News Article

The Godfather of Video Games Is Baffled By The Wii U

Posted by Damien McFerran

Atari founder Nolan Bushnell doesn't think Nintendo's console will be a success

When you're considering the history of the video game industry, the name Nolan Bushnell is almost certain to crop up. Bushnell founded Atari back in 1972 and enjoyed incredible success with arcade hits like Pong and the Atari VCS home console. Although he's not been directly involved in the industry for quite some time, his opinion still holds a lot of weight.

Which is why his comments regarding the Wii U make for difficult reading if you're a Nintendo fan - Bushnell doesn't believe the console will be a success. To make matters worse, he thinks that the home console market he helped to create is on its last legs. Speaking to the New York Times, he said of Nintendo's system:

I actually am baffled by it. I don’t think it’s going to be a big success. These things will continue to sputter along, but I really don’t think they’ll be of major import ever again. It feels like the end of an era to me.

Before we start getting too emotional about these comments, it's worth remembering that despite his legendary status in the history of video gaming, Bushnell has made some particular poor choices over the past few decades. He famously declined the chance to invest in Apple Computers when the company was just starting out, and his Chuck E. Cheese's line of restaurants went bankrupt in 1984 (although the brand has since been reborn). He also publicly backed the abysmal Commodore CDTV, one of the biggest hardware bombs of the '90s.

Do you think Bushnell's comments are worth taking notice of, or has he been out of the loop for so long he simply doesn't understand what modern gamers want? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section.

[via nytimes.com, vg247.com]

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User Comments (124)

gohanrage

#2

gohanrage said:

This Man made so many garbage systems. I have an Atari 2600 but Never even knew about any other Atari console until 1998 when I got the Internet.

tsm7

#3

tsm7 said:

An old man baffled by new technology, yea, that's a real sign of failure.

Tsuchiya

#5

Tsuchiya said:

Everyone has an opinion yes, but I'm sorry. His is utter garbage.
He gave the world Atari yes, but is it time to drop the Godfather moniker?

1takauchiha

#6

1takauchiha said:

You kidding me? The WiiU is an amazing system. If it's said to be so horrible(All those 'reviews'), then why is the system selling like crazy?

GameLord08

#7

GameLord08 said:

One thing that's particularly baffling here is the fact that he barely elaborated on his perspective, apart from saying that it's "the end of an era". Yes, Mr. Bushnell, the era of the Atari ended long since.

In all seriousness, I get the slight inkling that he doesn't understand the console very well, or isn't particularly informed on it. I don't believe it's because he's just a relentless old man set in his time, but his statements don't seem to hold much insight. The Wii U has posed some notable developments and favours towards the market and industry as a whole, if you look at it.

Otherwise, I don't think it's fair to judge this man's opinions on his past judgements, however inaccurate they may have proved. If he thinks the Wii U won't prove very successful, that's his prerogative. There are quite a few facts that point the other way for the console, but his thoughts are his and I find it a bit derogatory to bring up his past fallacies in relation to this.

the_shpydar

#8

the_shpydar said:

Calm down, peoples. This is nothing new; Bushnell's been of the opinion for several years that the home console market is dying.

Shining-Void

#9

Shining-Void said:

Micheal Patcher has been saying stuff like this since the wii u was announced. So, I can't bring myself to care about this.

Shining-Void

#11

Shining-Void said:

Now that I'm reading over this, it sounds like he's talking about himself. Or...something x_x

DamoAdmin

#12

Damo said:

@GameLord08 His past fallacies have a massive bearing on this piece of news - they prove that he doesn't always get it right. Everyone's got an opinion, that much is true - but would you listen to the opinion of someone who is telling you that if you step off a cliff, you'll float?

I think you're also being a little unfair on the man - I'm guessing he understands what the Wii U is about (he's created crazier tech in his time, so you we can't accuse him of being a blinkered old fool) but just doesn't feel that the industry is moving in that direction right now. He's not the only one, either - but that doesn't mean that he and the countless others who have dismissed the system are going to be proven right.

vio

#13

vio said:

Why does his opinion hold any weight? He's just an old man who hasn't had any success in the video game business since President Reagan was in office. I don't take his opinion anymore seriously than I do any random Joe Blow on the internet. Nintendo is the company that's remained a relevant, powerful entity in the video game business for close to 30 years and is now worth billions of dollars. Where's Atari these days? Pfff...

The Wii U has already had a very successful launch despite it's problems(major mandatory 1 gig update right out of the box, some bad press about it's supposed "slow" cpu). I see no reason to believe it wont be a success, especially as more quality AAA software starts to come out and various system updates improve it. Nintendo is a proven brand that people trust and as such many millions of people will continue to be loyal to the brand.

gohanrage

#15

gohanrage said:

I wonder what would happen if Nintendo did decide to not make another console and to be a third party. would they produce games for SONY since they are Japanese. Nintendo isn't as large a developer as others not sure if they could do multi-platform games. I personally haven't enjoyed Sega games since its been a third party.

