Pong Inventor Nolan Bushnell Labels Modern Videogames "Unadulterated Trash"

by Nick Breckon, Oct 23, 2007 9:22am PDT
Related Topics – Atari

While electronic gaming pioneer Nolan Bushnell hasn't tried his hand at "serious" game development in years, he still had some strong words for the industry in a recent interview with Electronic Design. "Video games today are a race to the bottom. They are pure, unadulterated trash and I'm sad for that," said Bushnell. The fired-up Atari founder has most recently worked to create a series of interactive restaurants titled uWink. The restaurants feature touch-screen terminals with which patrons can order food and drinks, and also play games, movie trailers, and videos. "We used to have families sit down and play a game together," added the 64-year-old Bushnell. "A lot of video games today are very isolated. You don't see mom and dad, sister and brother, sitting down like they used to play, say, Monopoly. That represented good mentoring time for families that just isn't happening now." Bushnell's career has been infamously punctuated by bad business decisions. After inventing Pong and founding Atari in 1972, he sold the company to Time Warner for a paltry $28 million. In the early 1980s, Bushnell took out large loans based on the value of Chuck E. Cheese stock to fund other projects. He resigned from the Pizza Time Board of Directors in 1984, as Chuck E. Cheese filed for bankruptcy. Despite his exile from the gaming field at large, Bushnell still seems passionate about the industry he once helped to create. "My personal favorite is Breakout," said Bushnell. "It is one of the games that everyone loved. It was very satisfying to play. It was like breaking down walls. And it was a metaphor. The world is better when you break down walls. Walls separate people. The more inclusive we can be, the better we can be as a species."


32 Threads | 77 Comments

  • This guy is off his damn rocker.

    First, I don't care if today's video games may be a rehash of classics. Good, push the envelope, I want games to create hype, I want them to sell sell sell. I want them to make my machine crawl on its knees and beg for forgiveness.


    Simple, there is a limit to what you can do with a given piece of hardware. 25 years ago, we were looking at Faxanadu for NES (Wait, is he saying Mario Bros. is not as good as!? Zelda!? River City Ransom!) today we're looking at Oblivion. Look at the growth!.

    Break Out as breaking down walls of communication, good god man, that must be some really good shit. How about games that touch on epic stories, Or political situations. Deus Ex wasn't a good game? Its subject matter, its execution, and interaction. That was a master piece, given the hardware available, it was incredible.

    So, fast forward to this race to the bottom of pure unadulterated trash. Crysis is due out soon. I'm very stoked for this one, an armor suit that switches between modes so you can use your energy to its max given the situation. Customizable weapons, so you can choose the best configuration given the situation. What? is it trash because you happen to kill people and not break down walls?

    I agree with some of the other posters, he was looking to draw attention to himself, I bet you if you were to visit his house you'd find a pimp custom made box in some closet, with a 30" cinema display. This man is a closet gamer!