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Inkblot: Atari Co-Founder Nolan Bushnell

By Mark Milian - 2013-01-17T17:08:30Z

Photograph by Mark Sullivan/WireImage

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'Whimsy'

At Warner, Bushnell began working on a restaurant chain called Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre. The kid-friendly environment had arcade machines, pizza and animatronics.

"Chuck E. Cheese was the right thing at the right time for billions of kids," Bushnell said. "If we didn't have kids kicking and screaming when their parents wanted to leave, then we failed."

But Warner lost interest in the project, Bushnell said, despite his promise that it would provide a crucial outlet for Atari's games. Bushnell bought the company from Warner in the late 1970s and expanded it quickly.

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