GameLord08

#17

GameLord08 said:

@Damo: Alright, I can understand that. I just felt the way it was phrased was a little mocking, but your point is indeed true.

By saying he didn't understand the Wii U, I didn't at all mean he had no clue what it was about - I know better than that, seeing how seasoned a man he must be in this industry. What I meant was I don't think he quite sees what diplomacy the Wii U presents to the industry in this dire time of need (moderated innovation, amiability towards developers, cost-efficiency etc.), all of which point to it having quite a lot of successful potential. That's why I see his comment as a little less than insightful - the console has proposed a few long-term benefits towards its likely success.

CorbsAdmin

#18

Corbs said:

Nolan Bushnell is a big reason we're playing the games that we're playing right now. So to completely discount his opinion or write him off as a 'crazy old fool' might be a bit rash. Is he always right, of course not, I think he's proven that in the past, but this guy commands respect with us old guys because we know what he did for video gaming.

Tryken

#19

Tryken said:

Wait, you mean the guy who's company was shut down by Nintendo thinks the new Nintendo system is a bust? chuga chuga chuga What's that sound I hear? chuga chuga chuga, WAAA, WAAAA! Why, it's the Waa-waa Express, non-stop service to Atari!

TrueWiiMaster

#20

TrueWiiMaster said:

Well, the last home console Nintendo made was the Wii, a huge success. What was the last huge success this guy had?

DarkNinja9

#21

DarkNinja9 said:

lol yeah hes not someone to fully listen to no more xP hes made some bad decisions on things that lead him to not being right

SCAR392

#23

SCAR392 said:

Meh. That's how analysts are wrong. Let the masses speak, and choose what tech they want to support and have fun with. Did anyone even ask this guys opinion, or did he just blog on Twitter or something? That's another part about analysts I don't get. Who asks, why tell, who cares? I understand this guys effect in the industry, but it's not his business anymore(or is it?).

Malic

#24

Malic said:

I look at what Nintendo did for gaming then I look at what Atari did , do I really need to go there ?

Tsuchiya

#25

Tsuchiya said:

@Corbs
We also know what Nintendo did and continues to do for video gaming. It's arguably Nintendo that is the biggest reason for most people gaming rather than Atari especially after the mess of '83. Nintendo is, was and will continue to be a lot more relevant, a lot more successful and a lot more popular than Atari is, was and ever will be. ;)

Atari has had it's day and it's time to tuck it in, read it a story and turn off the light. For good.

childofacid

#27

childofacid said:

Oh gee... words of wisdom from the man directly responsible for the video game crash of 1983.

Trikeboy

#28

Trikeboy said:

All Atari can do these days are lazy ports of their classic games from decades ago. Wii U is fresh and set to take the world by storm. Heck, even PS3 and the 360 are doing something kinda fresh. Well, they are rehashing old things like the Playstation eye (Kinect) and the Wiimote (Move) but they are trying something new for their customers. I'm not saying Atari games are bad, my first home console was an Atari but times have changed since the 1970s.

the_shpydar

#29

the_shpydar said:

I am dumbfounded (but ironically not surprised) by some of the comments here. Bushnell was a pioneer of the home video game industry. To cast him off as if he is someone who has no idea what he's talking about (or worse, to even suggest that Atari did nothing for gaming?) is just pure ignorance. You kids need to educate yourselves.

Being who he is, of course mainstream publications writing up the WiiU (most of which from what i have seen are taking it from the approach of "are gaming consoles becoming obsolete?" discussion) are going to seek him out for comment. And this is the same thing he's been saying for years — he believes console gaming in general is on the way out. I disagree with him, but that doesn't invalidate his viewpoint.

Slapshot

#31

Slapshot said:

I do think there's some truth in his words - dedicated gaming consoles are (sadly) indeed losing mass- market interest - but I do think Wii U will be a success. I think it will be more of a success than the upcoming consoles from Sony/Microsoft, but I don't think we'll see anything like we've seen over the past two decades - times are indeed changing.

ajmetz

#33

ajmetz said:

I think Wii's been the revolution, and Wii U is just about matching X360 and PS3 as far as appealing to hardcore gamers go. People seem a little confused by the GamePad I guess, but as far as I can see, we've been using two screens since 2004 and the Nintendo DS, and it'll be good to get that in the home as well as on portable consoles.

The thing about the Wii U, is that even though the focus is on the GamePad right now, it can continue to entertain simple wiimote games for any confused by the GamePad.

Malic

#35

Malic said:

@the_shpydar I respect the mans opinion yours also but the truth is nes did more for gaming than Atari could even imagine its not even close. And another thing I bet he's wrong on this

ShadJV

#36

ShadJV said:

I think he has some merit, I think I'll go mull over his thoughts while I play my newest Atari system- oh wait.

