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The Last Starfighter Video Game Cartridge

UPDATE – The game developer, FUEL industries, plans on digging up the dump mentioned in the article below and documenting the experience.  You can read the article in its entirety HERE.

As you may recall from another article, “Top 6 Reasons Why Steven Speilberg Terrorized My Youth,” Steven Speilberg terrorized my youth.  What you may not be aware of is that he also stood in my way of fulfilling my destiny of becoming a Starfighter.

When I was younger I used to rent movies during my Summer vacation from a place called Movie City.  It was a given that no matter how many movies I had in my hand, one of them was going to be The Last Starfighter.  It was not only a movie that I thought was cool, it was a movie that I emotionally connected to.  Destiny is very appealing to a child who felt like he was meant for greater things and is still very appealing to that child who is now grown up.  At the end of the credits of the movie, Atari, Inc. tells the audience to keep their eyes open for The Last Starfighter video game.  That same video game that was in the movie.  I daydreamed of playing this game in hopes of having the same chance that Alex did in the movie.

Back in the 80’s the only way for me to play the newest video games was by going to Star World, the arcade in my hometown.  Every Thursday they had ten cent token day and for my mom that meant she could have a couple of hours where she would not have to entertain me.  That meant every Thursday I eagerly ran around the arcade looking for the Starfighter game.  It was never there.   By the time my first son was born I eventually had to give up on the idea that I was going to find this digital sword in the stone.

It turns out that Atari planned on releasing The Last Starfighter arcade game but the Vice President of Atari decided against it.  He felt that the $10,000 price for making it was too expensive, so they were never produced.  I guess there is a price for happiness and this guy liked being a miserable son of a bitch.  The reason why it was never made into a game for the Atari console points back to a little, brown alien.  Not Snooki, I’m talking about E.T.

In 1982,  the Steven Speilberg directed movie, E.T.: The Extra- Terrestrial, was a box-office monster.  The concept of making a video game based on a movie was new at the time and it only seemed fitting that an E.T. game was developed.   In 1982, plans to turn E.T. into a game for the Atari 2600 console began. The problem was that they only had five weeks to develop it in order to have it ready for a Christmas release.  What could possibly go wrong?

The result was a confusing and boring game that left parents pissed off that their kids weren’t playing a game they dropped 50 bucks on.  The game eventually became the cancer that killed Atari.  In 1983, Atari reported a $536 million dollar loss, which led to the company being broken up and sold off in 1984.

The Alamogordo Daily News of Alamogordo, New Mexico reported that Atari sent semi-truck trailers filled with Atari games to their landfill.  Atari said those games came from their El Paso plant because it was being converted into a recycling center.  Most believe it were all of the E.T. games that were either returned or not sold.

Now I can’t really say that Speilberg was directly responsible for the fall of Atari and The Last Starfighter game not existing but if the movie, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, had never been made by Steven Speilberg, the geniuses at Atari wouldn’t have fast-tracked the game.  Which means that Atari wouldn’t have crumbled and would have eventually released The Last Starfighter for their gaming console.  So I can say that he was indirectly responsible and to me, that still makes him guilty.

Sources close to this site who work at the giant government warehouse where the Ark of the Covenant is stored recently discovered a prototype for The Last Starfighter game that Atari made.  The image below proves that it is real – very real.