Chasing E.T. - Atari: Game Over

Being born in the late 60’s (yes, I’m that old!), I was a teenager at the time of Raiders, Empire and E.T. I consider myself lucky to be at the prime age for film and gaming during its renaissance era.

I dreamed of owning an Atari after seeing one on display in the local shop, and being completely unable to put the joystick down after the manager had been leering at me for hours as I played, only then noticing the dozens of kids around me waiting their turn.

I finally got my own 2600 with walnut edging for Christmas, and my family never saw me for days. I was in heaven. I had Combat, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Berserk. And that was enough.

Disappearing into the pixel realm, where, even though everyone and everything is try to take another life from me, I felt happy and safe.

Our local video rental shop was also renting out Atari games, so one day, after all the hype and watching the movie for the 53rd time, I brought home E.T.

I kinda liked it to be honest. It reminded me of Indy and I was happy to move about looking for stuff for my phone and so on. I never got the hate. To be honest, that should have been aimed at Pac Mac - that was awful!

Anyway I played along happily, not caring about falling into pits and so on, making the phone slowly and trying to be rescued for my happy ending.

Time goes on and I discover this legend that the game has broken Atari and all the remaining carts recalled and dumped alongside a crashed UFO in Roswell or something.

This game was part of my like again! This was intriguing (not the UFO of course, that was taken away years ago!)

This lead me to read into the games history a little more, and its author Howard Scott Warshaw. And what a story! (wiki)

Talk about under the kosh! This poor guy had to create a design, be rebuffed by Spielberg, re-design and come up with a product inside several weeks in order to hit Christmas production.

And he did it! An amazing feat in my mind. And yet this guy is singled out as the man that killed the Atari gaming industry when stuff like Pac Man and Jaguar and so on were a far bigger part of that demise.

Anyway…. Again, time moves on and a Canadian company Fuel Industries is given permission to take a closer look at the dump to see if this legend has fact behind it. So they go ahead and make a damn cool documentary (actually the first of a planned 6) about the entire event and the history behind the game, Atari and Warshaw.

Directed ans narrated by Zak Penn, this is a greta insight into the factes that go into making and producing games of this kind, certainly back then anyway.

With some great interviews and good slicing of back story to excavation, Atari Game Over is well worth a nostalgic shout.

Thank for reading

Geek Paul