Nolan Bushnell founded both Atari and Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza. He was inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame & named one of Newsweek ’s “50 Men Who Changed America.”. He has started more than twenty companies and is one of the founding fathers of the video game industry. His latest venture is called Brainrush that uses video game technology that incorporates real brain science.
Listen to some of his low points and proudest moments on his journey.
Podcast: Download (Duration: 12:40 — 14.5MB)
Nolan has 8 children, won the 1983 Transpac yacht race and can snowboard.
Business Mentors, Tools, Books mentioned:
Chuck E. Cheese
Finding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Keep, and Nurture Talent.
Nolan Bushnell is an entrepreneur who many consider to be the “Founding Father” of the modern gaming industry. He founded Atari in 1972 and later founded Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theater as a family-friendly place for where kids could enjoy the coin-op video games Atari developed. During his time at Atari he hired Steve Jobs who would later go on to start Apple Inc. along with his friend Steve Wozniak. While Wozniak wasn’t himself an employee at Atari, the two Steves were often found together in Atari’s engineering lab during the night shift, which Nolan made specifically for Jobs, tinkering and hatching new plans.
One of Nolan’s later ventures, Kadabrascope, would develop technology for computer animation. While Kadabrascope had limitations because of computer processing speed in the early 80’s it would later be sold to George Lucas and ultimately go on to become the highly successful Pixar.
Even now, Nolan is looking to the future with his current venture, Brainrush, which is a sequential education platform for a wide variety of learning based apps.
Nolan was inducted into the Consumer Electronics Association Hall of Fame as well as the Video Game Hall of Fame and was also awarded the Academy Fellowship by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) at the 2009 British Academy Video Game Awards in recognition of his outstanding achievement in the video games industry. He was also named to Newsweek’s “50 men who changed America” list.
The aphorism “All games are easy to learn and difficult to master” is referred to as “Bushnell’s Law.”
Finding the Next Steve Jobs: How to Find, Keep, and Nurture Talent
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