Talk:E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (video game)

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This statement needs a better citation in the "Sales" section.

"While the game did sell well (it ranks as the eighth-best selling Atari cartridge of all time), only 1.5 million of the 4 million cartridges produced were sold. It is a myth however, that more copies of E.T. were produced than Atari 2600 consoles owned, though that is exactly what happened with their earlier Pac-Man port.[10] Also many of the copies were sent back to the company, though the number is unknown. Despite reasonable sales figures, the quantity of unsold merchandise coupled with the expensive movie license, and the large amount of returns, caused E.T. to be a massive financial failure for Atari." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:46, 30 December 2008 (UTC)


in fact, nearly all who purchased the game sent them back to the company.

This statement couldn't possibly be true. Tens of thousands of game purchasers spontaneously mailed the game back to Atari? ElTakko
I assume the game purchasers returned them to the retailer, and the retailer returned them to Atari. Quote from Ray Kassar: "We made five million and practically all of them came back." See p.238, "The Ultimate History of Video Games", Steven Kent. Pfalstad 03:55, 4 August 2005 (UTC)
According to Video_game_crash_of_1983, retailers returned unsold games to the publishers for credit for allocations of other games. Would Atari really allow consumers to return their games just because they didn't like them? (I don't think so.) Someone else can answer this.
Well the retailer decides whether to accept returns from consumers. Back then, you could easily return games without giving a reason, like any other return, because cartridges couldn't be copied. Pfalstad 10:32, 9 September 2005 (UTC)

The game is also known, oddly, for a wilted flower found on one screen: E.T. could be made to urinate on the flower, causing it to grow healthy. If E.T. revives the flower, E.T. is allowed one additional rescue from Elliot.

Actually, I can't find any reference of this now. Certainly at the time of its release, urinating on a flower was the height of humor for the game's audience, typically in middle school. People who knew of the game and had actually gotten past its suckitude to play it a bit liked to comment about the flower. Oh well. Koyaanis Qatsi
Sorry, KQ, I didn't look at the page history; I thought some joker had added the 'urinate' bit. But like so many others, I had the game as well. And from the times I played it, I don't ever remember a part about E.T. urinating on the flower. He raised his neck and caused the flower to come to life; I never saw anything that resembled urinating. E.T. may have been famous for Drew Barrymore saying "penis breath," but Spielberg didn't stoop to toilet humor -- and at least in this case, neither did Atari. --Modemac 01:17 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)
Interesting. I distinctly remember it, but hell, there have been studies done showing that people can be caused to "remember" seeing Bugs Bunny at Disney Land, which would never happen (he's a WB character, not Disney). That makes me want to look for a working 2600 and E.T. cartridge. LOL. Koyaanis Qatsi
Reportedly, there is a 2600 emulator available on the Web called "Stella." Literally hundreds of ROMs from the original 2600 games are also available online, though of course it would be a copyright infringement to actually download the E.T. game and play it with "Stella." <cough, cough>  :) --Modemac 11:59 16 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I'm inclined to believe you, that what I remembered didn't happen. I'll look into the emulator once I, uh, get a 2600 and an E.T. cartridge, so I don't violate any copyrights. Interestingly enough, I wonder if those forward-thinking souls who wrote the DMCA thought about format obsolescence: what would they do to get the information off a copy-protected item with an obsolete format? Koyaanis Qatsi 15:00 20 Jul 2003 (UTC)
I have never seen a serious legal analysis of the use of emulators and classic games. Fortunately, the copyright holders don't seem to care for the 2600 and for MAME, but there's no guarantee that won't change in the future. I fear the day may be coming soon when there isn't easy access to emulators and classic game images. The practical matter is that if a copyright holder decided to go after indivudals, the individual would probably be better off settling rather than risking their life savings.

From another version of this page, now redirected here:

E.T was seen by some as a notorious video game flop, released by Atari in 1982, often cited as a factor in bringing upon the video game crash of 1984.
The background follows as this: In 1982, Atari's parent company, Warner Communications, acquired the license to produce a video game adaption of the popular film E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, and promised Steven Spielberg that the game would be released in time for the 1982 holiday buying season. Designer Howard Scott Warshaw, who had already seen success on his games Yar's Revenge and the game adaptation of Raiders of the Lost Ark, was chosen to design and program the game. However, due to the time-frame of the contract, Warshaw was only given six weeks to go from concept to finished product.
Amazingly, he was able to finish the game in that time. However, when it was released, it was received negatively by the public for its confusing and frustrating gameplay. Nearly all five million cartridges printed by Atari were returned, and were ultimately shipped to a landfill in Alamagordo, New Mexico, where the cartridges were crushed by a steamroller, buried, and covered in concrete.
By the end of 1983, Atari posted a $536 million dollar loss, most in part to the E.T. debacle. As the market began to slip, Atari was in poor shape to survive intact, and was divided and sold as the American video game industry nearly collapsed in 1984.
Years afterwords, the story of the returned cartridges being buried in a landfill was first believed to be an urban legend. However, research soon proved that the account was indeed true.

Why bad gameplay?[edit]

Maybe someone can explain why E.T. is such a bad game? --Abdull 10:45, 30 July 2005 (UTC)

Let me count the ways... I played the game a lot as a kid. First off you only start with a very limited amount of energy. Doing anything even walking depletes it at an alarming pace. Run, which you'll need...Oh you want me to explain in the 'article', okay..Jarwulf 21:43, 15 November 2005 (UTC)

This Wikipedia entry is about an opinion, it should be corrected.[edit]

I agree with the guy that says this game is better than Adventure. I thought E.T. was one of the greatest games for Atari 2600 until I got Internet access! No, just kidding, I still think it's great.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Opinion doesn't begin to describe this article. This article is better described as revisionist history. Only in the realm of video games would such flimsy evidence allow the broad declaration of "worst ever" to be applied to a piece of work in such a sloppy fashion. Electronic Games actively covered video games when E.T. was released. There is no doubt; they played this game. Yet, there wasn't a backlash. I find the silence strange--given this software's revisionist historical title of "worst ever". (talk) 03:22, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

One of the reasons it is so hard to find references (and thus why most people won't bother taking the time to look) for E.T. being negatively recieved is that it wasn't. That is part of what makes the mad scrabbling for "better" sources "proving" how poorly it was recieved so funny. The reason almost no one but modern sources supports that belief is that that belief is revisionist. Once one accepts that fact, sourcing will become much easier, and the article more factual. It's the Emperor's Clothes here. Only people who believe the lie are having trouble seeing the fact that is staring them right in the face.

You can find references to PacMan's poor reception (Joystik magazine, for example, makes mention of it in their "home console" reviews). You can find references to E.T. sales not meeting Atari's corporate expectations, but still selling in blockbuster numbers (1.5 million) even by today's standards. You can find video of Spielberg saying he's surprised how fun the game design was given such short development. You can find reference to Atari putting one of their best programmers on developing the game. You can find proof the game sold over 100,000 copies years later and required another run be put together. You can find H.S.W. saying he thinks he did a pretty good job programming it. You can find reference to Atari still making profits that quarter in "The Making of Atlantis."

The only thing people are having trouble finding is contemporary reviews trashing the game and showing that people at the time hated it. What does that tell anyone willing to think about it for a minute? That stuff isn't here because it does not exist, because that belief is not true. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zieborn (talkcontribs) 18:18, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Completely false, see the section at the bottom of the page. News articles from the time describing it's failure and bad reviews from the time exist. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 20:07, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Just in case anyone doesn't scroll down, three of his references can't be checked (one he claims is a good review, the other is a bad one), one is regarding E.T. licencing being handled improperly (which, if I could fact check the article, I am pretty sure means they overpaiid for it and over produced it, not that it was badly made), and the other was about a different game. Easy to find references "proving" this lie keep eluding everyone for obvious reasons.

Where were the cartridges buried?[edit]

the snopes article [1], says New Mexico, and has sources. I didn't see the x-play thing. It wasn't just a joke? Did they find anything there? Pfalstad 14:47, 16 October 2005 (UTC)

I think you can generally trust the site. 15:37, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Edge "making of" article[edit]

There's a feature on the making of this game in the latest issue of Edge. It contains lots of things that would be useful for this article - for example, the programmer disputes the rumour that the unsold cartridges were buried in the desert, stating that given Atari's financial situation at the time, it would have cost far more to transport all the cartridges out there and bury them than it would to simply have them recycled.--Nick RTalk 16:28, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

There's also the fact that a massive computer maker, in the days of $1000 floppy drives, would likely have had a ton of other stuff they may have wanted to bury that would have been better tax writeoffs. They also had tons of copies of other 2600 games, and likely tons of 5200 stock, 2600 perephrials, computer game cartridges, etc. I don't know if I disbelieve that some E.T. carts were buried in there, but there is no logical reason they would have bothered to bury only E.T. carts. The only "proof" that it was largely E.T. carts would seem to be that they buried something at around the same time E.T. cart sales slowed. That's hardly proof, especially considering how many copies are still easily available, even boxed and sealed. If that many were returned and buried, why can I buy a sealed copy for $5 almost 30 years later? The market is still flooded with them after three decades, making it unlikely warehouses full of them ended up in that landfill. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zieborn (talkcontribs) 17:53, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Should I stick this in as a reference?[edit]

An old Time article states this: "1983 E.T. becomes a video game --and flops" That's all it says on the subject, but it does mention it. Should I add it as a reference or not? I only bring it up because of the lack of printed material we can find. I never do know what to do with references that I look into that don't actually add any actual information... [2] I'll keep looking into back issues to see if there's anything better. --SeizureDog 21:57, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

It might work. 15:36, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Good article nomination SORT OF useless[edit]

The page is already A-class. on the assessment scale, that is better than GA. This is just to make a point. KdogDS 20:56, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, I know. But the whole A-class thing is stupid for being stuck right between two ranks that require a formal system. --SeizureDog 18:30, 21 July 2006 (UTC)

Minor sentence change in Intro paragraph[edit]

This article looks great since I took at it last year! To the point, I'm changing this sentence in the introductory paragraph:

The game's great failure became a major contributing factor of the video game crash of 1983.

