Nolan Bushnell, founder of the original 1972 Atari (and, as it turns out, Chuck E. Cheese), has returned to his old stomping grounds. The modern Atari has announced the return of one of its founders within its new Board of Directors, which also includes the addition of Tom Virden, the creator of many high-class leisure websites (like Boatbookings.com, the largest yachts charting-only site.)
“It kind of is a homecoming. I think Atari has made some really nice strides in the last few years, and I feel like it’s the right time and right place,” he said in an interview with IndustryGamers. “I’ve known [CEO] Jeff Lapin and some of the guys [for quite a while], and I bumped into them a few years ago at E3 and had some dialogue. It just all of a sudden felt natural I think for both sides.”
Bushnell went on to continue, “I’m kind of a storehouse of legacy knowledge that I think will be helpful, and I think there are a lot of things that I can help the company with some unique capabilities,” he commented. “So I’m a Board member, which is very different than a line officer, but I think it’s the right thing for me at this stage in my life. I’ve been on several boards of other game companies, and I’ve kept my oar in the water of the games space consistently, and so I believe my ‘institutional knowledge’ will be very helpful.”
When asked about the future of the Atari brand, under this new directorship, Bushnell was very optimistic, “There are so many fun tools that we could only dream about when I was running Atari before. Right now there is such a broad and diverse creative palette available to game designers and all you need is a little bit of out-of-the-box thinking and a little different approach, and I believe the best days are yet to come. I’m ecstatic about the tools, graphics potential, etc… and other things like the iPhone accelerometer, the Wii-motes and some of the new controls like Microsoft’s Natal. All of these things give the designer a magic way to interface with the world, and I think it’ll be great.”
Virden, who will also serve on the company’s Audit Committee, said, “I look forward to providing strategic insight and guidance to the executive team as it further expands its business online and builds value around its world-renowned brand and properties.”
“We are very pleased to welcome Mr. Bushnell and Mr. Virden as new members of the Board of Directors of Atari.” said Frank Dangeard, the Chairman of the Board for Atari, “We are convinced that their deep industry, technology and online business knowledge will be a substantial addition to the strategic insight of our Board.”
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