Swiket

#37

Swiket said:

@Tryken Judging from some of the comments here, it looks like the Ad Hominem Train is just pulling up to our station.

the_shpydar

#38

the_shpydar said:

@Malic
You're simply not correct about that. If Atari hadn't established that a home video game market even existed in the U.S., there's a good chance we never would have seen the NES come to the U.S.. Nintendo undoubtedly has done a tremendous amount for gaming, but you really need to review your video gaming history if you think Atari's contribution is "not even close". :)

AVahne

#39

AVahne said:

We should respect him and respect his words, but we don't have to give a single damn about him or his words after giving him our respects.

aaronsullivan

#42

aaronsullivan said:

All I know is I played it quite a bit over the Thanksgiving weekend and it was the most fun I've had gaming in a good long time.

I remember switching from Atari to Nintendo, and I liked how Shigeru Miyamoto reinvented console gaming just fine. I still like the old games, but consoles have changed considerably and Nolan Bushnell hasn't had much to do with its progress for a long time. His being baffled by it, just means he doesn't understand.

shinokami

#44

shinokami said:

Ok he invented the Atari and its simple minded games. So what? Put him next to Miyamoto and what is he? Its to early to say if it will or will not, I mean, the system sold out faster than hot bread on a Sunday morning, and that is just the hardware, I wonder what will happen when the next Zelda or Smash Brothers come out?

ReshiramZekrom

#47

ReshiramZekrom said:

@shinokami "I mean, the system sold out faster than hot bread on a Sunday morning"

*Reads part in bold
It definitely sold out faster than hot bread on a Sunday morning, because it was released Sunday morning. Midnight, rather.

Tsuchiya

#48

Tsuchiya said:

His picture looks as if he is thinking "What to stick cheap wood on next...." ;)
Maybe Nintendo should release an Oak Premium Wii U bundle with an 8kb HDD packaged with E.T. Maybe that wouldn't baffle him.

hylian-pudding

#50

hylian-pudding said:

I don't care if he's a god or whatever. I'm loving my Wii U and I do think it will be a huge success (it already is).

triforcepower73

#51

triforcepower73 said:

This means that xbox 720 and ps4 are going to fail tremendously in sales since the wii u isn't going to be a success. Even though current sales would beg to differ.

dragon_rider

#52

dragon_rider said:

"I don’t think it’s going to be a big success" says the man whose company went under and crashed the gaming market in 1983. Guess who saved the industry? I think it start with "Nin" and ends with "tendo".

ajcismo

#54

ajcismo said:

Atari forced him out in 1978, I'm guessing having more than one button on a controller is going to baffle him.

OracleOfTruth

#56

OracleOfTruth said:

I understand exactly what his problem is. He's baffled because, with the Game Pad, people can now play Pong against themselves. It's crazy!

aaronsullivan

#57

aaronsullivan said:

Try not to diss on the Atari era too much, though, folks. it is the origin of console gaming. What those people did back then was insane. The amount of hacking and codefu they had to do to get those "simple-minded" games running was stunning and far more abstract than what most programmers do nowadays. It remains awe-inspiring to this day if you dig into it with some understanding.

As far as Nolan goes, he's a business man and I've lost touch with whether he has an informed opinion on this or not.

gundam00

#58

gundam00 said:

Although he's not been directly involved in the industry for quite some time, his opinion still holds a lot of weight.

Why would his opinion still hold weight if he has not been involved with the industry for quite some time? The industry today is not the same industry it was when he was involved. Industries grow and evolve, sometimes devolve, but if you're not involved and keeping up with current technology, why would your opinion carry any weight? Martin Cooper invented the first cellphone in 1973, do you think his opinion of the iPhone holds a lot of weight, after all, Martin Cooper is the godfather of cellphones.

Adam

#59

Adam said:

Man used to know what's up. No indication he still does. Respect for what he did can coincide with an unbiased valuation of his opinion on current matters. If he was talking about retro gaming, I would stand at attention and salute, but I am not getting in line to buy a Jaguar U.

This message brought to you by IMHO.

Emaan

#60

Emaan said:

Regardless of who makes the claim, this is all speculation. I trust Nintendo knows what they're doing, they've remained relevant and on top for over 30 years. I see no signs of them stopping now. Let alone console gaming as a whole.

JayceJa

#61

JayceJa said:

After hearing what this guy has done in the past, I respect that, but that doesn't have any bearing on what he's saying now

Mikau94

#62

Mikau94 said:

This sounds like the opinion of someone who wishes an old enemy ill will.

