Why read lengthy articles on the history of Atari when you can hear stories first-hand? Hear Nolan Bushnell (and a few others) tell all about how a little company named Syzygy became Atari, in clips both new(ish) and old; tune in for four episodes of Once Upon Atari, featuring Atari staff reminiscing about the good times and bad; and visit Alamogordo, New Mexico, home of rocket sled land-speed records and the grave of Ham, the first chimp in space, with Zak Penn as he digs for the truth behind the legend of the buried E.T. cartridges in Atari: Game Over with fans and Howard Scott Warshaw, the man who made the Atari E.T. game in five weeks. [more inside]
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.