To What Degree Do You Love E.T.?

Opinions, manual scans, map, tips, & videos about the Atari 2600 game.

Opinion page by Duane Alan Hahn, a.k.a. Random Terrain.

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Page Table of Contents

Pages in this Subsection


Amazon Stuff

E.T. Title Screen

No, this is not a joke. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial by Howard Scott Warshaw for the Atari 2600 is a much better game than most people think. The reason I created this 5 page section (6 if you count the E.T. cake page) is because E.T. was my favorite game back in 1982/1983. I played it over and over again. I didn't even know most people supposedly hated the game until I got Internet access in 1999. Since there was an abundance of anti-E.T. pages and articles out there, including ones that encouraged you to destroy E.T. cartridges, I thought it was about time that someone who liked the game spoke up.


For those E.T. haters who got to this page through a link in a forum, the person who posted the link and I are not the only two people on the planet who like the game. Just check out the E.T. Appreciation Page and see for yourself. More personal stories are being added as people who like E.T. find the page and share their fond memories.






A Quick Refresher

A Round of E.T. from Start to Finish

The video above is not a speed run. And it's not a "look what I can do" video; it's a "look what YOU can do" video. If you don't suck at most games and have basic video game skills, you can do this too. I've been basically playing like this since early 1983. It didn't take years of practice. I spent a little time getting used to the game and learned what to do and what not to do on my own, but thanks to the Internet, you can watch my videos and read the tips on my web site and learn even faster. If it's still too hard, you can always play the hacked version.

For those who need a quick refresher, E.T. is basically a treasure hunt. The main thing you are looking for is the Phone Home Zone Phone Home Zone. The only other power zone you really need during the main part of the game is the Find Phone Piece Zone Find Phone Piece Zone. The Find Phone Piece Zone shows you where the phone pieces are and that means you only have to jump in three wells at the most as long as you avoid the FBI agent.


After you have all three pieces of the phone, you can go back to the already found Phone Home Zone or find it if you haven't yet, call your ship, run to the forest and quickly find the Send Humans Back Zone Send Humans Back Zone and the Landing Zone Landing Zone. If you time it just right when sending the humans back, the ship will land and E.T. will be rescued.


If you care about points, your score will increase every time you finish a round (as long as you don't turn off your Atari). Just press the fire button to play another round. Try to see how many times you can get E.T. back home and watch your score climb.


If you like games with replay value, E.T. is overflowing with it. The 3 interplanetary telephone pieces, all of the power zones, and the wilted flower are placed randomly at the start of each round.


Note: There are some misguided people who think they need to memorize where all of the power zones are, but you only need to memorize the location of the Phone Home Zone Phone Home Zone after you find it. That's all. They'll also say that E.T. is a luck-heavy game, but you can finish round after round for days, if you have the time and you know how to play. Sometimes the Phone Home Zone can be hard to find, but that's part of the fun. You don't need luck to finish a round, you just need to know how to play. It also helps if you don't have the reflexes of a three-toed tree sloth.






My Favorite Adventure Game

E.T. in His Ship

You must find all three pieces of your interplanetary phone, avoid or fight off an FBI agent and a scientist, call your ship, and get to the landing zone in the forest before time runs out. That might seem difficult, but you're not alone in your struggle to get home. Your friend Elliott will help. Just call out to him and he'll be right there.

E.T. Christmas Commercial (1982)


I think E.T. is the best adventure game ever made for the Atari 2600. It's not too hard, not too easy, there's no noticeable flicker, and it's different each time you play. Sure, the wells are hard to get used to the first couple of times you play, but you can soon learn to zip around them in no time (even if you are fairly uncoordinated like I am). No problem falling in a well because you can catch yourself in mid-air before you fall in too far. That saves time and energy.




Why Is E.T. So Great?


Some people claim that there's nothing fun about E.T. Well, here's a list of some of the things that I think make E.T. so much fun:



1. Randomness Keeps It Fresh

The interplanetary telephone pieces and power zones are in different places every time you start a new round. Controlled Randomness gives E.T. replayability, and that means the game will be fun no matter how many times you play it. It's always fresh.


Phone Piece 1  Phone Piece 2  Phone Piece 3

a. Phone Pieces

Finding the randomly placed pieces of the interplanetary telephone is fun. It's like a treasure hunt. There are three ways you can do this. You can use the Find Phone Piece Zone Find Phone Piece Zone to see if a phone piece is in a well, you can give Elliott 9 candy pieces and he will bring you a piece of the phone, or you can look in every well by hopping in, catching yourself in mid-air by quickly hitting the fire button, then levitating right back out. Using the Find Phone Piece Zone is quickest option, though.