It sounds as if E.T. was one of the major reasons for the crash. More acurately, it is an example of a major reason for crash(a flood of bad games). So I'm replacing it with:

The game's failure is often epitomized as a major contributing factor of the video game crash of 1983.

--Mitaphane 00:45, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

I suppose that works better. It was more of a major reason for Atari's crash than the entire industry's I guess. Though once Atari went down everyone else sort of followed. --SeizureDog 00:59, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

New info, some revision[edit]

I've found some new print sources from 1982-84 and have attempted to work them into the development/sales section. I didn't mean to wind up deconstructing the prose so much, I just had difficulty making some of this fit. In any case, this is a first attempt on this section. I also have a bit of new info I want to add to critical response section and the atarai landfill section soon. Let me know what you think. -- (Lee)Bailey(talk) 01:12, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Lookin' good. Additionally, be sure to add those sources under the Books and Newspaper articles sections. What's Sales and Marketing Management? Might need a new subsection to find that. How were you able to find these articles anyways? On a final note, don't forget the thing about not having a space between the period and the footnotes. --SeizureDog 06:38, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Hi again. Sorry about some of the messy footnotes; formatting wound up being the thing I did last on the section, and by then I was a bit tired. I also didn't format Zap correctly with dates and publisher and edition -- that was pure laziness, and I'll fix it now. :) Sales and Marketing Management is an uncreatively titled trade journal, which ran a little piece on an Atari exec who was around during the ET fiasco. Most of these were located via Proquest (a subscription-based online database of old newspapers and magazines that is accessible from many libraries for free). I recommend Proquest to all Wikipedians, it's extremely handy. -- (Lee)Bailey(talk) 19:07, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I've now gone ahead with a very rough attempt to re-write the landfill section so it's less speculative and more verifiable. Feel free to revert, reintroduce info, etc -- this is just a first try. -- (Lee)Bailey(talk) 01:03, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

High importance[edit]

If this game is considered to be one of the catalysts of the video game crash and it's only of "mid" importance, I'd like to see what the criteria is for "high" importance. Hbdragon88 09:33, 9 September 2006 (UTC)

The way I usually hear it from non-biased sources is that E.T. was not really a cause of the overall video game crash, but merely the most high-profile symptom: game companies rushing substandard games onto market, and assuming they'd sell just because video games were the "in" thing. Because of the movie license, and because it was Atari itself (who really should have known better) rather than some unknown third-party company, it was one of the most visible symptoms of this syndrome (along with the equally high-profile flop Pac-Man), and therefore it's the one that usually gets the blame for the crash. It did spell financial doom for Atari, but it was the glut of crap for all consoles that killed the whole console industry for a few years. - 22:34, 8 November 2006 (UTC)
True enough, Atari had a slew of problems. But E.T. was basically the straw that broke the camel's back. And it was one big straw.--SeizureDog 20:27, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Esperanto version says different[edit]

The esperanto version of this article states the "common desinformation" about cartridge copies being produced more than actual machines.Martin Kuštek 17:10, 23 September 2006 (UTC)

Retail cost?[edit]

Hi all. I'm wondering what this video game retailed for when it was released. Anyone know? -Quasipalm 04:54, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

That's a good point that I missed. I'm assuming around $50. Atari games were expensive and had a high profit margin. Of course, that's before everyone realized it sucked. Could find it in dollar bins not too much later. I'm not sure if I've got a source anywhere that says though... But yeah, video games have traditionally had about the same price throughout their history. Hard to imagine paying so much for those old games now, eh? --SeizureDog 04:50, 24 November 2006 (UTC)
Wow, $50 -- no kidding! According to this calculator that's $99.68 in today's dollars. I'll keep googling around for a source because I think it'd be an interesting addition to the article. -Quasipalm 18:32, 2 December 2006 (UTC)
Well, maybe I mispoke. This site says that 2600 games usually sold for between $12 and $35. I guess it was more in the NES era that games got stuck around $50. Or $200 if you were a chump.--SeizureDog 20:11, 2 December 2006 (UTC)

Urban Legend or not?[edit]

(my bolding in both quotes) "Today the story is often misrepresented as an urban legend, despite considerable documentation of Atari's dumping on record in the city of Alamogordo. As recently as October of 2004, Warshaw himself expressed doubts that the destruction of millions of copies of E.T. ever took place, citing his belief that Atari would have recycled the parts instead in order to save money.[28]"

Then we have 3 paragraphs down:

"The indie rock band Wintergreen released a music video for their song "When I Wake Up" that retells the urban legend of the mass burial of E.T. cartridges. All the cartridges were actually fake. The music video is an idealistic imagination of the Atari landfill story, with the cartridges being simply buried in the middle of the desert in relatively pristine condition.[2]"

Is it an Urban Legend or not? Alexj2002 00:48, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

It is something that actually happened, and the urban legend surrounding it is almost entirely correct. Wintergreen retells the legend in an untrue format.--SeizureDog 05:50, 8 December 2006 (UTC)

"As recently as October of 2004, Warshaw himself expressed doubts that the destruction of millions of copies of E.T. ever took place, citing his belief that Atari would have recycled the parts instead in order to save money."

He's said it more recently than that - an Edge "Making Of" interview from either late 2005/early 2006 repeated his statement that he thinks it more likely that the cartridges were recycled rather than expensively buried. I can check out the exact issue and page number, if you want. --Nick RTalk 11:51, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Yes, please do.--SeizureDog 07:38, 25 January 2007 (UTC)

"Best videogame ever"[edit]

This entire section is wrong and ficticious. Although, when I read it I laughed pretty hard. I'm not going to remove it because it's too damn funny. 17:50, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

You crazy you! 14:47, 16 February 2008 (UTC) Ming —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Billion / Million[edit]

"The game did not do well commercially, and Atari lost over $750 billion worldwide dollars" Errrrrr... What ? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 14:39, 12 May 2007 (UTC).

Wow that's a lot of money to loose. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:58, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Code Monkeys[edit]

They made a pretty funny episode of 'Code Monkeys', explaining (in parody) why this game sucked so bad. This could be added as a note. JimmmyThePiep 22:18, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

If we find that there's a good call for a Popular Culture section in this article, we might consider referencing that. Not sure it's needed here at the moment, though. — KieferSkunk (talk) — 22:57, 11 August 2007 (UTC)

Most Notably Seanbaby?[edit]

I removed a portion of text under Critical Response. "This viewpoint was most notably made by Seanbaby when he ranked it #1 in a list of the 20 worst games of all time in Electronic Gaming Monthly's 150th issue." was changed to simply read "Seanbaby ranked it #1 in a list of the 20 worst fames of all time in Electronic Gaming Monthly's 150th issue." I didn't see a reason for the "most notably." —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Trendon (talkcontribs) 21:28, August 23, 2007 (UTC).

Seanbaby himself was six years old when this game was released. I can't understand why his opinion is featured here at all. Like Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. has complex gameplay that would confuse and frustrate a six year old child. This article needs reliable sources; they need views from gamers that were old enough to completely understand the game at the day of its release. By the time Seanbaby got a chance to evaluate E.T. properly, the Commodore 64 had taken hold of gaming. Technology rarely ages well; is his opinion really good enough to publish in an encyclopedia? (talk) 07:32, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

ET Development Time[edit]

North American video game crash of 1983 has the following quote:

"Unfortunately, the game had been rushed to market after only six weeks of development time."

This article states that it was five weeks, and both articles cite sources. Which is correct? --HappyDog 12:40, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Somewhere in between. Many seem to be going under the "6 weeks" impression, while Warshaw remembers 5 and half, which after the few days spent designing the game would leave only 5 weeks to make it. Since the specifics are a little vague, I changed the wording in the article to "less than six weeks" instead.

DP: ...How was it that you only had 6 weeks to do E.T.?

Warshaw: The problem was the negotiations for the licensing took a long time. The deal was completed in late July and Atari wanted the game out by September 1st in time for the Christmas shopping season. This allowed about 5 and ½ weeks for development time! Kassar called me directly from a hotel in Monterray where the negotiations were being held, and asked me if I could do it. “Sure…” I said, “…provided we can reach the right agreement!” I spent the next 2 days working up a basic design for the game. On Ray’s request, I flew down to meet with him, Skip Paul (the head legal counsel), Lyle Rains (who was going to do the coin-op version, but it couldn’t be completed in time), and Spielberg. It was exciting to meet with Spielberg again, but at the same time there was a lot of pressure to get it done. --SeizureDog 18:29, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for clearing up the confusion. I have also made this edit (with the same ref) to North American video game crash of 1983. --HappyDog 23:52, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

Article name[edit]

If no one objects, I think the article should be moved to E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (video game) since there is no other video game with the name. TJ Spyke01:39, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Sure. See if you can fix the redirects afterwards. -- ReyBrujo 01:58, 31 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm good with that. — KieferSkunk (talk) — 02:48, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

I actually see a potential problem. There was this release of the same name for the Game Boy Advance in 2001. And if someone were to suggest just having both on the same page, I'd have to object - the 2600's E.T.'s role in both the downfall of Atari and the industry wide crash makes it notable enough to keep it on its own, let alone how far developed this entry is (i.e. not a stub).

