Reader G.M. e-mailed this picture and said, "How the f**k I ever believed that THIS was E.T., I'll never know — but I still played it for hours and hours."
The picture unlocked a memory I haven't thought about in a long time, but wanted to share:
Around 1982 or 1983, before City Walk at Universal Studios was even an idea, there was a big E.T. thing at the top of the hill, by the Whomphoppers and Victoria Station restaurants. Part of it was a giant silver spaceship (just like E.T.'s) that had eight or twelve Atari consoles around a pillar in the middle, all of them playing the E.T. video game.
I was seriously into video games then, and my parents had given me permission to play the E.T. game for like an hour or something while they did whatever parents did at an E.T. exhibit. (Eat lots of Reese's Pieces, I suppose.) I was beside myself with glee … until I played it for about ten minutes. It was the most beguiling, horrible, opposite-of-fun experience I'd ever had. I found my parents and asked if we could leave.
We've all heard the legend of the landfill, and the way I remember it, that's probably where this game belongs, but maybe I'll dig up E.T. on Stella and see if it really is as awful as I remember it.