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Nolan Bushnell Appointed to Atari Board

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That is not correct Atari did not account for 65% of Warner's income. At its peak, Atari accounted for a third of Warner's annual income.

 

Nope, it's correct. Per "Master of the Game: Steve Ross and the Creation of Time Warner" (pg 167) for example - "By 1982 it would be producing more than of of WCI's 4 billion in revenues and over 65 percent of it's profits." Atari itself accounted for a 350% growth within Warner in just one year alone.

 

Are you deliberately leaving out part of the quote? Fill in the blank: "By 1982 it would be producing more than ____________ of of WCI's 4 billion in revenues and over 65 percent of it's profits." The answer is a third of Warner's income/revenue/

 

It's called a typo, you'll notice "of" twice where "half" should be. And no, the answer is "More than half of WCI's 4 billion in revenues and over 65 percent of it's profits." Regardless, as it states even in typo'd format it was just as I said: 65% of it's profits. And in fact that's all I ever stated is exactly that passage:

 

http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/161774-nolan-worms-his-way-on-to-atari-board/page__view__findpost__p__1994249

 

Or the original one you were responding here:

 

http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/161774-nolan-worms-his-way-on-to-atari-board/page__view__findpost__p__1994641

 

 

Now that that's cleared, if you have some Warner stock prospectus' from the time that show a different rate of figures, or alternate copies of Warner's SEC filings from the time, and are willing to share them, I'd be happy to alter my figures. My understanding is that you were a stock holder in all three Atari's though and not Warner, is that correct?

Edited by wgungfu

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The last time I talked To Rob Fulop, he told me that Bushnell hired him directly.

That has to be a least one small point for Bushnell, as Fulop was a pretty good choice...

 

Definately Rob was a great Hire/Programmer

 

 

Hmm, seems like this statement directly conflicts with what wgungfu is saying.

 

No, I was responding to someone's claim that he had a talent for hiring. All the initial people were people from Ampex where he and Ted had worked, not anyone sought after or requiring some sort of head hunting process or active culling of top candidates from the valley. After that, the interviews and hiring were done by Al and others, not Nolan. Even Steve Jobs was hired by Alcorn, not Bushnell.

 

 

So why would Rob Fulup say such a thing? Your post seems to indicate that Rob was not hired by Nolan. OK, this seems to be the first crack in your arguments so far. Wonder how many more cracks will be found?

 

I was with Steve when Rob said this. He came to Mattel a couple years ago to give us a class on game design. Steve interviewed him for a couple hours and I listened in, fascinated at the stories. I don't think it is meant to say that Marty is wrong, just as an aside that at least Rob Fulop was hired during Nolan's tenure. Whether or not Nolan actually signed the offer sheet before it was sent over, or at least smoked a little MJ at 4:20 with Rob in the hot tub to celebrate the hiring is only known to Rob and Nolan.

 

I for one can't wait for the books that Marty and Curt are doing. I have been waiting a LOOOONG time for something like this. Those should help clear much of this story up.

In the mean time, long live Legacy Engineering, the real Atari.

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There's hope for you yet! :P

 

I seriously doubt that.

 

I have decided to write my own book on Nolan however.

This book won't be based on interviews (past or present) It won't be based on records, previous employee's or partners testimonies.

No, this book will be written using the memories and thoughts of video game lovers who grew up playing Atari hours a day.

 

In my book, Nolan single handily comes up with the concept of video games and creates Atari using loose change he found in his sofa looking for munchie money. A year later he's a multi millionaire in change of an army of top notch programmers who program all of his thoughts into video games. (Little known fact from the book, Beat Em and Eat Em was in fact thought up by Nolan after he made the Atari porn movie.) After He eventually got burned out from counting all his money, (that and the cash kept getting wet since he was almost constantly pimping in his hot tub) Nolan decided to sell Atari and move on to greener pastures which he did, later re-inventing pizza and jukeboxes. After Nolan leaves, Atari is slowly ran into the ground, the only high point after he left being the year he came back and programmed Secret Quest (from his hot tub) .

 

The End.

 

Fiction or Not. This is the book, I really want to read. :thumbsup:

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That is not correct Atari did not account for 65% of Warner's income. At its peak, Atari accounted for a third of Warner's annual income.

 

Nope, it's correct. Per "Master of the Game: Steve Ross and the Creation of Time Warner" (pg 167) for example - "By 1982 it would be producing more than of of WCI's 4 billion in revenues and over 65 percent of it's profits." Atari itself accounted for a 350% growth within Warner in just one year alone.

 

Are you deliberately leaving out part of the quote? Fill in the blank: "By 1982 it would be producing more than ____________ of of WCI's 4 billion in revenues and over 65 percent of it's profits." The answer is a third of Warner's income/revenue/

 

It's called a typo, you'll notice "of" twice where "half" should be. And no, the answer is "More than half of WCI's 4 billion in revenues and over 65 percent of it's profits." Regardless, as it states even in typo'd format it was just as I said: 65% of it's profits. And in fact that's all I ever stated is exactly that passage:

 

No, you said:

"They did not by actual accounting. 65% of Warner's earnings was Atari"

 

One of the oldest business axioms is also one of the truest: It's not what you earn, it's what you keep. Not understanding the difference between earnings and profit is one of the biggest mistakes many new business owners make.

 

From Wikipedia (4 whatever that's worth) "In 1976, Nolan Bushnell sold his Atari company to Warner Communications for an estimated $28–32 million. Warner made considerable profits (and later losses) with Atari, which it owned from 1976 to 1984. While part of Warner, Atari achieved its greatest success, selling millions of Atari 2600s and computers. At its peak, Atari accounted for a third of Warner's annual income and was the fastest-growing company in the history of the United States at the time."

 

I will look 4 the data u seek. If you find it, I will also concede.

 

 

Wow this was a lot of work for posting the original statement below. I will know better next time. Here it is again 4 my own peace of mind:

 

 

I am hopeful that Nolan can help Atari. The timing may be perfect with the Atari/Bushnell Movie around the corner. Even if he becomes nothing more than a mascot or a PR puppet, I don’t see any downside to his new relationship with Atari. Americans love a comeback story, and the Atari/Bushnell relationship, along with the publicity it can draw, can’t hurt the future of Atari.

 

The simple truth is without Nolan there would have never been an Atari, without Warner Brothers Atari may have never been the dominant force it became; without Jack Trammel Atari may not have risen form the ashes to become a fortune 500 company once again; and without Infogrames Atari would most likely now be a footnote in history. Each has played a role in the company that I have a strange affection for, and there are still possibilities!

Edited by Run PC

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There's hope for you yet! :P

 

I seriously doubt that.

 

I have decided to write my own book on Nolan however.

This book won't be based on interviews (past or present) It won't be based on records, previous employee's or partners testimonies.

No, this book will be written using the memories and thoughts of video game lovers who grew up playing Atari hours a day.

 

In my book, Nolan single handily comes up with the concept of video games and creates Atari using loose change he found in his sofa looking for munchie money. A year later he's a multi millionaire in change of an army of top notch programmers who program all of his thoughts into video games. (Little known fact from the book, Beat Em and Eat Em was in fact thought up by Nolan after he made the Atari porn movie.) After He eventually got burned out from counting all his money, (that and the cash kept getting wet since he was almost constantly pimping in his hot tub) Nolan decided to sell Atari and move on to greener pastures which he did, later re-inventing pizza and jukeboxes. After Nolan leaves, Atari is slowly ran into the ground, the only high point after he left being the year he came back and programmed Secret Quest (from his hot tub) .

 

The End.

I like the concept! It would make a great base for a movie about the impact he's had on all of us who have believed the image. Could be very successful as an animated Disney flick, or maybe a Saturday morning cartoon serial (voiced by DiCaprio). Who cares if it's true, as long as it's entertaining and doesn't offend any protected minorities.

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I for one can't wait for the books that Marty and Curt are doing. I have been waiting a LOOOONG time for something like this. Those should help clear much of this story up.

:thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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In the mean time, long live Legacy Engineering, the real Atari.

 

^ this :thumbsup:

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Have you contacted Nolan himself to get his side of the story?

 

I for one did not contact Nolan when I did the article about Ted for Edge last year. My reasoning was simple. Nolan has been talking for 25 years and everything he has said is regarded as gospel and without comments from anyone else. It was finally time for Ted to have the same opportunity. (If you haven't read that article in Edge #200 - I'm working to get it published in the US).

