Monday, September 14, 2015

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial Atari Game

On the newest Ken PD Snydecast Dana talks about seeing the documentary 'Atari: Game Over'

Way back in 1983 the Atari 2600 ruled the world of gaming. A benevolent ruler to be sure, but Atari was the king.

And what a king Atari was.

Atari changed the way people used their TV. Atari released some of the most memorable games of all time including Donkey Kong and Frogger.

This made Atari 9th on the all time "King" list (between King Solomon and the Sacramento Kings.)

Atari was part of the Warner Communications company and had been since way back in could 1976. Atari was responsible for 80% of the video game market and 70% of Warner's operating profits. In 1982 the head of Warner Communications made a deal with Steven Spielberg to make a video game based on the movie E.T. The cost of the licensing agreement was an outstanding $20 million dollars.

This was a somewhat unusual move. Most games at the time were not based on movies; instead they were based on giant frogs crossing the street and apes that are inexplicably called "donkey".

Howard Scott Warshaw was tapped to create E.T. Warshaw was a skilled programmer, but he was saddled with a ridiculously short deadline.

8 weeks.

The resulting game is widely considered the worst game of all time.

I am not sure when I first played E.T., but it was long before I heard what a flop it was. I loved the game. I picked up a guide book "How to Play E.T." at garage sale, and I have been hooked on it for years.

The game play is simple. You move E.T. through several screens looking for the parts of E.T.'s phone. There is a scientist and an FBI agent on the lookout for E.T.

The scientist with kidnap you and the FBI agent will steal a piece of your phone.

He must look like a dork when he gets back to headquarters.

FBI AGENT: I just saw an alien.
CLERK: Sure you did.
FBI AGENT: I really did!
CLERK: Prove it.
FBI AGENT: OK, look at this phone I found.
...then the agent would fall down causing him to look like a dork.

The pieces of the phone are hidden in pits that E.T. has to fall into.

The holes are what many people hated about the game. They are EVERYWHERE and it is quite easy to fall into them by accident.

So, with annoying holes, mediocre graphics and a bad storyline OTHER CONSUMERS (again, not me) hated this game.

Atari had woefully miscalculated the amount of games that would be sold and they were left with millions of unsold cartridges. So they did the only logical thing. They buried them in the desert.

Yup. They sent truckload of cartridges to a desert landfill drove a steamroller over them and covered them in cement.

Kinda like what happened to Joe Pesci in "Casino".

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


As Dana mentioned on the newest Ken PD Snydecast, Captain Ron is the greatest movie ever.

For those that haven't seen it, it's a comedy from 1992 directed by, future James Bond actor, Pierce Brosnan.

It tells the story of an eccentric captain who helps a family begin a love affair with the sea.

Originally released in 1991as Kanitah Poh in Kurt Russell's native land of Glottenberg.
It was a smash hit in Glottenberg raking in over seventy million marcorubios (about 1 million in US currency.)

The film starts off with Kanitah Poh (played by Russell) showing up at the dock with his beat up old ship.

It's revealed that Kanitah Poh is a cocaine addict and he needs help.

Martin Short plays a doctor that specializes in seafaring drug addiction. He brings his family aboard the ship for a 2 day cruise to the other side of the Warner Brothers' lot.

 Martin Short (playing Martin Short) asks Kurt if the boat will sail and then Kanitah Poh utters his most famous line:

Martin Short then has Kanitah Poh remember his childhood. He spent little time riding a bike with a piano attached to the handle bars.

Kanitah Poh claims that he fell off his bike as a kid trying to run over a milk carton. Martin Short refutes this claim and says "I have video taped your whole life."

That night Kanitah Poh dreams that Martin Short is a pretty girl and he is a monkey with a sweet valentine's day t-shirt.

In the morning a changed Kanitah Poh wakes up and decides to tell his story to Martin Short and his family.

They all decide that cocaine isn't good for you. Everyone is happy, especially Kanitah Poh!

A friendly trader offers them fish for Kanitah Poh's last bag of cocaine.

But it turns out Martin Short accidentally ate it, bag and all. Kurt wants him to cough up the cocaine.

Suddenly Ant Man shows up and Ken is unimpressed and Dana goes to the bathroom because he's old.

 Then a wiser Martin Short goes back to school.

Captain Ron! Go see it! Each sold separably. Ask your parents for permission.

Posted by Guy Hutchinson

KEN P.D. SNYDECAST #225: Cart Before The Hoarse

Brand new episode!
 Tales of Disneyland, smelly rental cars, Captain Ron, and E. T.

Posted by Guy Hutchinson

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Disney Newsreel

 Disney Newsreel, a bi-weekly magazine for Disney employees in Southern California.

Would you like to read a few covers?

The Newsreel is still being published: