E.T.: the Extra-Terrestrial was the surprise hit of 1982. This majestic tale of a boy and his alien friend touched the hearts of millions and brought a whole nation together. It’s only natural that they decided to make a video game to cash in.
You played E.T., and were trying to collect three scattered pieces of a device to contact your spaceship. As a side quest, you could find Reeses Pieces and get a huge digital royalty check. The controls for the game were notoriously horrible, though, and if you fell into one of the hundreds of scattered pits, you had to spend over a minute levitating out. If you accidentally touch the side as you did this, you’d have to start over, again and again, until you threw the joystick at the screen and pulled out your copy of Hungry Hungry Hippos.
The game was expected to sell in massive numbers. The movie was a runaway success, after all, and kids love to play video games. Just take a look at Donkey Kong! Only 1.5 million of the 4 million copies produced would actually sell, however, mostly due to rampant word-of-month about how incredibly bad the game was. This would directly lead to the video game crash of 1983.
Atari then faced a sudden problem: what to do with all the unsold copies? They were taking up a great deal of valuable warehouse space, and so after lengthy debate it was decided they would be shipped to a nearby landfill, crushed, and covered in cement. This required approximately eighteen semi-trailer trucks to transport the despised material. Somewhere, deep below El Paso, Texas, over two-and-a-half million extra-terresterials are desperately trying to phone home.