 

Here's another little story about Nolan that few people know about. After Ralph Baer received his medal from President Bush in 2006, an IEEE journal published an article about Ralph. Nolan sent Ralph an email, and among the accusations in it was this line "I too read the article and thought it was a little puffy. It is funny that I have never received any email or telephone call from you and have actually attended and spoke at functions which the organizers asserted that they had tried to get you on the panel with no luck."

 

But my favorite part of this email was this line: The way I see it you invented Odyssey. You saw my lab book and saw the list of games and descriptions that clearly had a tennis game listed long before I saw your game in Burlingame."

 

Ralph responded to all of Nolan's accusations but Nolan never wrote back again.

 

The rewriting of history is one of the few things that Bushnell has successfully invented.

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Question is, if this tele tennis game "wasn't interesting to play" then why did Nolan waste his time (and probably some of Atari's profits) in adapting that game for coin op play (though Mr Alcorn did the actual adapting), i can somewhat liken it to someone adapting a game like ET (and we all know what most people think about THAT game) and getting someone to adapt it for coin op play

 

From Nolan's email to Ralph: "Your game clearly was on my mind when I gave Alcorn the project. I felt the Odyssey was not very fun and we could make it better."

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WRONG - he described the gameplay (based on Space Wars he saw at Stamford) and Ted Dabney designed all of the circuitry for the game.

 

Wow. If that's true, that's one of his best kept secrets, considering that all the Atari guys I interviewed like Ron Milner and Steve Mayer really thought C.S. was his, including his "unreadable" schematic.

 

Innocense is bliss. Can I have my 1997 back?

 

stellav1.jpg

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I'm no expert on Nolan or Atari history, but I do get a sense of bias against the man.

 

I've met Nolan three times. In person, he is a charming, larger-than-life character. I try to be neutral in my impressions. However, it is hard to remain neutral when Nolan constantly spews out untruths.

 

For example, in 2000, both Nolan and Ralph were scheduled to appear at Classic Gaming Expo. It was even arranged that the two would compete against each other in a game of Pong. When i met with Nolan, I told him that Ralph was looking forward to having a game with him and Nolan responded that he was looking forward to it also. Well Ralph showed up and Nolan didn't.

 

Nolan did attend CGE in 2003 and I had the honor of co-moderating (along with Chris Cavanaugh) Nolan's keynote. During this keynote he said (and I'm paraphrasing), "Yes I did see the Odyssey but when I saw it it was already a failure!". Nolan saw the Odyssey before it was released so how could it be a failure? And Magnavox went on sell more than 300,000 consoles. Unfortunately, because I was a moderator, I couldn't question what he said, and no one in the audience (many who were star-struck) dared to. But it was then that I saw first hand, what a liar Bushnell was.

 

Actually, I shouldn't say liar. Bushnell is so accustomed to saying whatever comes to his head that he may actually believe what he says.

Edited by rolenta
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when I talked to him I got the feeling that Atari was just 'another thing he had done'

 

I didn't get that impression. It seemed to me that Atari was the one source of pride in his life, and that he has tried to make lightning strike again ever since. A lot of regret over selling the company and seeing it get run into the ground by all the owners since.

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Nolan may be great to hang out with, but this (among other reasons) leads me to believe he is definitely not a good businessperson.

 

I think it was Al Miller who said in Stella at 20, "Nolan wasn't a great manager, but..." and I was always puzzled by that soundbite. What did he mean by "wasn't a great manager"? Al Alcorn also said he had to keep Nolan away from the developers because he'd suggest all sorts of feature-creep. So there were suggestions along these lines but nothing concrete, which made sense given they were all guests at his mansion at the time, assuming some of the participants here really all the details.

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Good games like, oh, I don't know, Galaxian were licensed and made under Warner. :cool: Quoting two bad games amongst a sea of good ones doesn't make your point effectively. You also can't qualify those games as "bad" under certain criteria, like numbers sold, etc. but that's an argument for another day. My point is that you're cherry picking two examples to make a point about the whole, and that's just bad logic.

 

Do we really need to put Nolan up against Warners and the Tramiels? This isn't a binary thing. Warners and the Tramiels have plenty of unmitigated screwups that can't be whitewashed regardless of what happened under Nolan's watch.

