Smithsonian podcast episode dives into the Atari E.T. desert pit


E.T. phone the board of directors

I love podcasts. They’re great pieces of (mostly) free entertainment I can put on at work to fill the silence of my office. One of my favorite podcasts is 99% Invisible, a podcast that burrows right into my little niche hole and delights me with informative oddities about design, architecture, and art.

Every so often there is a guest episode on the feed to bring something new to 99PI’s massive listener base as well as send those listeners to a new podcast they might enjoy. This week, 99PI featured a Smithsonian-produced podcast that goes in-depth on some of the objects they have lying about in their vaults. The episode was titled “The Worst Video Game of All Time.

They speak of course about the infamous E.T. for Atari, a game so bad it is said to have brought about the end of its parent company and contributed to the economic crash of the video game industry in the second generation. As gaming enthusiasts, we all have heard of the story of E.T. and its pitfalls, but I personally had never taken the time to really dive into what contributed to its failure.

With news that Atari is possibly going to make hotels coming out this week, it’s interesting to look back at the straw that broke their back nearly 40 years ago.

Ep. 15 | The Worst Video Game Ever? [Sidedoor Podcast]