Mikau94

#63

Mikau94 said:

I still respect Nolan Bushnell and all the others, like Ralph Bear, who made gaming what it today but given his history of poor calls I'm not worried.

grimbldoo

#65

grimbldoo said:

I agree with him, the new Atari system will blow the Wii U out of the water...oh wait.

kurtasbestos

#66

kurtasbestos said:

I'm guessing he's saying consoles are at the end of the line because people can play games on their facebook phones and on the interwebnet and such. It seems a little like saying "home video players are at the end of the line because it's much easier to watch movies on their portable devices." Well, I totally HATE playing games in the comfort of my own home on a large TV with a great sound system, so I can see where he's coming from... or something. What?

brooks83

#67

brooks83 said:

Aww, did the mean man insult your pwecious wittle Wii U?

The Wii U may not even exist if it weren't for what this man did for the home video game industry, show some respect.

perkoff

#68

perkoff said:

He thinks the home market is on its last legs? Xbox 360 pretty much put the last nail in the coffin of arcades. Now the only arcade you'll find is in a bowling alley, or at restaurants like Dave And Busters or Game Works.

I guess he's saying the home market is dead because of cell phones? Even people that play games on their phone play games at home on their TV. I don't think a portable video game is ever going to kill video games being played in your living room. No matter how advanced they become, people will always want to play on the big screen.

perkoff

#69

perkoff said:

@grimbldoo I would love Atari to make another system, I actually owned a Jaguar, most of the games sucked, but Alien VS Predator looked pretty damn good for the time, just had no idea what you were supposed to do in the game. I think it'd be cool if Sega and Atari both released a new system or even if they joined forces to make a new System. The SegAtari Entertainment System would be the name.

SirSmugleaf

#70

SirSmugleaf said:

Says the person from the company who released the 7800 and Jaguar; known as some of the most failed consoles of all time!

I don't think its fair for him to judge. Anyway, It's Nintendo! Even though it doesn't look like they know what they're doing some of the time, I am sure that they always know what they're doing!

Anyway, who cares what one person thinks?

Void

#72

Void said:

Yeah, he probably does deserve some credit, I'll listen to him when Atari makes it's big comeback into the console market, I mean, if he knows so much more about consoles than Nintendo, he will be willing to take the risk and have Atari rejoin the console race and make the most successful console ever right? :O

astroshamu

#74

astroshamu said:

None of these comments worry my Xbox and pa3 loving friends are convinced that its an awesome console

Zombie_Barioth

#76

Zombie_Barioth said:

Can't say I'm surprised but I like how people seem loose all credibility once they speak out against Nintendo, its not like Nintendo hasn't made their share of mistakes either (need I even mention Sega?). As much flak as Nintendo and it's fans get you would think they wouldn't be as antagonistic. He may not be directly involved with the industry anymore but I'm sure hes kept an eye on things.

I can see where hes coming from if he thinks the home console market is fading but the Wii U just didn't click enough to make him think it'll turn things around, he may just see it as a pointless endeavor. Not that I agree but I'd much rather see the industry go out with a bang if anything.

Koapa

#77

Koapa said:

He said : Nintendo WiiU wont be sucess.
I forgot, that whole ATARI wasn´t sucess :-)

snax007

#78

snax007 said:

It's pretty clear that Wii U will never be the success that Wii was, but the question is if will be a enough success to live more than 2-3 years before Nintendo realize they need to join the real next-gen consoles (the next PS and Xbox consoles).
I'm getting a Wii U but only because I'm a fan of Nintendo's own games, not because it think the tablet gimmick is interesting or innovative (at all!) or think it's a powerful machine. I can't see the console having any mainstream appeal beyond the first 6 months. in 12-18 months Wii U sales will die off and most 3rd party publishers will abandon the platform.

snax007

#79

snax007 said:

@Mike1 "Who cares what he thinks. His Atari 7800 was a complete failure."

You do realize the Atari 7800 came out in 1984, long after Bushnell left the company in 1978, right?
You guys badmouthing Bushnell, should do a bit of research first!

mudjo

#80

mudjo said:

All these people just keep going on about how it won't be a success, but does that really matter that much? Just is back and play the cool games. If you do, they keep coming.

snax007

#81

snax007 said:

@mudjo Of course it matters. If the console doesn't sell well, 3rd party publishers will not make games for it in the long run. And if the console flops completely, Nintendo will abandon it faster for the next console leaving you with a overpriced console which does not get new games.

retro_player_22

#82

retro_player_22 said:

This old dude almost killed the game industry and now he don't think Nintendo will have what it takes to carry it forward anymore? Seem like he's living way too much in the past, either that or he's a PC fanatics.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#83

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Ah, the Atari 2600. What a brilliant console it was. Thing is though, wasn't this guy baffled by the Wii and/or DS?

