E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (video game)
E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 adventure video game developed and published by Atari, Inc. for the Atari 2600 video game console. It is based on the film of the same name, was designed by Howard Scott Warshaw; the objective of the game is to guide the eponymous character through various screens in a cubic world to collect three pieces of an interplanetary telephone that will allow him to contact his home planet. Warshaw intended the game to be an innovative adaptation of the film, Atari thought it would achieve high sales figures based on its connection with the film, popular throughout the world. Negotiations to secure the rights to make the game ended in late July 1982, giving Warshaw only 5 and a half weeks to develop the game in time for the 1982 Christmas season; the final release was critically panned, with nearly every aspect of the game facing heavy criticism. E. T. is cited as one of the worst video games of all time and one of the biggest commercial failures in video game history.
It is cited as a major contributing factor to the video game industry crash of 1983, has been referenced and mocked in popular culture as a cautionary tale about the dangers of rushed game development and studio interference. In what was deemed an urban legend, reports from 1983 stated that as a result of overproduction and returns, millions of unsold cartridges were secretly buried in an Alamogordo, New Mexico landfill and covered with a layer of concrete. In April 2014, diggers hired to investigate the claim confirmed that the Alamogordo landfill contained many E. T. cartridges, among other games. James Heller, the former Atari manager, in charge of the burial, was at the excavation and admitted to the Associated Press that 728,000 cartridges of various games were buried. E. T. is an adventure game. The objective of the game is to collect three pieces of an interplanetary telephone; the pieces are found scattered randomly throughout various pits. The player is provided with an on-screen energy bar, which decreases when E.
T. performs any actions. To prevent this, E. T. can collect Reese's Pieces, which are used to restore his energy or, when nine are collected, E. T. can call Elliott to obtain a piece of the telephone, or the player can save the candy pieces for bonus points at the end. After the three phone pieces have been collected, the player must guide E. T. to an area where he can use the phone, which allows him to call his home planet. When the call is made, E. T. must reach the spaceship in a given time limit. Once E. T. gets to the forest where his ship abandoned him and stands and waits in the designated area for the ship to come, the ship will appear on screen and take him back to his home planet. The game starts over, with the same difficulty level, while changing the location of the telephone pieces; the score obtained during the round is carried over to the next iteration. The game ends. E. T. has three lives and if he dies within those three lives Elliott will come in and revive him. E. T. can get a fourth life.
It turns into a sprite from some games that Howard Scott Warshaw made, such as Raiders of the Lost Ark. The game is divided into each representing a different setting from the film. To accomplish the objective of the game, the player must guide E. T. into the wells. Once all items found in a well are collected, the player must levitate E. T. out of them. An icon at the top of each screen represents the current area, each area enabling the player to perform different actions. Antagonists include a scientist who takes E. T. for observation and an FBI agent who chases the alien to confiscate one of the collected telephone pieces, or candy. The game offers diverse difficulty settings that affect the number and speed of humans present, the conditions needed to accomplish the objective. Following the commercial success of the film in June 1982, Steve Ross, chief executive officer of Atari's parent company Warner Communications, started negotiations with Steven Spielberg and Universal Pictures to acquire the license to produce a video game based on the film.
In late June, Warner announced its exclusive worldwide rights to market coin-operated and console games based on the movie. Although the exact details of the transaction were not disclosed in the announcement, it was reported that Atari had paid US$20–25 million for the rights, a high figure for video game licensing at the time; when asked by Ross what he thought about making an E. T.-based video game, "I think it's a dumb idea. We've never made an action game out of a movie." An arcade game based on the E. T. property had been planned, but this was deemed to be impossible given the short deadline. After negotiations were completed, Kassar called Howard Scott Warshaw on July 27, 1982, to commission him as developer of the video game. Kassar informed him that Spielberg asked for Warshaw and that development needed to be completed by September 1 to meet a production schedule for the Christmas holiday. Though Warshaw had spent more than a year working on consecutive development schedules for games, he accepted the offer based on the challenge of completing a game in a short time frame and at Spielberg's request.
Warshaw considered it an opportunity to develop an innovative Atari 2600 game based on a movie he enjoyed, "provided we reach the right arrangement". Kassar offered
Video Olympics is a video game programmed by Atari, Inc.'s Joe Decuir for the Atari 2600. It is one of the nine original launch titles for that system when it was released in September 1977; the cartridge is a collection of games from Atari's popular arcade Pong series. A similar collection in arcade machine form called Tournament Table was published by Atari in 1978. Video Olympics was rebranded by Sears as Pong Sports; the games are a collection of bat-and-ball style games, including several released by Atari as coin-ops in the early 1970s. The games are played using the 2600s paddle controllers, are for one to four players; the cartridge and its individual games were reviewed twice in Video magazine. In the Winter 1979 issue of Video, the cartridge was reviewed as part of a general review of the Atari VCS where it received a review score of 8.5 out of 10, its constituent games were characterized as "old standbys" but "still lots of fun". A more thorough review appeared in Video's "Arcade Alley" column in the Summer 1979 issue where the release was praised for "tak Atari's Pong concept and explor it to the limit."
Individual games were singled out as well, with praise for Volleyball and Robot Pong, criticism for Handball, Basketball. Video Olympics includes 50 variations; some of the more notable games include: Pong - The classic table tennis simulation. Super Pong - A Pong variation where each player has two paddles. Robot Pong - A solitaire Pong variation. Pong Doubles Quadrapong - A four-player, four-wall Pong variation. Foozpong - Based on Foozball, this Pong variant has the players control a vertical three-paddle column. Soccer Handball - A handball simulation. Ice hockey Hockey III - An ice hockey simulation where players can catch and shoot the puck at the opposing goal. Basketball - A basketball simulation. Volleyball - A volleyball simulation where the traditional left-right volley is swapped for a top-bottom volley. Players can spike. Video Olympics at Atari Mania
Video game crash of 1983
The video game crash of 1983 was a large-scale recession in the video game industry that occurred from 1983 to 1985 in America. The crash was attributed to several factors, including market saturation in the number of game consoles and available games, waning interest in console games in favor of personal computers. Revenues peaked at around $3.2 billion in 1983 fell to around $100 million by 1985. The crash was a serious event which abruptly ended what is retrospectively considered the second generation of console video gaming in North America. Lasting about two years, the crash shook the then-booming industry, led to the bankruptcy of several companies producing home computers and video game consoles in the region. Analysts of the time expressed doubts about the long-term viability of video game consoles and software; the North American video game console industry recovered a few years mostly due to the widespread success of the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. Prior to 1982, the most significant home console was the Atari VCS.
The Atari VCS was launched in 1977. In 1980, Atari's licensed version of Space Invaders from Taito became the console's killer application. Spurred by the success of the Atari VCS, other consoles were introduced, both from Atari and other companies: Atari 5200, ColecoVision, Odyssey² and Intellivision. In addition to this and Coleco created devices that allowed them to play Atari 2600 games on their consoles; each of these consoles had its own library of games produced by the console maker, many had large libraries of games produced by third-party developers. In 1982, analysts noticed trends of saturation, mentioning that the amount of new software coming in will only allow a few big hits, that retailers had too much floor space for systems, along with price drops for home computers could result in an industry shakeup. In addition, the rapid growth of the video game industry led to an increased demand for video games, but which the manufacturers over-projected. An analyst for Goldman Sachs had stated in 1983 that the demand for video games was up 100% from 1982, but the manufacturing output increased by 175%, creating a surplus in the market.
Raymond Kassar, the CEO of Atari, had recognized in 1982 that there would become a point of saturation for the industry, but did not expect this to occur until about half of American households had a video game console. In 1979, Atari unveiled the Atari 400 and 800 computers, built around a chipset meant for use in a game console, which retailed for the same price as their respective names. In 1981, IBM introduced the IBM 5150 PC with a $1,565 base price, while Sinclair Research introduced its low-end ZX81 microcomputer for £70. By 1982, new desktop computer designs were providing better color graphics and sound than game consoles and personal computer sales were booming; the TI 99/4A and the Atari 400 were both at $349, the Tandy Color Computer sold at $379, Commodore International had just reduced the price of the VIC-20 to $199 and the C64 to $499. Because computers had more memory and faster processors than a console, they permitted more sophisticated games. A 1984 compendium of reviews of Atari 8-bit software used 198 pages for games compared to 167 for all other software types.