FBI Agent

b. Power Zones

Searching for the zones that you'll need to finish the game is fun, almost as much fun as the game Civilization when you explore new territory. You never know where the Phone Home Zone (Call Ship Zone) Phone Home Zone will be. It could be near a well or in the forest or in Washington, D.C. (yes, that dangerous city where the FBI agent can strip you of everything you own before you know what's happening if you're not careful).



2. FBI Agent and the Scientist

Avoiding or fighting off the FBI agent and the scientist is fun. You can run, use an arrow zone Jump Right to jump to another site, use that special zone that will cloud their minds and send them back to Washington, D.C. Send Humans Back Zone, or you can jump into a well as a last resort. You can also use the scientist to your advantage by letting him carry you to Washington, D.C. if you're trying to get away from the FBI agent or you think the Phone Home Zone might be there. And as with other Atari-made adventure games, your enemies know where you are and come right after you. Since your enemies appear to have some type of intelligence, the whole game is more enjoyable and feels more alive than other so-called adventure games where enemies mindlessly bounce up and down or move back and forth as you try to jump over them or duck under them.



3. Countdown Clock

It's extremely fun and exciting at the end of the game when time is ticking down and you're trying to get to the landing zone Landing Zone while making sure no human is on the screen with you.


Easter Eggs and Ninja E.T.


4. Easter Eggs

There are some cool Easter eggs in the game and it's really fun if you find one or two of them on your own. Back when the game was new, I found the "JD" and the Yar. The "JD" wasn't such a big deal, but seeing the Yar fly off the screen was one of the most surprising things I ever saw while playing an Atari 2600 game. It was a real jaw-dropping, 'crap your pants' moment. After playing the game for days without turning the game off, there were strange initials in the energy count after starting a new round. I saw them right after walking off the forest screen and E.T. also turned black. I didn't know how it happened, but it was a fun thing to see, although nothing beats seeing the Yar fly off the screen. I now know from the DP E.T. Easter egg and bug page that E.T. turned black and the strange stuff appeared in the energy count because I got more than 31 pieces of candy.


OK, there's my list of all of the fun things in the game. Now if anyone says that there's nothing fun about the game, you can show them that list and maybe they'll change their mind.


Spielberg Talks About E.T.

E.T. is also one of the few non-turn-based games that allows you to leave the game during active play and come back later to pick up where you left off. In other words, you can 'pause' the game any time you want. With E.T., there's no waiting until you get to another level or some hard to reach safe spot before you can safely leave the game. Just hop in a well and return to the game whenever you want. It's not an official pause button, it's more like a pause feature, but it sure is handy when you have to drop what you are doing and join the real world. Why was this feature important? It may not mean much to the Nintendo generation and those who have only played Atari 2600 games using an emulator, but back then there were virtually no games for the Atari 2600 that you could pause. It was a welcome feature.






Great Graphics and Sound

Elliott Walking

The graphics, music, and sound effects in E.T. are very good for an Atari 2600 game released in 1982. Various people have criticized the graphics, and although the backgrounds are plain looking, most of the characters in the game are reasonably detailed, colorful, and flicker-free. I remember being impressed by how many colors some of the characters had. Many Atari 2600 games back then had characters that were made of only one color, but you can count 5 or 6 colors in some of the characters in E.T. and that was impressive.


Sound Comparison

You can say bad things about the graphics of most any Atari 2600 game if you use today's standards, but that's completely unfair. You can only compare E.T. with other Atari 2600 games that were available at the time. I'm sure there are a handful of games that were released by December of 1982 that might beat E.T. in the graphics category, but E.T. wins if you compare it to most other games from that time.


Some people claim that the sound effects in E.T. are horrible, but that's because they've only played the game using an emulator. Emulators mangle the sound of many games, and E.T. is one of those games. On the actual Atari 2600, the sound effects are amazing for 1982. The spaceship has one of the most unique and best sound effects ever put into an Atari 2600 game. Another thing I loved back then was that the sound of people walking gets louder as they get closer to E.T. Again, impressive for 1982.






An Advanced Adventure

E.T. is simple and complex at the same time. There are no mazes or tunnels to get lost in, there are just 6 sites wrapped around a cube. Although the landscape is simple, you need to find the 3 phone pieces, find the Phone Home Zone, then call your ship and get back to the Landing Zone in the forest before you run out of energy (while avoiding or fighting off the FBI agent and the Scientist with your mind powers). Howard Scott Warshaw, the creator of the game, took the best parts of the adventure games that came before and created a little gem of a game.


