered extreme mistrust in console games that purported to be games matching the arcade game brands they already knew about. That's why E.T. failed - people were already checked out.

There are far more copies of Pacman buried in that landfill than E.T. E.T. was just the final bullet shot into the dying body.

lol I wasn't expecting an evangelion reference from this at all. Coincidentally, it was only a few days ago we were cleaning out my grandfathers basement, and came upon my dad's old Atari 2600 and the games for it, including the ET game. He had never heard about this, so I had to show him an article to read on it, including the whole new mexico landfill thing.

Caylith:

BTW: why not review "Divinity: Original Sin"? It's the best thing to happen since the Baldur's Gate remakes. It's true!

He said in a recent Extra Punctuation that he had tried to play it and it bored him.

OT: Laughed quite a bit at this one, particularly with that nice little jingle and the ending.

I do have to wonder how E.T. would compare to titles like Ride to Hell, Dark, and the influx of complete trash Steam has been enduring the past few months were it to be released in modern times.

Zachary Amaranth:

It's also worth noting that it wasn't so much the issue as the fact that they were sure they'd sell over four million at Christmas and put them on expensive carts. Which, in fairness, Yahtzee does mention. But this is more the cause of the crash. Overspeculation on games like ET and Pac Man led to retailers having shelves full of unsold carts. It wasn't just a financial burden to the publisher, but also to the retailers. Faced with those full shelves, the retailers said "Whelp, that fad's over! What new toy can we find to replace it?"

Of course, this arguably couldn't have happened without a big name tied to it.

Well, that's a good perspective to bring up: video games were just "toys" back then.
As such, there wasn't really much of a critical press or consumer informant. They weren't taken seriously, and this fostered a dangerous relationship between producer and consumer.

Quality control was done entirely on a trust based system, and with the lack of licensing on Atari's part there was no reason to not go with the shovelware route and gouge like a motherfucker. Grab a license, spend a pittance on development, sell for megabucks. Repeat. It's not like anyone could know the quality of content until they played it.

So consumer trust was betrayed time after time, priming the market to go over the edge.
And then Atari grossly over-committed on E.T., and rightly fell.

Anyway, I still enjoyed the episode, so I'm not knocking Yahtzee. Just engaging in some fact-based information in the comments section because it came up.

Agreed. It's nice to see something other than the usual industry myths trotted out.
Saying that E.T. killed the industry is always something that rubbed me the wrong way.

I've played the game, and it is quite bad, but it at least passes the barest test of product functionality and that alone keeps it above shite like Cheetahmen.

Ed130 The Vanguard:
'Did it cause the crash of the entire Western videogames industry?'

ET and to a lesser extent Pac Man for the Atari 2600 were major contributors to the crash, Custer's Revenge was merely a symptom and not as high profile as the two Atari titles.

And like I've already said, E.T. was not the only contributor.
An entire industry doesn't collapse over one bad product. A systematic failure is required for that to happen.

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