Chuck E. Cheese, Atari founder Nolan Bushnell on the latest round of the console wars, and bringing food and games together… again.
Even if you only have a passing familiarity with the gaming industry, you've probably heard of Nolan Bushnell. Best known for founding and running gaming icon Atari and later the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant chain-which brought kids, pizza and video games together-Mr. Bushnell is the founder of more than twenty companies and a member of both the video game and consumer electronics association hall of fame.
For the past four years, he's been working at the helm of another company. A digital entertainment shop dubbed uWink, the company marks Mr. Bushnell's latest foray into the restaurant business. Last month the company quietly opened its first bistro in Woodland Hills, California, near Los Angeles.
Featuring touch-sensitive screens at each table, visitors submit their own food and drink orders. uWink's tabletop displays also give patrons a plethora of entertainment options. From poker to trivia games, the chain aims to use casual games and food to create a fun, social atmosphere
Red Herring recently caught up with Mr. Bushnell to chat about uWink and hear his thoughts on the current state of the gaming industry. Excerpts from the conversation follow: