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E.T. Video Game Journalism in the Eighties
As I immersed myself in the pages of the January 1983 edition of Electronic Games, a letter from an eager reader residing in Newark, CA caught my attention. The letter was brimming with curiosity, asking about the rumored E.T. video game, and to my delight, the magazine confirmed its release and provided some of the limited details they could reveal at that time. One exciting revelation was that the acclaimed Steven Spielberg was involved in the game's creation.
The publication date of January 1983 was remarkable, considering it fell just a month after the game was released. This provided a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of game journalism during that era. Magazines, like Electronic Games, had to plan their issues months in advance, allowing ample time for game development and unforeseen changes. In this case, the E.T. game seemed to have been rushed into development and released, surprising many.
Intrigued, I took a look back at the December 1982 issue, only to find no mention of the E.T. game despite its extensive marketing elsewhere. It wasn't until February 1983 that the magazine published a small article, essentially reiterating what had been said in the January letter.
The absence of any further mentions of the E.T. game in the magazine, even several months into the future, struck me as truly mind-boggling, especially considering the massive energy and mania surrounding its release. I couldn't help but lament that the magazine missed out on securing some of those coveted E.T. advertising dollars.
While some may dismiss it as reading too much into a short letter, I couldn't help but sense the palpable excitement and enthusiasm for this unique tie-in. Both in the reader's question and the magazine's untimely response, there was an undeniable aura of anticipation.
Personally, I count myself among those enthusiastic individuals. The moment I learned that the E.T. game was going to be available on Atari, I became completely consumed by the thought and couldn't stop talking about it.
Although it's common to come across criticism of the E.T. game, with many regarding it as a terrible and universally disliked title, I beg to differ. True, it was a challenging game, and I struggled to excel at it, but that didn't deter me from spending countless hours exploring the world of E.T. from the comfort of my living room.
Even today, despite what I know about the game's history, I cannot summon any negative feelings about it. Instead, I will forever associate myself with Paul Valdez from Newark, CA, the passionate gamer who expressed his excitement about the E.T. game through that memorable letter.