When I was gifted E.T. for the 2600, very much brand new as in never-been-opened new, for my birthday just days before writing this review I couldn't have been happier. E.T. was one of my favorite childhood memories and I still enjoy that movie to this day. I must have seen that movie five times during its first release in the theaters. Then I seen the game on store shelves for the 2600. Bummer! I had a 5200. And why didn't my system get an E.T. game? I was blind to what was happening because I was a 5200 owner. For me Atari was the king of video games and E.T. was the most awesome-est movie period. For some 2600 owners, unknowingly to me, Atari plus E.T. equaled disaster.
I would not discover E.T. on the 2600 until 1988 after I picked up a used 2600 with a ton of games from a classmate for $10. Even during the Nintendo Entertainment System's power on the gaming public anything Atari still caught my attention even if it was used. Once I got it home I tried that E.T. game I never got to before. The only problem was that it was only the cartridge I had, there were no instructions on how to play. As hard as I tried to figure out the game I simply didn't understand what I was suppose to do. So, I played some Space Invaders instead. E.T. for the 2600 would go on to be declared one of the worst games in video game history while I would try time and time again to figure it out.
Fast forward close to the present, to the time the legendary Atari Landfill was discovered and digging had commenced to see what that tomb had in it. I'm sure most know what all came out of that landfill by now. I even shed a tear mostly from think about all those products that Atari simply destroyed that could have been donated and used as a tax write off. Not long after that I did some research on E.T. and found that there was a guide on the internet dedicated to beating the game. As far as I know there wasn't many Atari games that got that sort of attention. My interest in this game had been ignited again. This time I downloaded an emulator to play the game. After a few short plays I was astounded at what was pulled off in 5 weeks time.
E.T. for the 2600 gets bad reviews it really doesn't deserve. It was a first for capturing the main plot of a movie and turning it into a playable video game. It was also a first in expanding on the adventure game genre by involving every element in the game in one way or another. And if you think about it, the map on E.T. for the 2600 has to be learned so the player will know where they are going so they don't get lost. In some ways this game also has RPG elements because, much like an RPG, each single-screen location acts like a grid with each grid spot holding specific game functions. Early RPGs did this for allowing enemy confrontations.
So, in lots of ways, E.T. set new standards in how some game genres were programmed and developed. If you don't quite understand what to do in the game since it is understood that many copies of E.T. are loose and without documentation, I would like to share a link to a guide that is solely for E.T. on the 2600. I hope it will help future 2600 gamers who have this game to become engulfed in what it really has to offer. E.T. for the 2600 is not the worst video game ever made. On the contrary is should be up there with some the 2600's best highlights. As for glitches, while E.T. does have some there are lots of modern day games that have glitches worse than E.T. ever thought of having. E.T. for the 2600...it's an A-plus game in my book.