History is the study of literally everything that ever happened, and in that respect it is objectively the most interesting of all areas. It’s also just completely categorically wrong, as it is 90 percent of the time. Case in point: you’ve probably heard this before ET because the Atari 2600 was so bad it crashed the video game industry. It turns out that didn’t happen – at least not exactly. In this week Split screen Podcast that we dive into the landfill that is the history of the licensed games as well as their future that surely starting to look like Hollywood’s present.
For our first segment, Ashley Parrish, Michael Fahey, and I search the history books to uncover the history of the licensed game ET almost (not) destroyed the video game industry. Then we jump forward into successive eras to find out how licensed games ended up where they are today and touch down lousy console games (Friday the 13th, jaw, Back to the Future), great arcade games (The simpsons, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), crooked mobile games (Frozen: Free Fall, Pacific Rim: The mobile gameTons of Marvel junk) and Kingdom Hearts, that’s just its own whole thing.
To wrap up the episode, we discuss the upcoming Marvel fiction of big budget video games. Big developers like IO Interactive, Insomniac, EA and Ubisoft apply their amazing talents to series like James Bond, Spider Man, war of starsand, uh, Star war again instead of imagining original, more current universes. Perhaps their games will breathe new life into tired characters, but there is a very real risk that Hollywood will infuse the video game industry with its own (even more) risk averse sensations. On the other hand, big studios were already going in this direction on their own, so who should really say at this point? Us, This is who
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Nathan: Start, ET was very bad. It was done by one man in five weeks. And while it wasn’t uncommon for very small teams to play games back then, they usually had six to eight months instead of a few weeks. The guy who did ET
Ash: Is there a reason why there was a crisis? Locked Spielberg Warshaw in his basement and said, “You can’t go until you make it ET”?
Nathan: You’ve hit the nail on the head. It was like a Saw Scenario. It was really messed up. No, so Atari and Spielberg argued over how much Atari would pay for licensing rights. And when they (supposedly) settled on a $ 21 million deal, they had just weeks before the holiday season when they wanted the game to come out. They also needed time to make cartridges and so on. But they said, “Well, that’s it ET It’s the greatest. No matter what is done, we will be fine. We can get the game out and it will sell. “
Then Warshaw went to work. At that time he was the golden boy. He had done Hunter of the lost treasure. If anyone could do that, it was him. He thought so too. He said, “I will do it. I can do it five weeks? I’ll make it. “
In the face of this terrible crisis, and despite Warshaw’s best efforts – because it sounds like he tried – the game was really bad. Basically, it’s a game of trying to collect pieces of a phone to help ET call home, and avoiding holes and government employees. The basic gameplay loop is you wander around in an environment with no clear goals and fall into a hole, but it’s really hard to escape the hole. You fall back and then you attack enemies and you die. This is the game!
I was a kid then. We had an Atari. This game didn’t make sense to me. I remember being amazed. I remember playing it. I remember even playing it again, hoping to find out something and say, “No, it’s not a piece of cake.”
Ash: Is it that Dark souls of Atari games?
Fahey: Dark souls is pleasant to some extent. That was just … you would fall in the hole, not out. There were Reese’s pieces to collect. I was so confused. The only thing more disappointing than ET was that Pac-Man We got port on the 2600.
Nathan: It’s funny that you should mention this because while we dive into what actually caused the 1983 video game crash, this is Pac-Man Port is illustrative. Basically, at the time, companies like Atari were producing the number of cartridges they’d issued in the wild on the basis that the Atari 2600 in particular was doing really well. So they figured this would just go on and on when they got that out Pac-Man Port, which wasn’t very good, they made 12 million cartridges. At the time, only 10 million people owned the Atari 2600, so they made more cartridges than did owners of the console.
They went through a similar thing ET They made 4 million cartridges. The game sold pretty well at first. It was ET Everyone just said, “Oh, damn it, we love ET. It’s the 80s. “They said that out loud. It was really weird. So the game sold over 1 million copies, but because they produced 4 million copies, they still ended up with a massive surplus of unsold copies. This resulted in a bad vacation season for Atari in 1982, which caused its share price to fall. By the second quarter of 1983, Atari’s parent company announced losses of $ 310 million, not all of which were due to losses ET, but ET Played a role. There were cascading effects over time. Retailers have started stocking fewer video games and consoles. In 1982 the video game industry had sales of $ 3.2 billion. In 1985 they had dropped to $ 100 million. In order to, enormously Submission.
Ash: What the hell happened
Nathan: Ah, that’s the fun part. In order to ET was symptomatic of what was going on. It wasn’t the main problem. Until 1982, a lot of people were making video games. Many of them weren’t good at making video games. You have made a lot of very, very bad video games. ET was one of them, but it was far from the only one. One of my favorite examples from that time was Purina dog food because one of the reasons people made so many bad video games was because companies viewed games as an advertising opportunity. So they hired amateur programmers and they said, “Make us a game about everything the hell.” There was a game about the Kool Aid man and it was bad. The dog food game was called Chase the Chuck Wagon
So you had flooded the market with bad games and you also had tons of consoles. It wasn’t just Atari. By the way, Atari had tons of different versions of their platform, which was already confusing and strange. But you also had ColecoVision, you had Intellivision, you had Milton Bradley’s Vectrex, you had Magnavox Odyssey.
Fahey: Vectrex was beautiful. We’ll get there one day and talk about it.
Nathan: OK, we can do our Vectrex episode in a couple of weeks. But they had all of these different platforms, which was confusing, and there wasn’t a lot of crossover between games on each platform, so it was difficult for a game to get really big. It was a madhouse. This resulted in people getting really tired and also not having a lot of faith in someone making games because there was a good chance you would buy a game and it would be terrible. As a result, many people became increasingly disappointed with consoles.
But most importantly, even though we call it The Video Game Crash Of 1983, it wasn’t actually a crash. It was more of a reallocation of resources and video games. Console makers had a ton of problems, and these companies were all fueling up and doing badly for them. But the PC started in part because so many people got tired of the consoles. This resulted in positive effects. As the home computer market picked up after consoles were imploded, a generation of programmers emerged who would later develop games for other platforms such as the NES.
In addition, the prices of games and consoles were greatly reduced due to the “crash” so that more people could afford them and learn to enjoy the hobby. Meanwhile, between Atari and NES in the late 1980s, more young people were able to participate in games.
Fahey: My birthday in 1984 kicked my ass. I received the Vectrex and every game at Toys. “R ” Us. My mom got the Vectrex for about $ 25 for this standalone video game console with its own monitor. She also got 20 games for dollars. Dollars for the games! IIt was so nice. What a time to be alive.
For all of that and more, check out the episode. New episodes drop every Friday, so don’t forget to like and subscribe to them Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher. If you’re inclined to do so, leave a review and feel free to send us a message at [email protected] with any questions or suggestion of a topic. If you want to yell at us directly, you can reach us on Twitter: Ash is @adashtraFahey is @ OnkelFaheyand Nathan is @ Vahn16. Until next week!