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Gregory DG

Brand New (March 17, 2007) Nolan Bushnell Interview

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Ick. I don't mind looking at new games footage, but I don't like them intercutting it with the interview.

 

Wow, he really slammed Baer...

 

Thinks he would have still be in charge of Atari and that they would have accelerated the internet. (I happen to agree with that.)

 

Wow! Online games in the mid/late 70s would have been cool!

 

Favorite game is Tempest? Not the 2600 version I hope!

 

Chuck E. Cheese is a rat? I thought he was a cute fuzzy mouse!

 

I love the uWink interface. Really, some resturant chain should have had this long ago.

 

Thinks Sony is going in the wrong direction by focusing on graphics.

 

He's appalled and embarassed at Info-Atari (and rightly so.)

 

 

 

Sigh... I so wish he was still in charge of Atari...

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it was pretty cool to see nolan talk about his past and future as well thoughts about geting back into the home business.

2600 tempest was never released(at least not publicly I Think Atari age or CGE released the rom but not the game in cart form and I don't think it was completed)

I just fast foward past the game reviews and such to hear nolan.

kind of figured he was upset at what the new Atari is based on what he had done. (atari was his baby,if he sell to warner atari would have done better then the jaguar and prob have it's own next gen system out now )

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He must kick himself when he looks back on the mistakes he made. For instance, he said (not in that interview) that if he'd taken a two week vacation, he likely wouldn't have sold Atari to Warner. Mind you, it was only after he did that Atari found the success it did with the VCS.

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2600 tempest was never released(at least not publicly I Think Atari age or CGE released the rom but not the game in cart form and I don't think it was completed)

Yeah, he seemed to have missed or ignored the "home systems" part.

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Sigh... I so wish he was still in charge of Atari...

Although I agree that he would have cared about Atari as a company, not just a cash cow, there are no guarantees that he would have had any success if he had gone it alone. As has been mentioned in other threads, this was a brand new industry he was creating, and that in itself would have been a challenge. Distribution would be the most crucial aspect of the business once the system was created, and who better than Warner in the 70s? Perhaps rather than selling to Warner, it would have been a better move to bring them on as his distribution partner.

 

That being said, it is rare that a technical genius is also a marketing/business genius. Even the quintessential example of this -- Steve Jobs -- is likely not a "technical" genius. Sometimes people forget that without Wozniak, Apple would be nowhere today. Even today you hear Jobs referred to as the concept man, the guy who knows what is technically possible and marries that with what people want. He is not the guy who delivers the final working product.

 

In the end, I find it unlikely that Bushnell would have done a better distribution job than Warner, and that would have had a huge impact on the success of Atari. On the other side of the coin, once the ball was rolling I do think he could have led the company on to greater things rather than suck the main concept dry.

 

'Course all of this is water under the bridge. I think the thing I'm most surprised at is that he didn't buy the name back when it was available in the late 90s(?). But maybe he's happy enough with his restaurants and the general public's unwavering belief that he could have done better. Why test the theory if it means risking not being the hero any more?

 

~G

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Sorry, but the way they chopped that interview up into 20 second or so segments & then intercut them with unrelated game reviews made it way too irritating to watch.

Edited by crunchysuperman

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I hope one day that Nolan will become owner and president of Atari again. It wouldn't be that hard. All he needs is about 50 million to pull off the feat. And if Uwink becomes populor that could easily be done.

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Bring back Atari. Sure, Atari comes back. Then what??

 

Bringing back the Atari we knew and loved is like bringing back Mozart from the dead and asking him to compose rap music.

 

Today's games have so little connection to the Atari era that it's impossible to extrapolate what a current Atari title should look and feel like. If you just make games the same as everyone else, you become Infogrames. If you make games too retro, you risk alienating hardcore gamers and falling into a narrow retro niche competing with free online flash games and indie downloads. If you are kind of inbetween then you are doing what Nintendo is doing with the Wii.

 

And Nolan himself said he would never reenter the console business. He's right when he says it takes the resources of a whole country to launch a new console.

 

Really, to bring back Atari in a form that would please us would relegate it to a small player in the market. Kind of like the Harley Davidson of the videogame world. The pricetag of the Atari brand is too high for a buyer to be satisfied going in that direction. It would take a really novel business model to make a new Atari anything more than that.

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Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Another big mistake Atari made was declining that offer from Nintendo. Was that after Bushnell sold to Warner?

that was after the sale since that was 1984, nolan sold ater around 1980(I may be wrong)

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Very interesting. Thanks for sharing. Another big mistake Atari made was declining that offer from Nintendo. Was that after Bushnell sold to Warner?

that was after the sale since that was 1984, nolan sold ater around 1980(I may be wrong)

You're right.

 

It was while Warner was selling to the Tramiels. Which is part of why the deal fell through. There was so much going on that they COULDN'T make a real attempt at negotiation.

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Wow, he really slammed Baer...

 

"Ralph is good at patents .. but not at innovation. ... Nobody used his stuff. ... Get out of my face."

 

After all these years .. Nolan still holds a grudge.

 

Rob Mitchell

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"Ralph is good at patents .. but not at innovation. ... Nobody used his stuff. ... Get out of my face." After all these years .. Nolan still holds a grudge.

Funny, I thought they had reached a level of co-existence. Oh well...

 

What I found funny is when Nolan was saying, "Nobody used his stuff" they were showing photos of Baer with the handheld games like Simon, Maniac, etc. I think *those* games wer pretty popular... :ponder:

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that was after the sale since that was 1984, nolan sold ater around 1980(I may be wrong)

 

Nolan sold Atari in 1976.

 

Rob Mitchell

 

I think people get confused over the dates because people tend to think of the sale to Warners and him leaving the company as the same event. After Nolan sold Atari he stayed on as chairman of the board until he left in 1979. In the early days after the Warner sale, things seemed to have gone pretty smoothly since the direction of the company was already set. The influx of capital was directly responsible for enabling them to finish up and launch the 2600. Things began to unravel in how the new management chose to handle the followup hardware design which would become the Atari 400/800. That was really the watershed for the company. By establishing a top-down relationship, Warners alienated their braintrust, who would repay them by abandoning them, leaving them rudderless. Nolan left, Jay Miner's team left. Al Alcorn left, and the first wave of designers left to found Activision. And the sad thing is that Warners did not learn from this exodus. All you have to do is read through memos where the troops were warning Atari about the non-centering 5200 sticks, for instance. Atari continued to make dictatorial decisions in lieu of good advice.

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