Koapa

#85

Koapa said:

"3th party developers will abadon the platform" - I don´t think so.
Look at the PS Vita. Sales are really poor, but there is a talk about new games. I see, that developers are not affraid of 1/10 sales copared to 3DS.
Maybe, after a year or two, the situation will be others.

So, we need to wait, what will happend with WiiU. You need to buy to support it.

PS: At the beginning of Wii, everybody talked about "poor graphic, small CPU power and horibble new play system". After a years, every compady made his own "COPY" of the gyroplay :-D

yobucky

#86

yobucky said:

I think even if the Wii U didn't meet sales expectations it would still be a long time before this led to the demise of the company. Sega had 2 consoles in a row that flopped badly. The only real risk from these so-called casual games (cell-phones and social-type games) is to the handheld market and the 3DS is managing to hold steady. Besides, the Wii U is innovative and appealing to the mass market, so I think it'll do just fine, maybe not as well as the Wii but plenty good enough to keep nintendo going. I'd say the other 2 consoles are more at risk for their next gen. They are going to have to get a perfect balance between power, mass appeal and price to be successful, I don't think there's still place in the market for two gamer-only consoles. So they are going to have to do something very special beyond just putting the biggest, baddest hardware into the box.

Redeye1904

#87

Redeye1904 said:

I think he's just mad cuz no one these days knows who he is... He ain't creating games that I play....

PinkSpider

#89

PinkSpider said:

Every one keeps saying that Nintendo have had it but I think the stats say different lol
The figures
Wii 97 million
DS 152 million
3DS 22 million (and its not even 2 years old)

So I really don't think Nintendo are ready to give it up

"Miyamoto: Let's pack it in boys we just arn't selling the consoles''
Iwata: Yea ok Mr Miyamoto lets start making games for sony and microsoft my body is ready reggie"
Reggie: ............
Iwata: Reggie?

Crouteru

#91

Crouteru said:

He's just attacking what he doesn't understand. The Wii U has only just launched, give it a chance!

Schprocket

#93

Schprocket said:

What @daznsaz said at #74... or thereabouts.

Generating discussion is one thing but given an inch of lee-way quickly becomes troll-bait.

I'm sick-to-death of reading the regurgitated naysaying of namby-pambies, regardless of the platform.

And while on the subject of naysayers, do not ever quote anything from IGN under the current regime as being worth more than monkey-fling...

Now, gimme my goddamn Wii U and let me decide for myself !

The Schprock Hath Spoken...

;)

Tsuchiya

#94

Tsuchiya said:

@brooks83
The man contributed to nearly destroying the industry.
You remember that part right?
And the whole part about the NES and customer confidence and the recovery of the industry? Remember? ;)

thanos316

#95

thanos316 said:

the wii u. hmm what can i say about it so far from the reviews ive read. the verdict is still out on it for me. im not sold as yet. with the wii the controls revolutionize gaming. wii the wii u the game is suppose to continue on that same path but devs havent found a way to do it yet. maybe give them a year or so. so maybe this guy is right that hes sorta baffled by it. but the wii u will sell like hot cakes im not doubting that..

AmishThunder

#96

AmishThunder said:

I wish he would have elaborated as to why he felt that way. Saying that it baffles him, just makes him sound old and out of touch.

SpaceApe

#97

SpaceApe said:

Wii U currently sold out everywhere. Yeah it isn't going to have success... LOL

WanderingPB

#98

WanderingPB said:

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Huh sorry i fell asleep after breaking night playing the Wii U…in fact cant talk gotta get back to playing my Wii U after commenting on Miiverse how frivolous this gentleman's opinion truly is…

Windy

#99

Windy said:

ummm. Im Baffled as to why this guy gets any press. He made one good system then could not follow up when the Industry started moving forward. Alot of people don't know this but years ago Nintendo developed the NES and offered to sell it to Atari. Atari Declined to buy the technology and look where they are now. Let's just say atari also wasnt the smartest bunch

Windy

#100

Windy said:

oh lastly. Atari was the model of Arrogance and that eventually just killed them

ei8htbit

#101

ei8htbit said:

I think a lot of videogame enthusiasts are baffled** by the Wii U and despite it's initial sellout I think an overwhelming majority of consumers in general aren't even fully aware of it's existence as a new console, partially due to a combination of a cooling and increasing saturation of the market overall. Perhaps this is what Mr. Bushnell is getting at in terms of the "end of an era" where consoles are no longer perceived as the be all and end all of personal entertainment at the present time.

**For instance why would Nintendo simply re-enter the console race with what is essentially current-gen tech parity so late in the cycle, why would they finally introduce user accounts without unifying the user experience across platforms, or even within their own (currently 3 independent) online marketplaces? The user account is essentially just a folder disguised as a GamerTag to store game saves and system settings considering it is hard-locked to the serial-numbered console without any portability or eShop flexibility that would actually make it meaningful considering both Microsoft and Sony have already paved the way for unified account experiences in the past 7 years? Those are baffling decisions. However, these hardly conclude that the Wii U will be a failure or simply "sputter along" I'm just trying to apply rational thought to Bushnell's remarks.

