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  1. The E.T. Legacy: A Myth Unearthed


    #744382014-04-29 16:33:14 *DarkChaplain said:

    Stay Awhile and Listen...

    Today's Video Game thread is not about a new release. It isn't even about a a popular or critically acclaimed game. No, this thread is going to be about one of the most abhorred, yet oddly revered titles in gaming history. This is a game that has influenced generations of gamers, and impacted the industry as a whole. It was one of the biggest commercial failures in gaming history, and contributed to the crash of the industry back in the 80s.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you:

    E.T the Extra-Terrestrial

    http://i.imgur.com/tTSGdrm.gif


    In light of recent events and the apparent lack of knowledge of gaming history on CL, I decided to try and give this topic a bash. I will be trying to write a rundown on the topic of E.T., and the myth that sprung from its utter failure back in 1982.
    It is QUITE a big topic, with a lot of things to work through and I will be doing more research and fact-checking on the matter, so take a chair and enjoy the ride through history. Over the decades, various rumors surfaced, of which one was cleared up just recently.

    This is going to take a while, so I will be writing this in bursts. Please look forward to it!

  2. #744392014-04-29 17:18:36 *DarkChaplain said:

    E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial: The Movie

    Back in 1982, the world saw the release of the science fiction movie E.T., subtitled The Extra-Terrestrial, directed by Steven Spielberg.
    I assume most of you reading this are already familiar with this classic, but let me summarize the plot for our youngest users regardless:

    The movie tells the story of a friendly alien stranded on Earth. A lonely boy named Elliot comes to befriend him, despite lack of common language or even species. He takes E.T home and tries to hide him from his family, ensuring all kinds of trouble.
    Both Elliot and E.T. start forming a weird kind of connection, which affects them both in various ways. However, Elliot and his siblings know that their new friend, eventually, wants to return home. They try to help him "Phone Home".
    However, all is not well. E.T. begins to suffer and wilt, closing in on death - alongside Elliot. Meanwhile, the US Government is hunting for the alien, and eventually find and quarantine him.
    In a great show of friendship, Elliot and his friends manage to break E.T. out and take him to the point of his arrival, to be picked up by his species. E.T. returns home, knowing that Elliot will forever stay with him in his mind, and neither will forget the other.

    This, of course, is a very simplified summary. There is a lot more to the movie, and in my opinion, it was a lovely story the likes of which we rarely see in cinemas these days. It was heartwarming, thoughtful, touching, and aimed to disspell fear of the unknown outer space and alien lifeforms.
    If you have never seen this movie, I urge you to do yourselves a favor and watch it.

    The movie quickly became a hit: Number 1 in the charts, earning ~11 million US dollars, and managing to stay at the top for 6 consecutive weeks, before moving between the two top spots and returning to be the first on the listings for the holiday season of '82.
    It even beat out Star Wars as the highest-grossing movie of all time by 1983, and racked up $619 million in gross revenue by the end the theatrical run, worldwide. Of course, the re-releases in 1985 and 2002 added another $60 and $68 million bucks on top, respectively. Only Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park knocked it off the top spot, ten years later, in 1993. The film became such a big deal, it was one of the first and biggest victims of organized video piracy!

    You see, E.T. was a HUGE deal back in the 80s, and continues to be to this very day. It has stood the test of time as one of Spielberg's finest pieces. It is a highly revered title, and I doubt there's anybody who hasn't seen a reference to the bicycle scene in popular media.

    http://i.imgur.com/kQDxqJb.jpg


    All this considered, a video game adaption of E.T. seemed like a safe bet - one that Atari was just too eager to go all-in on. It was supposed to be an Atari 2600 system seller, and so Atari bought the license.
    Atari, back then, already had one movie licensed game in the making / released, being Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark - the FIRST movie-licensed game EVER. Atari thought they had it all figured out; they were mistaken.

