We all know the story of how the E.T. video game was one of the worst of all time and basically caused the video game crash of 1983 and the death of Atari. Short version: they made more cartridges than there were Atari consoles in existence; the game was rushed into production to cash in on the E.T. craze and meet the Christmas shopping season; millions of unsold cartridges were buried in the New Mexico desert.
But part of that story is the implication that people were surprised that the game was so, so bad. But clearly they must have known, because part of the problem with the game is that not enough people bought it. The fact that it’s a bad game—even by quaint, early ’80s standards—seems pretty evident from the commercial.