I would suggest instead starting a main index page called E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (video game) that covers the move of the character/movie in to video games and briefly covers each E.T. related game over the years (E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), E.T. Phone Home! (1983), E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial(2001), E.T. Digital Companion (2001), E.T. Escape from Planet Earth (2001), E.T. Interplanetary Mission (2002), E.T. Cosmic Garden (2002), E.T. Intergalactic Mission (2002), E.T. Away From Home (2002), E.T. Phone Home Adventure (2002), E.T.: Return to the Green Planet (2002)). There's a pretty comprehensive listing and reviews here to go from. --Marty Goldberg 04:35, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Given the above, I'm going to go ahead and move this article back to the Atari 2600 title. We can re-address the (video game) title later, but Marty brings up a good point about the number of other ET-related titles - they may not be terribly notable, but they do add ambiguity to the situation. — KieferSkunk (talk) — 18:17, 1 November 2007 (UTC)
Move done. Marty, you can grab the (video game) stub you created from this article's history and paste it to the new article if you like. — KieferSkunk (talk) — 18:28, 1 November 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, that GBA game is exactly the reason why I never moved the article before.--SeizureDog 22:17, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Something you forgot...[edit]

On Seanbaby's Website, about the game, he said that when E.T. levitates out of a well, it looks like a invisible monster trying to pull his head off. Can someone put that in the article? Relorelo84 (talk) 02:10, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

That's not really notable enough to include in an encyclopedic entry. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 04:21, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

Seanbaby himself was six years old when this game was released. I can't understand why his opinion is featured here at all. Like Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. has complex gameplay that would confuse and frustrate a six year old child. This article needs reliable sources; they need views from gamers that were old enough to completely understand the game at the day of its release. By the time Seanbaby got a chance to evaluate E.T. properly, the Commodore 64 had taken hold of gaming. Technology rarely ages well; is his opinion really good enough to publish in an encyclopedia? (talk) 07:26, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

That's assuming his opinion is based on his experience as a six year old. And considering that his opinion is published and referenced in many reliable sources, he therefore becomes a reliable source of information. That his opinion is obviously from the POV of a character, it's based on reality - I doubt his opinion is based off of something he does not believe in. However, on this subject, that line is not notable. It was written for humor's sake, and his opinion on the game should suffice. - A Link to the Past (talk) 23:41, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Rather or not Seanbaby believes his own opinion isn't the point. Rather or not he thinks he made a fair evaluation isn't the point. The bottom line: there is no existing reliable video game press from the time of this game's release to back up any of this. Seanbaby's opinion amounts to nothing more than glorified revisionist history.
Was E.T. panned at release as a horrible game? Or was it retroactively evaluated by revisionist historians who weren't old enough to make a reliable evaluation of the software on the day of its inital release?
The "reliable" sources you speak of were published over a decade after the game's release. The "reliable" reviews of this title appeared after the 2600 had given way to "The Supersystems", Commodore 64, NES, Genesis, and SNES. I want to see an article from Electronic Games magazine that was written by a journalist of the day that pans this game... This game was a widely released title. Surely the guys at Electronic Games saw the title and played it. Now, why is it that the worst game in the history of the world didn't receive critical beating?
This article suffers from severe point of view problems. It isn't encyclopedic in nature. It represents the pop culture ideas of children that weren't actively able to understand and participate in every piece of game software in existence when E.T. was released.
Given the opportunity, virtually every piece of 2600 software can be panned in essentially the same manner. Pitfall! also had game play that repeats the same things over and over.
This article needs reliable sources from the time of E.T.'s release. Right now, it is nothing more than revisionist history. (talk) 03:10, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Ambiguous redirects[edit]

"E.T. (video game)" redirects here, along with a lot of similar titles, when really this isn't the only E.T. game, or even the only one titles E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Based on that, there should probably be some sort of "other uses" text at the top pointing to E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in video games. I'd add it myself, except someone has to go through and change all the blacklisted Digital Press links first.

You could also point all the redirects to E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in video games and put the disambiguation notice there, but that's more work, plus I think most people would be looking for this game. --DocumentN (talk) 06:31, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Also: Currently E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (video game) isn't consistent with the other redirects, but the disambiguation notice should probably be added before that's fixed. --DocumentN (talk) 06:31, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Contemporary sources[edit]

This game's reputation as one of the worst of all time seems to have begun 15 years after its release, where it was posthumously reviewed by people who weren't even born yet when it came out. I cannot find a single source from the game's release, or even close to the game's release, to indicate it was considered one of the worst games of all time. This article is a joke. Phediuk (talk) 09:59, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

Still, it is sourced, and many notable video game magazines and websites have featured this in their "Worst Games of all time" lists. Perhaps a rewording of the "Reception" section is necessary to address your point, but this reviews are important. Take any video game/movie/novel article with WP:FA status. All of them have a "Reception" section, documenting both box-office performance and "professional" critical opinion of the video game/movie/novel. --> RUL3R*flaming | *vandalism 15:42, 29 August 2009 (UTC)

I would argue that these references are entirely useless as they are currently listed. What people 15 years later thought of the game (some of them writing for a PC game magazine) is certainly not related to the game's "critical response" The game was recieved in its appropriate context (being compared to other, similar games, by people expecting a certain level of graphical quality and sound, for whom E.T. was a current phenomenon) in the early and mid 1980s. Those reviewing it the next millinium (especially those who review bleeding edge computer games) are hardly a valuable source for the "reception" part. If you have to, these "top ten list" reviews should be put under "legacy," and even there they are about as valuable as sourcing the dialogue of a Letterman top ten.

Also, where is the proof of high returns? I know that Atari produced another run in 1985 or 1986, and that over 100,000 copies were sold between 1986 and 1990 (Curt in Atariage has posted the sales figures from those years, as he currently has the information for the Atari History Museum), so I find returns in huge numbers to be very unlikely. I also have yet to see an article from the period detailing this, which, given the attention both Atari and E.T. recieved at the time, seems odd. All the evidence would seem to point to no more than average return rates, yet the "information" is still in this article. . —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zieborn (talkcontribs) 11:35, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Scott Cohen's Zap! The Rise and Fall of Atari and Steven Kent's The Ultimate History of Video Games detail some of this. I believe the two authors based the content on interviews from key people involved. Also, I'd call Trent Ward's account of actually playing and returning the game contemporary.
In regard to the age of some of the reviewers, Sean Patrick Reiley was born in 1976, making him old enough to have played the game when it came out. Don't know if he did or not, but he certainly wasn't born after the release. The PC World writer, Emru Townsend, has been involved in writing about media since the early 1990s (see personal website). Unless, he was a child when he started writing, I'd say he was born before the game's release.
In regard to the lists, all of them are not short bullet points of punch lines. Each entry of E.T. explained why it was rated the way it was. Though contemporary reviewers may be accustomed to more technologically advanced games, the most common criticism of the game is its gameplay, not audio-visuals.
I'll admit that contemporary sources are not over flowing in the article, but they are still present and I think some of the claims above are based on an incomplete picture of the sources. (Guyinblack25 talk 15:53, 30 September 2009 (UTC))

I played and returned Kameo, but that does not mean the game flopped, or that returns were anything above average. Thus, at the very least, that specific citation is meaningless. Otherwise, why shouldn't my experience be a reference in the Kameo article? It is a pointless reference that proves absolutely nothing. If we are aiming for veracity in the article, a meaningless reference is, at best, an unnecessary waste of space.

The reason contemporary sources aren't overflowing in the article is probably the fact that the low quality of sources admitted leads any potential contributers to see adding anything as pointless. I, for one, know of at least three good, contemporary sources that could be included here (a contemporary game magazine article, the aforementioned sales figures, and a clip from a videogame documentary out while this was going on), but am not going to spend time tracking them down and entering them if they are sharing screen space (and equal weighting with) a personal anecdote and some hasitily constructed modern top ten lists. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:23, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for your time then. (Guyinblack25 talk 17:34, 30 September 2009 (UTC))

That whole conversation was silly and just a waste of time, including his claim in an earlier section that contemporary sources are hard to find because they don't exist. I just love when anonymous ip's/new accounts fly on here making grandiose claims. Wasn't very hard to come up with even a few quick articles from the time that talk about lower than expected sales or poor reviews. 1) Lower than expected sales and another that mentions a specific $20 million in losses figure with regards to E.T. 2) Another article talking about the slow sales of E.T. 3) A bad review from the time bringing up the same thing that was brought up now (to hard), 4) A good review though also mentioning how difficult the game was. 5) A bad review stating "Clearly a child's game, E.T. from Atari is a disappointment for anyone old enough to be reading this review." 6) We have the article "Character licensing: software's new screen stars" from Publishers Weekly v. 227 (February 15 1985) p. 68-72, which specifically states "Experts agree that a product's success is based on its compatibility with a character and cite Atari's failed E.T. video game as an example of what can go wrong." There were of course many more. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 20:05, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

1) I'm not a new account. I've had an account for a long time; I just haven't found such a terribly flawed article before worth commenting on. 2) One of your contemporary reviews is a good review, and the other is from a pay source that I can't read. So, assuming you're telling the truth in the one I can't fact check, that's one good and one bad. The fact that the good one says it was hard means no more than the fact that Ninja Gaiden Black or Contra were considered hard. That isn't aa complaint about those games; it is an observation.
2) I didn't say they didn't lose money on it. I said that Atari didn't lose money in that quarter. Meanwhile, the claim is that they lost so much money from E.T. that they lost money overall, leading to the belief it "crashed" Atari. Atari went into the crash on a profit.
3 etc.) They sold over one million copies (something like 1.6 million). It had slow sales compared to Atari's predictions (which were based on the belief the game would move systems in addition to games). In any case, slow sales beyong 1.5 million is not a sign of a poorly recieved game. It is not proof of anything, other than Atari offering investors poor guidance based on an unrealistic expectation. 1.5 million people bought the game. It sold like gangbusters. Half of the reviews you have of it from that time are positive. And yet, here you are, acting as though your belief is somehow "well supported." Open your eyes. He has no clothes.
EDIT: I just noticed your fifth "source." It is embarrassing. That's a review of the E.T. COMPUTER game. That is an entirely different game. You control Eliot for goodness sake, and that didn't clue you in? Anyone who played E.T. 2600 would have picked up on that huge difference. It's almost as if you haven't. Would the article I can't read be about the computer game perhaps? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Zieborn (talkcontribs) 00:02, 1 October 2009 (UTC)
If you do have contemporary sources, the sharing of them would be greatly appreciated. Contemporary sources would help give the article a neutral point of view. However, if you have no intention of helping to improve the article, then I see no point continuing the discussion as such comments are bordering on incivility. I hope you reconsider. (Guyinblack25 talk 17:25, 1 October 2009 (UTC))

Okay. I have never bothered much with a wiki, but this I do feel strongly enough to contribute to. I think it is a great oppertunity to set the record straight, and have Wikipedia actually serve to dispell, rather than start or support, urban legend. However, it may take time to get them all together, as I would like to treat this like I would any other research project (just one I don't have a ton of time at any one time for).

