The Man Who Created The Worst Game In World History

Atari E.T. Worst Game In History

Back in the early 80's, tech was just starting to take off in the computing and gaming industry. Atari, essentially the only game console worth a shit at the time, had just paid for the video game rights to Steven Spielbergs new blockbuster movie E.T. Given only a matter of a few weeks to complete the game (games usually took several months in those days) ,Howard Scott Warshaw, lead programmer, created what is now dubbed 'The worst video game in history'.

"It was a day that will live in infamy in my life forever," says Warshaw. "I was sitting in my office and I get a call from the Atari CEO. He said, 'Howard, we need the ET video game done. Can you do it?'

"And I said, 'Absolutely, yes I can!'"

Games for the Atari 2600 were distributed on cartridges that took weeks to manufacture. If ET was to be in the shops for Christmas, Warshaw had a tight deadline.

"The CEO goes, 'We need it for 1 September.' That left five weeks to do it! Normally it'd be six to eight months to do a game, not five weeks."

Then he said, 'Design the game and on Thursday morning, be at the airport and there will be a Learjet waiting to take you to see Spielberg.'

"I'm not sure exactly what I was full of but whatever it was, I was overflowing with it."