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Encyclopedia > Nolan Bushnell
Nolan Bushnell

Born February 5, 1943 (1943-02-05) (age 64)
Clearfield, Utah
Occupation Electrical engineer and entrepreneur

Nolan K. Bushnell (born February 5, 1943) is an American electrical engineer and entrepreneur who founded both Atari and the Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza-Time Theaters chain. Image File history File links Nolan_Bushnell. ... is the 36th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Clearfield is a city located in Davis County, Utah. ... is the 36th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link will display full 1943 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Look up engineer in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For the sequel to the computer game Entrepreneur, which has no article of its own, see The Corporate Machine. ... This article is about a corporate game company. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ...


Bushnell has received a great deal of recognition, including being inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame and the Consumer Electronics Association Hall of Fame, receiving the Nations Restaurant News “Innovator of the Year” award, and being named one of Newsweek's "50 Men That Changed America". Bushnell has started more than twenty companies and is widely recognized as one of the founding fathers of the video game industry. The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the industry organization for the consumer electronics industry in the United States. ... The Newsweek logo Newsweek is a weekly news magazine published in New York City and distributed throughout the United States and internationally. ... Namcos Pac-Man was a hit, and became a universal phenomenon. ...

Contents

Early years and personal life

Bushnell graduated from the University of Utah electrical engineering program in 1968, and was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. He was one of many computer science students of the 1960s who played the historic Spacewar! game on DEC mainframe computers. The University of Utah was heavily involved in computer graphics research, and spawned a wide variety of Spacewar versions. The University of Utah (also The U or the U of U or the UU), located in Salt Lake City, is the flagship public research university in the state of Utah, and one of 10 institutions that make up the Utah System of Higher Education. ... Electrical Engineers design power systems… … and complex electronic circuits. ... Year 1968 (MCMLXVIII) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity (ΠΚΑ) is an international, secret, social, Greek-letter, college fraternity. ... The terms fraternity and sorority (from the Latin words and , meaning brother and sister respectively) may be used to describe many social and charitable organizations, for example the Lions Club, Epsilon Sigma Alpha, Rotary International, Optimist International, or the Shriners. ... Computer science, or computing science, is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and their implementation and application in computer systems. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ... Spacewar! is one of the earliest video games for a digital computer. ... The DEC logo Digital Equipment Corporation was a pioneering American company in the computer industry. ... For the journal by ACM SIGGRAPH, see Computer Graphics (Publication). ...


Bushnell worked at a theme park for many years while in high school and college in his hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah. He was particularly interested in the midway arcade games, where theme park customers would have to use skill and luck to ultimately achieve the goal and win the prize. He enjoyed the concept of getting people curious in the game, and from there getting them to pay the fee in order to play the game. He would use his love for games and theme parks to help launch both Atari and Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza-Time Theaters. Theme Park is a simulation computer game designed by Bullfrog Productions, released in 1994, in which the player designs and operates an amusement park. ... Salt Lake City is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. state of Utah. ...


After selling Atari to Warner Communications for US$28,000,000, Bushnell purchased the former mansion of coffee magnate James Folger in Woodside, California, which he shared with his wife Nancy and their many children. The estate overlooked, among other things, the house of former Bushnell employee and Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs. The Bushnells now live in southern California. J. A. Folger, born James Athearne Folger (June 17, 1835 – June 26, 1889), was the founder of the Folgers coffee company. ... Woodside (pop. ... Apple Inc. ... Steven Paul Jobs (born February 24, 1955) is the co-founder and CEO of Apple and was the CEO of Pixar until its acquisition by Disney. ...


Wife Nancy Bushnell operated the Lion and Compass restaurant in Sunnyvale, California. Location in Santa Clara County and the state of California Coordinates: , Country United States State California County Santa Clara Government  - Mayor Otto Lee Area  - City 22. ...


Oldest child Alissa Bushnell (one of two children with his first wife, Paula), has worked for author and motivational speaker Anthony Robbins. Alissa currently works with Nolan at uWink. Anthony Robbins (born 29 February 1960, Glendora, California) is an American motivational speaker and writer. ... uWink logo uWink, Inc. ...


