Saturday, 4 October 2014

ET - is it really the worst game?

Worst Game Ever? 
ET The Extra Terrestrial - 1983

If reports are to be believed the worst game ever is ET for the Atari 2600 and it holds the unwanted accolade of potentially causing the collapse of the video game industry in the early eighties. 

Rumours rumbled around for years that thousands of copies of this game were buried in a New Mexico desert with many thinking that was just an urban myth until earlier this year when the site was found and the games excavated....but one of those games found its way to Sussex!!!! 

Your favourite GYL guest reviewers Hedger & Preece have decided to take one for the GYL team and set about the task of seeing just how bad this game really is.

A flick of the power switch takes us straight to the loading, title and intro screen (all cunningly disguised as the same screen with a rendition of the ET theme tune playing sweetly in the background or is that bleeping sweetly? 

In terms of the gameplay I think this game can be best summed up by the word 'toilet' (one that doesn't appear to flush). You have about 5 different screens that appear one after the other, in an unending cycle, as you (playing as the eponymous ET) are chased by an FBI agent, a scientist and Elliott. I think the idea is to collect parts of a spaceship whilst trying to avoid some holes in the ground (yes... I remember that bit in the movie too). I say 'I think', as what appeared to happen, at length, was I'd get picked up by one of these other characters and get taken to a screen that looked like a cross between the Acropolis and a small housing estate. 

Needless to say this game drew a semi-permanent, confused frown from within me as I tried to work out what the hell was going on. Even now, reflecting upon it with the clarity that a cup of tea and a Jaffa Cake bring, I still am at a loss. Still at least I can now say that I have experienced a part of gaming folklore – just quite possibly the worst part of it...

For me the rating for the game are : 

Sound 2 – Only the fact that the title screen had a tune that resembled the ET theme saved this from a 1 

Graphics 2 – ET's head movement is about the only impressive thing 

Playability 1 – You really won't want to play this a second time – even if you know what to do.
Overall 2 – But if I were you I'd score yourself a 1 for a) actually reading a review of the Worst Game Ever™ and b) reading it to the end! 

Reviewed by Dean Hedger and Jon Preece

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