Did E.T. come to Ireland?

I don’t remember E.T. making a big impression on my life in 1982. I never saw the movie back then, and a couple of years ago watched half of it before falling asleep in front of the telly. I guess you had to be there when it was first released?

Ireland in the 1980s was a country in recession. I certainly knew nobody with a 2600 console so we were spared the abomination that was the official game of the movie. While we had some sort of Pong clone in the early ’80s we moved away to “proper” computers like the Speccy and C64 after that.

Nonetheless, it was an important game. It helped bring about the collapse of Atari and the video game market in the US!

99% Invisible just featured an episode by podcast Sidedoor about E.T. The Videogame and it’s enthralling. You can hear all about how bad it was, the story of it’s development from game developer Howard Scott Warshaw, and finally to his reaction that people are still obsessed with the game all these years later.


RIP Jack Tramiel

Jack Tramiel, the man who founded Commodore and brought Atari back from the dead died on Sunday at the age of 83. RIP.

lemon64 thread.

Here’s a great Cringley post on Jack Tramiel.

What I learned this week that I didn’t know before was that the people who worked for Tramiel really loved him. Jack Tramiel was no Steve Jobs: he was better.

The Commodore 64 was a phenomenal success. People forget that in the early 1980s the C64 outsold the Apple ][, IBM PC, and the Atari 400/800 combined. Commodore was the first to sell computers through discount retailers, opening whole new distribution channels. And don’t forget it was Jack who saw the value in Amiga, which in many ways set performance targets that took Apple years to beat. It would have been very interesting to see how the Amiga would have faired had Jack Tramiel stayed at Commodore.

I should have written more in this post yesterday but I didn’t have time. The Commodore 64 was the first computer I really obsessed about and learned loads about. Previously I had dabbled in BASIC using the Vic 20 and then a 48K Spectrum but after I got a C64 I learned how games were coded, learned quite a bit of assembler and produced and distributed my first software. That software wasn’t amazing or anything but I was always learning new things.

So, thanks Jack for creating the company that created such an amazing computer that had a huge influence on my life. When Steve Jobs died last year there were glowing blog posts about his machines. I vaguely recall an Apple II in a school lab but I hardly ever used it. The C64s in the same lab were much more interesting!