Give me a week to come up with somethings, and I should be able to get something together (at the least the quotes from "making of Atlantis," official sales numbers for the game from 1986 on, and the clip from Spielberg). I'll probably tap the Atariage community too, because I'm pretty sure they'll have some stuff. After that, I'll keep looking. I'm pretty sure I've got a magazine reference saved somewhere.

As I haven't done this before, what should I do once I locate a source? Should I send it to someone who seems more involved in this process (you for example), or do I just go ahead and post it myself? Do I start a new topic in here to debate the merits of what I have found first? How would I do that? Any help is much appriciated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:42, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

You are welcome to post your findings here or email me the content. (Guyinblack25 talk 17:50, 1 October 2009 (UTC))

Thanks! (this is Zieborn by the way; I keep forgetting to log in when I post. Isn't there a remember me option). Fixed I think.

Your rant composed of gross violations of WP:OR, WP:SYNTHESIS, and WP:Civil aside, the fact that you are unwilling to access WP:Notable and verifiable sources is irrelevant. To date you've provided no credible evidence to support your opinion, and barely credible WP:OR and WP:SYNTHESIS in your attempt to discredit other notable and reliable sources (by Wikipedia's standards and guidelines). Besides the previous valid references, as stated there are plenty more - such as the June 4th, 1984 article from page 1 of the Wall Street Journal that also clearly states "In addition, Atari will sell a video-game version of "Gremlins," the latest movie involving director Steven Spielberg. The last time Atari based a game on a Spielberg film -- "E.T., the Extraterrestrial" -- it lost money by producing far too many cartridges of the poorly received product." Even the Wall Street Journal of the time was calling it poorly received. The supposed initial 1.5 million units were based on pre-orders to distributors, and not actual store sales - which was also why more than double that wound up stalling in warehouses. There's a reason why management playing fast with the numbers like that got them in trouble. And btw, I'm a well known AtariAge member and professional Atari historian as well. I look forward to seeing what you try and dig up and if it meets all the requirements. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 20:43, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Wgungfu, you are the first one who started the uncivil behaviour, with your ranting against "new users." That is implying that if I were a new user, I have no right to post to wikipedia. How very civil. Then, once I agree to try to contribute new sources, you try to pick a fight. Where's attacking new members and picking a fight once one is averted in the Wikipedia rules? And what valid previous links? The one that said it didn't sell four million copies (as if that is even a common sales number in today's bigger market)? The good review? The one bad review you could find of a game supposedly SO bad it sank the entire market? One bad review for something that bad doesn't strike you as odd? Or do you mean your reference reviewing the wrong game? Please leave me to trying to find references for the article as I said I would, and I'll leave you to finding your articles about the game recieving mixed reviews and high sales. --Zieborn (talk) 22:00, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Zieborn- While I'm sure you take offense to Marty's comments, I think you should consider that he may have taken offense to some of your comments. Comments which I'm sure can easily be construed as uncivil in places or at least overly sarcastic. Tearing apart each other's comments generally result in hurt feelings and heated arguments. I've worked with Marty on a number of articles (Space Invaders, Marble Madness, Pong, Q*bert, and Robotron: 2084), and I've found him to be very helpful. I recommend you assume good faith and move on to the matter at hand. If you can help improve the article, let's focus on that instead. That way, everyone is happy because we will have crafted an informative and accurate article. (Guyinblack25 talk 22:24, 1 October 2009 (UTC))

Fair enough. I do have a tendancy to be sarcastic. In any case, I will grant that I think his references are some of the most accurate reflections of the reception of the game that are on here. His references are contemporary, from solid sources, and unbiased. I disagree with the conclusions he draws for his references, but not his references (except the one mistaken one). I hope that is clear in my criticsm, as I do not wish to imply his sources are not useful. In any case, it's time to put my money where my mouth is. I won't be taking up anymore bandwidth until I have some sources of my own.--Zieborn (talk) 09:11, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

Okay, so here's some stuff that is contemporary to release, but that doesn't support my view. So, it's not all bad news. :) As I stated above, this makes it pretty clear the Atari landfill isn't just filled with E.T. carts. They point out it was Atari games, VCS systems (2600s for you youngins), and Atari computers.

However, the executive they interview says the game is "junk that sold below expectation." Again, not a sign of weak sales overall, but his opinion of the game is certainly counter productive to my argument. Oh well.

And the pain for me continues. This guy mentions that so many E.T. carts were sold that "even if [it] had been a hit" there would have been excess inventory.

New York Magazine calling the game an "also ran."

In a photo from Christmas, calls E.T. a "popular video game." Perhaps it was popular, and perhaps they didn't know what they were talking about. It is Billboard though, so they might actually know.

Billboards videogame sales in January 1983. Notice that E.T. is number 4, and has been on the top 15 list for 6 weeks, and was number three the wek before.

That's all I've got ntil I get to the research libary in city next week. A pretty strong case for poor reception after all. :) Sales, though, seem to have been just fine.

--Zieborn (talk) 14:14, 2 October 2009 (UTC)

I updated the article with the new sources. Hopefully, it makes every one happy, as I think the article is more balanced and informative now. Feel free to let me know otherwise.
The only source I have an issue with right now is the archived interview from "BeepBopBoop". It's cited twice in the article: first in the "Critical reception" for comments from Warshaw and second in the "Impact and legacy" section for Warshaw's comments about the cartridge burial. Any thoughts about what to do with it? (Guyinblack25 talk 17:16, 5 October 2009 (UTC))
Not a contemporary source, but I ran across this and thought it was an important current source to add - a presentation done at this past year's Game Developer's Conference. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 00:55, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Just ran across another source, this a direct quote and response from then head of Atari Inc., Ray Kassar. Has material for both the development and reception sections:

The project, however, was blighted from the inception. Its engineers told Kassar the movie wasn't suited to become a video game. "They said that it was a lovely, sweet movie, and kids like to kill things," Kassar recalled. Once the game was done, it was established in focus groups that , in all likelihood, the company would be able to sell only one third of the 4 million that were slated for production - a quantity that Atari needed to sell in order to make a profit, considering the costs of the guaranteed royalty, production, and advertising.
E.T. exceeded the most dire predictions. According to Kassar, of the 4 million they shipped, about 3.5 million were returned.
Master Of the Game - Steve Ross and the Creation of Time Warner, pps 179-180.

--Marty Goldberg (talk) 22:40, 12 November 2009 (UTC)

Cancelled Documentary[edit]

It it worth discussing an idea some students had for a documentary film that they never actually made? I deleted it, but it was reverted with the request that I bring it up here. So, should we include it, or is it just self-promotion for a failed project? SkipSmith (talk) 07:24, 3 November 2009 (UTC)

I agree with SkipSmith. It is just to trivial to be mentioned and it adds nothing of interest to the article. > RUL3R>trolling>vandalism 07:31, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
It's trivial if it received no notable coverage or simply exists to promote itself, which by the reference and a google search it did receive notable coverage, and it's not being presented on it's own in a trivial manner. Truthfully, it's no different than reporting failed hollywood projects for a property in movie articles. Likewise, in this case it's being used specifically in the Impact and Legacy section to add to the examples of the cultural impact of the landfill and game. It also survived a recent GA-Class reassessment. Additionally, self-promotion would be if it was put here to promote said project by one of the project members. It was not. The person who asked you to discuss it here is a member of the video game project and responsible for bringing this and other articles to GA and FA status, and AFAIK is the person who added the content and references. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 07:51, 3 November 2009 (UTC)
I stumbled across the 1UP article about the documentary and thought it was an interesting piece tied to the "urban legend" portion of the article. After more research, I found the Auburn page about the cancellation. If it was just the Auburn page, I'd agree with you about removing it, and probably never would have added it in the first place. But since did an article on it, I felt it warranted a mention.
However, I'm not married to it. If enough people feel it should go, then I certainly won't stand in the way since it's such a minor part of the article. (Guyinblack25 talk 15:56, 3 November 2009 (UTC))
It doesn't sound like there was ever a serious attempt to even begin this project. A bunch of guys decided it would be fun to do for their spring break, and then they flaked out. I don't think this rises to the level of a failed Hollywood project -- this was a drunken discussion in the dorms that led to a webpage. My inclination would be to delete it, but I'm willing to wait a bit longer for more feedback.
Side note: should we add this to the article? Characters in Aqua Teen Hunger Force were inspired by the landfill story. SkipSmith (talk) 05:00, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
Though I disagree with your take on the origin, the proposal sounds fair. Let's wait and see.
In regard to the ATHF mooninites, that would probably be better for Atari video game burial, which may eventually get merged with North American video game crash of 1983. Everything about the landfill directly relevant to E.T. has already been added here. (Guyinblack25 talk 16:21, 5 November 2009 (UTC))
Very frustrated with the inclusionists around here. The things I removed from the article really aren't discussion-worthy, it should be very obvious that they don't belong here. Let's take the first bit of text I removed:

As a result of overproduction and returns, unsold cartridges were buried in a New Mexico landfill.

