Jump to content

Photo

AtariAge Welcomes Ted Dabney!


190 replies to this topic

#51 IntellivisionDude OFFLINE  

IntellivisionDude

    River Patroller

  • 2,991 posts
  • INTV Brotherhood Member
  • Location:Pigeon Forge, TN

Posted Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:07 PM

When i was a kid Pizza was Pizza and i couldn't tell the difference. I liked Chuck E Cheese Pizza just as much as any other Pizza. My mother could tell the difference but not me. I probably would of ate anything just as long as my mother gave me some money so i could get tokens to play arcade games. :lust:
I sucked at most games so my tokens disappeared fast lol, but i remember playing Centipede a lot and Pole Position. I can't remember every game i played but i can remember quite a few machines.

I'm almost positive i remember the number call out system. I'd sit there anxiously waiting for our number to come up. :thumbsup:

#52 Random Terrain OFFLINE  

Random Terrain

    Visual batari Basic User

  • 24,910 posts
  • Controlled Randomness
    Replay Value
    Nonlinear
  • Location:North Carolina (USA)

Posted Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:22 PM

This Atari stuff is great and all that, but I love him best for his work in movies such as Nine to Five, Modern Problems, Tootsie, WarGames, and Cloak & Dagger. :D

#53 Curt Vendel OFFLINE  

Curt Vendel

    River Patroller

  • 4,446 posts
  • Location:Carmel, New York

Posted Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:29 PM

I was at a kids party at a CeC about 4-5 months ago and took my daughter, they put out a veggie platter for the adults which I think was a nice touch, then they brought out what appeared to be pizza (at least it looked like it and smelled like it.) I have never in my life tasted such fake, processed plastic-pretend-pizza before in my life, then I realized - hey, there are still plenty of carrot sticks and celery sticks left - at least I can fill up :-)

Seriously, it is true, most kids will eat just about anything. However, parents go there to sit down, have some dinner or lunch and let the kids play, and maybe the kids don't mind, but unless your taste buds are dead, the adults do notice and maybe next time they are going to want to go someplace else - like the ball pen at a McD's.

CeC/Pizzatime was a very unique setup at the time - pizza and video games all under one roof. Other then bars and roller rinks you didn't have the same kid of access to play video games as you did say in the 80's where you had them in practically every corner store, in the chinese fast food places, supermarkets, hardware stores and so forth. It was a good formula and a great draw. But when the whole CeC versus Showbiz Pizza battle went into high gear - that was the time to improve the quality of the food and draw in more repeat customers, not go cheaper and make the pizza worse. Both places could have games, but in the end it would then come down to the food and the draw of repeat customers to keep the volume going.

Its easy to look back in hindsight and point out errors, but to be there in the trenches in a panic trying to find the best way to go, level heads prevail, quick fix answers fail.

It was a tough time and it really hurt CeC in the end. It actually came down to a personal vendetta by Fechter and Brock against Nolan. Fechter was a master animatronics creator and things just rubbed the wrong way with him and Nolan, Brock was actually going to go full bore nationwide with CeC, but found out about Fechter and that he wasn't on good terms with Nolan and they teamed against Nolan. Its funny though, cause later on Showbiz and CeC started to actually do joint promotions but in the end Showbiz won out and it took over CeC, however its name and its star were far too important and popular to disolve into the merger and the CeC name and Chuck himself took on a new life and as time went by, the goofy rat lost the derby, got a baseball cap and t-shirt and became more kid friendly.

BTW - Chuck E Cheese was not Nolan's famous characters original name...


Curt




When i was a kid Pizza was Pizza and i couldn't tell the difference. I liked Chuck E Cheese Pizza just as much as any other Pizza. My mother could tell the difference but not me. I probably would of ate anything just as long as my mother gave me some money so i could get tokens to play arcade games. :lust:
I sucked at most games so my tokens disappeared fast lol, but i remember playing Centipede a lot and Pole Position. I can't remember every game i played but i can remember quite a few machines.

