As I said, it is very possible that Nolan sat in discussions of a similar game idea while he was still at Atari,
Nolan already verified, he was mistaken for when he saw the proto at the Chuck-E-Cheese boardroom when they brought over the proto for testing. Confusion cleared.
I also want to address this Ralph issue. The original Odyssey design was junk, and was a true one hit wonder.
Certainly entitled to your opinion.
Yea, there were multiple games, sort of, and every one of them moved the same smeary analog dot around the screen under a static held piece of plastic to make "a game." It was an analog system that drew a blurry single smear on the screen,
That's simply wrong and where opinion takes oversteps for reality. It's a DTL design, unless you're going to tell me flip-flops are an analog circuit?
It required a plastic overlay on the screen to create the playfield.
Magnavox's decision, not Ralph's. One of his incarnations actually used live broadcast playfields via cable in a similar manner to laserdisc games like Atari's FireFox - and in the late 60's. Likewise, they decided to take out the color.
The paddles were also analog and almost impossible to control.
Atari's Pong and 2600 paddles are not analog? They're pots, whose data is based on the voltage of a resistor divider.
It was an idea, it was NOT a design,
Which is an opinion, NOT a fact.
and any similarity between it and the first pong game are purely idea in nature only.
And in patent. There's a reason why time and time again the manipulation and interaction of symbols via a VIDEO signal was upheld in court. We have the direct court testimony, proceedings, and transcripts for most of these cases. There wasn't one analysis of a single component and their purpose left out by lawyers on both sides, and the fact that others had come up with alternative specific circuits to interface with a video signal to generate and manipulate symbols was irrelevant to the actual proceedings and what the patent defense was about.
We're not pulling this out of left field, or as someone snarkily mentioned on facebook, because "It has become trendy online to profess support for the 'other guy'". We are interested in documented facts, plain and simple. No matter who they paint in a good or bad light. I don't recall either Curt and I making excuses for said other guy "seeing a good idea, and being the right person to build it well" with regards to Touch Me/Simon either.
Nolan, seeing a good idea, got the right people to build it well, and Atari was that place. Just because Alcorn was the hardware designer does not nean Nolan was not responsible for the design, or the idea.
I don't recall anyone saying Nolan wasn't responsible taking an idea and having an additional idea on how to improve it, or for bringing the idea to Al, nor for luring Al to taking a job at Syzygy.
Though Al's design process and the ignoring of Nolan's "pie and in the sky" input (crowd noises, etc.) is pretty well documented. Al has more than covered all of that. Al didn't use any of Ted's previous Computer Space circuitry and designed everything circuit wise from scratch, Al didn't use Nolan's idea of a single direction padding and went with an "english" simulator instead (via the segmented paddle), Al added the speedup, Al came up with the characteristic sound, etc. What's left design wise for PONG for someone else to be responsible for?
He knew who to get, didn't he?
Certainly, people from where he had the luck of previously working that had experience in video circuitry design (i.e. via Videofile). It's not a situation like he went out and started souring the valley for people with a reputation. If he and Ted had not had the connection to Ampex/Videofile, would they have known to hire people from there let alone Al? Nolan, Ted Dabney, Steve Mayer, Larry Emmons, Steve Bristow, Al Alcorn all knew each other at Ampex. Certainly these guys all wound up having great talent, but to put things in a neutral perspective you can not discount the reason these specific guys were even contacted in the first place over how many other people working in the electronics industry in the valley?
Nolan was the boss in charge, and as such, had a lot of responsibility for the project as well.
Well....according to Ted he and Al were to busy with PONG to pay attention to Nolan and what he was doing, and that Nolan more maneuvered his way in to "guy in charge" and pushed Ted out. So I can see where you're coming from. Nolan was certainly the guy with "the vision" as Ted also pointed out.
And do not get me started on the patent issue. There was nothing copied, because there was nothing worth copying and copying a "simple idea" itself is not really what we put patents on.
Looks like you already got things started there. The patents were not for "simple ideas", nor was discovering the concepts needed to interface with a broadcast video signal, generate symbols, manipulate those symbols, and support interaction for a game via that signal anything but a "simple idea" in 1966 when the patents were first being filed. That's pure revisionism.
As for what was directly copied from Nolan's visit:
"And Nolan got the idea from that (the Odyssey), but it's like the movie The Producers, because he figured we'd rip off the idea for a game, but so what? It's no good, we're not going to sell it, we'll throw it away, so what harm is there, right? So, it didn't work out that way… they sent us a letter. " -Al Alcorn
"We knew that Bushnell had seen Baer’s game. The concept was to be a
learning experience for Al, not the final product." - Ted Dabney
But there was nothing to copy, it was all analog.
Simply, and absolutely, wrong.
Moving dots on a CRT was long known even before Ralph did it. Playing games on a CRT was long known before Ralph did it.
Except they weren't patents for the moving things on a CRT. They were patents for interfacing, drawing, and moving things via a VIDEO SIGNAL. That's where the term VIDEO game originates from. There is no video signal in a vector driven CRT, which is precisely why your position was shot down time and time again when things like Spacewar or Tennis for Two were brought out. It was never an issue of who did a game on a CRT first. Quit trying to rewrite history. And you of all people, author of some great vector games I absolutely love, I would expect to know the difference between a vector driven display and video driven display.
OK, maybe he got it on the home TV first, but it was awful. I know, I had one. It was completely unplayable.
Which is more of an opinion again, not a fact. Having more sales than the original PONG might say otherwise as well.
And regardless of who George Bush gave some award to,
How childish. Both Nolan and Ralph have received plenty of awards over the last 30 some years, and both men are deserving of them.
I notice that I do not see "Odyssey" printed on the kids pajamas and T-Shirts at Target, but I sure do see a lot of them with an Atari logos on them! Seems the market has decided which was the real winner.
Copying and rewording a portion of Jeremy Holloway's heartfelt though miss guided facebook rant doesn't make it any more valid. Logically it's inaccurate (it should be 'I do not see "Magnavox" printed on kids..'), and it's not a competition on pop-culture references (most of which was generated during the 80's during Ray's tenure, long after said other person left). The actual competition - one of multiple patents based on actual executions and defenses of which were won consistently over a 30 year period - is the real competition that you were addressing here. And it's a thorn in your collective sides that competition was LOST. That's plainly obvious by all the trash talking of Ralph that continues to go on. Even when Ralph has multiple times extended his hand towards said parties in the efforts of clearing the air - only to have it promptly bitten. (And yes, we have copies of the most recent email exchange with that as well).
Enough said, I am going to go get that cookie.
Please do, hopefully it'll give you time to reflect and move on like everyone agreed to.
Edited by wgungfu, Thu Apr 29, 2010 1:36 AM.