Tuesday, August 19, 2008

"Atari" The Movie?

Paramount is developing a movie about the life of Nolan Bushnell, founder of the grand-daddy of all videogame companies, Atari, and creator of Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theater. Leonardo DiCaprio is on board as star.

I'm guessing the movie focuses on Nolan Bushnell, who sold Atari before it rose to even bigger success under Warner Brothers for a time. The story of Atari the company is perhaps even more tumultuous, and probably deserves its own documentary.

Atari was not just a videogame manufacturer to me -- it was the ultimate brand of everything I liked until their demise in the early 90s. Through their arcade games, console units, and computers, Atari exemplified to me what an innovative company ought to be like. It's Atari that made me become interested in computers and writing software, ever since the teacher in charge of my elementary school's computer club brought in an Atari 800 for us to look at. It's the court case of Atari vs. Activision that legitimized the business model of 3rd party games. My understanding of a "rock star programmer" first came from reading about arcade developers from Atari, like Ed Logg (Asteroids, Centipede, Gauntlet) and Dave Theurer (Tempest, Missile Command).

Over the years I've owned a 2600 VCS, a 600XL Home Computer, an Atari Mega 4 ST Computer (with Atari laser printer!), and an Atari Lynx (which I still have).

And yes, I did go to a birthday party or two at Chuck E. Cheese's way back when. "Where a kid can be a kid!" ... and adults go insane.

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posted by Brian at 11:38 AM

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