The Great Video Game Market Crash of 1983-1984!
Video Game history's darkest hour! The time when the all powerful Atari fell
from grace and virtually ended Video Games as we know it. There were several
reasons why the market crashed but the trouble all started in 1981 with the
Atari 2600 version
Pac Man, of course, was a huge mega hit in the arcades and Atari was lucky enough
to score the big license from Namco to do the arcade game on home release. Atari
was hoping to sell a whopping 20 million copies of Atari Pac Man thus making
the Atari 2600 VCS even more popular than it already was. Unfortunately, Atari
Pac Man (considered to be a awful translation to most critics) only sold 7 Million
copies, a sure fire hit by today's standards but a disappointment to Atari's
very lofty expectations. Atari was also facing some tough competition from Mattel
and Coleco and they needed all the good press they could get.
Here E.T. is searching the New Mexico landfills for the lost 2600 cartridges!
Atari needed another
hit to recover from the loss of Atari Pac Man, so Atari got the rights to create
a game based on the very popular movie E.T. (sounds like a good idea
on paper, eh?) This time the E.T. game needed to sell 25 million copies to make
up for the cost of buying the rights to the license from Steven Spielberg
but there was a catch, producer Howard Scott Warshaw only had 5 weeks
to come up with a game so it could be released during the busy Christmas peroid
of 1982, a super short amount of time to create a masterpiece. So what did people
think of Atari E.T.? "People absolutely HATED it!" E.T. was
considered by many to be the worse video game in existence, it was that bad!
The E.T. game only sold a mere million and Atari had tons of unsold games left
on the store shelves. Rumour as it that Atari actually buried millions of unsold
cartridges in a New Mexico landfill, "that's how bad things got!"
With two huge multi-million dollar disasters from the leader of video game sales, most stores lost all faith in the video gaming industry altogether and discontinued all video games orders and discounted all inventory they had left (mostly for a dollar). Atari 2600 games were now going for a super low .99 cents when they usually go for the standard 40-60 dollars! That meant ALL video games too; ColecoVision, Intellivision and everyone else were ruined because everyone thought games were a joke. By 1984 the whole video game market crashed and this million industry was dead in the water.
C'mon, no wonder gamers didn't like it!
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