  3. #744422014-04-29 19:14:18DarkChaplain said:

    Hype & Hubris

    Development on the E.T. video game kicked off in July 1982, about a month after the movie's release.
    The movie was already a big success by the time negotiations started, so Atari had to fork over around $20-25 million for the rights - which, at the time, was a HUGE pile of money for this kind of thing, unlike today. The total production costs are said to have been roughly $125 million. Curiously enough, the negotiations were initiated by Atari's then-parent company, Warner Communications, and Atari's own CEO, Ray Kassar, commented on the whole thing in a very negative way:

    "I think it's a dumb idea. We've never really made an action game out of a movie."

    http://i.imgur.com/MT5fA0Q.jpg

    Regardless, the project was bound to happen. Upon Steven Spielberg's personal request, Kassar commissioned Howard Scott Warshaw to design and develop the game - the man who had Atari's first successful movie-licensed game under his belt already. If Warshaw could make Raiders of the Lost Ark a financial success, surely he could repeat it with E.T., they thought.
    However, even a talented game designer, author or director will struggle making a good product if put under extreme pressure. In a rush to profit from the movie's ongoing popularity and hype, it was demanded that the game, which started development on July 27, 1982, with the hiring of Warshaw, was to be completed by September 1st the same year, to launch during the holiday season.
    Howard had just spent over a year developing Yars' Revenge, followed by Raiders of the Lost Ark, both of which were success stories, with Yars' Revenge being Atari's best selling original release for the Atari 2600. He was ready to take up the challenge of completing E.T. in a mere 5 weeks - after all, he was on a high point in his carreer, with THE Steven Spielberg asking for him. Being offered $200,000 and a completely covered vacation to Hawaii also seemed like a suitable reward. He did, however, overestimate his own abilities...

    Warshaw's basic concept for the game focused on E.T. phoning home, similar to the movie's plot. The alien, controlled by the player, would be required to collect pieces to build a phone and call his species, while being chased by non player characters. A time limit was included as well, alongside pits and various screens with different obstacles. It was to be a wild chase against the clock, similar to the movie. Warshaw, confident, presented his idea to Spielberg in their meeting in early August. However, Spielberg was not impressed, and asked for something more akin to Pac-Man, which didn't deviate too much from tried and true concepts. Howard Scott Warshaw, however, did not listen, and went along with his own idea regardless. Atari did not stop him, being too sure of themselves and their inbound success based on the license alone.
    Atari's hubris was going to doom them.

    http://i.imgur.com/P8iUlHe.png

    The hype surrounding the imminent release of the game to such a highly successful movie rose, and rose further still. The press was already singing praises to Atari, and even the New York Times moved on to proclaim movie-licensed titles to be "an increasingly profitable source" for the games industry. Retailers ordered huge swathes of copies of the game, resulting in Atari producing more and more copies. But by then, Atari's competitors were in the business as well, and orders were cancelled left and right as Atari attempted to pursue exclusive deals with select retailers.
    Despite all that, E.T. was commercial successful, at least early on. It was a popular christmas present in 1982, and received a lot of buzz for the coming weeks and months. With 1.5 million copies sold, it seemed to be the perfect success story Atari had been gambling for - at least if looked at from the angle of actual sales.

    What turned the whole situation sour was the fact that, despite its high 1.5 million units sold, Atari was left sitting on between 2.5 to 3.5 million UNSOLD copies of the game.
    Roughly three million cartridges lying in warehouses, untouched, unwanted. Retailers as well felt that the sales did not live up to the hype, and supply was outstripping demand by millions. Pricecuts were inbound, often multiple times, with some reports of the game, originally priced at $50, going off for less than a single buck. It was worse than even the worst bits of shovelware at big retail chains today.
    As if that wasn't enough already, Ray Kassar later reported that almost 3.5 million copies of the whole 4+ million units produced were sent back to Atari, unsold or returned by customers. Even if we were to assume that one million copies were sold at $50 each, Atari would have barely earned $50 million - the license alone cost them half of that. There was no way in hell or outer space that Atari would recoup their investment. In fact, Next Generation Magazine reported that Atari only grossed around $25 million in sales total, resulting in an overall $100 million loss on the project.
    Even twenty years later, in the early 2000s, E.T. still wouldn't make much money on private sales - if you were to check ebay right now, you would find dozens of copies sold for less than $10.

    On top of all that, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, has come to be known as the Worst Video Game of All Time, and in the 32 years since, very few games came even close to make a bet for that title.