Personally, I am enjoying my Wii U experience one week in. From a gaming perspective I am a little disappointed with the performance of some of the ports (noticeable lagging framerate in Tekken, Sonic, and even Batman) but I can forgive them for being launch-rushed, however Super Mario U is absolutely inspired and holds up as one of the greatest in the franchise since Mario World (no joke). MiiVerse is wonderful and shows huge potential. The eShop looks slick. I have high hopes for the potential of this machine even though there are other glaring aspects that, admittedly, baffle me even as a loyal Nintendo consumer.

Shanksta

#102

Shanksta said:

I like the term Godfather. You know because he was just there at the time and not really involved. LOL

Windy

#103

Windy said:

@ei8htbit
I would get a Wii-U Myself but your right about Parity. I'm going to sit back and wait for online titles and see where Nintendo Stands on the Online play. If I see Dragon Quest X "Goodbye Life!"

ei8htbit

#104

ei8htbit said:

I think we also have to step back and realize that this is largely a forum (that appears to be at least) full of UK Nintendo die-hards in the ravenous days prior to the (EU) launch. The sheer anticipation in the final days and hours before having a shiny, glossy, new Nintendo console unleashed is enough to inspire wilderness-level rage in the form of blind and irrational defence against any and all criticism of that which has been promised to (and pre-ordered by) us.

Indeed on that fateful day you will tremble with giddiness at the decent heft and size of the package alone, and just the unboxing of said prize will be a glorious experience, holding that heavenly-perfect-weighted GamePad controller that heretofore never existed in console gaming (and until that very moment nary a fingerprint was present). Knowing that it was inspired in part by the creator of Super Mario and his Brother, the inner child in you will be satisfied and not begrudge the hundreds of (insert appropriate currency units here) that you happily handed over within this blinding shining light of a blissful moment that comes but once every 5-6 years.

After you plug it in and turn it on you will smile at the familiar and gentle ambient soundtracks you have come to know and love from Nintendo. You will become intimately familiar with this soundtrack as you stare at the Wii U-Blue progress bar of the initial patch update that draws out like a sentence at Shawshank, but you will still be smiling because you know "it is almost here".

And then the patch is installed, you create your user account and you play some Nintendo Land or Mario U and are happy to see that the obligatory health and safety warning screen has been omitted on load up but discover that MiiVerse instead becomes the slightly annoying reminder screen after you finish every little achievement. You discover that it's a slightly more relevant form of Twitter only that it's relegated to a 100-character limit (be prepared for about a MILLION hand-written "Happy Launch Day" notifications). But it still has a sense of community and excitement because it's full of Nintendo love and you use it and happily play on, still riding the high of launch day, perhaps your system hard-locks out of nowhere an hour or two in, but you reset and all is fine again.

A week later, after the high of blind acceptance subsides somewhat and you realize that the Wii U is not perfect by any means, you read this same article again and resolve that Bushnell is still a bit of an irrelevant geezer, but you are perhaps less quick to dismiss any and all criticism of the machine you now know (but still love).

Dogpigfish

#105

Dogpigfish said:

It must have been really difficult getting an interview with the developer behind the triple A title "pong", his opinion is soooooo important after all

Caryslan

#107

Caryslan said:

Just because the man has retired from the industry does not mean his opinion does not hold any weight. Is he always right? Of course not, but the man has every right to question theindustry that he helped create. And in many ways, he does have a valid point. What does the Wii U bring to the table that truly moves the industry forward? The hardware is barely a step above the PS3 and 360, there are numerous design errors with the system that a company with Nintendo's experience should have caught before they let the system walk out the door, and what does the Wii U gamepad bring that truly changes gaming? if anything, it feels like the Kinect, Wiimote, and other unique controllers. Something that is cool and innovative, but not something that will become the standard.

The Wii U has felt like a system which was cobbled together and then tied to a tablet controller in an attempt to make it seem "new" and "innovative" The system is barely a week old, and several developers are already questioning the Wii U's specs for the long term. Even better, how is this system going to compete with the 720 and PS4 when they arrive?

Unlike the Wii, it does not even have the accessibility of the Wiimote to help it. Could anyone imagine some of the Wii's audience such as non-gamers going crazy about this?

One other thing I want to bring up, and this is for the sake of argument. All of you who claim that Nolan Bushnell was responsible for the crash of 1983 or led Atari into the abyss need to check your facts.

Nolan Bushnell ran Atari until 1978, when he was forced out by Time Warner who owned Atari. Time Warner and Bushnell had a dispute over the future of the Atari 2600 and the concept of the closed software strategy. Bushnell was gone from Atari before the 2600 took off and never returned to the company.

