As many of us know, ET on the Atari 2600 was rushed, because the programmer was given from only late July to September 1, 1982 to code the game. But if the game didn’t have to be out until early December 1982, why did they need three months’ time between the game’s completion and release? For that matter, why was there such a big gap in most games of that era between completion and release?

I know that carts take longer to manufacture than disks, but I would think that Howard Scott Warshaw could have gotten at least to the end of September to finish the game. I would think that a month (I.e. from about November 1) would have been enough manufacturing time but maybe they wanted to make sure that they could fill all of the game’s demand by Christmas.

Perhaps they preferred a rushed, mediocre (although HSW did a damn good job considering the time constraints) game that would sell a lot in December 1982 to one where fewer copies were available in ‘82 or an ‘83 release entirely?