For many Nolan Bushnell is the godfather of modern gaming, and rightly so. Atari and Pong are the reasons we have a videogame industry at all. No, wait, that’s Nintendo and Super Mario Bro. I’m thinking of. Atari is the reason we almost don’t have a gaming industry since their lack of standards for games led to a market crash in which no one in their right mind would buy a gaming device for fear of playing E.T. However, despite nearly destroying the gaming industry forever, Nolan Bushnell is definitely an important figure in the world of gaming and definitely deserves to receive the Fellowship at this year’s GAME British Academy Video Games Awards, which he will.
The press release doesn’t quite mention that whole market crash that Bushnell’s bad business practices led to, instead focusing on the fact that he did indeed usher in a new era of gaming and pointing out that it is rumored that at one point so many quarters were being used for Pong that there was quarter shortage in the US. Nolan said, “I am very grateful to receive an award from the people with a history of creating and embracing this type of entertainment.”
I probably came down a bit harsh on Nolan in that first paragraph. The man is a gaming legend, and developed a culture and industry that basically did not exist in America until he came along. It’s often hard to be first at something, and clearly it’s hard to be the first widely accepted home console developer.