Fans of the hit 1982 film “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” should be excited to find that there was a videogame adaptation for the Atari 2600 also released in 1982. This game is without a doubt one of the most influential in the history of video games, as it completely altered the market for such products. In addition, it permanently altered the path of Atari, Inc., by setting a rather high bar for video games based on existing intellectual properties. This game has also been immortalized in a memorial in Alamogordo, New Mexico, so the video game industry will never forget the story of the Atari 2600 version of E.T., which is honestly better than the film.
The game play in E.T. is relatively simple. You control the E.T. and guide him through six different exciting zones based on locations from the film. E.T. is searching different wells for three parts, needing to build an interplanetary telephone so he can “call home.” After finding the phone pieces, E.T. has to be guided to an area from which he can “call home” to a mothership that will pick him up in the forest in which he was abandoned at the beginning of the film.
To add difficulty to the game, E.T. has an energy bar that depletes with various actions including walking, climbing wells, or teleporting. Energy can be restored by collecting Reese’s Pieces—just like in the movie! If nine of these are collected, Elliot will just hand you a piece of the phone. Furthermore, E.T. is being chased by FBI agents and scientists who want to keep him from “phoning home” so they can study him. After E.T. returns home, the player receives points and the entire game starts over. This is done until E.T. runs out of energy points or the player decides they have had enough riveting movie tie-in fun.
There is not much to say about E.T. for the Atari 2600 that has not already been said. Hardcore gamers and casual gamers alike will enjoy the hours upon hours of fun derived from falling into a pit to search for phone parts and candy. Fans of the film will love the various tie-ins to the movie. For example, there is an alien named E.T., he has to “phone home,” there is some kid involved, Reese’s Pieces, and repetitive falling in and out of pits. People who enjoy falling into pits to search for lost phones and occasional pieces of candy will love this accurate simulation of daily life and its struggles with “calling home” to the mothership so we can be taken off of the Earth before the FBI catches us. E.T. for the Atari 2600 gets five Reese’s Pieces out of five. Few other games can match its peanut buttery goodness.