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E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

aka: E.T. The Game

Description official description

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial is a licensed adventure game, based on the movie. The adventure takes place on several screens with pits scattered about. The object of the game is to find pieces of E.T.'s phone. Once all pieces are found, E.T. calls home and the spaceship arrives to pick him up. E.T. can collect Reese's Pieces scattered around in order to regain energy which is constantly depleted with time.

The phone pieces are in some of the pits, and E.T. must jump in to get them; sometimes there's also a dead flower in the pit which provides extra points if brought back to life. Once E.T. has done his business in the pit, to get out he must levitate his way out, though he must watch out not to fall into the pit again after leaving.

Evil scientists and agents wander around the area, trying to capture E.T. and steal the parts he's carrying.

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Credits (Atari 2600 version)

Cover Artwork



Subject User Date
The legend was true after all: buried copies found chirinea (46950) 2014-04-27 00:13:20



Howard Scott Warsaw, the programmer of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, only had six weeks from July 23, 1982 to program the game and ready it for a September 1 release date.

Movies made about the game

  • Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie was a science fiction comedy movie dealing with this game as the main focal point. The movie features a review by the Angry Video Game Nerd: (James Rolfe) of the actual game.
  • Atari: Game Over was a documentary where a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico is excavated to find out if the rumors of a mass burial of unsold video game cartridges, consoles, and computers was true. The documentary also deals with the video game crash of 1983, and features an interview with Howard Scott Warshaw.


Atari produced 5 million E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial cartridges. Most of the units that were sold were returned, and eventually Atari dumped the millions of useless copies still on hand into a New Mexico landfill.

On the 1st of December 1982, after it became clear that Atari would never sell the six million cartridges it had manufactured, executives announced that they were cutting their '82 revenue forecasts from a 50% increase over '81 levels to a meager 15%. In the end, the price of Warner (owners of Atari) stock dropped almost a third from 52 to 35. It was so bad Atari President Ray Kassar unloaded 5000 of his shares before announcing the cuts to the public.


  • FLUX
    • Issue #4 - #1 Worst Video Game of All-Time
  • Gamers Europe
    • January 2005 - Worst Game Ever Produced On Any Platform Nominee
  • GameSpy
    • December 31, 2002 - #7 on the "Top Ten Shameful Games" list ( "Lots of people bought it at first, but gradually the word spread that the gameplay consisted mainly of E.T. falling into an endless series of pits, and the game was much too frustrating for the young kids for whom it was intended. The game is sometimes accused (not altogether without justification) of single-handedly causing the "crash" of the video games market in the mid-'80s.")
  • GameTrailers
    • November 17, 2006 - #2 Worst Videogame
  • PC World
    • October 23, 2006 - #1 Worst Game of All Time ("Everyone I spoke to who singled out particular gripes mentioned the pits that the player, as E.T., fell into and would then have to slowly levitate out of, which led to horrendously monotonous game play.")

Information also contributed by Big John WV, CaptainCanuck, Scaryfun and Sciere

Related Games

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Released 2001 on Game Boy Advance
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: Interplanetary Mission
Released 2001 on PlayStation, Windows
E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial
Released 2007 on J2ME
E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial Remake
Released 2016 on Windows
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial: Digital Companion
Released 2001 on Game Boy Color
E.T.: Phone Home Adventure
Released 2002 on Windows
Extra Terrestrial
Released 1982 on TRS-80
Released 1983 on Commodore 64

Related Sites +

  • Fixing E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600
    A serious effort to analyse and correct the bugs in the game, some 30 years after the release, complete with ROM code modifications for the NTSC version.
  • Matt Chat 70
    Video interview with Howard Scott Warshaw about the development of <i>Yars' Revenge</i> and <i>E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial</i>

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 8874


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by wanax.

Additional contributors: Gerauchertes, Alaka, CubbyKatz, Patrick Bregger, Rwolf.

Last modified February 22nd, 2023.