Home computers could be used for tasks such as word processing and home accounting. Games were easier to distribute, since they could be sold on floppy disks or cassette tapes instead of ROM cartridges; this opened the field to a cottage industry of third-party software developers. Writeable storage media allowed players to save games in progress, a useful feature for complex games, not available on the consoles of the era. In 1982, a price war began between Commodore and Texas Instruments, home computers became as inexpensive as video-game consoles. Dan Gutman, founder in 1982 of Video Games Player magazine, recalled in 1987 that "People asked themselves,'Why should I buy a video game system when I can buy a computer that will play games and do so much more?'" The Boston Phoenix stated in September 1983 about the cancellation of the Intellivision III, "Who was going to pay $200-plus for a machine that could only play games?" Commodore explicitly targeted video game players. Spokesman William Shatner asked in VIC-20 commercials "Why buy just a video game from Atari or Intellivision?", stating that "unlike games, it has a real computer keyboard" yet "plays great games too".
Commodore's ownership of chip fabricator MOS Technology allowed manufacture of integrated circuits in-house, so the VIC-20 and C64 sold for much lower prices than competing home computers. "I've been in retailing 30 years and I have never seen any category of goods get on a self-destruct pattern like this", a Service Merchandise executive told The New York Times in June 1983. The price war was so severe that in September Coleco CEO Arnold Greenberg welcomed rumors of an IBM'Peanut' home computer b
Adventure (Atari 2600)
Adventure is a video game for the Atari 2600 video game console, released in late 1979–1980. In the game, the player controls a square avatar whose quest is to explore an open-ended environment to find a magical chalice and return it to the golden castle; the game world is populated by roaming enemies: three dragons that can eat the avatar and a bat that randomly steals and hides items around the game world. Adventure introduced a number of innovative game elements to console games, including a playing area that spanned several different screens and enemies that continued to move when not displayed on the screen. Adventure was conceived as a graphical version of the 1977 text adventure Colossal Cave Adventure, it took developer Warren Robinett one year to design and code the game, during which time he had to overcome a variety of technical limitations in the Atari 2600 console hardware, as well as difficulties with management within Atari. In this game, he introduced the first known video game Easter egg, a secret room containing text crediting himself for the game's creation.
Robinett's Easter egg became a tradition for future Atari 2600 titles. Adventure received positive reviews at the time of its release and has continued to be viewed positively in the decades since named as one of the industry's most influential titles, it is considered the first action-adventure and console fantasy game, inspired other titles in the genres. More than one million cartridges of Adventure were sold, the game has been included in numerous Atari 2600 game collections for modern computer hardware; the game's prototype code was used as the basis for the 1979 Superman game, a planned sequel formed the basis for the Swordquest games. The Easter egg concept pioneered by the game has transcended video games and entered popular culture. In Adventure, the player's goal is to recover the Enchanted Chalice that an evil magician has stolen and hidden in the kingdom and return it to the Golden Castle; the kingdom includes two other castles and various mazes within them. Furthermore, the kingdom is guarded by three dragons: Yorgle and Rhindle, that protect various items in the game and will try to chase and eat the player's avatar.
There is a bat that can roam across the kingdom carrying a single item around. The bat has two states and non-agitated; the bat continues to fly around if not present on the player's current screen and may continue moving or swapping around objects. The player's avatar is a simple square shape that can move within and between rooms, each represented by a single screen. While Robinett intended for all rooms to be bidirectionally connected, a few such connections were unidirectional, which he considered to be bugs; such problems were explained away as "bad magic" in the game's manual. The player's goal is to find objects to help recover the Chalice; these include various keys that open the castles, a magnet that pulls items towards the player, a magic bridge that the player can use to cross certain obstacles, a sword which can be used to defeat the dragons. Only one object can be carried at a time; the player can be eaten by a dragon if it is caught in its "bite" cycle, at which point the avatar is stuck in the dragon's stomach.
