The Story Behind Atari's Infamous E.T. Video Game

J.C.'s Channel, YouTube
J.C.'s Channel, YouTube

When Atari released their video game adaptation of E.T. The Extraterrestrial in 1982, they thought it would buoy their brand and help them compete with the growing home computer market. Instead, it helped contribute to their demise. For Atari, E.T. became a symbol of failure. For children of the '80s, it was just considered a very bad game. But how did Atari end up creating a video game that was so monumentally and infamously unpopular?

According to the game’s programmer, Howard Scott Warshaw, the game’s failure came down to a mix of too much ambition and too little time. In recent interviews with the BBC and The Guardian, Warshaw explained that he was asked to make the E.T. video game after creating a popular Atari adaptation of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Warshaw, who idolized Stephen Spielberg, enthusiastically agreed to work on the game. There was only one problem: Atari needed it finished in time for Christmas, which meant that Warshaw only had five weeks to make it. At the time, most games took six months.

But rather than play it safe and build off of existing video game formats, Warshaw wanted to make something that was worthy of his hero. “I knew it was a lot to ask. But I didn’t just think, ‘I’ll give it a go.’ If you’re gonna bite it off you might as well take a big bite," he told The Guardian.

Warshaw worked on the game non-stop for weeks, even having a second work station built in his home so he could work at all hours. He managed to complete the game by the deadline, but though the finished game was original, most players didn’t think it was much fun. It was widely considered too difficult and too full of unexpected traps. Its problems weren’t in the game’s code, but in its conceptualization. 

E.T. didn’t just disappoint, it bombed—dramatically. In the end, Atari wound up with so many unsold copies of the game, they buried them in the New Mexico desert. And Warshaw, discouraged by the game’s dramatic failure, ended up leaving the video game industry completely. After dabbling in real estate and film, he now works as a therapist in Silicon Valley, where, according to BBC, he advertises himself as “fluent in both English and nerd.”

[h/t BBC]

10 of the Most Popular Portable Bluetooth Speakers on Amazon

Altech/Bose/JBL/Amazon
Altech/Bose/JBL/Amazon

As convenient as smartphones and tablets are, they don’t necessarily offer the best sound quality. But a well-built portable speaker can fill that need. And whether you’re looking for a speaker to use in the shower or a device to take on a long camping trip, these bestselling models from Amazon have you covered.

1. OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Portable Speaker; $26-$30 (4.4 stars)

Oontz portable bluetooth speaker
Cambridge Soundworks/Amazon

Of the 57,000-plus reviews that users have left for this speaker on Amazon, 72 percent of them are five stars. So it should come as no surprise that this is currently the best-selling portable Bluetooth speaker on the site. It comes in eight different colors and can play for up to 14 hours straight after a full charge. Plus, it’s splash proof, making it a perfect speaker for the shower, beach, or pool.

Buy it: Amazon

2. JBL Charge 3 Waterproof Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $110 (4.6 stars)

JBL portable bluetooth speaker
JBL/Amazon

This nifty speaker can connect with up to three devices at one time, so you and your friends can take turns sharing your favorite music. Its built-in battery can play music for up to 20 hours, and it can even charge smartphones and tablets via USB.

Buy it: Amazon

3. Anker Soundcore Bluetooth Speaker; $25-$28 (4.6 stars)

Anker portable bluetooth speaker
Anker/Amazon

This speaker boasts 24-hour battery life and a strong Bluetooth connection within a 66-foot radius. It also comes with a built-in microphone so you can easily take calls over speakerphone.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker; $129 (4.4 stars)

Bose portable bluetooth speaker
Bose/Amazon

Bose is well-known for building user-friendly products that offer excellent sound quality. This portable speaker lets you connect to the Bose app, which makes it easier to switch between devices and personalize your settings. It’s also water-resistant, making it durable enough to handle a day at the pool or beach.

Buy it: Amazon

5. DOSS Soundbox Touch Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $28-$33 (4.4 stars)

DOSS portable bluetooth speaker
DOSS/Amazon

This portable speaker features an elegant system of touch controls that lets you easily switch between three methods of playing audio—Bluetooth, Micro SD, or auxiliary input. It can play for up to 20 hours after a full charge.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Altec Lansing Mini Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $15-$20 (4.3 stars)

Altec Lansing portable bluetooth speaker
Altec Lansing/Amazon

This lightweight speaker is built for the outdoors. With its certified IP67 rating—meaning that it’s fully waterproof, shockproof, and dust proof—it’s durable enough to withstand harsh environments. Plus, it comes with a carabiner that can attach to a backpack or belt loop.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Tribit XSound Go Bluetooth Speaker; $33-$38 (4.6 stars)

Tribit portable bluetooth speaker
Tribit/Amazon

Tribit’s portable Bluetooth speaker weighs less than a pound and is fully waterproof and resistant to scratches and drops. It also comes with a tear-resistant strap for easy transportation, and the rechargeable battery can handle up to 24 hours of continuous use after a full charge. In 2020, it was Wirecutter's pick as the best budget portable Bluetooth speaker on the market.

Buy it: Amazon

8. VicTsing SoundHot C6 Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $18 (4.3 stars)

VicTsing portable bluetooth speaker
VicTsing/Amazon

The SoundHot portable Bluetooth speaker is designed for convenience wherever you go. It comes with a detachable suction cup and a carabiner so you can keep it secure while you’re showering, kayaking, or hiking, to name just a few.

Buy it: Amazon

9. AOMAIS Sport II Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $30 (4.4 stars)

AOMAIS portable bluetooth speaker
AOMAIS/Amazon

This portable speaker is certified to handle deep waters and harsh weather, making it perfect for your next big adventure. It can play for up to 15 hours on a full charge and offers a stable Bluetooth connection within a 100-foot radius.

Buy it: Amazon

10. XLEADER SoundAngel Touch Bluetooth Speaker; $19-$23 (4.4 stars)

XLeader portable bluetooth speaker
XLEADER/Amazon

This stylish device is available in black, silver, gold, and rose gold. Plus, it’s equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, a more powerful technology that can pair with devices up to 800 feet away. The SoundAngel speaker itself isn’t water-resistant, but it comes with a waterproof case for protection in less-than-ideal conditions.

Buy it: Amazon

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LEGO Will Let You Build a Retro NES and Old-School TV With This New Nintendo Set

The LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System Building Kit.
The LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System Building Kit.
LEGO

If the sight of a classic Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and a console television sends you down a spiral of nostalgic memories, you’ll probably be very interested in what LEGO is up to. The company just announced a retro LEGO set that allows you to assemble an NES as well as a TV depicting a scene from Super Mario Bros. on the screen. The only thing missing is an Ecto-Cooler.

The LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System Building Kit is pictured
The LEGO NES (R) sits next to the real thing.
LEGO

The LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System Building Kit aims for realism. The NES console has a controller and working game slot that allows users to insert the included Super Mario Bros. cartridge. The console television is retro in the extreme, with knobs and a wooden stand. On the “screen” is an action scene from the game, with a hand crank allowing Mario to move around obstacles. Collectors who have LEGO Mario from the LEGO Super Mario Starter Course ($60) can use the included action brick so that Mario “reacts” to the action on the TV.

The LEGO Nintendo Entertainment System Building Kit is pictured
Building their own NES brick by brick will keep collectors busy.
LEGO

The playset consists of 2646 pieces and is recommended for ages 18 and up. It will be available exclusively at LEGO stores and LEGO.com starting August 1 for $229, with more retailers to follow in 2021. To complete the Nintendo collection, you can also pre-order the LEGO Mario Starter Course for $60.

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