E.T. Tips and Reminders

Information and videos to help you master E.T.

Opinion page by Duane Alan Hahn.

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Page Table of Contents

If you are new to E.T., you'll probably want to start with game 3 as the tips sheet recommends. Some of the tips on this page can be applied to any variation, but most tips you'll find here are for game 1.





Run Free


An important thing to remember from the start is that E.T. can run. Move the joystick in the direction you want to run, then press the fire button. It's great for escaping from the FBI agent and the scientist, but I try to zip around whenever I can to save time. The manual claims that running eats up more energy than walking, but that's not true. You are not penalized for running.





The Sites

There are only 6 sites to memorize (wrapped around a cube). Each site has a unique design, so it's not difficult to tell them apart.



For more information, visit my E.T. Map Page.






The Power Zones

Every site has many power zones and some zone areas are larger than others. You can tell which type of zone you are standing in by looking at the symbol near the top of the screen in the middle. To use a power zone, all you have to do is stop moving and press the fire button (E.T.'s neck will stretch). Using a power zone eats up 19 energy units.







In the Beginning

Do not trust the placement of the zones in the forest when a round first starts. Things could look a lot different when you return. It's best to go looking for phone pieces and come back later.






Pay Attention

You'll want to be on the lookout for the Phone Home Zone Phone Home Zone when you are zipping around looking for those Find Phone Piece Zones Find Phone Piece Zone. When you see the Phone Home Zone, remember where it is. You won't have to waste energy looking for it later. If you don't see the Phone Home Zone, there is a good chance that it is in the forest or Washington, D.C. If it's in Washington, D.C., you'll probably need to call Elliott. You can only phone home when you are alone or when Elliott is on the screen, so you can see why it can be hard to phone home in the city without Elliott's help.






The Wells

One of your most important tasks is to find the three pieces of E.T.'s interplanetary phone that are hidden in the wells.






The Scientist and the FBI Agent

In case you don't already know, using a Send Humans Back Zone Send Humans Back Zone on the scientist or FBI agent brainwashes them so completely that they are harmless until they return to Washington, D.C. (you can touch them and nothing bad will happen). Since only one human can be on a site at the same time, a human will often mindlessly walk in place waiting to go back to Washington, D.C. if another human is blocking their path. While the human is stuck, you are free to search the site for any useful zones.


As you run around a site looking for the Phone Home Zone (Call Ship Zone) Phone Home Zone , you'll often find the Send Humans Back Zone Send Humans Back Zone. When the FBI agent or the scientist comes after you, don't run screaming and don't try to run directly for the Send Humans Back Zone; just calmly run to a corner that is far enough away from him and let him come to you. When he gets fairly close, you can safely take off running to the Send Humans Back Zone or anywhere you want to go without falling into a well. You know that the FBI agent and the scientist will come directly after you and that means you are always in control.


If you need to go to Washington, D.C. to look for the Phone Home Zone Phone Home Zone or because you already know it's there, take a free ride in the arms of the Scientist. You'll conserve energy and if you pay attention to the zones that he passes through, you might find something useful along the way (I have found the Phone Home Zone many times while on a free ride). If you ever need to stop your free ride prematurely, you can escape from the scientist by trying to run away just as he is about to walk off the screen. You do that by pushing up on the joystick and pressing the fire button when the scientist gets near the bottom of a site and is about to carry you to the next. Get ready to catch yourself because you might fall into a well, depending on where you are when you escape.








Do not give Elliott any candy pieces until you know where the Phone Home Zone Phone Home Zone is. If the Phone Home Zone is in a really hard to find place, you might need to eat every candy piece you can get your hands on.


Keep Elliott away from the forest while waiting for the ship. If the ship lands when Elliott is on the screen, you can kiss your high score goodbye. The ship will land on Elliott, making him an instant bloody corpse, then the game will freeze (you don't see Elliott's bloody corpse, but when a spaceship lands on a boy, there's usually a bloody corpse underneath). Keep Elliott and your game alive by making sure he doesn't wander into the forest.


After you know where the Phone Home Zone Phone Home Zone is and you have found 2 phone pieces and you have 9 candy pieces, you can stand on a Call Elliott Zone Call Elliott Zone to call Elliott and he will come take the candy pieces from you. Do not let Elliott leave. You don't have to wait for him to come back, just call him right after he takes the candy and he will give you the last phone piece. So now you have all three phone pieces and bonus points for giving Elliott the candy. Just call your ship and go home.


Obviously, if you can collect an extra 9 pieces of candy, you can have Elliott give you another phone piece instead of just getting one from him, but there is no guarantee that you'll be able to find 18 pieces of candy.


If you're going for a single-round high score, you must get two phone pieces from Elliott. Getting those two phone pieces from him saves a lot of energy and you'll need to give him every piece of candy for the extra points anyway. Also remember that you'll need to find at least 20 pieces of candy to get close to a high score.






Going Home

Going Home

After you phone home, don't just sit on the Landing Zone Landing Zone in the forest, also find the Send Humans Back Zone Send Humans Back Zone . After you have both zone locations burned into your brain, it's a good idea to stand on the Send Humans Back Zone as long as possible, then zip over to the Landing Zone.


When standing on the Send Humans Back Zone Send Humans Back Zone while waiting for your ship, don't fool around with the FBI agent. Send him away as soon as he pops on the screen. If you let him take a phone piece, it will be harder to finish the game if your timing is off. It's better to use the Scientist as a plaything to help you time things out just right. Don't worry if you miss the ship. If you didn't waste a ton of energy earlier in the game and you remember where the Phone Home Zone Phone Home Zone is, you can keep trying to reach your ship. Missed it three times? No problem, try again. Your timing should be perfect by then.






High Scores

If you are playing for a multiple-round high score, the most important thing is to get E.T. home so you can continue playing. Try not to get more than 21 candy pieces since you would end up with less energy to start the next round. Unless you are a very good player, starting with less energy usually means that round will be your last.


After you get E.T. back home, remember to press the fire button to continue. You will lose your score if you hit the reset switch. And if you play using the Stella Atari 2600 VCS emulator, remember not to press the escape key out of habit.







Random Terrain's E.T. Videos

Many people seemed to need to watch someone play E.T. to speed up learning, so I made the following videos. Some people claim that it is impossible to get E.T. home, so these videos should finally end that kind of talk.



How To Beat Home Video Games 2

From: tr0d

Some of the information in the video above can help newbies understand parts of the game a little better, but the video is not a great example of how to play. The guy played the game as if he only had it for 20 minutes before he made the tape. He dropped like a stone into wells and just generally played like a newbie.

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If you learn something from this page and it makes your brain grow so much that it cracks open your skull, I am not responsible. You should have been wearing a tight enough hat to hold it all in.


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