According to urban legend, a landfill somewhere in the small city of Alamogordo, New Mexico, bulges with millions of copies of the worst game ever made—a game that many observers blamed for the North American video-game sales crash of 1983. Atari’s bubble burst because of a little alien.
In December 1982, Atari released E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600, and critics quickly labeled it the worst game of all time. In light of many more-recent debacles—I’m looking at you Aliens: Colonial Marines and SimCity—granting “worst game ever” status to E.T. in perpetuity seems somewhat unfair. Nonetheless, this primordial Atari 2600 title continues to top “worst of” charts, including our own, time and time again.
So why should you give it another chance? Because code hackers managed to fix some of the games most glaring problems, and now it’s actually fun to play.