Entrepreneurship

Syzygy

In 1971, Bushnell and colleague Ted Dabney formed Syzygy with the intention of producing a Spacewar clone known as Computer Space. The “counter slip” state machine technology which drove Computer Space was later patented and served as the core technology for all arcade video games until 1975 when microprocessors appeared on the scene and soon became the technology of choice. Year 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1971 Gregorian calendar. ... Ted Dabney and Nolan Bushnell created the first arcade game, Computer Space, in 1971 and founded Atari Computers in 1972. ... Computer Space is a video arcade game released in November, 1971 by Nutting Associates. ...


In order to keep the company alive while the machine was being prototyped, they also took on a route servicing broken pinball machines. Popular belief has it that Nolan Bushnell had built Computer Space, and that he had even moved his daughter out of her bedroom to finish it. This however is not correct. It was in fact Ted Dabney who built the machine in his home and it was his daughter who was relegated to the living room couch. Ted Dabney completed the prototype and Nolan Bushnell started to shop it around, looking for a manufacturer. They eventually reached an agreement with Nutting Associates, a maker of coin-op trivia and shooting games, who produced a fiberglass cabinet for the unit that combined a coin-slot mechanism. An electronic pinball machine (Theatre of Magic), released 1995. ... Nutting Associates was the company that created Computer Space (1971), the first coin operated arcade game. ...


Computer Space proved to be too far ahead of its time and was a commercial failure. Though Computer Space enjoyed over US$3,000,000 in sales, Bushnell felt that the poor marketing of Nutting left significant sales on the table and decided that his next game would be licensed to a bigger manufacturer.


Atari

Main article: Atari

In 1972, Bushnell and Dabney set off on their own, and learned that the name "Syzygy" was in use. Claimed by Bushnell at alternate times to be in use by both a candle company owned by a Mendocino hippie commune, [1][2] [3] [3] [4] and a roofing company [5]. They instead incorporated under the name Atari, a reference to a check-like position in the game Go. They rented their first office on Scott Boulevard in Sunnyvale, CA. They then contracted with Bally Manufacturing to create a driving game. To handle the additional work they hired their first employee Al Alcorn. Bushnell later bought out Dabney, who was worried about the success of the video game market, and decided to take over the pinball servicing route instead. This article is about a corporate game company. ... View of Mendocino from the Northwest Mendocino is a census-designated place (CDP) in Mendocino County, California, United States. ... Go is a strategic East Asian board game for two players. ... Al Alcorn grew up in San Francisco, went to Berkeley, and later was at the video pioneering company, Ampex. ...


Despite his initial denials - Nolan Bushnell signed the guestbook at the Burlingame, CA demonstration of the Magnavox Odyssey and set about the task of taking the Magnavox tennis game design and making a Coin-op version of it as a test project for Atari's new engineer, Allan Alcorn. Allan Alcorn would incorporate many of his own improvements to the game design such as scoring and sound and Pong was born. Pong proved to be very popular, and Nolan and company released a slew of Pong based arcade games over the next few years as the mainstay of the company. The Magnavox Odyssey was the worlds first commercially sold video game console. ... Al Alcorn is a pioneering engineer and comptuter scientist. ... PONG helped bring computerized video games into everyday life. ...


In 1974, Atari entered the consumer electronics market after Engineers Harold Lee and Bob Brown approached Al Alcorn with an idea to develop a home version of Pong. Thanks to a marketing and distribution agreement with Sears, Pong sales soared when the unit was released in 1975. Year 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the 1974 Gregorian calendar. ... Sears, Roebuck and Company is an American mid-range chain of international department stores, founded by Richard Sears and Alvah Roebuck in the late 19th century. ... Year 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Even though Atari would later enter the home computer market, initially Nolan declined an offer to enter it earlier. Using borrowed parts from Atari, employee Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created their own home computer. They offered the design to Bushnell but Atari was in no financial position to act upon it, instead focusing on the arcade and home console markets. Steven Paul Jobs (born February 24, 1955) is the co-founder and CEO of Apple and was the CEO of Pixar until its acquisition by Disney. ... Stephan Gary Woz Wozniak (born August 11, 1950 in San Jose, California) is a U.S. computer engineer and the co-founder of Apple Computer (now Apple Inc. ...