Compare this to the text further down the article:

Atari officials and others gave differing reports of what was buried,[1][2][3][4] but it has been speculated that most unsold copies of E.T. are buried in this landfill, crushed and encased in cement.[5] The story of the buried cartridges became a popular urban legend, with skeptics disregarding the official accounts.[6]

You can see how the removed text contradicts this passage, can't you? What is the purpose of keeping this text in at this point, other than for enthusiasts to get their jollies from repeating what is essentially a popular meme?
On to the second bit of text that I removed. It beggars belief that somebody saw fit to add this back in to the article:

In 2008, Auburn University students planned to produce a documentary about the game's impact on the video game industry and burial in the New Mexico landfill.[7] However, high gas prices during 2008, among other reasons, prevented the project from starting.[8]

"Some students" (notability?) decided to make a documentary, but didn't in the end? How is this encyclopaedia material? I once had a dream about the E.T. game but was woken up before it ended. Should I add this to Wikipedia also?
The amount of bureaucracy involved in getting absolute nonsense removed from this article is ridiculous. People are donating to Wikipedia and making good edits in earnest; it isn't fair that people treat it as their own fan page to propagate their favourite memes and promote their cancelled projects. (talk) 21:01, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

a) Watch the personal commentary/attacks and overall soapbox tone of your statements. Wikipedia is not a forum. b) There is no question there are E.T. cartridges there, there are further articles from time period that discuss this and other carts and hardware being buried there (I'm looking at one right now distributed by Knight Ridder at the time that specifically mentions kids raiding and coming up with E.T. carts before the decision to pour concrete was made). What is in question is how many are there, because there were also Raiders, Bezerk, and Defender carts as well. The dumping started that Thursday and ended Tuesday when the concrete was poured after to many raids by locals. Where the question with Atari comes in, is they were trying to state everything was defective and that's why it was being dumped, while locals were reporting the stuff they were pulling was working just fine. Likewise, opening paragraphs are meant to summarize what's in the article - including important topics like this. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 21:39, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Call me biased, but I'm in agreement with Marty's above comments.
In regard to the Auburn documentary, I see little reason to keep that content in given SkipSmith, RUL3R, and the anonymous user's view points in addition to my own minor attachment (which people have apparently interpreted as me being involved to the documentary :-p ). Anyway, removing it does not damage the integrity of the article, so off it goes. (Guyinblack25 talk 22:15, 23 November 2009 (UTC))
I certainly didn't implicate you personally in being involved in the documentary (merely that I thought it likely that whoever added it originally must have some connection, because nobody else would care). I think you've bolstered the case for its removal by revealing this! (talk) 23:51, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Then perhaps the opening paragraphs should say the same thing as the rest of the article? Key words: "speculated", "urban legend", "skeptics" and "doubts". The line in the opening paragraph should at least talk about it in terms of being an urban legend (which is certain and verifiable) rather than as fact (which—by following references in this very article—is questionable.) (talk) 23:48, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
To clarify, I was the one that originally added. See my first reply to this thread above.
Either way, the documentary portion is settled. So nothing more to worry about with it. (Guyinblack25 talk 00:55, 24 November 2009 (UTC))
You're also selectively interpreting what's being stated in the article. It certainly is not promoting it as an "urban legend", nor are "skeptics" and "doubts" given any limelight other than to mention some exist against given confirmation of the dump - i.e. they're an oddity. As stated, there is no speculation, as already mentioned there are E.T. carts there. The urban legend part had to do with the previously unverified fact of there being a dumping there period, which is what the "skeptics" are usually referring to. Thanks to good newspaper archives appearing over the last 9 years, the dump has since been confirmed as shown. The statement that appears in the summary now had been edited down to "As a result of overproduction and returns, unsold cartridges were buried in a New Mexico landfill." That follows Wikipedia's neutral policy on neutrality, and is completely factual given the articles. E.T. carts, and others were buried in the New Mexico landfill. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 06:07, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
I'm not being selective. Annoyingly, I feel that you are by deciding that evidence for the carts is more reliable than evidence against it; which isn't really the issue anyway, as you could easily remove the unnecessary line from the introduction and keep the more balanced lines in the article body. However, I don't really have the energy to fight it. A little research shows that you are a tag-team duo, and will quite happily interpret reality in any way that allows you to control the articles that you edit and insert trivia about your college pals. Go on, throw a WP:CIVIL at me. Yawn. (talk) 06:39, 24 November 2009 (UTC)
Only because you asked. Per WP:CIVIL, please refrain from "rudeness, insults, and name-calling". Not everyone who adds content to Wikipedia is doing it to self-promote.
Anyway, back to the matter at hand. The comment about "became a popular urban legend, with skeptics disregarding the official accounts." is cited with sources that still support the burial. They just also stated that not everyone believes it. See GamePro source for example. Other than Morris's The Art of Game Worlds and Warshaw's interview, every other source that discussed it in the article said the burial was real. The Art of Game Worlds did not give a rationale to the statement. Warshaw also stated in his interview that he did not definitively know if it was true or not, simply that he did not believe it to be true.
All that being said, I think this may be more a misunderstanding of semantics. Perhaps we can tweak the sentence to better convey the meaning. Any thoughts? (Guyinblack25 talk 17:29, 24 November 2009 (UTC))
And I resent the "tag-team duo" claim. Nothing in either of our edit histories show that. Guyinblack is responsible for moving many video game articles here to Good Article and Featured Article status, which is the actual goal of articles on Wikipedia. As such, I've asked him and others to participate in "discussions" such as these in a purely neutral function. Any search of my edit history will verify that, and will also show that his evaluations are not always in my favor, as it is with other neutral parties I ask to participate. We're both longtime members of good standing and contributions with the Video games project here. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 21:18, 2 December 2009 (UTC)

New FA nomination[edit]

Reading again through this article, I believe there is grounds for another WP:FA nomination. It has no sourcing problems, has an excellent prose...I can't find anything missing to this article under WP:FA?. Would anyone support another FA nomination? > RUL3R>trolling>vandalism 07:43, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

The FA criteria for 1a (well-written) has continually become very strict, and I've had bad luck with writing "professional" prose. Just letting you know that most of the article's current state was written by me. So an extensive copy edit might be in order before a nomination. (Guyinblack25 talk 18:08, 7 January 2010 (UTC))
After some changes, I believe it is mostly ready. > RUL3R>trolling>vandalism 23:23, 15 January 2010 (UTC)
You removed the statement "Many copies were reportedly sent back to the company.." from the Reception section, and I'm not sure why. This is documented and referenced at the end of the "Contemporary Sources" section above. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 05:08, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
Just added it back in slightly rewritten and including the reference. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 05:21, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
I gave the copy edits and new ref some tweaks, mainly for consistency and grammar.
If you guys think it could pass an FAC, go for it. Just letting you know, that criteria 1a blocks a lot of articles. I don't have much time to help with issues, but I'll do what I can. (Guyinblack25 talk 06:08, 16 January 2010 (UTC))
I am submitting a peer review first, so all issues can be addressed before nomination. > RUL3R>trolling>vandalism 07:36, 16 January 2010 (UTC)
FYI- It wouldn't hurt to look at Talk:Pac-Man (Atari 2600)#A-class Assessment. The two games have similar "Impact and legacy" sections, and I remember some comments there that might apply to this article. (Guyinblack25 talk 17:31, 19 January 2010 (UTC))

Total production costs[edit]

Article says "Total production costs were estimated to be US$125 million". I find this very difficult to believe, comparing for instance, that the production costs of the E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial-movie itself were only 10.5 million. One guy coded the game in five weeks. Apparently costs also include manufacturing the cartridges, but still I find this hard to believe. The current cost of console games development is between $3and $6m per title [3]--Teveten (talk) 16:28, 13 January 2010 (UTC)

The current cost of console games is irrelevant, completely different market including development and distribution. This was a movie licensed game - let alone the first movie licensed game, which cost them $23 million to begin with just for that licensing. Likewise the production cost of the movie are irrelevant, they didn't have to license it from themselves and costs were actually well above that with advertising and everything else surrounding getting the movie out were well above 10.5. Atari spent minimum $20 million in advertising ($5 million alone in a month period). So you're already up at least $50 million there, which then includes the manufacturing and world wide distribution costs through their own network, and you have the costs of several different departments involved in the programming, artwork (which would have been done in a separate department), management, etc. This was a major corporation that did things in a very corporate manner. Modern game companies have a much more team orientated streamlined approach. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 18:37, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
To my understandig, Warshaw coded the game alone and according to the article got 200 000 from it. But maybe the cartridge manufacturing explains the costs. If 5 millions were made and one would cost 20 dollars to manufacture, that would cost 100 millions.Teveten (talk) 19:55, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
The costs of the game are all the things I mentioned, not just what Warshaw got for coding it and not just cost of manufacturing. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 20:01, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
But if it was made today, then it could've been an amazing game and a huge success and made Atari a multi billion dollar megagiant! - The New Age Retro Hippie used Ruler! Now, he can figure out the length of things easily. 20:28, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
I Agree that this statement is misleading, confusing, and inaccurate. Since when was advertising and manufacturing factored into game production cost? There also doesn't even seem to be a real link to the "citation" for this number. I vote to delete this statement from the article. Indstr (talk) 15:20, 29 October 2013 (UTC)

Bad arithmetic[edit]

Something doesn't add up. If 4 million units were produced, 1.5 million were sold, how could 3.5 million be returned and buried in landfill? Somebody's telling porkies.--Rfsmit (talk) 22:20, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

