Nolan Bushnell was a co-creator of Pong and Atari, and he also sold Atari arcade machines. When he noticed that he sold the arcade machines for $1,500 to $2,000 but the new owners would earn twice that much in the life of the machines, he started thinking of how to make an arcade destination that wouldn't compete with his arcade machine clients. His solution: a pizza parlor, with an arcade for the kids and an pneumatic-powered animatronic coyote mascot to fool the parents it was restaurant with free entertainment. The coyote became a rat named Chuck, and what was code-named Coyote Pizza was briefly renamed Rick Rat's Pizza, but the marketing department thought the name wasn't such a great idea, and instead we got Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theater. [more inside]
The Inside Story Of Pong - On Nov. 29, 1972, a crude table-tennis arcade game in a garish orange cabinet was delivered to bars and pizza parlors around California, and a multi-billion-dollar industry was born. Here's how that happened, direct from the freaks and geeks who invented a culture and paved the way for today's tech moguls.
Atari, the first successful arcade video game company, would have been 40 years old today. The blog Arcade Heroes takes the opportunity to look back over 40 years of arcade gaming (from Atari and other companies) with flyers and video. Part 1 (1970s & 80s) - Part 2 (1990s to present). (WARNING: huge pages ahead with lots of flash videos.)
Porting a 30 year-old vector arcade game to an obsolete 33 year-old home game platform: "Star Castle 2600". In 1981 a young Howard Scott Warshaw, left his first programming job at HP for a more interesting job at Atari. His first assignment was to create an Atari 2600 conversion of the vector coin op game Star Castle... After evaluating the arcade game and the console hardware he came to the conclusion "that a decent version couldn’t be done". Thirty-one years later, former Atari employee D. Scott Williamson has finally ported Star Castle to the 2600. (via MAKE)
Smithsonian to exhibit videogames as art. Jason Scott Completes GET LAMP. Can this day be any better?
The Art of Videogames, a Smithsonian American Art Museum exhibit set to open in March 2012, has been featured on CNN today. But you don't have to wait until 2012 to get your fix of gaming history. CNN has let the cat out of the scanner: our very own Jason Scott (jscott) has finished GET LAMP. It's now shipping! [more inside]
TheSmartAss.info's suite of Java emulators allows smooth, in-browser playback of literally thousands of old-school video games: 517 Atari titles, 148 for DOS, 636 Game Boy games (and 410 for Game Boy Color), 2,019 (!) NES titles, 238 GameGear games, 802 Sega Genesis titles, and 284 for the Sega Master System. Highlights include Space Invaders, Frogger, Galaga, Pitfall!, Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, SimCity, Zero Wing, Duke Nukem, Sonic the Hedgehog, Aladdin, Earthworm Jim, Pokemon, and Metal Gear Solid. Use the search function to find your favorites! You can also register an account to save games on emulators that support it. Make sure to check the purple bar below each game for control info and links to alternate emulators in case the default one is buggy or slow.
The newly launched Atari.com includes the Atari Arcade, wherein you may play Adventure, Asteroids, Battlezone, Crystal Castles, Lunar Lander and Yars' Revenge in your browser.
Children review classic games- some more. Back in November '03, 1up.com rounded up some kids from the 8-12 age range and had them play video and arcade games from the 70's and 80's, including Pong, Donkey Kong, and Tetris. The resulting commentary was mostly along the lines of "Tim: They could've just as easily called this game anything—Baseball, Bowling, Escape From the Monsters. EGM: Did you score? Kirk: I bumped into a dot." In December 2004 they brought them back to review Mike Tyson's Punch-Out and the 1983 Arcade version of Star Wars, among others. "EGM: What do those TIE Fighters look like? ...Are they scary? Anthony: No. It feels like they're trying to give me flowers."