I understand that many people who hate the game were little kids when E.T. came out, so they kept falling into the wells and were confused by the power zones. It's not their fault because kids of 1982 usually weren't as advanced as the kids of the 1990s and beyond who seem to master the most complicated games before they can even tie their own shoes.


E.T. is a fairly complex adventure game, so making it seem like a little kid's game was a mistake. Even teens and adults would have a hard time with this game until they played it a few times. Atari did include a nice manual and a tips sheet, but most of the kids who were old enough to read probably ignored that material and started playing the game immediately. Since E.T. is an adventure game, you can't just slap the cartridge in and start playing. You must read the manual and tips sheet that Atari provided or you won't know how to play the game and you'll become frustrated. You can also look at my map page and my tips and reminders page to hopefully learn more than you could from the manual and tips sheet.


If you hated E.T. when you were a little kid, you can use this section of my web site to help recover and discard your childhood baggage about the game. If you can let go of those old hate-filled emotions and use your adult brain to discover what you weren't able to as a child, E.T. might become one of your favorite games.






The Hidden Environmentalist Message in E.T.

Howard Scott Warshaw never said this in public, but a few of us in the know understand that the pits in E.T. were put there for a reason. He wanted us to hate the pits. He believed that our hate would subconsciously transfer to the damage that a lot of mining is doing to our planet. Howard Scott Warshaw knew that millions of kids would play E.T., so this was his chance to spread his environmentalist message to as many people as possible and make them feel it down to the core. If we hate pits with a passion in the game, we might hate pits with a passion in real life and finally do something to protect the planet from horrible men who gouge ugly holes into the earth.


OK, the paragraph above is complete B.S., but you know you'll end up reading a version of it in a future article or paper that someone will do for school because they skipped over this sentence.





Other E.T. Pages in This Subsection

E.T. Manual and Tips Sheet

This page displays scans of the official E.T. tips sheet and manual.


E.T. Map Page

I put together a map page for people who might need a little help.


E.T. Tips and Reminders

I finally made my own tips page. It also has some videos that I hope will be helpful.


E.T. Appreciation Page

The place where you can read positive things others have to say about the game. You can also add your own praise if you'd like.


E.T. Cake

A cake my mother made in 1983.





Related Links

Fixing E.T. The Extra Terrestrial for the Atari 2600

Downlad a hacked version of the game that might turn E.T. haters into E.T. lovers. See how the hack evolved over time at AtariAge.


In Defense of E.T.

If you repeat a falsehood often enough, people start to believe that it is true.


In Defense of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

Let me tell you why E.T. isn't the piece of sh*t everyone is trying to sell it to be. Or for that matter, why it doesn't belong on any "10 Worst…" lists.


E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial: A Defense

It is very en vogue to say that the E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial game for the Atari 2600 was one of the worst games ever created.


Once Upon Atari

Howard Scott Warshaw's web site.


E.T. Yar Easter Egg

I found the Yar on my own back in '82/'83, but not Indiana Jones. That would have been cool.


DP E.T. Easter Egg and Bug Page

Finally, an explanation for E.T. turning black and the initials in the energy count!


Jerome Domurat's initials in E.T. uncovered at last!

Uncovered at last? I found those initials back in '82/'83. I could have told them how to do it if I was around at the time. It's the easiest Easter egg to find.


AtariAge E.T. Page


Wikipedia E.T. Page






DP Interview with Howard Scott Warshaw


DP Interview with Jerome Domurat


HSW YouTube Interview


Myth #1

All You Do Is Jump in Pits!

I can see why the game wouldn't be much fun for those who think that leaping into the wells is a main part of the game. As long as you can keep the FBI agent from confiscating your phone pieces, you only have to enter 3 wells if you use the Find Phone Piece Zone. If you have Elliott bring you a phone piece, you only have to jump in 2 wells. If you're lucky enough to have an abundance of candy, you can have Elliott bring you more than one phone piece.

How to Get Out of the Wells


Myth #2

You Constantly Fall Into the Wells!

A common complaint, even from those who claim to be video game masters, is that you can't move around without constantly falling into the wells. People have played the hardest games over the years that required them to do everything perfectly in a specific order if they didn't want to lose a life and get sent back to play the last 5 levels over again, but somehow they can't figure out how to run around a few wells without falling in? Falling into a well is a joy compared to the torture most games put us through.