I'm almost positive i remember the number call out system. I'd sit there anxiously waiting for our number to come up. :thumbsup:



#54 wavelflack OFFLINE  

wavelflack

    Space Invader

  • 19 posts

Posted Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:40 PM

Was it Charles E Cheese?

#55 IntellivisionDude OFFLINE  

IntellivisionDude

    River Patroller

  • 2,991 posts
  • INTV Brotherhood Member
  • Location:Pigeon Forge, TN

Posted Tue Apr 27, 2010 9:56 PM

The Chuck E Cheese where i grew up went out of business when i was still a kid. It turned into a Little Caesars Family Fun, which was nothing but a Chuck E Cheese with Little Caesars name on it. They had pizza and video games and animatronic characters. But it failed miserably and went out of business as well. I know this is off topic but i remember one more copy cat pizza place back then, it was called Major Magics. Same formula, Pizza and Arcade games. But they had the greasiest pizza i have ever eaten. I guess i was getting older and could tell good pizza from bad pizza lol.

#56 Shantai OFFLINE  

Shantai

    Chopper Commander

  • 120 posts
  • Location:Montville, NJ

Posted Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:07 PM

Epic, just EPIC!

I welcome you to AA Ted! (Even tho Im new here lol)

I know this is silly, but I was born when you guys made Pong lol :)

#57 Jess Ragan OFFLINE  

Jess Ragan

    Phanto of the Opera

  • 8,837 posts
  • Keys and Thank You
  • Location:MI

Posted Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:29 PM

The Chuck E Cheese character was originally pretty creepy; the kind of sleazeball that would sell you cheap knockoff watches in a back alley or rob you at knife point. I don't know why Bushnell and company thought this would be a good mascot for a kids' hangout. As fiercely nostalgic as I can be, I never was particularly attached to the character and thought it was a smart move for the company to redesign him as a just slightly extreme teen skater. It reeks of targeted marketing, I know, but a furry Tony Hawk is much more palatable than the kind of guy you wouldn't want to meet as an adult, much less a child.

#58 SoulBlazer OFFLINE  

SoulBlazer

    River Patroller

  • 3,922 posts
  • Location:Providence RI

Posted Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:14 PM

I can't help but feel that Dave and Busters owes quite a few things to CeC and how they did things. Cause D&B has a lot of kids games also. Except in having cheap pizza they have a good quality resturant. Plus (at least the one here in Providence) there are TWO bar areas -- one set up more like a traditional bar with a counter and stools and TV's, and a smaller area right off the arcade room to make it easy for adults to drink. Of course D&B caters to a older crowd but there's still tons of kinds who go there with their families. I think they learned from CeC what worked and what didn't.

#59 Retro Rogue OFFLINE  

Retro Rogue

    River Patroller

  • 3,268 posts
  • Location:Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Posted Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:43 PM

I am humbled by the reception I've received. Thank you so much.


Ted, you're more than deserving of it. That's why Lenny, myself, and Curt sought you out to interview you when we did, as so little had been known about you publicly.

First, I want to say I am not an inovator, I'm just a very capable engineer.
Nolan Busnell had the visions and I had the way to accomplish them.
My only complaint is that he gave me no recognition for what I did.

He said that I had no digital skills yet I designed and manufactured the "Number Callout System" (Notalog) for Pizza Time.
I designed and manufactured the "Isaac Asimov Presents Super Quiz" for Pizza Time. He still owes me $40,000 for that one.

He said that I didn't have a daughter because he always pretended that he worked in HIS daughters bedroom. He told me that Paula (his first wife) would not allow it.


Glad to see you further confirm what we had earlier stated as being the case based on our interviews with you. Hopefully (and it certainly looks that way already) people are more accepting of this info coming directly from you now.

All in all, you wouldn't be interested anything I have to say except for my involvement with Nolan. And I thank him for that.


Very admirable and classy of you.

Edited by wgungfu, Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:11 AM.


#60 Prodos8 OFFLINE  

Prodos8

    River Patroller

  • 2,260 posts
  • Where is John Galt?
  • Location:DFW, Texas

Posted Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:48 PM

Welcome aboard!

"I want to believe" that its really you.

