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Creating new worlds: Nolan Bushnell, Atari and the invention of video games

A former student of Electronic Engineering, assistant manager at an amusement park, became a serial entrepreneur and founded a revolutionary brand: Atari. Following the Pong’s success, Nolan Bushnell was the perfect conjunction ring of the History, which changed entertainment and lifestyle, developing out of nowhere a billionaire industry, such as video games

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Undoubtedly one of the fathers of the video game universe, in the early Seventies his path breaking technological and commercial foresights forever disrupted the entertainment industry, creating from scratch a new sector worth more than 370 billion dollars today, but that simply didn’t exist before him. And while Nolan Bushnell’s name may not say much to the general public, Atari’s one will sound more familiar to every generation, instead, from baby boomers to Gen Z.

That’s because Bushnell, a “startupper” before startups, is the founder of the historic Californian brand that in 1972 gave birth to Pong, the first blockbuster video game in history, a classic 2D-graphics arcade game which immediately entered the collective imaginary and lifestyle. Only four years earlier he was an Electronic Engineering student at the University of Utah, working as an assistant manager at an amusement park.

And yet, from that machine jammed for too many coins inserted by the early enthusiastic players in a bar in Sunnyvale (California) the August of that year, it quickly became clear that Bushnell would become the perfect conjunction ring between a “before” and an “after”, the right person at the right place in History, to create a new world which gathered some of the best minds in the nascent Silicon Valley (Steve Jobs himself was his employee) and that today has grown to the threshold of the metaverse.

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Pioneers of the future - A podcast series by Infra The Mundys Journal

Pioneers of the future is the second podcast season by Infra Journal. A four-installments journey through the times up to the most recent years, featuring the lives and adventures of the innovators who shaped our present.

How is a breakthrough invention conceived? Which challenges had its creator to overcome? What were the needs, the fears and the beliefs of these pioneers in thought and imagination? Pioneers of the future collects the stories of the masters who changed the course of times, through a podcast narration, voices, anecdotes and interviews.

Men and women, well known and less well known, who remained faithful to their ideals and intuitions, even when nobody else was able to see along with them. Nowadays, their ideas are everyday in our hands, as Prometheus's sparkle legacy, still capable of lighting up our way of living, communicating, moving and traveling. All around the world.

Infra Journal Newsroom - The widespread editorial staff of Infra Journal is made up of qualified journalists and experts in the sector. It aims to regularly provide data, information, trends and analysis for those who strive to put in motion the community to which they belong.

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