by Zoe KulikEditNow known as the founding father of the video arcade industry, Nolan Bushnell was born on February 5, 1943. He graduated from The University of Utah in an electrical engineering program in 1968. Like many other students both then and now, Bushnell played computer games like "Spacewar". While in college, Bushnell decided he wanted to experiment with video games so he met up with his friend Ted Dabney. Together, they invented Computer Space which was a very complex and awkward prototype to the later game called Asteroids. Computer Space failed to gain the popularity or user friendliness of other computer games during the 1960's  .
Bushnell's major breakthrough occured during a computer electronics show he visited in California. There, Bushnell played virtual ping-pong made by Manganox Odyssey. He was instantly inspired. Bushnell wanted to improve the ping-pong game by reducing its complexity, thus enabling everyone to enjoy it. Pong was developed and debuted in 1971 in a comedy club in California. Pong consisted of two rectangular paddles controlled by nobs and a square ball that bounced between them. Players would play against the computer for the highest score. The first arcade game was such a hit that the kiosk got jammed with quarters and crashed .
Bushnell's success prompted him to found Atari with Dabney in 1972. Atari brought the rise of the video arcade game with the inventions of many new games, including Asteroids and Space Invaders. Bushnell also help start Steve Jobs' career by giving him his first job as an Atari engineer .In 1974, Bushnell and Sears made a deal to sell the first at home version of Pong. This was a huge milestone in the video gaming industry because players could now interact with their televisions, something we take for granted from growing up with Nintendo and Playstation.
By now, Bushnell's success and monetary income was booming. In 1976, long after buying Dabney out of Atari, Bushnell sold Atari for $28 million to Time Warner. Bushnell had started Atari with only $500 and by 1982, Atari was reaping $2 billion a year .
Bushnell didn't stop inventing after his greatest success of Atari. In 1977, he founded the Chuck E. Cheese franchise where children could eat out and play arcade games. His newest business is a restaurant called uWink where patrons order food and play games on touch screens at their tables .
Bushnell has started 20 businesses over his life and has revolutionized entertainment both out in the world and in the comforts of our homes. His many arcade games have inspired later companies to use the power of technology to help children learn through interactive video games .thumb|left|392px Sources:
"Inventor of the Week: Archive." MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Aug. 1998. Web. 17 Sept. 2011 <http://web.mit.edu/invent/iow/bushnell.html>.
Chafkin, Max. "Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell Is Back in the Game | Inc.com." Small Business Ideas and Resources for Entrepreneurs. 1 Apr. 2009. Web. 17 Sept. 2011. <http://www.inc.com/magazine/20090401/the-gamer.html>.
"Nolan Bushnell - Biography." The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 17 Sept. 2011. <http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0124309/bio>.
Check out other cool inventors like: