Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Wednesday, February 01, 2021

phone home
To my ear, Wintergreen comes off as just another garden-variety whiney pop band.

So it’s a good thing that video director Keith Shofield applied his retro-videogame-stylin’ technique to the video for the song “When I Wake Up”. Because without those interspersed screenshots of the notoriously bad “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” 2600/VCS game, I don’t think I’d be able to stand watching the entire clip.

Unfortunately, as inventive as the landfill-dig storyline is — thus fulfilling one of Generation X’s more esoteric urban legends — I’m afraid it’s rooted in fantasy. While Atari did, indeed, bury loads of unsold cartridges in the New Mexico desert, the steamroller-and-concrete treatment they gave the discarded merchandise puts an end to any prospects for recovery.

Incidentally, while “E.T.” was terrible, I’m not sure I’d tag it as “worst game ever”. Even back then, as a kid, I understood what was going on: It was an afterthought product, on a par with the stuffed toys and limited-edition Reeses Pieces that accompanied the movie’s marketing. I doubt anyone expected it to be anything but a piece of crap (although it probably exceeded even those expecations).

To me, the 2600 port of “Pac-Man” was a much, much bigger disappointment. And, to my recollection, the negative reception that crappy game got did a lot more to start Atari on its eventual decline (although not before some decent games were released for the 2600).

(Via Joystiq, by way of selsine tech)

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 02/01/2021 06:30:34 PM
Category: Pop Culture, Videogames | Permalink |

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  1. The 2600 version of Pac-Man was particularly bad. I never had an Atari, but my best friend did, and we could never figure out ET. I’ve been a big fan of Keith’s work for a while, and this video is no disappointment.

    I’m still not sure how they got their hands on all those cartridges. Did they really go find them in that landfill?

    Comment by tim — 02/02/2021 @ 12:58:02 PM

  2. I’d bet they were props; probably had only one real cartridge.

    You should have visited me while I was still down there. I had my vintage, woodgrain-finished 2600 with me, with about 30 cartridges. No E.T., though, never bought that. And I was one of the many pissed-off kids who bought Pac-Man; to add insult to injury, the damn thing broke, one of the few cartridges I had that ever did so.

    Comment by CT — 02/02/2021 @ 01:23:03 PM

  3. Ahh. I get my 2600 (and other old-school) kicks on the emulators on my Xbox. Though certainly not having the proper joystick takes out some of the fun.

    Comment by tim — 02/02/2021 @ 03:01:16 PM

  4. I’ve got that disc too, along with plenty of other oldschool games. In fact, think I’ll fire up the Xbox now.

    But I think it’s neat just to still have that old Atari clunker, with joysticks and paddles, and be amazed that it still works.

    Comment by CT — 02/02/2021 @ 03:23:32 PM

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