At this point, the player can opt to restore their avatar's life instead of restarting the game, reappearing at the Golden Castle while leaving all objects where they were last left, but this will regenerate any dragon killed as well. The ability to reset the player's avatar without resetting the entire game is considered one of the earliest examples of a "continue game" option in video games; the game offers three different skill levels. Level 1 is the easiest, as it uses a simplified room layout missing one of the castles and one of the mazes, doesn't include the bat and one of the dragons. Level 2 is the full version of the game, with the various objects appearing in set positions at the start of the game. Level 3 is similar to Level 2, but the location of the objects is randomized to provide a more challenging game. In addition, the player can use the difficulty switches on the Atari 2600 to further control the game's difficulty by affecting the behavior of the dragons: one switch controls the dragons' bite speed, one causes them to flee when the player is wielding the sword.
Adventure was published by the developer of the 2600 console, Atari and programmed by Atari employee Warren Robinett. At the time, Atari programmers were given full control on the creative direction and development cycle for their games, but this required them to plan for their next game as they neared completion of their current one to stay productive. Robinett was finishing his work on Slot Racers when he was given an opportunity to visit the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory by Julius Smith, one of several friends he was sharing a house with. There, he was introduced to the 1977 version of the computer text game Colossal Cave Adventure, created by Will Crowther and modified by Don Woods. After playing the game for several hours, he was inspired to create a graphical version of the game. Inspired by the 1977 text game Colossal Cave Adventure, Robinett began designing his graphics-based game on a Hewlett-Packard
Air-Sea Battle is a game developed by Atari, Inc. for the Atari 2600, was one of the nine original launch titles for that system when it was released in September 1977. It was released by Sears as Target Fun and was the pack-in game with the original Sears Tele-Games version of the Atari 2600. There are six basic types of games available in Air-Sea Battle, for each type, there are one or two groups of three games, for a total of twenty-seven game variants. Within each group, variant one is the standard game, variant two features guided missiles which can be directed left or right after being fired, variant three pits a single player against a computer opponent, which fires continuously at the default angle or speed. In every game, players shoot targets competing to get a higher score; each round lasts sixteen seconds. Variants 1–6 are anti-aircraft games, in which the player uses a stationary anti-aircraft gun that can be positioned at a 30, 60, or 90-degree angle to shoot down four different types of aircraft.
The planes appear in groups of three to five, once every plane in a formation has been destroyed, a new formation appears. There are two groups of anti-aircraft games: in variants 1–3, each target hit is worth 1 point, while in 4–6, the various types of aircraft have different point values. Additionally, zero-point blimps are added as obstacles in games 4–6; the torpedo games are similar to the anti-aircraft games, except that each player mans a submarine that can move left and right and fires at a 90 degree angle. The targets are ships instead of planes; as with the anti-aircraft games, in games 7–9, all targets are worth one point, while games 10–12 have variable point values for targets and additional zero-point obstacles. The shooting gallery games differ from the previous variants in that the player can both set the angle of the gun and move the gun left and right. Instead of planes or ships, clowns and rabbits are the targets, with point values of 1, 2, 3 respectively; the polaris games put the player in control of a boat which moves back and forth across the bottom of the screen automatically.
Instead of controlling the gun angle, the player controls the speed at which the ship moves, attempting to shoot the same fleets of planes as in the anti-aircraft variants, with the point values of games 4–6. In the bomber games, the player-controlled vehicle is a plane flying near the top of the screen dropping bombs on the ships from the torpedo games; as in the polaris games, the plane's speed is controlled by the player, the point values are identical to those in games 10–12. In the polaris vs. bomber games, one player controls the ship from the polaris games while the other controls the plane from the bomber games, with the goal being to destroy the other player's craft. Games 25–27 feature zero-point mines as obstacles; the cartridge was reviewed by Video magazine in its "Arcade Alley" column where it was praised as "the ultimate game for people who enjoy blowing things up". Torpedo variant #11 was noted in particular as the best game on the cartridge, with "addiction to this one common".
