August 02, 2012

Thank God “E.T.” sucked

The stars aligned Monday, and two of my favorite creative people, Russell Brown & Panic founder Cabel Sasser, got to meet. Cabel (who commissioned Panic’s awesome homage to 1982-style video game art) was in town for a classic games show, and as we passed Russell’s office, I pointed out the cutout display for Atari’s notorious 1982 video game “E.T.” Russell had worked at Atari back then, and I rather gingerly asked, “Uh, didn’t that game kinda suck?”

“Oh yes!” said Russell–and thank goodness it did: if it hadn’t, Russell (and hundreds of others) wouldn’t have gotten laid off, and he wouldn’t have gone to Apple (where he met his future wife) and from there gone to “this little startup called ‘Adobe.’”

If that hadn’t happened, he wouldn’t have snatched my neck off the chopping block in ’02: I was days from being laid off post-LiveMotion, and it’s because Russell saw my “farewell” demo at his ADIM conference that he called the execs to say, “Really–we’re canning this guy…?” And, of course, had that not happened, I likely wouldn’t have met Cabel, wouldn’t have been introducing him & Russell, wouldn’t be talking to you now.

Of course, we joked, if it weren’t for the three of us talking just then, we’d be off experiencing some wonderful life-changing strokes of serendipity right now–but so it goes. :-)

Posted by John Nack at 8:02 AM on August 02, 2012

Comments

  • James Darknell — 12:30 PM on August 02, 2012

    How perfectly odd to see something about that old ET game again. A friend of mind posted a Facebook pic last week of a Steven Spielberg autograph his Dad had gotten him while working at Atari. Apparently he had been there to talk to them about making a video game for his upcoming movie ‘ET’. I mentioned in the comments what a terrible game it had turned out to be and then got jumped all over saying that wasn’t true- people actually claimed it was their favorite game, ha, luckily the internet had my back. But still there’s gotta be something in the air re: ET. Too many mentions lately to be coincidental. Hmmmm.

  • medialark — 12:47 AM on August 09, 2012

    I was about to get fired up. ET sucked? Come on now…oh wait, the video game? Yeah, guilty as charged.

  • Joseph — 10:58 PM on August 09, 2012

    You worked on ET for Atari??? I honestly love that game… Of course you always want to play in mode #3, where there are no weird freakazoids running’ around trying to steal your Reese’s Pieces.

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