Is ET Really the “Worst Game of All Time”?

ET in pit

When browsing the internet for games to avoid, you will find many people who will say E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial for the Atari 2600 is the “worst game of all time“, and you should avoid at all costs. But, is the game really that bad? Let’s find out!


Let’s start with the graphics. For the 2600, it is pretty good. While everything looks green, it isn’t blinding, and you wouldn’t have moaned back when it was made. I will say that I prefer the simpler graphics of other 2600 games, because they are more streamlined. But this game isn’t that bad.


There is no music, except the title screen music that is pretty ear-grating. The sound effects are mediocre; when you walk around, it is just noise. But, the noise isn’t that bad, as it is at a pitch that isn’t deafening.

The gameplay is pretty good, especially as the game was rushed. The objective is to collect three pieces of a telephone, so ET can call home. The pieces are randomly scattered throughout pits. If you walk too much, you will run out of energy and “die?”. It’s not explained what happens when you run out of energy, ET just collapses.


To get out a pit, ET uses it’s neck to levitate out of a hole. It makes no sense, but what did you expect? Avoid the other people, as they will steal your phone pieces. When you collect three pieces of the telephone, you have to call home when nobody is onscreen.

So, the answer to the question: Is ET really the worst game of all time? I’d say no; while the game is mildly fun, it’s not a masterpiece. But, it is not as bad as other games. (Crazy Bus anyone? What about Big Rigs?) If you are someone who calls this game the worst of all time, try playing the game with an open mind. You may enjoy it.

Bonus Videos:


My Let’s Play:

ET Speed Run:

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