He was not responsible for the crash of 1983 or had any involvement with Video Games during that period. Time Warner alone was responsible for killing Atari. After the crash, Time Warner decided to sell Atari and cut their losses. The company was split in two between the Home Consoles/Computers division and the Arcade Division.

Warner retained the arcade division of Atari while Jack Tramiel bought the home division of Atari. Nolan Bushnell was never involved with Atari after 1978, and was not responsible for Atari's lost place in gaming, or the failed succesor systems to the 2600. Time Warner and Jack Tramiel were the ones that ran Atari during those times, and they were the ones that helped seal Atari's fate.

So, the whole idea that Nolan Bushnell killed Atari or caused the crash is inaccurate and totally wrong. Nolan Bushnell could not even work in the the video game industry due to signing a contract that forbid him from competing or starting another video game company for several years after leaving Atari.

Caryslan

#108

Caryslan said:

@Dogpigfish Pong is one of the most important games in the history of video games. It was the first video game that was successful commercially. It may not be a modern title, but Pong is every bit as important as Super Mario Brothers, Pac-man, Sonic the Hedgehog, Halo, or Pokemon. It was a major success in its day, and helped make video games viable for many companies(including Nintendo)

And Nolan Bushnell is a very important man to video games. I'm not saying he's 100% correct, but to simply dismiss him and his opinions is not a good idea. Could he be wrong? Hell yea, but he could also be right.

I think people are just dismissing Nolan Bushnell way too quickly.

Caryslan

#109

Caryslan said:

@PoshSnivy

Again, he was not at Atari when the 7800, Lynx, and Jaguar was created. He was not even involved with the development of the systems. He left Atari in 1978 and the Jaguar came out in 1993! How in the hell could he have been responsible for that system? It's like saying the founder of Hostess was responsible for that company going bankrupt in 2012 when he died in 1965.

People really need to do a google search before they make statements like this. Nolan Bushnell was not responsible for the crash of 1983 and he was not responsible for the failures of the 5200 and later systems that Atari put out.

Do a quick google search, and you'll see that I'm right. Stop blaming the man for things that he had no control over. Atari was out of his hands during that time. Jack Tramiel was running Atari during the era of the 7800, Lynx, and Jaguar. If you want to blame anyone for Atari's failure, point your finger at him and Time Warner.

Nolan Bushnell had nothing to do with Atari's collapse. Hell, he was not even around when the Atari 2600 took off for several years before it crashed. He was not there when the 2600 port of Pac-Man was created. He was not there when E.T. was created.

Long story short, Nolan Bushnell was not responsible for any of the things that people claim he caused in these comments. Will everyone please do a little research before you start making up random claims that are false? Anything that happens with Atari after 1978 is not tied to Nolan Bushnell, since he was no longer in charge of the company that he created

So please, stop blaming the man for things he never did.

I

Ristar42

#110

Ristar42 said:

I wonder if Ralph Baer has an opinion..? Remember hearing an interview with Nolan Bushnell a while back (on Atari Greatest hits Vol2 on DS), he had big hopes for VR gaming I think, said he'd imagined an almost Sci-Fi gaming future! Maybe he just expected gaming to develop in a different way.

ei8htbit

#111

ei8htbit said:

Isn't Nolan Bushnell the architect of The Matrix? (just google image search, trust me it's him) He seemed to know what he was doing in that movie. Also, I don't think it's a coincidence that the chosen one was named "Neo" (or put another way "NintEndO" (or NoE)...CONSPIRACY ABOUNDS!!!!!

Mike1

#112

Mike1 said:

@snax007
I don't give a crap what this guy says. I never had an Atari, never wanted one either. Who cares what some old goofball from the 1970's says.

Masz52

#113

Masz52 said:

I needed a reminder of why I loathe Nintendo fanboys. Thanks peeps!

I also love how you guys say how he doesn't know what he's talking about while at the same time saying that the 2600 and Pong did nothing for the industry, among other ignorant statements. As soon as someone says Nintendo is less than perfect, everything they say is wrong, apparently. And I bet the fanboys will just skim over this since I'm not spewing blind hate because "WAAAH HE SAID SOMETHING MEAN ABOUT MY CONSOLE"

Morphbug

#114

Morphbug said:

@Ristar42: I have that one too! (love it). It's true, he said he expected some pretty unrealistic things from gaming by our time.
We are probably getting there slowly, but still, he seems to want to be pessimistic.

Malic

#115

Malic said:

he doesn't know what he's talking about I'm no fan boy bet your bottom dollar he's wrong . this mans opinions are no different than mine , yours, sony's or Santa freaking claus bottom line who really gives a flying **** anyway, play Zelda play pong play hopscotch just shut up and play who cares I know one thing I'm not still playing Atari

SMEXIZELDAMAN

#116

SMEXIZELDAMAN said:

Everyone makes mistakes so you shouldn't bring that up in the article to bash the poor guy. No one knows how it will pan out and that's a fact. Anyone who gets fired up about what someone says who doesn't know is missing the point anyway :( -1 this article.

