It's possible to find a secret flower in a pit, which when collected, gives E.T. an extra life. However, collecting 7 Recess Pieces, giving them to Elliot, collecting all three phone pieces, then finally locating and reviving the flower will cause it to transform into Yars from Yar's Revenge who will then fly away. Completing the game and then completing this process again will cause the flower to transform into Indiana Jones from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Completing the game for a third time and completing the process will cause the initials of Howard Scott Warshaw, who programmed all 3 of the games, to appear at the bottom of the screen.
For a long time it was rumoured that Atari buried its inventory of unsold E.T. cartridges in the New Mexico desert. More than 30 years later, the E.T. cartridges were found, along with other buried games and even Atari consoles themselves.
Warner and Atari were so confident that they would have the biggest game of 1982, they ended up paying somewhere in the region of 20-25 million dollars for the license. They then assigned the project to Howard Scott Warshaw, (who programmed Yar's Revenge amongst other games for Atari) and gave him a strict deadline to make the game in time for the 1982 holiday season. That deadline was anywhere between four weeks and a couple of months. Atari felt confident that the game would sell well based off of the name recognition alone. They produced 5 million copies of ET (more games than there were 2600 consoles in homes), and only managed to sell 1-2 million. The leftover unsold inventory is believed to be buried in a New Mexico landfill.
The game experienced great sales at first, but due to most players not understanding how to play the game, which is explained in the manual, many were returned. Atari didn't earn as much money as they expected, and consequently this game is considered to be one of several factors to Atari's downfall. Alongside the port of Pac-Man for the Atari 2600, it is also a huge contributing factor to the Video Game Crash of 1983.