I wonder if people who constantly fall into the wells are just as uncoordinated when they play other games. If they can jump on the heads of crocodiles and jump over holes without falling in when playing Pitfall, they should be able to zip around the wells at high speed without falling in when playing E.T.

The Wells: How close can we get?


Myth #3

The Collision Detection Is Horrible!

Some people say that the collision detection sucks when it comes to the wells. They say that you can fall into a well when you're not anywhere near it. Whether you play E.T. on a real Atari (which I did for many years) or on a good emulator, the well collision detection is pixel perfect. When you are walking around a site that has wells, you cannot fall into one of those wells unless you touch the dark green part of the well with any part of E.T.'s body.

It's weird that it freaks out so many people when they already played many games with mixed perspectives. The arcade game Pac-Man, the beloved game that everyone and his sister went crazy over, had an overhead view of a maze, but a side view of the characters and they didn't touch each other only when their 'feet' lined up. Games such as Adventure for the Atari 2600 mixed overhead views with side views. And as it says on page 83 of the book The video game explosion: a history from PONG to Playstation and beyond, ". . . the practice of mixed perspectives existed long before video games, and appeared in a variety of places including maps, medieval drawings, and chess diagrams."

If it would be possible to have collision detection only with E.T.'s feet, people would still complain since it would be hard to judge. At least when it's full-body, you get pixel perfect collision detection with no guesswork.


Myth #4

FBI Agent and the Scientist Grab E.T.!

Playing the game even one time will reveal that the FBI agent takes things away from E.T. (similar to the bat in Adventure). He does not carry E.T. away. Only the scientist can abduct E.T.


Myth #5

The Score Constantly Decreases!

The energy count is not your score. Your score is displayed after a round has ended and it can be built upon by completing the game more than once. The energy count is similar to a time limit in sports. You have only so much time to spend before you either win or lose the game. You can go into overtime, but not for long.


Myth #6

Nobody Can Get E.T. Home!

Some people claim that the game can't be finished, but I've finished it literally hundreds of times. Once you pass the ignorant newbie stage, you can get E.T. home pretty fast. In 1983, I probably could have won a contest for getting E.T. back home the fastest. It's not that hard. (I have videos of me getting E.T. home on this page if anyone needs proof.)


Myth #7

No One Really Likes E.T.

I've been told that nobody can like this game and anyone who says they do is either trying to get attention or just trying to be different. Well, I think most people who say they hate the game just want to fit in. They think everyone hates the game, so they jump on the 'I hate E.T.' bandwagon too. Henry Jacobsen said, "people would rather be wrong than be different" and that really does apply in this case. I'm sure there are some people that have no trouble getting in and out of the wells who truly hate the game as much as I like it, but I bet a lot of people haven't given the game a chance because it's much easier to ignore the manual, play for 5 minutes, then run away screaming into the arms of the anti-E.T. crowd. If that wasn't bad enough, many people that have something bad to say about the game have never played it. There's no doubt that they are blindly following the crowd.

And for any people out there who are studying psychology, I do not like the game because it made me suffer or because I had to justify the expense to my parents or because I had a guilty conscience. When you take the time to read the manual and tips sheet, you understand how amazing E.T. is compared to most games that came before. The power zones were such a unique concept back then.


Reviewers at YouTube

You'd think people would get sick of doing the same type of "I keep falling into the wells!" review, even if they know how to play E.T. and are doing it as a 'joke.' If they decided to review other things, I wonder if they'd be just as obtuse:


Ice Cream Cones — "When I buy an ice cream cone, I raise it up and splat! Right into my forehead! Who invented these stupid things anyway? Can't they design an ice cream cone that doesn't make a beeline for your forehead? Ice cream cones F-ing suck!"


Baseball — "I swing and miss, swing and miss, swing and miss, then go sit down for a while. I'm sent back out again and swing and miss, swing and miss, swing and miss, but instead of sitting down this time, I take the bat and bash my own skull in! Baseball F-ing sucks!"


Skiing — "I keep falling down! I slide a little, fall, get back up, slide a little, fall . . . Aaaah! Skiing F-ing sucks!"


Basketball — "I throw the ball down and the damn thing comes right back up and hits me in the nuts! I throw the ball down again and wham! My balls resign, detach themselves and run for the nearest exit. All I want to do is throw the ball down. Can't they make a ball that just stays where I throw it and doesn't come after my party pouch like a sack-seeking missile? Basketball F-ing sucks!"


Play E.T.

If you don't have an Atari 2600 and an E.T. cartridge, you can still try E.T. for yourself. Just download the E.T. ROM file and download an emulator such as Stella and play E.T. on your computer. You can also play the game online at (The sound is much better on a real Atari 2600.)