No, you're just not reading correctly and running a few things together that aren't being said. Likewise nowhere is it saying that 3.5 million were buried in a landfill.
1) There's two separate sentences here - a)"The game eventually sold 1.5 million units, becoming one of the best-selling Atari 2600 titles.[14][20] However, between 2.5 and 3.5 million cartridges went unsold" and b) "According to Ray Kassar, about 3.5 million of the 4 million produced were sent back to the company." Those are talking about two separate things and time periods. Ray was only at Atari through July of '83, and during that year time period almost all the orders figures for 1982 into 1983 were based on presales orders based on large bulk advanced orders that Atari had forced distributors and retailers to do for the entire year in advance. That's what got them in trouble when suddenly sales projections for the year were a lot lower that December of '82 causing a market slide and the beginnings of what became known as the crash. They were based on inflated orders that didn't account for the possiblity of stock being returned - which already started happening that summer of '82. Kassar and several executives got in further trouble when they tried to sell off some of their personal stock before the announcement, eventually resulting SEC fines and Kassar's eventual removal. Kassar's quote is talking about the time period of E.T. sales he was there for (December '82 through July '83), and only states that during that time they had produced 4 million and 3.5 million of them were returned. That does not state or imply they were simply destroyed or that the stock wasn't reused. See point 2 below.
2) Sales reported has to do with sales to distributors/retailers, not retail sales. Atari based it's sales projection on pre-orders of games which they forced retailers to order for the entire year in advance. How it worked then is that orders can be cancelled, and often unsold merchandise or recieved merchandise can be returned for credit much like how it works for magazines today. So if I'm retailer B and retailer A got it's shipment that included game X and is reporting how horrible sales are for it in the chain, I'm going to cancel my order. That also means that as retailers cancelled orders throughout the year, sales previously reported in quarterly reports were no longer valid. Hence the misshap with the lower than reported earnings that December of '82 and the continued downward spiral it experienced in '83. What happens with that stock though is it'll sit in warehouses (and Atari had many) to be sold again, or in some cases be destroyed (as what happened with the many products burried in New Mexico, it wasn't a mass dump of ET's though ET was included in the batch. So over it's lifetime (and after Kassar's period) it's entirely possible that it sold 1.5 million as the game continued to be sold even in the Tramiel years of Atari Corp.
--Marty Goldberg (talk) 22:59, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
The above is wrong, and overcomplicating the matter. It's because estimates of total production usually hover around 5 million (this figure is used by several cited sources) rather than Kassar's quoted 4 million. 1.5 million sales equals 3.5 million still in inventory, based on this higher production figure. The "between 2.5 and 3.5" references both Kassar's lowball production figure and the more common 5 million figure. Herr Gruber (talk) 08:04, 5 October 2011 (UTC)

Angry Video Game Nerd[edit]

He's gonna take us back to the past, to play the shittiest game that sucks ass of all time. Is this worth mentioning in the article? (talk) 19:38, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

No. The Game 10:39, 3 July 2011 (UTC)

And yet or whatever is? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:02, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

You're mistaken, that paragraph isn't about It's about the event of fixing the original ET code, an event covered internationally by major reliable resources. Reviews by the AVGN are considered spam here and unreliable references. In turn however, the event of the AVGN announcing the movie on the subject of ET was picked up and covered up by reliable sources and is covered here. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 21:57, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

Urban Legends of Video Gaming[edit] -- Could the information in this video help add to the article? --UBracter (talk) 22:59, 6 July 2011 (UTC)

Warshaw's comment on cartridge burial[edit]

Herr Gruber removed a statement about Warshaw's disbelief about the burial. I restored that statement because I believe it is relevant, especially given that it is preceded by a statement about skeptics. Warshaw's statement provides an example of skepticism as well as is insight as an employee of Atari at the time. Herr Gruber undo the restoration and stated that Warshaw does not qualify as an expert to the game's disposal and is essentially a layman making speculative claims in this area. While he was in a different division, I believe that it stands to reason that he would be aware of some common practices of the company as a whole. Regardless, I'm all for presenting article content in a clear manner. Perhaps clarifying his reasoning would be the best treatment. Thoughts? (Guyinblack25 talk 14:34, 5 October 2011 (UTC))

I don't see how a programmer would know any more than a man on the street about the company's policies regarding disposal of excess inventory. There's simply no reason to believe he has some special insider story on the subject, especially since he himself states in interviews that he does not have such information and is only speculating as to whether the disposal occurred. To quote directly: "I don't know if anybody knows definitively, because I doubt that it happened, so nobody can really know. I have a reasoning for it." A layman stating what he admits is total guesswork is not a reliable source. Herr Gruber (talk) 15:12, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
As I previously stated, he is not the average layman in this case; he worked at the company. I know many things that happen at my workplace that do not pertain to me. And I think you might be misinterpreting his statement. I believe he's reasoning that no one can prove the existence or nonexistence because it never happened. I.e. proving it that it did would be easier if it actually did.
Regardless, the statement still acts as an example of skepticism. The developers commenting on the game's legacy is worth mentioning. That being said, I suggest we copy edit it to improve things. (Guyinblack25 talk 15:45, 5 October 2011 (UTC))
You might know certain things that do not relate to you, but that does not mean that I can assume you know thing X which does not relate to you, especially if, as Warshaw does, you have specifically said you have no special knowledge of the thing in question. He's simply saying that he's got a theory as to why it might not happened, without claiming it's founded in anything but guesswork. Bear in mind he is claiming the burial did not happen at all; there is in fact a great deal of evidence that a large amount of material was buried, including this source which includes a claim that children who scavenged the site found that playable game cartridges were among the equipment disposed of. Herr Gruber (talk) 15:53, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
Which is why I believe the statement should stay. It provides an example of the skepticism as well as commentary on the game's legacy from the developer. I believe that rewriting is the best treatment here. Any suggestions for rewording that sentence? (Guyinblack25 talk 16:04, 5 October 2011 (UTC))
I don't really buy that; someone who claims they're just guessing apropos of nothing does not constitute a valid source just because their point of view does not match the most commonly held one. What exactly makes Warshaw's guess important enough to be considered noteworthy, other than his relationship to the game which does not carry any authority regarding the claims he's making? Herr Gruber (talk) 16:13, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
It's the maker's commentary on the topic's legacy. Regardless, Wikipedia:Neutral point of view instructs us to balance conflicting reports to maintain neutrality. (Guyinblack25 talk 16:37, 5 October 2011 (UTC))
Yes, but in line with the sources carrying a reasonable amount of weight and authority. NPOV isn't supposed to be about including the random musings of some guy who doesn't claim to really know what he's talking about. Herr Gruber (talk) 16:48, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
As I've previously stated, I do not consider him to be just some guy. This is obviously an area that we disagree on. I assert that the creator is allowed to have thoughts about the cultural impact of his creation. But perhaps we should wait for comments from others to reach a conclusion. (Guyinblack25 talk 16:57, 5 October 2011 (UTC))
I assert that he's allowed to have thoughts about the cultural impact, but that's a country mile from asserting he knows anything worth quoting about what happened to about 3.5 million surplus cartridges that had to have ended up somewhere. Herr Gruber (talk) 17:06, 5 October 2011 (UTC)
FYI- I post at WT:VG asking for additional comments. (Guyinblack25 talk 16:33, 12 October 2011 (UTC))
Short comment on whether or not Warshaw's comment are worth consideration -- as someone who worked at the company, his comments certainly are not those of "some randome dude", as such he is likely (at least slightly) more relevant than other outside commenters. Whether or not that warrants his inclusion in this article is a different matter, which I am still undecided about. Salvidrim (talk) 17:36, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Agree. They are slightly more relevant, but at the same time, his going on record that he has no knowledge so clearly means that it probably shouldn't be taken much, if any, more seriously.Jinnai 22:38, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
If at all possible, it might be simpler (and better) to find comments expressing skepticism by someone else, whose pertinence is not so questionable. Salvidrim (talk) 22:45, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Then you'd also have to find some info on those who believe. WP:NPOV comes into play here since its a widely believed statement among the masses, but not the experts (at least according to the current version of the article). IE, no clear evidence that one side is right or more favored. Therefore we must treat each side the same, unless the burial can be debunked or proven.Jinnai 22:50, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Just to clarify, the fact that a burial of Atari product occurred at the location has already been proven, it was covered by the media of the time and is already sourced. It's the myth it being truckloads of ET cartridges that seems to persist as urban legend and really what needs addressing here, and the author of the game stating his opinion on the burial doesn't add any credence one way or the other on that. The only other statements I've seen from a direct management level are Ray Kassar's statements on the overproduction of ET's. Nothing in regards to the burial legend though. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 03:01, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

