Atari’s Much-Hated E.T. Is A (Slightly) Better Game If You Read The Manual

Welcome back to Complete In Box, our video series that looks back at classic games through the lens of their boxes, manuals, and other cool stuff that came packaged with them. Today, we look at what is often called the “worst game ever”: Atari’s E.T.

Listen, I don’t think E.T. is the worst game ever. (Everybody knows it’s really Jurassic Park Trespasser.)

But the idea for this episode came from my friend Jenn Frank, who, upon viewing other episodes of Complete In box, posited the notion that E.T. is actually not bad if you take the time to read and absorb its instruction manual before you play it.

Is it? Well, you’ll just have to watch the video to find out. (As if I’d spoil it here!)

If you’re a loyal Complete In Box viewer, thank you for your patience as we worked on this second season of the show! In the coming weeks, we’ll have at least three more episodes for you, and hopefully be able to keep it going for a Season 3 later, as well. Thanks for watching!


  • Years ago, I came across a fascinating website that explained that, with a few bugfixes, ET was actually a surprisingly playable game. The site went into detail about what each bug was and how it impacted the game, making it harder to play. It also offered a patch for the ROM with all the bugfixes so you could try a ‘fixed’ version of the game that was a lot more fun to play than the original.

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