Special Video for E.T. Haters

Back to Top



In Case You Didn't Know


Trump's Jab = Bad

Did you know that Trump's rushed experimental rona jab has less than one percent overall benefit? It also has many possible horrible side effects. Some brainwashed rona jab cultists claim that there are no victims of the jab, but person after person will post what the jab did to them, a friend, or a family member on web sites such as Facebook and Twitter and they'll be lucky if they don't get banned soon after. Posting the truth is “misinformation” don't you know. Awakened sheep might turn into lions, so powerful people will do just about anything to keep the sheep from waking up.


Check out these videos:

What is causing the mysterious self-assembling non-organic clots?

If You Got the COVID Shot and Aren't Injured, This May Be Why

Full Video of Tennessee House of Representatives Health Subcommittee Hearing Room 2 (The Doctors Start Talking at 33:28)



H Word and I Word = Good

Take a look at my page called The H Word and Beyond. You might also want to look at my page called Zinc and Quercetin. My sister and I have been taking those two supplements since summer of 2020 in the hopes that they would scare away the flu and other viruses (or at least make them less severe).



B Vitamins = Good

Some people appear to have a mental illness because they have a vitamin B deficiency. For example, the wife of a guy I used to chat with online had severe mood swings which seemed to be caused by food allergies or intolerances. She would became irrational, obnoxious, throw tantrums, and generally act like she had a mental illness. The horrid behavior stopped after she started taking a vitamin B complex. I've been taking Jarrow B-Right (#ad) for many years. It makes me much easier to live with.



Soy = Bad

Unfermented soy is bad! “When she stopped eating soy, the mental problems went away.” Fermented soy doesn't bother me, but the various versions of unfermented soy (soy flour, soybean oil, and so on) that are used in all kinds of products these days causes a negative mental health reaction in me that a vitamin B complex can't tame. The sinister encroachment of soy has made the careful reading of ingredients a necessity.



Wheat = Bad

If you are overweight, have type II diabetes, or are worried about the condition of your heart, check out the videos by Ken D Berry, William Davis, and Ivor Cummins. It seems that most people should avoid wheat, not just those who have a wheat allergy or celiac disease. Check out these books: Undoctored (#ad), Wheat Belly (#ad), and Eat Rich, Live Long (#ad).



Negative Ions = Good

Negative ions are good for us. You might want to avoid positive ion generators and ozone generators. A plain old air cleaner is better than nothing, but one that produces negative ions makes the air in a room fresher and easier for me to breathe. It also helps to brighten my mood.



Litterbugs = Bad

Never litter. Toss it in the trash or take it home. Do not throw it on the ground. Also remember that good people clean up after themselves at home, out in public, at a campsite and so on. Leave it better than you found it.



Climate Change Cash Grab = Bad

Seems like more people than ever finally care about water, land, and air pollution, but the climate change cash grab scam is designed to put more of your money into the bank accounts of greedy politicians. Those power-hungry schemers try to trick us with bad data and lies about overpopulation while pretending to be caring do-gooders. Trying to eliminate pollution is a good thing, but the carbon footprint of the average law-abiding human right now is actually making the planet greener instead of killing it.


Eliminating farms and ranches, eating bugs, getting locked down in 15-minute cities, owning nothing, using digital currency (with expiration dates) that is tied to your social credit score, and paying higher taxes will not make things better and “save the Earth.” All that stuff is part of an agenda that has nothing to do with making the world a better place for the average person. It's all about control, depopulation, and making things better for the ultra-rich. They just want enough peasants left alive to keep things running smoothly.


Watch these two YouTube videos for more information:

CO2 is Greening The Earth

The Climate Agenda



How to Wake Up Normies

Charlie Robinson had some good advice about waking up normies (see the link to the video below). He said instead of verbally unloading or being nasty or acting like a bully, ask the person a question. Being nice and asking a question will help the person actually think about the subject.


Interesting videos:

Charlie Robinson Talks About the Best Way to Wake Up Normies

Georgia Guidestones Explained

The Men Who Own Everything


View this page and any external web sites at your own risk. I am not responsible for any possible spiritual, emotional, physical, financial or any other damage to you, your friends, family, ancestors, or descendants in the past, present, or future, living or dead, in this dimension or any other.


If you thought you hated E.T. and these pages help you learn to like it, then you start hating yourself for liking a game you thought you hated, I am not responsible if you get a sudden urge to jump into a deep well.


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