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  What ever happened to.....





Nolan Bushnell (Godfather of video games)
<--Matthew Smith

He's possibly the person responsible for you reading this website, and a major reason for this website. PeeknPoke presents Nolan Bushnell.

"Remember," Bushnell says, "I didn't invent the video game. They had already been invented on the $7 million computers. I just commercialized them."

Nolan created Atari at the age of 27 after making a few buck from his first arcade games Computer Space and then Pong which became the first commercial computer game. These were tried out in local bars. Atari was unique as most of the employees were under 30 and that seemed the driving force for the games that they later created. In the early days of 1972, Atari had revenues of 11 million.

"I was flamboyant ... young, rich and single. It was the '70s and we just raised a lot of hell."

Atari took on the arcade world and dominated it with other companies joining in, they failed to match Atari's dizzy heights. The Atari VCS became a world leader in the home too and in the 80's it was said that one in ten houses had an Atari sitting under the TV. The first computers out of Atari's hat were also big sellers and made computers in the home affordable.

"By the time that my big public 'win,' which was Atari, was in flames under Warner's direction," Bushnell says, "I hadn't called any shots there for five years."

But alas Nolan decided to leave his Atari behind, with a massive payout from Warners in 1976 for 28 million and to stay on for another 2 years which became hell for Nolan as his company was turned into men in suits rather than jeans and drugs which seemed to slant the company down.

'There was nobody who had a better reputation and perception of being a golden boy than I did in 1982," Bushnell says. "Three years later, I was a 'dumbshit.' 

He left Atari in 1978 to create the American Chuck E Cheese pizza places. Quite a diversion than Missile Command. They made lots of money too. by the year 1983 200 restaurants were made. All was not golden as they were filled for bankruptcy years later due to Nolan's many other interests and companies not doing so well.

Nolan went though a bad patch of legal stuff and money worries but our leader seems to be back on his cloud with Uwink which sees Nolan sort of back into what he knows best...Video games. Full circle for a complete hero.


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