Okay then that just means the NPOV issue for the statement is more narrowly defined to whether it was a little or truckloads. Everything else I said still applies. If you find someone (Warshaw or another) to support one side to quote, you'd need to find someone on the other side.Jinnai 03:09, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
There is information on the other side. "Atari officials and others gave differing reports of what was buried, but it has been speculated that most unsold copies of E.T. are buried in this landfill, crushed and encased in cement."
The paragraph provides both sides of the story: reports of the event and skeptics believing it to be an urban legend. Warshaw's comment was a supporting statement to skeptics side as well as commentary on his creation's legacy. All together, that was two sentences about the skepticism of a seven sentence paragraph. I don't think a point of view is being portrayed. (Guyinblack25 talk 16:41, 13 October 2011 (UTC))
Well it looks to be more like 4 long sentances. The first 2 don't even mention E.T., but just give a backdrop. The 3rd sentance gives the official report. The last one is divided into the part about the urban myth and skeptic disbelied. Given that:
  1. It's not clear what the urban myth is referring to. Is it referring to the quantity buried? The fact that any were buried? If it was the latter, then would that shouldn't qualify as an urban myth, unless it started before the official statements were made confirming the burial (in which case the statements would need to be linked). If its the quantity, that's not made clear.
  2. So the skeptics disbelieve offical reports? Do they also disbelieve the news stations and footage? Is it that they don't believe cartridges was destroyed in that manner? If so it sounds like WP:FRINGE as there is documented evidence that they overproduced copies and their are news reports of the landfill having stuff from Atari being dumped as well as reports by Atari that they used the landfill in some manner. If its more that they don't think that truckloads were buried, that should be clarified because it sounds like they don't believe any cartridges were ever crushed and buried in a landfill by Atari in spite news coverage of the event.Jinnai 17:02, 13 October 2011 (UTC)
I believe the sources described the urban myth from both angles: quantity and occurrence. Based on your comments above I'll see about clarifying the content. (Guyinblack25 talk 19:27, 13 October 2011 (UTC))
The urban myth is that it only involved ET cartridges. That it occurred at all only seems to be disputed by Warshaw (who admits he has no idea one way or the other; it's just an appeal to incredulity on his part), that it involved most or all of the surplus cartridges is only disputed by a few. It's generally agreed by sources that it happened and involved millions of copies of ET. Herr Gruber (talk) 12:02, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
You had it right up until the second half there. That it involved most or all of the surplus cartridges is part of the myth. Likewise most of the modern sources are quoting the myth. As stated, actual coverage from the time (which includes quotes from Atari execs) states it's a mixture of faulty computer and console equipment, and cartridges (of which a number of different titles were mentioned being pulled out by kids). --Marty Goldberg (talk) 12:10, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Nope, that's you trying to rewrite history. There were "ET GO HOME" headlines in the local press even at the time, and plenty of verifiable sources have made the connection between "sudden burial of equipment" and "inventory surplus of millions of copies of ET and Pac-Man." Herr Gruber (talk) 12:23, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Nope, that's me going by the actual local articles and the direct statements by Atari execs at the time. If there's "ET Go Home" headlines and related material in the local press at the time, please provide them. Otherwise it's going by personal memory, which is WP:OR. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 17:04, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
The article on the burial itself cites "McQuiddy, Marian (September 27, 1983). "City to Atari: 'E.T.' trash go home". Alamogordo Daily News." So yeah, people made the connection immediately, it's not something that's happened in the years since. Herr Gruber (talk) 17:30, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Herr Gruber- I have taken your comments to be very condescending. If that is not the case, I apologize, but I find such attitudes to be counter-productive.
That being said, I believe that you are doing your best to ensure accuracy in the article. What you might be neglecting is that so are the rest of us. We have sources supporting that others believe that the nothing was buried. Third parties (other than Warshaw) have referred to the actual burial as an urban legend. Taking Jinnai's comments about WP:FRINGE into account, I made only a minor update to the section in question. Rather than put the whole sentence about Warshaw's view, I added his name as one of the skeptics. I hope this puts the matter to rest. (Guyinblack25 talk 14:20, 20 October 2011 (UTC))
Off-hand I can't think of another person who claims the burial itself didn't take place who isn't simply parroting Warshaw's statement to that effect (let alone one that would qualify as a good source). The idea that it was only equipment is based on a series of statements from Atari (a primary source with good reason to mislead people about what was being dumped, considering its financial situation at the time) which are generally not treated as credible by third parties. Even most of the third parties who use the "urban legend" label only do so in the context of saying it is not one. Herr Gruber (talk) 15:09, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Why would they say that it wasn't an urban legend if a group of people did not believe that it was an urban legend. There is obviously a perception that it did not occur. (Guyinblack25 talk 15:25, 20 October 2011 (UTC))
I think for skeptic sources you need to stick to people who actually are skeptics. There's plenty of case for trying to look clever by debunking things nobody ever believed anyway (you did it in school, we all did). "True" entries on lists of urban legends like this just mean the story might sound a little far-fetched, you can hardly use someone saying something is not an urban legend as proof positive that anyone thinks it is one. Herr Gruber (talk) 15:30, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
And that's also incorrect, there's also quotes from local residents who went in to the dump to retrieve material (which prompted in it be crushed and then concrete poured over) that mentioned a number of games, not just E.T. - "coming up with cartridges of such games as E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark and Defender". The idea of it being all ET's seems to have sprouted up as an urban legen much later. This one from 1988 makes no mention of an ET dump. Neither does this one from 1991. Nor this one fom 1986. Neither does this Infoworld article from 1983. Nor this New York Times article from 1983. And so on. In fact I was hard pressed even on pay news services services to find E.T. mentioned at all in relation to the dump during this time period except in a listing of multiple titles. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 17:04, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Which proves...What? Like I said, the only "myth" aspect is that the only thing dumped was ET cartridges. As noted, the "ET GO HOME" headlines appeared at the time (other article citation: McQuiddy, Marian (September 27, 1983). "City to Atari: 'E.T.' trash go home". Alamogordo Daily News. "). Yes, there's a lot of contradictory primary information about the issue, but the secondary sources which analyse it almost universally conclude that Atari was bullshitting about what they were throwing in there and that the vast majority of those millions of surplus cartridges are in that block of concrete. Even your own articles agree Atari was lying and that millions of unsold cartridges are in there (and with 8 million unsold copies of ET and Pac-Man, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out which ones those would be). Herr Gruber (talk) 17:21, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

Late to the conversation here, I know, but it looks like most of the discussion is centering on a minor, and most likely unimportant point. It is a fact that cartridges were buried; its a fact that some of those were E.T., and its a fact that speculation exists that most of the unsold E.T. cartridges ended up in the dump. I doubt we will ever know exactly how many E.T. cartridges were buried, so I don't see the problem with listing these three facts, which the article already does with sources. The last sentence, which is contentious, seems to be the problem. Why not just get rid of the urban legend stuff? The dump happened and the quantity of E.T. cartridges in the dump (a small amount of remaining stock, a large amount of remaining stock, nearly all remaining stock) does not matter all that much. Stating, as the article does, that some speculate all the E.T. cartridges ended up there already tells the reader this is not a known fact and that some would dispute it, so belaboring the point with an extra sentence about urban legends is unnecessary. Indrian (talk) 18:10, 20 October 2011 (UTC)

Herr Gruber- Again, you are quite intent on making sure the article is factually accurate. Which is a good approach to take. However, Wikipedia is aims to be verifiable. We regurgitate what reliable sources write about. If you want to include what one side then you have to include the other if reliable sources cover it.
Indrian- As Jinnai pointed out, the sides were disproportionately represented, but aside from the removal of a citation, that has been fixed. So as you pointed out, very little is being gained from continued discussions. (Guyinblack25 talk 18:18, 20 October 2011 (UTC))
You see, its the "sides" thing that bothers me. It seems to me that the number of cartridges is a small point and does not need excessive balance to meet NPOV. By stating the quantity is speculated on, this already shows that no facts exist either way. Specific opinions on the quantity of cartridges, for or against, really do not matter because it appears none of them are backed up by research or insider information, so they are all layman opinions. Therefore, it appears to me that removing the urban legend sentence would not harm the article or result in lost information and would bring the controversy to a swift resolution. Also, as a side note, Racing the Beam actually supports the contention, but the article uses it as a source for skepticism. Here is the quote from page 127: "A legend tells of mounds of unsold E.T. cartridges being buried in the New Mexico desert. The legend is likely true, too." The book then goes on to cite some relevant facts from the New York Times article discussed above. Indrian (talk) 18:43, 20 October 2011 (UTC)
Aside from the use of one citation, the disagreement on the article looks to have ended. And I'm willing to let that one citation go because the content doesn't need a large amount of sources. Regardless, we don't remove relevant article content cited by reliable sources to end disagreements. (Guyinblack25 talk 19:28, 20 October 2011 (UTC))

Excavation Planned[edit]

I found an article from Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Saturday, April 12, 2014, page A11 at the Business bullen section regarding to the Excavation planned for stash of 'E.T.' games. It is stated that the company is joining with Fuel Entertainment and LightBox Interactive to plan on searching and making a documentary to find the 'E.T.' games in the Alamogordo landfill. They will be scheduled to dig the landfill by April 26, (2014). Rjluna2 (talk) 14:43, 12 April 2014 (UTC)

Some information on that has already been added to the main article, Atari video game burial, but probably a sentence could be added here. —Torchiest talkedits 15:44, 12 April 2014 (UTC)
If anyone has the drive to start gathering info and sources, today's the day they found it (talk) 23:24, 26 April 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the link, Torchiest. Rjluna2 (talk) 11:52, 28 April 2014 (UTC)

Remove of reported $125M budget[edit]

To avoid edit warring, we need consensus on the removal of the statement that the budget was around $125M. We have no counterclaims to this, beyond that it doesn't seem right (even though we can put the original license at $20-25M and production of cart costs around the same). There was likely marketing and promotion that is not documented that is part of this number and certainly not likely money towards programming. Further, this is sourced to Next Generation magazine which is a reliable source (part of a larger family of publishers). There is no reason to doubt them as reliable, so the claim that they up information is bogus and not appropriate to use as justification to remove. --MASEM (t) 18:35, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