MeloMan

#117

MeloMan said:

The only thing I really can believe he may have a point about is if the rising prices of home consoles, increasing downloadability of games, etc. may one day have marred lines where we no longer depend on hardware consoles to feed our gaming fix from Nintendo and others. There's been articles forever on it. I don't think in the near future consoles will be going anywhere, but maybe one day in a decade or two, physical consoles may become more and more integrated into electronics (like TVs), along with software, that we may have no physical "things" at all. None of us know the future, so it's just one man's speculation at this point.

FyreeTSG

#118

FyreeTSG said:

A) He's just bitter cause Nintendo SUED his Tengen brand for making unlicensed NES games(the black Carts)
B) He's still feeling the anger from the crash of 83'--which NINTENDO responded, and bailed-out the INDUSTRY with the NES in '85
C) He's pissy because he sold Atari to HASBRO--and then had to sell Chuck E' Cheese to a rival chain
D) Pong isn't better than Mario
E) And the NES Pacman was better than the Atari version

Caryslan

#119

Caryslan said:

@FyreeTSG I'm not being insulting, but almost every single thing you typed was wrong and totally inaccurate.

(1) Nolan Bushnell had nothing to do with Tengen. He never ran the company, he never developed a single game for them, he was not involved with the company. In fact, Tengen is actually the coin-op divison of Atari that Time Warner retained when they sold the company. When they entered home development, they were unable to use the Atari name, so they were named Tengen.

(2) I don't know how many times I have to say this on here, but Nolan Bushnell was not involved in the crash of 1983. He left Atari in 1978 and signed a no-compete contract that forbid him from working in the video game industry for several years. In fact, Nolan Bushnell was not even at Atari when the 2600 took off. Time Warner and the executives they put in charge were the ones who were responsible for the crash, as were the fly by night companies that developed crap games that flooded the market.

Nolan Bushnell had as much to do with the crash of 1983 as the founder of Hostess had to do with them going bankrupt in 2012. In other words, nothing.

C)Once Again, Nolan Bushnell was not in charge of Atari when they were sold to Hasbro. Jack Tramiel was in charge of the company when they were sold to Hasbro. And this is also keeping in mind the fact that there were two Atari companies during that time. The coin-op company that was know as Atari continued to operate on its own for several years before they were bought by Midway Games in 1999.

D) This is a matter of opinion, but you're missing one major point. Pong is just as important to the history of video games as Super Mario Brothers. In fact, it could be argued that Pong is even more important since it was the game that was the commercial success in gaming and proved that Video Games were viable. Even if you dislike Pong personally, it does not erase the fact that Pong is a very important milestone in gaming.

E)As I said before, Nolan Bushnell was long gone by the time Pac-man arrived on the Atari 2600. He has nothing to do with that port. He did not create it, he did not supervise it, he contributed nothing to that game. Time Warner were the ones who were in charge of Atari at the time and they were the ones that messed up the port.

Here's the thing, I am seeing a lot of inaccurate comments on this board. Its one thing to disagree with Nolan Bushnell's opinion, and its no secert that he's had some flops over the years. But people are either making stuff up or simply lack have no clue what they are talking about.

Before you post anything about Nolan Bushnell's career, google his name. Do some research about this topic. Please, will everyone stop with the wildly inaccurate comments that are totally false? Not only does it weaken your argument, but it gives people the wrong impression on things.

Hokori

#121

Hokori said:

I live how people pull the "fanboy" card when someone disagrees with what someone who disagrees with Nintendo :D

UnseatingKDawg

#122

UnseatingKDawg said:

I'm not going to deny that the 2600 was an important system - hell, I've even played a few ports on the "Plug-and-Play" Joysticks that we have, and they're pretty good. But we're at the start of the 8th generation here, and times have changed. If this was a flop, it probably would've been noted by now. And he's not the first to say that consoles are going out. They aren't. People don't have enough money for tablet computers or powerful PCs for their gaming. They'll buy and settle for a console, because the console market is considerably cheaper as a whole, and you get games that you can get for the PC anyhow. Who knows? He may have just made the comment to impress Apple because he has regret from not investing earlier.

WaxxyOne

#123

WaxxyOne said:

He needs to pick up the Wii U controller and find 4 friends to play Mario Chase with. After the first match, you begin to understand. After the second, you're enthralled. After the 40th, you wonder why you ever wasted your life playing with anything else.

Knux

#124

Knux said:

Without Bushnell, you probably wouldn't even be playing today's games. So listen to your elders for a change, kids. :|

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