By 1976 Atari was in the midst of developing the Atari VCS (Video Computer System, later renamed the Atari 2600), but Bushnell realized that if the company was going to grow, it needed capital and with the stock market in a bleak condition, going public would not be the solution. He wrote a list of companies to approach to buy Atari. Meanwhile Steve Ross - CEO of Warner Communications witnessed an amazing sight - his children were hovering around videogame cabinets at Disney World. Looking further into these machines, he saw a whole new future. Warner Communications then contacted Atari to discuss purchasing the company. For $28million, Warner Communications (now Time Warner) bought Atari, bringing the capital they needed for the VCS launch, which took place in August of 1977. The Atari 2600, released in October 1977, is the video game console credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor based hardware and cartridges containing game code, instead of having non-microprocessor dedicated hardware with all games built in. ... Time Warner Inc. ... Also: 1977 (album) by Ash. ...


Bushnell was eventually forced out of the company in November of 1978 after a dispute with Warner over the future direction of the company, notably on the lifespan of the 2600 and their closed software strategy (later changed) for the new home computer division. Year 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1978 Gregorian calendar). ...


By 1982, Atari had become a US$2 billion empire and "the fastest-growing company in the history of American business" (Cohen). By 1984, the company had crashed and was split in to three pieces to be sold off. The coin-op division became Atari Games, the Consumer division was sold to Jack Tramiel who folded it in to his Tramel Technologies Ltd. which was then renamed Atari Corp. The budding Ataritel division was sold to Mitsubishi Electric. ISO 4217 Code USD User(s) the United States, the British Indian Ocean Territory,[1] the British Virgin Islands, East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Panama, Caicos Islands, and the insular areas of the United States Inflation 2. ... Atari Games was an American producer of arcade games, and originally part of Atari Inc. ... Jack Tramiel (born 1928) is a businessman, famous for founding Commodore International, manufacturer of the Commodore 64 and Commodore Amiga home computers, and later President and CEO of Atari Corp. ...


In the late 1980s, Bushnell company Axlon managed the development of two new games for the Atari 2600, most likely as part of a marketing attempt to revive sales of the system, already more than a decade old. The Atari 2600, released in October 1977, is the video game console credited with popularizing the use of microprocessor based hardware and cartridges containing game code, instead of having non-microprocessor dedicated hardware with all games built in. ...


Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre

Main article: Chuck E. Cheese

While still at Atari in 1977, Bushnell had purchased Pizza Time Theatre back from Warner Communications (as Pizza Time was created by Bushnell and was originally developed as distribution channel for Atari Games while Bushnell was at Atari), a place where kids could go and eat pizza and play video games. The Pizza Time Theatre / Chuck E. Cheese's also had animatronic animals that played music as entertainment. (Bushnell had always wanted to work for Walt Disney, but was continually turned down for employment when he was first starting out after graduation; Chuck E. Cheese's was his homage to Disney and the technology developed there.) In 1981 Bushnell turned day-to-day food operations of Chuck E. Cheese’s to a newly-hired restaurant executive and focused on Catalyst Technologies. The current logo for Chuck E. Cheese Pizza. ... Also: 1977 (album) by Ash. ... A pizza with tomatoes, field mushrooms, and onions as toppings. ... Namcos Pac-Man was a hit, and became a universal phenomenon. ... This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... The Catalyst Technologies Venture Capital Group was one of the first technology company incubators. ...


Through 1982 and 1983 Nolan had been concentrating on his Chuck E. Cheese's subsidiaries and side projects, such as Catalyst Technologies. Much to the criticism of some, he had been funding these by taking money out of Chuck E. Cheese (such as with video game company Sente, which was made a subsidiary) or taking out massive loans based on Chuck E. Cheese stock. To make matters worse, Chuck E. Cheese’s had started to lose money in 1982 and was now in the red. Year 1982 (MCMLXXXII) was a common year starting on Friday (link displays the 1982 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 1983 (MCMLXXXIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays the 1983 Gregorian calendar). ...