#61 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

kool kitty89

    River Patroller

  • 2,394 posts
  • Location:San Jose, CA

Posted Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:53 PM

Seriously, it is true, most kids will eat just about anything. However, parents go there to sit down, have some dinner or lunch and let the kids play, and maybe the kids don't mind, but unless your taste buds are dead, the adults do notice and maybe next time they are going to want to go someplace else - like the ball pen at a McD's.

Sure kids like junk food, but that most definitely doesn't mean they can't be picky eaters, even when it comes to crappy junk food.

I've had several personal experiences as a kid and later, not so much a kid, but around my younger brother and his friends where the food (indeed Pizza) was a major issue. One time was a kids meal pizza, another at a bowling alley, one at a birthday party at a laser tag place (arena?), and a couple other cases including a movie theater. In 2 major cases the cheese was messed up, my brother wouldn't touch it and several other kids complained in another case, I finally tried some and (in several distinct cases) it tasted oddly salty and a bit plasticy (a bit of a chlorinated taste to me). Another case was super cardboard-tasting bland crust, Dominoes at the Laser Tag place in that case, and in a few other cases it was undercooked dough -movie theater. (oddly not ever burnt)
I never minded most of the cheap/simple pre-packaged pizza occasionally served at school, it was usually reasonably (crust was sometimes rubbery or cheese excessive, but the flavor was fine)
And again, I never had that issue at CeC either, but that was only at the San Jose locations and pretty much between 1992 and 2003. (almost every time for someone's birthday party)

One place we never had problems with the Pizza was at that occasionally served at the Kid's Park daycare center we my brother and I used to go to. (but they were using Round Table from a couple doors down, so that's not so surprising)

Its funny though, cause later on Showbiz and CeC started to actually do joint promotions but in the end Showbiz won out and it took over CeC, however its name and its star were far too important and popular to disolve into the merger and the CeC name and Chuck himself took on a new life and as time went by, the goofy rat lost the derby, got a baseball cap and t-shirt and became more kid friendly.

The original Chuck is a bit creepy, or at least intimidating... I remember finding one of the old tokens with the original picture on it and was rather baffled at how weird it looked (and a bit scary). Like this one: http://farm3.static...._700fa90003.jpg (I think I saved it too)

BTW - Chuck E Cheese was not Nolan's famous characters original name...

What was it?

Edited by kool kitty89, Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:57 PM.


#62 mos6507 OFFLINE  

mos6507

    River Patroller

  • 4,874 posts

Posted Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:59 PM

When I take my son to Chuck E. Cheese, we go eat somewhere else. The food is pretty bad there. It's just too easy to go and play the games and then go eat somewhere else. Basicly they cater to the McDonalds loving crowd. Plus there is a McDonalds in the same parking lot where we go. I don't know how that place makes any money.


The games aren't that good either, not that it's easy since the arcade game industry is all but extinct. I don't know what it was like back in the day, but now it's almost all kiddie gambling. That is the cash-cow. Those redemption machines will eat your tokens a lot faster than a skill-based coinop game. That is what my daughter found appealing about the place, unfortunately. The tickets and the prizes.

#63 mos6507 OFFLINE  

mos6507

    River Patroller

  • 4,874 posts

Posted Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:08 AM

The original Chuck is a bit creepy, or at least intimidating...


The aesthetics of "cute" has been honed by the marketing departments to an exact science, but it wasn't back then. For instance, compare the original vs. modern My Little Pony.

Posted Image

Posted Image

#64 Random Terrain OFFLINE  

Random Terrain

    Visual batari Basic User

  • 24,910 posts
  • Controlled Randomness
    Replay Value
    Nonlinear
  • Location:North Carolina (USA)

Posted Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:20 AM


When I take my son to Chuck E. Cheese, we go eat somewhere else. The food is pretty bad there. It's just too easy to go and play the games and then go eat somewhere else. Basicly they cater to the McDonalds loving crowd. Plus there is a McDonalds in the same parking lot where we go. I don't know how that place makes any money.