The most significant criticism was in regard to the computer's inability to handle guided missile controls in solo-play, the authors recommended playing the 2-player Torpedo variant #11 as a solo game if the player wished to experience a solitaire guided missile game. Air-Sea Battle appears on the Atari Anthology collection for Xbox and PlayStation 2 and the Atari Flashback dedicated console. Anti-Aircraft Air-Sea Battle at AtariAge Target Fun at AtariAge
Read-only memory is a type of non-volatile memory used in computers and other electronic devices. Data stored in ROM can only be modified with difficulty, or not at all, so it is used to store firmware or application software in plug-in cartridges. Read-only memory refers to memory, hard-wired, such as diode matrix and the mask ROM, which cannot be changed after manufacture. Although discrete circuits can be altered in principle, integrated circuits cannot, are useless if the data is bad or requires an update; that such memory can never be changed is a disadvantage in many applications, as bugs and security issues cannot be fixed, new features cannot be added. More ROM has come to include memory, read-only in normal operation, but can still be reprogrammed in some way. Erasable programmable read-only memory and electrically erasable programmable read-only memory can be erased and re-programmed, but this can only be done at slow speeds, may require special equipment to achieve, is only possible a certain number of times.
IBM used Capacitor Read Only Storage and Transformer Read Only Storage to store microcode for the smaller System/360 models, the 360/85 and the initial two models of the S/370. On some models there was a Writeable Control Store for additional diagnostics and emulation support; the simplest type of solid-state ROM is as old as the semiconductor technology itself. Combinational logic gates can be joined manually to map n-bit address input onto arbitrary values of m-bit data output. With the invention of the integrated circuit came mask ROM. Mask ROM consists of a grid of word lines and bit lines, selectively joined together with transistor switches, can represent an arbitrary look-up table with a regular physical layout and predictable propagation delay. In mask ROM, the data is physically encoded in the circuit, so it can only be programmed during fabrication; this leads to a number of serious disadvantages: It is only economical to buy mask ROM in large quantities, since users must contract with a foundry to produce a custom design.
The turnaround time between completing the design for a mask ROM and receiving the finished product is long, for the same reason. Mask ROM is impractical for R&D work since designers need to modify the contents of memory as they refine a design. If a product is shipped with faulty mask ROM, the only way to fix it is to recall the product and physically replace the ROM in every unit shipped. Subsequent developments have addressed these shortcomings. PROM, invented in 1956, allowed users to program its contents once by physically altering its structure with the application of high-voltage pulses; this addressed problems 1 and 2 above, since a company can order a large batch of fresh PROM chips and program them with the desired contents at its designers' convenience. The 1971 invention of EPROM solved problem 3, since EPROM can be reset to its unprogrammed state by exposure to strong ultraviolet light. EEPROM, invented in 1983, went a long way to solving problem 4, since an EEPROM can be programmed in-place if the containing device provides a means to receive the program contents from an external source.
Flash memory, invented at Toshiba in the mid-1980s, commercialized in the early 1990s, is a form of EEPROM that makes efficient use of chip area and can be erased and reprogrammed thousands of times without damage. All of these technologies improved the flexibility of ROM, but at a significant cost-per-chip, so that in large quantities mask ROM would remain an economical choice for many years. Rewriteable technologies were envisioned as replacements for mask ROM; the most recent development is NAND flash invented at Toshiba. Its designers explicitly broke from past practice, stating plainly that "the aim of NAND Flash is to replace hard disks," rather than the traditional use of ROM as a form of non-volatile primary storage; as of 2007, NAND has achieved this goal by offering throughput comparable to hard disks, higher tolerance of physical shock, extreme miniaturization, much lower power consumption. Every stored-program computer may use a form of non-volatile storage to store the initial program that runs when the computer is powered on or otherwise begins execution.
Every non-trivial computer needs some form of mutable memory to record changes in its state as it executes. Forms of read-only memory were employed as non-volatile storage for programs in most early stored-program computers, such as ENIAC after 1948. Read-only memory was simpler to implement since it needed only a mechanism to read stored values, not to change them in-place, thus could be implemented with crude electromechanical devices. With the advent of integrated circuits in the 1960s, both ROM and its mutable counterpart static RAM were implemented as arrays of transistors in silicon chips.