  4. #744432014-04-29 20:54:54DarkChaplain said:

    Hated & Condemned

    While initially a good seller, the critical response to E.T. was mostly negative. Unlike the movie it was based on, the game could not convince, and was panned for its weak plot, overly convoluted gameplay and trashy visuals. The New York Times pedaled back on their earlier claims that E.T. would herald a bright future, GameSpy called the gameplay "convoluted and insane", whereas people considered the adaption dull, primitive and disappointing.
    Howard Scott Warshaw's gameplay concepts were systematically taken apart - from frequent falling into holes, getting confused with locations and monotonous design of the levels to frustratingly time-consuming mechanics that didn't make the game adequately difficult, but simply annoying, not a good hair was left on Atari's E.T..
    Over the following decade, this trend would continue, and E.T., to this day, is scoring high on top worst games of all time lists. E.T. has become an icon for bad game design and horrible execution.

    http://i.imgur.com/LsPFNGf.jpg

    Howard Warshaw does not seem to mind too much, though:

    "People worry I might be sensitive about the ET debacle, but the fact is I’m always happy to discuss it. After all, it was the fastest game ever done, it was a million seller, and of the thousands of 2600 games, how many others are still a topic? Another thing I like to think about is having done ET (consistently rated among the worst games of all time) and Yars' Revenge (consistently rated as one of the best) I figure I have the unique distinction of having the greatest range of any game designer in history."

    To help you visualize the gameplay, here's a quick video walkthrough of the game. Please note that this is a practiced speedrun, and does not reflect the actual frustration involved in playing the game.

    The game is, to put it simply, frustrating drivel. Despite originally good intentions, Warshaw was unable to translate his ideas into a proper, enjoyable gaming experience. Nothing in this game spells "fun", and the mechanics turn even the dullness of the gameplay mechanics into a chore.
    It is a video game buried under a host of flaws and bad design decisions - and buried it was, eventually...

  5. #744612014-04-30 11:02:48DarkChaplain said:

    Crash & Burn

    E.T.'s failure to convince had a huge impact on the gaming industry as a whole. It showed that movie-licenses and shiny covers alone are not going to be enough to win people and critics over, and that developing a big release like this in a mere month is madness. It resulted in a magnificent loss for Atari, who in turn also lost market share, and their stocks fell critically. E.T., alongside other victims of Atari's hubris, resulted in a $536 million loss for the company in 1983, eventually leading to them being split and sold off by Warner in 1984.
    The game's failure rang out through the media, and retailers, who have been struggling with returns, began demanding for proper, official return programs from game makers and publishers - if you went to go and return a broken, buggy game back in the 90s and early 2000s, before the internet and piracy became more widespread and Gamestop and co started refusing refunds on opened games, you could actually trace this possibility back to what happened back in the 80s.
    To this day, now that Atari is, in all but name, dead with most of its properties sold off, E.T. still counts as one, if not the biggest mistake the company ever did - not just for themselves, but also for the rest of their competitors.

    http://i.imgur.com/TLKn6oT.jpg

    Atari's 2600 game system was done for, and nothing Atari tried afterwards could reclaim its initial success. The 5200 was a failure. Warner, before they sold off Atari, suffered significantly, with their stock prices shrinking to a third of what they were before Atari's failure.
    Meanwhile, in 1983, NINTENDO approached Atari to help them with their planned Famicon release, to offer licensing. Atari was supposed to produce and sell the Nintendo Entertainment System in the West, with Nintendo being paid royalties. However, Atari's CEO, Ray Kassar saw Atari's rival company Coleco present Donkey Kong on one of their own machines - resulting in a legal debate over publishing rights, ending with Atari's defeat, as they only owned the Floppy, not Cartridge rights to Donkey Kong. Kassar, after all he has been through with his company, had to leave Atari, and the deal with Nintendo fell through. Nintendo would go on to publish the western NES on its own, and become a powerhouse of its own right.

    Between 1983 and 1985, the video industry eventually collapsed. This is known as the Video Game Crash, and, as a matter of fact, also called the Atari Shock in Japan. The industry went from its absolute highest point to date in 1983 with $3.2 billion in revenue to a mere $100 million in 1985 - almost down to 3% of its former strength. The second generation of consoles died with this crash, and many companies faced extinction.
    Analysts were ready to spell video gaming as a dead industry, and they may have been right, if it had not been for Nintendo's Famicon, which would revive the fallen industry between 1985 and '87.