The games aren't that good either, not that it's easy since the arcade game industry is all but extinct. I don't know what it was like back in the day, but now it's almost all kiddie gambling. That is the cash-cow. Those redemption machines will eat your tokens a lot faster than a skill-based coinop game. That is what my daughter found appealing about the place, unfortunately. The tickets and the prizes.

I'm an 'adult' and I'd rather play Skee ball at an arcade at the beach and get tickets to get a piece of plastic crap or a rubber ball as a souvenir of my fun time out that I get to have once every 5 to 10 years instead of spending the same amount of money playing Ms. Pac-Man for the billionth time with nothing to show for it but pocket fuzz and that sick depressing feeling that I wasted money I could have spent on food or bills. At least a cheap souvenir makes me feel like my 'fun time out' wasn't a complete waste of time and money. Having something I got to pick out in my hand when I leave makes me feel better.

If I could get tickets (or credits on a temporary arcade credit card type of thing) when playing games like Ms. Pac-Man or Dig Dug, I wouldn't feel bad about playing arcade games.

Edited by Random Terrain, Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:36 AM.


#65 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

jaybird3rd

    Quadrunner

  • Topic Starter
  • 7,011 posts
  • Location:806.4616.0110

Posted Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:36 AM

It suddenly occurs to me that we should really have some Computer Space photos here, in case anyone hasn't yet seen Ted Dabney's handiwork up close. These images are from retrocrush.com and computerspacefan.com, where you can also find a Computer Space simulator:

The famous flyer photo:

flyer.jpg

A close-up of the control panel:

panel.jpg

Some photos of the interior. Just look at the intricate work in the upper-left corner of the top logic board! Is that the video circuitry?

inside.jpg
inside2.jpg

On the big screen in Soylent Green:

soylentgreen.jpg

#66 VectorGamer ONLINE  

VectorGamer

    Quadrunner

  • 8,765 posts
  • \m/
  • Location:Harrisburg

Posted Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:31 AM

It suddenly occurs to me that we should really have some Computer Space photos here, in case anyone hasn't yet seen Ted Dabney's handiwork up close.


There are three arcade cabinets I would love to have in my collection: Sea Wolf, Pong & Computer Space.

#67 desiv OFFLINE  

desiv

    Stargunner

  • 1,639 posts
  • Location:Salem, Oregon

Posted Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:23 AM

I'm torn on the pizza bit..
Would better pizza be... um.. better? Yes.. :-)

But we still have a CeC around here, with really bad pizza. And every time my granddaughter is in town, she has to go. We know there is much better pizza in town, and I have lots of games, even a few arcade cabs at home..

But it's the whole package, and even I enjoy it. I can eat the pizza, even tho it's bad, and I love the old-school Arcade environment.

It's also fairly busy whenever we go.

Would we go to a place with better pizza and games more often?
Not sure...
(we don't have a D&B's around here)

There are a few (one in particular) very very good pizza places we go to when we "want" good pizza. They have no arcade games tho.

But when there is a need for a party with kids, it remains that CeC is the first thought, bad pizza and all.

I'm sure there are people who don't go because they don't like the pizza. But, are the number of those people enough to offset what they save (assuming they do) by buying cheaper pizza?

Remember, they sell a lunchables a "pizza" that kids think is great. ;-)

desiv

#68 mbd30 OFFLINE  

mbd30

    Stargunner

  • 1,924 posts
  • Location:Hope, Arkansas

Posted Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:46 AM

Chuck E. Cheese food might not be great (actually, it's been so many years that I don't remember anything about it), but at least they helped inspire the funniest episode of Married With Children... the one where Al kept getting free pizza at said restaurant by pretending to be with little kids' birthday parties.

#69 Lendorien OFFLINE  

Lendorien

    Stargunner

  • 1,118 posts
  • Location:Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Posted Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:02 AM

I remember going there as a kid in the early 80's. It was a treat, but we never bought the pizza. I think a lot of it was the cost but some was my mother saying that we could get better food for cheaper at home.

#70 Ransom ONLINE  

Ransom

    River Patroller

  • 3,920 posts
  • Cartridge Gaming Enthusiast
  • Location:Just south of the Wisconsin border.

