Talk about going full circle. The arc on this event spans the entire history of the video game industry. Nolan Bushnell, the father of video games, is rejoining the board of directors of Atari today.
Bushnell founded the original Atari Inc. with Ted Dabney in 1972, launching a revolution in home and arcade video games. He sold the company in 1977 to Warner Communications and was forced out in a management dispute in 1978. He went on to found Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza Time Theater restaurants and a total of 20 other startups.
Atari, meanwhile, went through a variety of ownership changes but remained an iconic brand to video gamers who played titles such as Pong, Breakout, and Computer Space. Infogrames, the Lyon, France-based video game maker, acquired the assets and rights to the Atari name from Hasbro. Then Infogrames changed its name to Atari in 2008. Bushnell will offer strategic insight to the company, now known as Atari S.A., and help with planning.
Also joining Atari is Tom Virden, an online entrepreneur and founder of Boatbooksing.com, a charter yacht company. Bushnell said, “The company and its iconic brands have always been important to me, and I look forward to further guiding them at the board level.”
Bushnell and Virden fill spots vacated by David Gardner, former chief executive, and Phil Harrison, former chief technology officer.