The Rarest, Longest-Lost Atari 2600 Cartridge—Once Sold Door-to-Door—is Finally Found

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.

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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.

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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]


You can contact Owen Good, the author of this post, at owen@kotaku.com. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.

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DISCUSSION

The legend that E.T. is the worst video game of all time isn't too dissimilar to the legend that Ed Wood was the worst director of all time and that Plan 9 from Outer Space was the worst movie.

Facts are there are TONS worse out there, but the legend needs an attractive face and frankly E.T. the movie is literally one of the greatest, if not THE greatest, family film of all time. To think that the video game based on the movie would be anything but superb is what gives the game it's legendary status, as well as the fact that Atari produced more copies of the game then there were Atari systems at the time. Same with Pac Man for the Atari, which is one of the other worst games of all time.

Ed Wood was an amazing creative mind who didn't have the time nor the money to craft a decent movie, every movie he made was hastily rushed and had very low budgets. People are more interested in HIS personal story than they are the movies though, because he was this over-enthusiastic hollywood business type directors who at night would prance around in lady's clothes, and he had a rag tag team of dreamers who followed him around including Bela Lugosi, Criswell, and Vampira - three big names at the time in hollywood. Manos the Hands of Fate is MUCH worse than anything Ed Wood's produced, same goes for a lot of modern movies with large budgets, but the fact is Ed Wood's legend is what makes it appealing.