    There are many more stories about Atari's wrongdoings out there, like their refusal to pay royalties to developers, or having their credits appear in games. Today's powerhouse Activision exists because of these reasons, as it was founded by disgruntled Atari employees. No matter what awful business practices Activision stands for today, back then, they fought a hard battle against publishers' oppression and for the recognition of developers. Atari was never able to shut down Activision, who became 3rd party developers for Atari's systems - something that was legitimized by court. We can trace the birth of legitimate third party developers we are so used to these days back to Activision's rebellion against Atari, who in turn lost their total control of what was published on their systems. The legitimization of 3rd party titles obviously gave birth to many companies trying to enter the video game market. The market at the time was being swamped by easy to produce shovelware, low quality games of dubious integrity. More games were being made than retailers could possibly stock or sell, prompting prices to drop rapidly. General toy retailers retreated from the market, making it even harder to sell off the games produced.

    http://i.imgur.com/SfBKxun.jpg

    The crash, of course, was not on Atari alone, even though they bear a huge part of the blame. There were more games being made, and less and less of them good enough to win consumers over. People grew sick of getting the short end of the stick, and stopped buying from this flooded market. Not just that, but unlike today, where we have three dominant console manufacturers, back then you had a good dozen systems to pick and choose from, all with their distinct libraries - many companies sold more than one at the same time, Atari announcing the 7800 in 1984, their third simultaneous system, and backwards compability did not exist.
    All in all, the industry's reputation was shot. Even the big market leaders like Atari were selling drivel like E.T., attempting to capitalize on movies, but the fun and satisfaction of buying and playing games were absent.
    Menawhile, home computers grew to rival consoles, with Commodore driving hard marketing, offering trade-ins of consoles and games towards buying their Commodore 64 system. Computers also won over consoles on a hardware level, which resulted in higher capabilities for graphics and sound, and the home office applications turned early PCs into a force to be reckoned with.
    By 1984, however, the upwards trend of computers was also halted by the crash of the industry. Europe and Japan, by then, were weary of the US market, and gaming's reputation was so badly hurt, that consumers did not come in as before. The market was saturated, and combined with general inflation and financial lows in the US, the gaming industry dried up.

    It would be up to Nintendo to send for the plumber...

  6. #744622014-04-30 12:33:09 *DarkChaplain said:

    Shamed & Buried

    In the early stages of the industry's decline, Atari was reported to have done something quite peculiar. In September 1983, newspapers in Alamogordo, New Mexico, claimed that 10 to 20 semi-trailer truckloads of Atari boxes, cartridges and systems were transported from Atari's warehouses into the desert.
    Atari proceeded to have the whole load buried in a huge landfill under the desert sand. The buried products were, according to Atari, defunct, broken returns and, of course, unsold stock. E.T. was speculated to be one of the most numerous buried games, though Pac-Man, Raiders of the Lost Ark and others were also among the truckloads.
    The site was guarded, however, preventing journalists from actually confirming the story. Witnesses claimed to have spotted E.T. cartridges, but rumors quickly exploded, with no clear confirmation as to what was actually buried from Atari, apart from it being "by-and-large inoperable stuff".
    In late September, Atari went as far as to have a layer of concrete poured over the buried materials, crushing them. This is far from being a standard practice when it comes to disposing waste, and anonymous workers only commented as to not wanting to hurt the kids trying to dig for the games. Alamogordo's citizens began protesting against the trash in their midst, not wanting to become El Paso's garbage dump. Resulting from that, the dumping was stopped, and it was decreed that Alamogordo's ground was to be under strict limitations for further digging.

    http://i.imgur.com/9Gf4gNA.jpg

    With Atari's grave off-limits, both due to regulations and a thick layer of concrete, the unclear statements and rumors started boiling. Over the decades, the landfill's contents were hotly debated, and it eventually turned into an urban legend. Did Atari really bury E.T.? How many of the 3.5 million copies were disposed of? Which other failed projects were crushed? Conflicting reports, and the crash of the industry in the 80s, have led to a lot of speculation. Remember, back then, the Internet wasn't around, and word of mouth was much more easily manipulated. A lot of people even denied the burial ever took place, or that the contents were different. Even Howard Scott Warshaw, the designer of various games speculated to have been part of the destruction, like E.T., expressed doubts about the event ever having taken place, back in 2004. The reasons for a possible burial of this size were discussed, some claiming Atari felt ashamed, others blaming their unsustainable business practices. Others claimed that it was a moved to allow Atari to apply for tax relief.
    Conspiracy theories based around the close proximity of the landfill to both Roswell, New Mexico, known for all kinds of UFO rumors, and even the location of the first nuclear bomb test, have also surfaced to play a role in it.

    http://i.imgur.com/AYMFHZ7.jpg

    Whatever the reasons behind the mass-burial, the event itself became what may be the biggest icon of the great video game crash of the 80s. How could it be any different? A mass-disposal of video games in the desert just when the industry was falling to pieces could not be seen as anything else. As such, the E.T. landfill has come to be referenced a lot in popular media ever since. The whole debacle exploded into gaming culture.

    But man has never been one to leave mysteries rest in peace, and so it was only a matter of time until the big secret of the 80s would be uncovered...

  7. #744652014-04-30 13:19:46DarkChaplain said:

    Unearthed & Celebrated

    And so it was that in May 2013 the Alamogordo City Commission granted the Canadian entertainment company Fuel Industries the rights to access the landfill for 6 months in 2014, for the purpose of filming a documentary and excavate the trash. Microsoft also has a stake in the proceedings, as the documentary is planned to be part of the Xbox One and 360 exclusive "TV" content.
    While the operation was in jeopardy for various reasons, in April 2014, the problems were put to rest and the excavation allowed to go ahead at last.

    On April 26, 2014 (mere days ago as of this thread), the excavation was started. It was held as an open event, free to the public. Crowds gathered, "dig-parties" were held in New Mexico, merchandise sold. A 30 year old mystery was to be uncovered, and the hype around E.T. was strong once more.

    http://i.imgur.com/QU0nEy2.jpg

    At first, it seemed like the dig would be in vain. A rare few copies of E.T. turned up, but people were already prepared to cry foul and claim them fake. Thankfully, it did not end there...

    Sorry, this media content cannot be displayed.

    So this is it, folks. The legend was true all along. Atari DID bury masses of their games in the desert, E.T. being chief among them. Some people already mourn the loss of one of the biggest mysteries in gaming history - and I can't blame them. This landfill carries a 30 year old history on its back, and now that it has been proven to be a fact, the romance surrounding the Extra-Terrestrial's grave will undoubtedly weaken.
    However, even unearthed, the E.T. landfill in New Mexico still presents a strong reminder of the industry's hubris. The crash was real, the breakdown took its toll. It is a lesson the industry should never forget.

    I would be lying if I claimed I was not worried about history repeating itself. The triple-A industry of the present day shares a lot of similarities with the companies back then. Indie games are rampant, and while a lot of them are excellent video games, there is an undeniable amount of drivel on stores now. Valve's Steam platform on PC has previously done the necessary job of curating their own store to keep trash away, yet those floodgates have been lifted in recent years, and more and more bargain bucket titles are finding their way onto the PC's strongest marketplace. Scams and unfinished buy-in projects labeled "Early Access are becoming frequent now.
    Thankfully, the gaming community has grown significantly since days of old, and revenue is way up. The industry now is much less centralized than it was before, so no one player, however big, will easily topple the industry as it is now.
    Let us hope history will not repeat itself...

  8. #744692014-04-30 15:20:55evii-chii said:

    More people should read this. It's really interesting and gives a good life advice (not only for gaming). Nice one DC, really nice. :)

  9. #744752014-04-30 17:38:07Dark-B said:

    Even though I am not a gamer myself that much, was pretty good for me. I kind of liked the fact it was more than just gaming, and a lot of the stuff in there I didn't actually know about and was interested when I found out about them.

    I don't really want to discuss games, but this was a lot more than just talking about a game, and the part that interested me is the impact and the negativity the game received as well and how rushed it was because of greed and money, and how it backfired on them.

    Your share on one of the most iconic movies and probably character till this day and how trying to exploiting him backfired because of too much greed has morals in it, but sadly you can already see people continue being greedy and rushing. Oh well.

  10. #745512014-05-01 18:54:56hellstorm901 said:

    Well if you want a different contribution then in my honest opinion all copies of this game should indeed be destroyed and not allowed to be spread throughout Ebay and Amazon at ridiculous prices drawing in unsuspecting people and their money on the thought of "Surely it can't be that bad." I would much rather people bought a Call of Duty game or even Alien Colonial Marines Singleplayer than this game which damn near nearly destroyed the entire industry I find so much enjoyment from.

    In the worst case scenario we could have seen a very different world had Nintendo not come to the rescue.

    But the whole centralised idea does bring about a new fear that we very much may be heading back into that same direction. We are still quite centralised in the video game industry with most of the AAA titles being under the usual suspects. If one of these businesses were to collapse it would cause some problems to the industry as a whole just look at the fall of Relic. Relic was bought up by SEGA which means SEGA now has another asset it stands to lose if their business were to collapse and unless someone bought up SEGA's assets then they would be lost for good.