Bushnell continued to spend money on side projects and spend more and more time with his yacht, Charlie. By the time Bushnell's spending and lack of involvement caught up with him, it was too late and Chuck E. Cheese was facing bankruptcy. President and long time friend Joe Keenan resigned that fall. Nolan tried to step back in, blaming the money problems on over expansion and saturation in local markets by the management team. He resigned in February of 1984, when his attempt was rebuffed by the Board of Directors. Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theaters (now named after its famous mouse mascot) entered bankruptcy in the fall of 1984. Joseph Keenan (born October 14, 1982 in Southampton, England, United Kingdom) is an English football player of Irish heritage who currently plays as a defender for Melbourne Victory FC in the Australian A-League. ... Year 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1984 Gregorian calendar). ...


ShowBiz Pizza, a competing Pizza/Arcade family restaurant then purchased Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre and assumed their debt. The newly formed company, ShowBiz Pizza Time, operated restaurants under both brands for a period of time before unifying all locations under the Chuck E. Cheese's brand. Today over 500 locations of this restaurant are in business, and it remains highly successful. The current logo for Chuck E. Cheeses Pizza. ...


Catalyst Technologies Venture Capital Group

Bushnell founded the Catalyst Technologies Venture Capital Group, one of the first business incubators. The Catalyst Group companies included Androbot, Etak, Cumma, Axlon and many more. Axlon launched many consumer and consumer electronic products successfully, most notably AG Bear, a bear that mumbled/echoed a child's words back to him/her; Axlon was largely sold to Hasbro. Etak was the first company to digitize the maps of the world, ultimately providing the backbone for Google maps, mapquest.com, and other navigation systems; Etak was sold to Rupert Murdoch in the 1980s. The Catalyst Technologies Venture Capital Group was one of the first technology company incubators. ... AG Bear is a teddy bear that was created and manufactured by Axlon, a company formed by Atari and Chuck E. Cheese founder Nolan Bushnell, through his Catalyst Technologies Venture Capital Group. ... Hasbro (NYSE: HAS) is an American toy and game company. ... Screenshot of Google Maps showing a route from Toronto to Ottawa on the 400-Series highways. ... Screenshot from MapQuest MapQuest is a map publisher and free online Web Map Server, owned by AOL. The company was founded in 1967 as Cartographic Services division of R.R. Donnelley & Sons in Chicago, Illinois. ... Keith Rupert Murdoch AC, KCSG (born 11 March 1931) is an Australian born United States citizen who is a global media executive and is the controlling shareholder, chairman and managing director of News Corporation, based in New York. ...


Sente

In 1984, Bushnell once again entered the video game business, when he founded Sente Games. (Sente is the Japanese term for the initiative or control in Go, Bushnell's favorite game). Bally/Midway agreed to be Sente's distributor; the list of published Sente titles includes the popular one-on-one hockey game, Hat Trick (1984). Sente Games (also known as Sente Technologies) was a video game company owned by Nolan Bushnell (founder of Atari) in 1984. ... Go terms and concepts are important in the game of Go. ... Go is a strategic East Asian board game for two players. ... Midway Games (NYSE: MWY) is an American video game publisher. ...


uWink

Main article: uWink

Bushnell's most recent company is uWink, which has gone through several failed iterations including a touch-screen kiosk designer and an online Entertainment Systems network[6]. After nearly 7 years and over $24million in investor funding, the latest version (announced in 2005) is a new interactive entertainment restaurant called the uWink Media Bistro, whose concept builds off his Chuck E. Cheese venture and previous 1988-1989 venture Bots Inc., which developed similar systems of customer-side point-of-sale touch-screen terminals in addition to autonomous pizza-delivery robots for Little Caesar's Pizza[7]. Guests may order food and drinks via screens at each table, through which guests may also enjoy games, movie trailers and short videos. (Bushnell had pioneered this concept through Bots nearly 20 years earlier.) The first Bistro has opened in Woodland Hills, California on October 16, 2006. uWink logo uWink, Inc. ... uWink logo uWink, Inc. ... Little Caesars is estimated to be the fourth-largest pizza restaurant chain in the United States. ... Woodland Hills, California in the foreground, including Warner Center. ... is the 289th day of the year (290th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays full 2006 calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Other ventures

In 1981, Bushnell created the TimberTech Computer Camp in Scotts Valley, California. Scotts Valley is an elite suburb community of Santa Cruz located in central, Santa Cruz County, California. ...


