Before the infamous crash of console gaming in the early 1980s, third-party cartridge development was somewhat a wild-west affair. Development costs were negligible compared to present times and, without the need for a presence in online distribution channels, a garage-built game might actually turn a profit on door-to-door sales. Thus Extra-Terrestrials was born.
Skill Screen Games, a one-shot outfit from Ontario, Canada, built the game. Developed by three brothers named Banting, the ROM itself was manufactured by a Canadian outfit, one that manufactured time code generators, of which one of the brothers was president. Syd Bolton, curator of The PC Museum in Brantford, Ontario, Canada recently came into possession of a copy.
Bolton has since been trying to figure out the game, which plainly features a sprite from E.T. The Extra Terrestrial the game blamed for the early 1980s collapse of console gaming in the U.S. The Banting family believes the box and instruction manuals were destroyed long ago. Bolton thinks that the game is a two-player-only game, with one player controlling an alien collecting dots, and the other trying to catch the alien.
The game will be playable at the PC Museum's open house on Oct. 15, for those in the area.
Lost & Forgotten: ‘Extra Terrestrials' for Atari 2600 rediscovered [Infinite Lives]