    Also what would happen if Steam or Origin suddenly disappeared, many people buy games in the digital format now and loads of developers, including indie ones, all heavily rely on platforms like Steam to sell their games as Retail production is expensive as is operating your own digital download service on your website.

    Still seems centralised to me, albeit in a different way.

  11. #745282014-05-01 15:53:49Kuroba_Loki said:

    That was a good history lesson.

    Plus this is the only game, which I've watched...that I had no idea what was happening throughout the game XD It said "speedrun" all i saw was a mini-E.T. walking and gathering stuff, and then being arrested XD

    Plus I've actually heard of the landfill mystery from one of my family members since he was a game fanatic of atari back in the day :D

  12. #745402014-05-01 16:39:36Rinneko said:

    Thank you for sharing this intriguing line of events with us! :) As the others above have mentioned, this was more than just a video game thread. I wasn't aware that an E.T. game had been published and the downfall of the publisher had played a huge role in causing the industry's crash. Honestly, I never thought it possible for one company to have such an impact on an industry but the more you know. I never knew the classic movie had sparked such a chain of events. It was extremely enjoyable to read this.

  13. #745442014-05-01 17:18:16DarkChaplain said:

    I am glad to see so many nice replies. Does a lot for me to see that people learned something from my 4k words of nerdism.

    So, if I were to write another thread in this vain, on another topic, I take it there's an interest in that?

  14. #745562014-05-01 20:48:12DarkChaplain said:

    I'll be replying to @hellstorm901 here:

    Well if you want a different contribution then in my honest opinion all copies of this game should indeed be destroyed and not allowed to be spread throughout Ebay and Amazon at ridiculous prices drawing in unsuspecting people and their money on the thought of "Surely it can't be that bad." I would much rather people bought a Call of Duty game or even Alien Colonial Marines Singleplayer than this game which damn near nearly destroyed the entire industry I find so much enjoyment from.

    I disagree. The games buried and dug up are, for the most part, completely unplayable and in all but appearance "destroyed". A lot of them are flattened and physically broken anyway.

    The game, as I said in my posts, is still cheap (10 bucks and less on ebay) to get a hold of. People buying it at this point are doing so to own a piece of gaming history, and no piece of history deserves to be completely destroyed. I'd rather have people buying up copies of the game to be able to add it to their collections of significant titles in gaming, than get rid of the truckload entirely. Destroying a constant reminder is a bad idea.

    In the worst case scenario we could have seen a very different world had Nintendo not come to the rescue.

    Nintendo didn't so much come to the rescue, as they tried to sell their own product. Their product succeeded where Atari's failed: It was fun and not entirely broken, something people were asking for.

    But the whole centralised idea does bring about a new fear that we very much may be heading back into that same direction. We are still quite centralised in the video game industry with most of the AAA titles being under the usual suspects. If one of these businesses were to collapse it would cause some problems to the industry as a whole just look at the fall of Relic. Relic was bought up by SEGA which means SEGA now has another asset it stands to lose if their business were to collapse and unless someone bought up SEGA's assets then they would be lost for good.

    Relic is a studio, not a publisher. THQ was the publisher, and THQ's assets are now with Ubisoft (South Park), SEGA (Relic / their games), Nordic Games (Darksiders, Red Faction) and Deep Silver (Volition, Saints Row, Metro).

    If anything, this has decentralized THQ's franchises, giving them chances elsewhere. I know Nordic isn't rich, but they are still looking into ways to utilize THQ's IPs well. Deep Silver has done a LOT for Saints Row and Metro. Ubisoft did a lot of dumb stuff with South Park, but allowed the developers to polish it further than rushing it out to save a failing company.

    SEGA has not proven jack shit as of yet. They released Company of Heroes 2, which suffers from the same problems it would have under THQ - a lot of unnecessary DLC. SEGA at least had Relic migrate Company of Heroes 1 to Steamworks instead of using the Relic servers. The question is if they'll make the switch from GfWL to Steamworks with the 40k games, not to forget Gamespy for the first Dawn of War series.

    SEGA is a thorn for very different reasons than Atari, however, and I think it is counterproductive to put all the blame onto them when it comes to Aliens: Colonial Marines. That trainwreck was handed down from developer to developer, and Gearbox, who "developed" it last for SEGA, misused their funding to make Borderlands 2 instead. SEGA has been pursuing them legally for that already, as Gearbox has lied time and again about the project.

