Pong Inventor Nolan Bushnell Labels Modern Videogames "Unadulterated Trash"

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."

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