Nolan, along with his associate Ted Dabney, co-founded the company ‘Syzygy’ in 1969, and built a similar game as ‘Spacewar’ and named it ‘Computer Space’. While the development was in process, Bushnell and Dabney repaired pinball machines in order to support their company.
While Dabney developed the prototype of the gaming machine, Nolan negotiated with the manufacturer ‘Nutting Associates’ to launch their machine in the market. The machine was launched but did not receive much success. Nolan then resolved to collaborate with a different company to launch his other games.
The developer-duo figured out that the name ‘Syzygy’ was already in use and renamed their company in 1972, as ‘Atari’. Their office was set in Sunnyvale, California and also appointed Allan Alcorn who was an engineer, and also the first employee of their company ‘Atari’.
They collaborated with the company ‘Bally Manufacturing’. Eventually, he parted ways with his business partner Ted Dabney and was solely responsible for managing the company.
After learning about the game ‘Magnavox Odyssey’, he asked his company’s engineer Allan Alcorn to create an arcade game based on the ‘Magnavox’ game. Thus, the game ‘Pong’ was built with many new features like sound and score tally. The game gained immense popularity among gamers and the company continued to produce it for the following few years.
Bushnell ventured into the consumer electronics market in 1974 when, he initiated the development of a home version of the ‘Pong’ game on the suggestion of engineers Bob Brown and Harold Lee.
The following year, the home version of the game was launched into the market, and the company ‘Sears’ was engaged in the distribution and marketing of the game.
The construction of the gaming console ‘Atari VCS’ (which later came to be known as ‘Atari 2600’) was in progress in the year 1976, and during that time Nolan realised the need for funds. At the same time, the stock market was dwindling and so he sought to sell his company and looked out for prospective buyers for the company.
Subsequently, ‘Atari’ was acquired by the American company ‘Warner Communication’ and this helped him amass the required amount for the launch of ‘Atari VCS’. In 1977, the VCS was available in the market.
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The same year, the ‘Pizza Time Theatre’ was bought by Nolan from ‘Warner Communication’, with a vision to use it as a means of distributing the games produced by ‘Atari’. The ‘Pizza Time Theatre’ was later known as ‘Chuck E. Cheese’.
Bushnell had to leave ‘Atari, Inc.’ owing to some disagreement he had with the ‘Warner Communication’, in 1978.
In 1981, a new technological venture ‘Catalyst Technologies’ was established by this astute entrepreneur in Sunnyvale, California, with the cooperation of Alcorn. This was one of the first ventures into business incubators and included companies such as ‘Etak’, Axlon’, ‘Androbot’ and ‘Cumma’.
During the same time, he was also engaged in the companies ‘Kadabrascope’ and ‘Sente Technologies’.
Even though his subsidiary companies were running well, he had to sell these companies in 1983, in order to meet with loses his restaurant business was suffering. ‘Kadabrascope’ was bought by ‘Lucas’ and ‘Sente Technologies’ was acquired by ‘Bally’.
’Chuck E. Cheese’ suffered huge monetary difficulties and in 1983, the president of the company Joe Keenan resigned, the following year, Bushnell also resigned from his post and the company landed in bankruptcy the same year.
A competitor, ‘ShowBiz Pizza’, acquired the company along with its outstanding debts.
In 2007, he was appointed as the chairperson of the company ‘NeoEdge Networks’, and the same year, became associated to the company ‘GAMEWAGER’, as a member of the advisory board.
The following year, he was made a Board of Directors of the company ‘AirPatrol Corporation’.
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He was the chairman of the company ‘Borta, Inc.’ and after the company was acquired by ‘Aristo International’, he was appointed as a senior consultant to the company. He was the co-founder of the company ‘uWink’ along with Loni Reeder.
In 2010, Nolan Bushnell, after a hiatus of several years, joined ‘Atari’ as one of the company’s Board of Directors along with Tim Virden.
He founded the company ‘BrainRush’ and is presently the Chairperson and CEO of the company. The company uses the means of video games for the purpose of teaching. During the period 2010-12, an experimental test regarding the success of ‘BrainRush’ was conducted and the results were overwhelming.
He is presently associated with the ‘Anti-Aging Games’ as a member of their advisory board.