Posted Wed Apr 28, 2010 12:49 PM

I only had the pizza at Chuck E. Cheese's a few times. Our closest one was in The Willows shopping mall, so while my parents were shopping, I'd go into Chuck E. Cheese's and play video games. So most of my trips there didn't involve eating the pizza.

But at the time, I don't think I could tell the difference between good and bad pizza, really. I was a little kid! It was pizza! :D

#71 atari181 ONLINE  

atari181

    River Patroller

  • 2,238 posts
  • Location:Ohio

Posted Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:59 PM

Chuck E. Cheese has so many games compares to Cici's Pizza My daughter would always ask to go. The pizza was bad, but she just wanted to play the games. I think Nolan was right, great pizza isn't what it is all about. It was the games, and especially at that time, before the consoles with any processing power, it was the place to be. Today, yes they need better pizza, because most kids can go home and play games with better gameplay at home. Not so much in the eighties. I probably would have kept cost low when it came to food as well back then.

#72 ComputerSpaceFan OFFLINE  

ComputerSpaceFan

    Stargunner

  • 1,720 posts

Posted Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:42 PM

On the big screen in Soylent Green:
soylentgreen.jpg


Don't forget Jaws :)

Posted Image

#73 kool kitty89 OFFLINE  

kool kitty89

    River Patroller

  • 2,394 posts
  • Location:San Jose, CA

Posted Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:24 PM

The games aren't that good either, not that it's easy since the arcade game industry is all but extinct. I don't know what it was like back in the day, but now it's almost all kiddie gambling. That is the cash-cow. Those redemption machines will eat your tokens a lot faster than a skill-based coinop game. That is what my daughter found appealing about the place, unfortunately. The tickets and the prizes.


From that respect places like Nickel City are better. Arcade games are the main attraction with some ticket/prize games too. (I've noticed better prizes too -at least cost wise)
Similar case with some arcades at mini golf places and such. (though weaker than NC) Nickel Citys tend to be filled with capcom games though. (not surprising given they were formerly owned by capcom)

Games are cheaper and more plentiful and I believe they let you order pizza from the delivery service of choice. (I know it's delivery but I'm not positive of the context)

The Santa Cruz beach boardwalk has a pretty nice arcade too (including a dedicated retro section including several Atari Inc machines like Asteriods battlezone and Star Wars -stand up)


Nickel city and golf land were key alternatives for Chuck E Cheese in the last decade. (both were there in the 90s too though --plus only a few of our trips to CEC were for our family -often invitations from freinds' for birthdays)



It's also interesting that things went the opposite way too: with CEC being an arcade that served pizza (more or less) and actual pizza parlors including some arcade games rather often. (local Round Tables have a few arcade machines still and even the local non-chain "Super Pizza" has a Neo Geo arcade machine)



It suddenly occurs to me that we should really have some Computer Space photos here, in case anyone hasn't yet seen Ted Dabney's handiwork up close.


I've wondered whether it was ever considered to replace the rotation buttons with a lever or 2-direction joystick -or possibly a spring loaded dial like chapo RC cars use. (a common complaint was non-intuitive controls and that would probably have helped -still much more complex relative to Pong's user interface -the dial method would be closest to PONG) Hmm perhaps a 3 direction joystick more like Asteroids would have been best. (thrust being up and the only button being missile fire) I wonder if that was ever a consideration.

And thanks for the pics --I haven't seen that much detail on Computer space before.

Edited by kool kitty89, Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:33 PM.


#74 user42 OFFLINE  

user42

    Dragonstomper

  • 954 posts
  • Location:Isla De Muerte

Posted Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:33 PM

Derail_1.jpg

#75 ZIMM OFFLINE  

ZIMM

    Star Raider

  • 60 posts

Posted Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:34 PM

so, is Showbiz Pizza related to Pizza Time/Chuck E Cheese in any way? probably not. but, everything looks so similar. from the similar animatronic characters, pizza and arcade.
just wondering, because where I am from when I was a kid I went to Showbiz Pizza all the time. awesome pizza btw! then Showbiz Pizza closed and Chuck E Cheese popped up everywhere.

welcome home Ted!
and Nolan.




0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users