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Then you have Tramiel who came in later. Lets see, Mr. We Are Not a Video Game Company, We are a Computer Company." Yep we saw how well that worked out for him. Had the chance to bring the Atari 7800 to market a full year before the NES, and he lets the Atari 7800's rot in storage. Than had the chance to tag team with Nintendo to produce the NES, and he blows them off completely. Treated all third party programmers for the 7800 with absolute disrespect, and to top it off throws away a sure thing with the Atari Jaguar with extremely bad marketing, and very poor distribution.

Ray Kassar was the one who let the Nintendo deal get away.

 

Which, as a consumer, is fine by me. The NES was not an Atari in architectural spirit and had no business with a fuji on it. But then, I'm a Jay Miner purist.

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For example, in 2000, both Nolan and Ralph were scheduled to appear at Classic Gaming Expo. It was even arranged that the two would compete against each other in a game of Pong. When i met with Nolan, I told him that Ralph was looking forward to having a game with him and Nolan responded that he was looking forward to it also. Well Ralph showed up and Nolan didn't.

 

It's not as simple as that. You could write a whole book on that incident alone, which you may recall was dubbed "Nolangate".

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Well, I'm finally done reading through all these posts and there is something that really needs to be said....

 

The movie idea with Leo DiCaprio suddenly seems a lot more promising. Someone should ring up his production company.

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Well, I'm finally done reading through all these posts and there is something that really needs to be said....

 

The movie idea with Leo DiCaprio suddenly seems a lot more promising. Someone should ring up his production company.

 

I've done that. They don't respond.

 

Actually, I did it on behalf of Ted Dabney. He heard about the movie through a relative and he was quite upset that no one from the movie had ever contacted him for his input. Just shows you how factual this movie is going to be.

Edited by rolenta

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I think it was Al Miller who said in Stella at 20, "Nolan wasn't a great manager, but..." and I was always puzzled by that soundbite. What did he mean by "wasn't a great manager"?

I don't remember that soundbite. Did it make the final cut? I do remember Larry Kaplan saying that Nolan was kind of a goof at the time, or words to that effect.

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Here's another little story about Nolan that few people know about. After Ralph Baer received his medal from President Bush in 2006, an IEEE journal published an article about Ralph. Nolan sent Ralph an email, and among the accusations in it was this line "I too read the article and thought it was a little puffy. It is funny that I have never received any email or telephone call from you and have actually attended and spoke at functions which the organizers asserted that they had tried to get you on the panel with no luck."

 

But my favorite part of this email was this line: The way I see it you invented Odyssey. You saw my lab book and saw the list of games and descriptions that clearly had a tennis game listed long before I saw your game in Burlingame."

 

Ralph responded to all of Nolan's accusations but Nolan never wrote back again.

 

The rewriting of history is one of the few things that Bushnell has successfully invented.

 

Yah, I have copies of those emails, was a terrible thing. The background behind it all was Ralph had contacted them (Nolan, Bristow, et. al.) to make peace, and with completely respectful tone. Nolan responded back like you mentioned, and completely disrespectful with basically a middle finger.

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WRONG - he described the gameplay (based on Space Wars he saw at Stamford) and Ted Dabney designed all of the circuitry for the game.

 

Wow. If that's true, that's one of his best kept secrets, considering that all the Atari guys I interviewed like Ron Milner and Steve Mayer really thought C.S. was his, including his "unreadable" schematic.

 

Innocense is bliss. Can I have my 1997 back?

 

 

 

Considering none of those guys were around during the development, I can understand why they thought Nolan did it. We talked to Ted directly, as did Lenny - who published last year in the big article mentioned. And remember, Nolan went on to Nutting alone first (after selling it and installing himself and talking them in to hiring him) with the circuitry that Ted did, to finish putting it in to the final product format. He would have drawn up the schematics for Nutting to release.

Edited by wgungfu
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Which was actually designed by Steve DeFrisco. ;) Al's got the story covered pretty good on the page summary. By designing, Nolan meant "Steve, do a game like Zelda".

Edited by wgungfu
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Which was actually designed by Steve DeFrisco. ;) Al's got the story covered pretty good on the page summary. By designing, Nolan meant "Steve, do a game like Zelda".

 

"And Steve, while you're at it, throw a passcode save feature in there. I'm gonna go have a bubble bath."

Edited by jrok

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been reading through most of the posts and more and more it sounds like plug for marty's and Curt's new books and less about what it is actually about.

just my 2 cents. now get back to work, the boss is coming :)

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