I had no idea E.T. for the Atari 2600 was such a bad game until the modern era when I found everybody on the net ripping it to pieces and heard about secret landfills in the desert. I had it and played it and liked it as a kid. I still like it today, though I have to admit that its notoriety is always in the back of my mind anytime I think about it now. And it was that combination of notoriety and affection that made me pick up How To Win At E.T.
How To Win At E.T. is another hintbook from the Consumer’s Guide, just like How To Win At Donkey Kong. It is much more ornate, though, as each page’s text is printed over a full-color picture of the moon or other E.T.-esque images. It is longer, too. It took me quite a bit of time to work through this one. And it has more (and in my opinion, more helpful) information. The staff at the Consumer’s Guide really took this game apart, explaining what all the elements do and giving several strategies for playing the game. They even gave a breakdown of the six screens and showed how movement from each screen works.
The book’s biggest surprise to me was how difficult the game was. I remember finishing the game, assembling the phone pieces from the pit and being picked up by the mother ship. I know I did that as a kid. After reading this book, though, I’m not sure how that is possible because there was so much I didn’t know about the game play. It’s possible I forgot all those things, but it doesn’t seem that possible. Maybe I just reached the mother ship by luck?
In any case, the book was a little long and overly-detailed, but it still evoked that nostalgia which I’m always searching for and which led me to pick it up in the first place. It also made me want to play the game again. That’s right. I’m just waiting for my next opportunity to play E.T.