In 1991, Bushnell endorsed the Commodore International CDTV, a CD-ROM-based version of the Amiga 500 computer repackaged for the consumer electronics market. Commodore, the commonly used name for Commodore International, was an American electronics company based in West Chester, Pennsylvania which was a vital player in the home/personal computer field in the 1980s. ... The Amiga CDTV (for Commodore Dynamic Total Vision) was a computer made by Commodore International and launched in March 1991. ... The CD-ROM (an abbreviation for Compact Disc Read-Only Memory (ROM)) is a non-volatile optical data storage medium using the same physical format as audio compact discs, readable by a computer with a CD-ROM drive. ... The original Amiga 1000 (1985) with various peripherals The Amiga 500 (1987) was the most popular variant of the Amiga. ...


In 2005, he served as a judge on the USA Network reality series Made in the USA. USA Network is a popular American cable television network with about 89 million household subscribers as of 2005. ... Reality television is a genre of television programming which presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and features ordinary people instead of professional actors. ... The Made in USA mark is a country of origin label indicating the product is all or virtually all made in the U.S. The label is regulated by the Federal Trade Commission. ...


References

  1. ^ Player 1 Stage 2: Atari Rising. Retrieved on 2007-05-15.
  2. ^ ATARI'S PONG - A LEGEND BEGINS. Retrieved on 2007-05-15.
  3. ^ a b Atari History. Retrieved on 2007-05-15.
  4. ^ Kent, Steve (2001). The Ultimate History Of Video Games. Prima Publishing, 35. ISBN 0-7615-3643-4. 
  5. ^ Moby Games Nolan Bushnell Bio.
  6. ^ uWink website archive from 2002.. Retrieved on 2007-05-02.
  7. ^ Nolan Bushnell Bio. Retrieved on 2007-05-02.
  • Zap: the Rise and Fall of Atari, by Scott Coen (1984) ISBN 0-7388-6883-3
  • Gaming 101: A Contemporary History of PC and Video Games, by George Jones (2005) ISBN 1-55622-080-4
  • The Ultimate History of Video Games: From Pong to Pokémon--The story Behind the Craze That Touched Our Lives and Changed the World, by Steven L. Kent (2001) ISBN 0-7615-3643-4
  • High Score!: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games, by Rusel DeMaria, Johnny L. Wilson (2003) ISBN 0-07-223172-6
  • The First Quarter, by Steven L. Kent

Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 135th day of the year (136th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 135th day of the year (136th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 135th day of the year (136th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Steven L. Kent is an American writer, best known for his video game journalism. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... May 2 is the 122nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (123rd in leap years). ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... May 2 is the 122nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (123rd in leap years). ...

External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Nolan Bushnell

  Results from FactBites:
 
Nolan Bushnell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1779 words)
Bushnell has started more than twenty companies and is widely recognized as one of the founding fathers of the video game industry.
Bushnell graduated from the University of Utah electrical engineering program in 1968, and was a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.
Bushnell was eventually forced out of the company in November of 1978 after a dispute with Warner over the future direction of the company, notably on their closed software strategy (later changed) for the home computer division.
Metroactive News & Issues | Nolan Bushnell: Introduction (706 words)
NOLAN BUSHNELL is known as the father of the video game industry, but of equal historical weight may be his role as the Silicon Valley's first rock star.
Bushnell and wife Nancy hosted fundraisers for judicial candidates and the San Francisco Ballet, and in 1982, with his in-laws, he opened an opulent restaurant, the Lion and Compass in Sunnyvale.
Bushnell the celebrity could be spotted beneath the stock ticker by the bar, playing starstruck techies in liar's poker with the serial numbers of folded dollar bills.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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