OK I’m gonna get flamed for this one, but as someone who was actually a child during the heyday of the 2600, I have to say that E.T. wasn’t actually that bad of a game…
Sure it wasn’t one of the best games, but it had (for it’s time) great sound and graphics, and the pits weren’t too horrible if you took your time getting out of them… as the exact person this game was marketed to, I can honestly say I enjoyed it more than some of the other games I had at the time.
Problem was Atari banked on EVERYONE wanting one and back then no one over 10 wanted to admit they played them. It was the equivalent of trying to promote a porno movie to the mainstream public.
If you ask me, Pac-Man for the 2600 was a much larger travesty and one of the worst games/ports ever… somehow they took the simple gameplay and graphics and screwed them up royally.. how hard would it have been to just make the maze black and blue ????
I would agree with you that ET is not as terrible as it is hyped to be, and that there were/are worse games out there. However, I don’t think that you can say that it had great graphics even for it time. There were Atari 2600 games that were much better visually. As far as sound, I think it was as good as it could be for the system. Those don’t add up to much though – the gameplay was bad, really. Atari rushed it. They had a deadline and rushed production, which resulted in a poor game.