DregNog Video Advent Calendar: Day #11: E.T. ruins Christmas, innocence

Hey, it's Christmas Eve, the perfect time to meditate on one of the most epic video-game bummers ever: 1982's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

The release of the infamously wretched E.T. was a dark day in Atari 2600 history -- probably the darkest. This highly anticipated, magnificently botched game turned out to be so unsalvagably shitty, they had to bury the unsold copies in a mass grave in Alamagordo. (New Mexico is the king of alien coverups, after all.) This ad represents the few blissful months before Christmas when people were actually breathlessly awaiting the game's release, instead of angrily hurling the cartidges across the room. Since mere words cannot adeqautely capture its suckitude, check out this speed run. (WFMU offers strangely contrary bit of E.T. nostalgia here).

Exactly how much damage the E.T. game has wrought upon the collective human psyche is unclear, but we can still see ripple effects. Just this year, the Boston Underground Film Festival screened Prison_beta, by Lucas Dimwick. In this 8-bit short, "Catastrophic events are set in motion after millions of E.T. Atari video game cartridges become radioactive as a result of being buried near the Trinity nuclear bomb test site." Merry Christmas!

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