Pac-Man is an arcade game designed by Toru Iwatani and published by Namco and Midway Games. It was initally released in Japan as PUCKMAN in May 1980, followed by the United States in October of the same year; the gameplay involves the titular character in an enclosed maze filled with individual dots, or pellets. The goal is to consume all of the pellets while avoiding four multi-colored "ghosts" that wander around the maze; as the levels progress, the ghosts progressively become more aggressive, changing their behavior and patterns. If a ghost touches Pac-Man, he loses a life; the maze contains four large "power pellets", which gives the player temporary invulnerability, allowing them to consume the ghosts to earn more points. Throughout the game, fruits appear in the center of the maze, which can be consumed to earn more points. At the time of the game's release, the most popular arcade games were space shooters, such as Space Invaders and Asteroids, with the most noticeable difference being racing games and derivatives of Pong.
Pac-Man received a lukewarm response from critics but has retrospectively been regarded as one of the greatest and most influential video games of all time. It is credited with establishing conventions of the maze chase genre, spawning numerous clones and bootlegs, has since become a social phenomenon and an icon of 1980s popular culture. Pac-Man is one of the highest-grossing video games of all time, having generated more than $2.5 billion in quarters by 1990. Adjusted for inflation, all versions of the game have earned an estimated $12 billion in revenue; the success of Pac-Man led to numerous spin-offs, including more than 30 licensed ones, as well as several bootleg versions, as well as an animated TV series in 1982 and the top-ten single "Pac-Man Fever" by Buckner and Garcia. It is one of the longest-running video game franchises from the golden age of arcade games, was included in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C. and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. According to the Davie-Brown Index, the titular character has the highest brand awareness of any video games character among American consumers, with 94% recognition.
The player navigates Pac-Man through a dead-end-less maze containing dots, known as Pac-Dots, four multi-colored ghosts: Blinky, Pinky and Clyde. There is a passageway from the left side of the screen to the right side, four Power Pellets spread out between quadrants, fruits that appear in each level; the goal of the game is to accumulate as many points as possible by collecting dots and eating blue ghosts, while avoiding the four ghosts. When all of the dots in a stage are eaten, that stage is completed, the player will advance to the next one. Between some stages, one of three intermission animations plays; the four ghosts roam the chase Pac-Man. If any of the ghosts touches Pac-Man, a life is lost; when all lives have been lost, the game is over. The player begins with three lives, but DIP switches in the machine can change the number of starting lives to one, two, or five; the player will receive one extra life bonus after obtaining 10,000 points. The number of points needed for a bonus life can be changed to 15,000 or 20,000, or disabled altogether.
Near the corners of the maze are four flashing Power Pellets that provide Pac-Man with a temporary ability to eat the ghosts and earn bonus points that way. The enemies turn deep blue, reverse direction and move away from Pac-Man, move more slowly; when an enemy is eaten, its eyes remain and return to the center ghost box where the ghost is regenerated in its normal color. The bonus score earned for eating a blue ghost increases exponentially for each consecutive ghost eaten while a single Power Pellet is active: a score of 100 points is scored for eating one ghost, 200 for eating a second ghost, 400 for a third, 800 for the fourth; this cycle restarts from 100 points. Blue enemies flash white to signal that they are about to return to their normal color and become dangerous again, the length of time the enemies remain vulnerable varies from one stage to the next becoming shorter as the game progresses. In stages, the enemies go straight to flashing after a Power Pellet is consumed, bypassing blue, which means that they can only be eaten for a short amount of time, although they still reverse direction when a Power Pellet is eaten.
Starting at stage nineteen, the ghosts do not become edible at all, but they still reverse direction. There are fruits that appear twice per level, directly below the center ghost box; this table lists each stage, the type and value of the fruit that appears, how long the ghosts are blue when a power pellet is eaten, how many times the ghosts flash before returning to normal: The enemies in Pac-Man are known variously as "monsters" or "ghosts". In an interview, creator Toru Iwatani stated that he designed each enemy with its own distinct personality to keep the game from becoming impossibly difficult or boring to play. Iwatani described the enemy behaviors in more detail at the 2011 Game Developers Conference, he stated that the red enemy chases Pac-Man, while the pink enemy aims for a position in front of Pac-Man's mouth. The blue enemy is "fickle" and sometimes heads toward Pac-Man, other times away. Although he claimed that the orange enemy's behavior is random, in actuality it alternates from behaving like the red enemy and aiming towards the lower-left corner of the maze.
Pac-Man was designed to have no ending.