Film Review: Atari: Game Over


In the early 1980’s over 20 tractor trailers loaded with video game cartridges rolled into a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico and dumped millions of what was said to be the final nail in the coffin of Atari, The Howard Warshaw-developed E.T. The game pegged by many to be the worst game ever made.

Or so the legend goes…

Atari: Game Over follows a group’s quest to find out what really happened that night in Alamogordo  and goes to extraordinary lengths to do so.

The Zak Penn directed film is presented very well. It not only tells the story of the E.T. legend but also simultaneously presents the story of Atari itself. This makes the story easy to follow and digest, even for viewers who have never even seen a video game. Production values for the film are high and the film is presented with all killer and no filler. There is no content that seems shoehorned or used to simply fill a time slot. It’s all very to the point which helps to clock the length in at just over an hour.

What sets Atari: Game Over apart from the many other video game documentaries in the wild is that it tells the story through the eyes of the people who were there and even goes so far as to include the icons who developed the games, something that was surprising considering that the content these developers are associated with are considered some of the worst in history. What was more surprising was that the rest of the cast in the film didn’t trash the games or the creators; instead they told the truth about the games. Was E.T. the worst game ever made? No way. Does it put a face to the crash of the games industry. Yes it does; and that my friend is what makes the legend so compelling.

Atari: Game Over is a must see for anyone who is interested in gaming history, or even history in general. We enjoyed it (we watched it five times) and we really think that you will too.

Atari: Game Over debuts exclusively on Xbox consoles and on November 20th.

UPDATE: Read what E.T. 2600 creator Howard Scott Warshaw had to say about the film!

  • Richard Booth

    Rich has been involved in the gaming industry for over ten years, working with such companies as Jace Hall ShowTwin Galaxies and Nintendojo. He began GamesRelated in order to bring positivity to gaming journalism. Much of what is out today is completely negative, and GR aims to be the place where that stops and the news is simply reported.

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