ET the Extra-Terrestrial by Atari, released in 1982. This game nearly destroyed the entire videogame industry!
Alright. This came out when I was 7 years old. The movie was amazing but it also really creeped the hell out of me when I was young (hey, the part when the Feds showed up and tried to capture him...) It was one of those flashpoint memories from being a little kid, what can I say. Anyway, for being a guy who writes a column about retrogames, I find it odd to mention that I never actually owned an Atari 2600 of my own.. and this game made me glad that I didn't, it was garbage!
Developed by one Howard Scott Warshaw, who actually is quite an interesting character and shouldn't be judged solely from this game (you need to buy his video, it's amazing!) the game was quite obviously not very inspired and rushed out the door to make a quick buck. Bad corporate decision. It was a multimillion dollar mistake and it signaled the change in attitudes of people buying anything labeled "hot new videogame."
In the game's defense.. I did play it at the time, on a friend's console. The character was a fairly decent (and iconic) representation of what an onscreen ET should look and move like, and it was rather fun to move him around. For a moment, because you started dropping down holes almost immediately after beginning the gameplay, and much of the game seemed to consist of slowly trying to climb out (only to keep falling back in). This was horrendous, and not fun - but there were actually a good deal of videogames exactly like this on the 2600 back then. I guess it was the first time they tried to pull this crap with a major license, and so there was hell to pay.
In the end, the ET videogame went on to become infamous as the one which brought the industry to its' knees. I guess if we didn't have huge blowouts like this, then Nintendo never would have had room to wrestle in and rewrite things there way. History would be pretty different!
Support independent developer Headcase Games and pick up 180 for iPhone! I promise it's about eight-thousand times more enjoyable than ET, and you'll never find it in the bottom of any landfill. It's just that good.