Also keep in mind that Atari reported a $500 M loss for 1982 (that's a reported fact), so it definitely could have been that high. --MASEM (t) 18:40, 10 May 2015 (UTC)
  • Posted most of this on your talk page (while you were posting this here I guess), but I will repost here to centralize the conversation:
Unfortunately, the Next Generation article referenced in the E.T. article is riddled with errors and inaccuracies regarding Atari and the video game market in that time period, and anyone with more than a passing knowledge of the period would see these errors right away.
  • First of all, it claims that consumers stopped buying Atari cartridges after the "disaster" of Pac Man. Pac Man was actually an exceptional seller and not overproduced in the manner that some have claimed. Contemporary newspaper articles call it a commercial success. Furthermore, Electronic Industry Association estimates show that cartridge sales increased in 1983 over 1982, so the claim that consumers suddenly "refused" to buy Atari cartridges is laughable. The complete Pac Man story is far more nuanced than this oversimplified summary, but to claim it was a disaster that destroyed Atari's future game sales has no basis in fact.
  • Second, the article claims Atari lost $100 million on E.T. Contemporaneous estimates placed the loss around $20 million. (See, for instance this Boca Raton News article) I am not even sure how a company could lose $100 million on a single game. If they sold not one single cartridge (and they did sell a few), they would be out manufacturing (we'll be generous and call it $5.00 per cartridge on five million units, or $25 million), licensing costs ($21 million according to most sources), research and development (unknown, but how much can six weeks of R&D possibly cost?), and marketing (one article I found states they did a $5 million marketing campaign, which may not have included TV, so let's be safe and throw in another $2 million, the standard marketing spend on a game at the time, and heck, let's do another $5 million just because E.T. was a big deal). That's just under $60 million plus R&D costs, which were certainly not another $40 million, as games generally cost a few hundred thousand to make back then. Note we have grossly overestimated manufacturing costs and marketing costs and assumed every last unit was returned, and we still don't come close to $100 million. Next Generation pulled that number from thin air.
Also, Atari lost $539 million in 1983 not 1982, when it had an operating income of just over $323,000 if we are sticking to "reported fact." Oh, and Warner stated in its 1983 annual report that returns of non-defective product cost the company just over $100 million in 1983. That's every piece of hardware and software in video games and home computers combined over the course of an entire year. And we are supposed to believe that E.T. alone contributed a loss of that magnitude?
  • Third, the article claims that Atari had sold 20 million VCS systems in the United States by 1982. Contemporary news accounts and research reports from analysts put the total number of sales between 10 and 12 million at that time. Warner's own annual report for the year states that the system has sold "well over 10 million" units since its introduction in 1977. If it had sold even close to 20 million units, the report would have said so.
  • Fourth, the article claims Atari manufactured 6 million E.T. cartridges. In Kent's book, Kassar says it was between four and five million. I have never seen another source claim Atari manufactured six million.
  • Finally, the article states the long-standing ludicrous and easily debunked (even in 1998) claim that Atari buried five million E.T. cartridges in the New Mexico desert.

In closing, please also consider the source in question. Next Generation was a video game magazine charged with reporting news and rumors related to the current video game industry. It was not a historical publication, nor was it staffed by trained historians. It is reliable as a news source, but is in no way reliable as a source of history, as the shoddy work done in this particular article more than proves. If you really think there is no reason to doubt that Next Generation is unreliable as a historical source, you should really not be involving yourself in history articles on Wikipedia. Indrian (talk) 19:02, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

But there's no present data to counter the claims made at the time. Take the landfill numbers - it was all of course rumors because the actual burial was done at night, and only until they were about to unearth it did the actual number (around 700k) get reported by someone that knew. But until someone at Atari said that, or that it was judged how much was held in there, it was the number the rest of the industry used. And given the reporting of the industry today, that's the typical nature of how "sloppy" things were back then. Now, I am not saying that the $125M is necessary right, but it is also the only figure we have outside of the $20-25M for licensing. It is a number that I see used in books that may be pulling from the Wikipedia, but also they are experts in the field. Hence if we claim that Next Gen said the costs were this, it allows us to report what might turn out to be a wrong figure without harm to us (we cite the group that made the bad claim). That's standard WP practice. --MASEM (t) 19:19, 10 May 2015 (UTC)
No harm to us? The harm is reporting inaccurate information. The "verifiability not truth" policy of Wikipedia has never existed to excuse knowingly and willfully passing off bad information as fact. Next Generation is not a reliable source for video game history (as opposed to video game news reporting), and this specific Next Generation article is full of easily provable errors on top of that. It has no place on Wikipedia.
Also, you do realize that $125 million is almost $306 million in today's money, right? GTA V had a combined development and marketing budget of $265 million, which went to pay a team of hundreds of people working for years on a far more sophisticated piece of hardware. I should not have to be wasting so much time cross-referencing sources and writing rebuttals to show that Next Generation got this wrong: it's common sense. Indrian (talk) 19:33, 10 May 2015 (UTC)
Yes, having lived during that, that's actually believable. They pushed hard on the marketing of the game to get it out before the holiday. And they lost the bank on it. But that's pointing that the bulk of the cost was likely marketing and advertising, and not actual development, which was likely less than a million ($200k + travel based on what we say). --MASEM (t) 19:37, 10 May 2015 (UTC)
No, it isn't, and you apparently have no idea what marketing cost back then. In 1982, Parker Brothers spent $10 million total on the marketing of two games, Frogger and The Empire Strikes Back. That same year, Atari spent $28.5 million on television advertising for all its products in the first nine months of the year, while Activision spent $3.6 million over the same period. According to The New York Times, companies were expected to spend an average of $15 million on marketing their entire line in 1982 and $3 million per game. So let's say for the heck of it that Atari spent $20 million on marketing E.T., twice what Parker Brothers spent on its two biggest games combined, nearly seven times the amount of spend on an average game in 1982 and almost as much as Atari spent advertising its entire line of products on TV in the first three-quarters of the year. You still can't get the budget close to $125 million. It's common sense backed up by a good deal of hard data on the time period generally. Atari would not have been able to begin to fathom how to spend $125 million on a single product in 1982. Indrian (talk) 20:16, 10 May 2015 (UTC)
Add to this, that several books ( like Atari Inc. Business Is Fun) explain that the time frame - from July to holiday sales - was considered insane to get a game from concept to cartridge out onto shelves. Atari literally paid to expidite the production of the game cart to assure that happened. So what might have been $3-5 then to make carts would have easily ballooned in price. --MASEM (t) 20:02, 10 May 2015 (UTC)
That is pure speculation with no basis in any facts and seems highly unlikely besides. Atari would have already been planning to manufacture X cartridges for Christmas and one VCS cartridge of a particular memory size is the same as any other from a parts perspective. There would be no increase in cost because they were suddenly manufacturing E.T. instead of something else; their total manufacturing capability over that period remains unchanged. And Warshaw had six weeks to make the game precisely because they had to get it in production on time. Development suffered, not the production schedule. Indrian (talk) 20:16, 10 May 2015 (UTC)
Agree with Indrian. Standard practice to post something that is misleading and confusing? At the very least, the statement could be rephrased to not call it "production costs" (which sounds like development costs), but something like "total budget (including licensing, marketing, manufacturing)". But I hold strong, if the statement is misleading and confusing, why should anyone feel compelled to leave it, despite the article reference that we have? Indstr (talk) 19:35, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

Guy's, let's put this to rest. I emailed Howard Scott Warshaw, the developer of the game. He was cool enough to reply back! Here is what he said: Perhaps the answer lies in differentiating the type of budget we're talking about. The license acquisition budget was $22M. The production budget is unknown to me, but likely was in the same ballpark, $20-$25 million.

The development budget however was much smaller. If you account for the salaries and material costs of me and the other people who did sound, graphics, box art, manual and comic book production and even some managers for 5 weeks, well, that almost certainly comes to less than $60K or $70K tops. I think it's interesting to consider how little money was spent creating the game compared to the other aspects.

It's not that Atari was cheap, far from it! It's simply hard to spend that much money in only 5 weeks of production.

I hope this helps you out.

Yars truly,

HSW Indstr (talk) 15:11, 11 May 2015 (UTC)

  • Thanks for that. It's not a reliable source that can be used on Wikipedia, but it just further corroborates what I was saying. There is just no way that Atari could have spent $125 million on a single game for development, manufacturing, licensing, marketing, etc. in 1982. Coupled with the numerous facts that the article provably got wrong (number of 2600 systems sold by 1982, number of E.T. units produced, the burial myth, etc.), it is clearly not a reliable source for anything. Indrian (talk) 16:08, 11 May 2015 (UTC)

I'm aware the discussion has died down, but I just noticed Masem brought up my book to support a claim on paying for the expediting of the overall timeline and I felt that needed to be addressed. Unfortunately, that claim is not what the material in my book was referring to at all, nor does it support that viewpoint, nor did I write anything like that as far as I'm aware. The only thing expedited was Howard's dev time, and as correctly relayed from Indstr above, he wasn't paid extra. He, like the other game developers, were salaried. Any bonus money was earned through the royalty program instituted earlier that year, where they got bonus compensation based on sales of the games (that would be sell in sales, not sell through. Atari only tracked the former). The development rush was to meet the normal production timeline, which for the games to be released that christmas season (which at that point included Howard's previously developed gamed Raiders) traditionally started in very late August/early September and ended with distribution starting sometime in October onwards. Production includes the ROM masking, the assembly of the carts, printing of the boxes, manuals and labels, and the assembly of the final full product (usually in that order). Production was not rushed, part of the process to get it over to production was. Specifically the development, and again they didn't pay Howard any extra for that. Likewise, the graphic artists (box art, advertising, etc.) would have had about the normal time they usually had for a Christmas season product. Their work wasn't necessarily tied to the software development other than screenshots, which were usually artist representations and could have been filled in last. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 19:46, 14 May 2015 (UTC)

I dunno, $200,000 for one month's work (that's half a million in modern money) seems a lot higher than you'd normally pay a programmer. But yeah, it's a little hard to believe the budget of this thing was such that today they could buy two F-22 fighter jets and still have about eight million left over to make the game. (talk) 13:10, 4 January 2017 (UTC)

E.T. Remake[edit]

I'm the developer of the remake of the E.T. game and I was wondering if it was ok for me or someone to add a section for the game that I released late December last year (2016)? Here is the link to the site: And here is a link to the Moby Games Entry: (talk) 13:16, 13 January 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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External links modified[edit]

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  1. ^ McQuiddy, "Dump here utilized."
  2. ^ McQuiddy, "City cementing ban on dumping."
  3. ^ McQuiddy, "City to Atari."
  4. ^ New York Times Staff, "Atari Parts Are Dumped"
  5. ^ Smith, "Raising Alamogordo's legendary Atari 'Titanic'"
  6. ^ Elektro, Dan (2003-08-08). "Secrets & Lies". GamePro. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  7. ^ Watts, Steve (2008-02-19). "Documentary to Cover Atari E.T. Landfill". Retrieved 2009-09-25. 
  8. ^ Clontz, Steven. "E.T.'s March". Auburn University. Retrieved 2009-09-25.