    Yes, we do have a lot of big publishers out there. But we have FAR MORE small studios and teams now. We have relative newcomers like Devolver Digital, who are supporting indies left and right. We have Double Fine who, for all their failings, are trying to expand and also help indies in various ways. We have a LOT more good publishers now than just 5 years ago, and the Indie Boom is to blame for that.

    If Activision goes bankrupt (which won't happen, as they have far too many successful products for that, constantly breaking records), their assets get sold off. In fact, Activision has been trying to free themselves of their parent company for a while now, as they were leeching off Activision's success and holding them down.

    If EA goes down, people will cheer for sure. But fact of the matter is, their products are popular as fuck, so they will be picked up by others. It wouldn't even surprise me if, for example, Crytek themselves were to buy up their Crysis franchise. I'd be surprised if DICE wouldn't make it without EA. There are a lot of studios under EA that could do very well regardless of their publisher, if they'd scale down their projects to fit with their budget.

    Also what would happen if Steam or Origin suddenly disappeared, many people buy games in the digital format now and loads of developers, including indie ones, all heavily rely on platforms like Steam to sell their games as Retail production is expensive as is operating your own digital download service on your website.

    They won't go down. Origin is a rebranded service we've had for what, 5 years and more? People may hate it, but that hate is not based on actual reason for most. A lot of it is fanboyism for Steam, which has far more problems than Origin now.

    Steam won't go down either. Valve takes a THIRTY PERCENT CUT of sales. 30%. They can do this shit for as long as they'd like, and their slowness when it comes to making improvements should tell you a LOT about how comfortable they are with their position. Just reading the Steam forums should say a lot for how safe they are.

    And there are more than just Steam or Origin. Uplay, GOG, Greenman Gaming, Gamersgate, the list goes on. Amazon is a big player now as well. Humble has been trying to get big AAA publishers on board. There are more than enough storefronts ready to pick up where Steam fails.

    I dislike the reliance on Steam, but Steam is a safe bet to survive for many many years to come. It won't simply go down. The attachment rate on Steam is too high, and people won't leave their libraries behind. There is no reason for people to move off Steam, and the fact that Valve can host big tournaments for Dota 2 now without even paying for them on their own and instead basing them solely on the community's funding should tell you how safe their position at the top is.

  15. #745572014-05-01 21:02:09awkwardangels said:

    I'll admit, I cried when I heard this at first. I thought it was just a myth, but holy hell it was't. Wipes away a tear

    Well if you want a different contribution then in my honest opinion all copies of this game should indeed be destroyed and not allowed to be spread throughout Ebay and Amazon at ridiculous prices drawing in unsuspecting people and their money on the thought of "Surely it can't be that bad." I would much rather people bought a Call of Duty game or even Alien Colonial Marines Singleplayer than this game which damn near nearly destroyed the entire industry I find so much enjoyment from.

    ... You do realize that ET has a piece of gaming history and likely memorable for a few people? It's been over 30 years, how can it hurt the video gaming industry now? What's logic.

  16. #746632014-05-02 12:59:02 *Yugure said:

    Once I started reading, I didn't stop. 4k words isn't enough for me, I'd say.

    I remembered the time I watched E.T (although my mind is fuzzy about it). It thrilled me, made me drop my jaw, and let me feel the 'feels' at the end of the movie. I wasn't born in this world yet during that time, but I can imagine those sequel of events in my mind as I read the whole article. I can't say anything anymore - I'm speechless and I really, really appreciated this, from the very bottom of my heart, that it broadened my mind and obtained information.

    I hope this is a worthy reply to this beautiful thread

  17. #774102014-06-01 21:33:59DarkChaplain said:

    We've got an update on this!

    the city commission had decided to sell 700 of the 1,300 dug-up E.T. cartridges. First though, the city has voted to donate 100 of the cartridges to documentary production companies Lightbox and Fuel Entertainment, with the remaining 500 distributed amongst local museums.

    The hope is to create a tourist landmark, not just at the museums that will be preserving the carts, but also at the dig site. The carts were reportedly buried nearly twice as deep as originally thought, making the excavation crews dig 30 feet instead of the expected 18. While the New Mexico space museum is charted with appraising the cartridges, word on how or where to buy them will come at a later date.

    via destructoid