Long before I fell under the spell of the apple mac there was Atari.
Sometimes I try to deny that I am in any way a gadget geek. At which point Grande Empresse Gillian laughs very loudly and reminds me of the decades long history I have of gizmo buying and I shut up. I have never been a gamer but that didn't stop Crawford and I buying an Atari 400 between us in the early 80's which had to be paid up for years and years, long after it had been put back in the box and deemed to hard to use!
I've got great affection for Atari so I was keen to watch Game Over the documentary which chronicles the rise, fall and burial of Atari.
Ask fans of video game lore what the worst game of all time is. Nine times out of ten, you’ll get the same answer: E.T. the Extraterrestrial.
Everyone has their own favourite bad game and they are hardly uncommon. E.T. is unique for another reason. The game was really bad. So bad that people returned it in droves. Left with millions of useless cartridges, urban legend had it that the company sent them all to the the bottom of a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico, never to return.
Or at least, so the story goes.
Atari: Game Over is the first original documentary in Xbox Live’s Signal to Noise series. In it screenwriter and filmmaker Zak Penn simultaneously explores the legend of E.T. the video game and the rise and fall of gaming legends Atari.
As well as the wonderful story about the Alamogordo excavation ,Game Over concentrates on talented designer Howard Scott Warshaw, who created E.T. the game. In just five weeks this man singlehandedly produced the game that supposedly destroyed the fastest growing company in American history. For the past 30 years Warshaw has therefore shouldered the blame for bringing down Atari’s empire and inciting the great gaming crash of 1983.
Did one bad game cause the video game crash of 1983. Was ET responsible for what they called 'Atari Shock" in Japan, no of course not. Oversaturation of a market was and that is all covered in this entertaining film.
This is a wonderful film and well worth a watch. If you're quick you can even catch it on you tube here. Right who's ready for a game of asteroids...