Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell Loses Game Industry Award Following Feminist Outcry

Nolan Bushnell

Atari founder and the father of video games, Nolan Bushnell, was set to receive an award at this year’s Game Developers Conference until a group of feminists cried foul.

GDC selected three individuals for their “Pioneer Award,” including indie game developer Rami Ismail, Psychonauts creator and Double Fine Studios boss Tim Schaefer, and Atari founder Nolan Bushnell.

The inclusion of Bushnell, who is widely credited for his contributions to the video game boom, was first met with applause, until feminists raised their ire against him over an excerpt from a 2012 Playboy article that described Atari’s frat-like working environment.

“It was a wild environment,” he recalls wistfully. “It was post–flower revolution, women’s liberation, no AIDS yet and lots of company romances.” The engineers began code-naming their projects after women — including Darlene, a beloved employee who, according to Bushnell, “was stacked and had the tiniest waist.”

The Playboy profile echoed Steven L. Kent’s 2001 book, The Ultimate History of Video Games, which detailed how Bushnell “held meetings in hot tubs, drank heavily, experimented with drugs… Sometimes Atari board meetings seemed more like fraternity parties than business meetings.”

Bushnell was, for all intents and purposes, a wildly successful hippie.

The feminists, led by self-proclaimed “GamerGate victim” and Democratic candidate for Congress Brianna Wu, demanded that GDC rescind its award to Bushnell over the candid interview and the 2001 book, claiming that it was proof of sexual misconduct.

Her arguments were echoed by another feminist, Jennifer Scheurle who penned a long thread about the issue.

“This one is out there in plain sight, in a book for everybody to read,” she complained. “You don’t have to dig hard for it, Nolan Bushnell’s inappropriate behaviour towards women is no secret — and we give him awards.”

Feminist game designer Elizabeth Sampat shared similar complaints, demanding that the GDC rescind its awards from all three men and instead “award it symbolically to all of the women who built this industry and are no longer here, in large part due to men like this.”

She also claimed, without basis, that female employees at Atari were forced to walk around topless.

Following the outcry, GDC rescinded its award to Bushnell. The video game pioneer released a statement addressing the allegations, stating:

“I applaud the GDC for ensuring that their institution reflects what is right, specifically with regards to how people should be treated in the workplace. And if that means an award is the price I have to pay personally so the whole industry may be more aware and sensitive to these issues, I applaud that, too. If my personal actions or the actions of anyone who ever worked with me offended or caused pain to anyone at our companies, than I apologize without reservation.”

It’s worth noting that women who worked at his company have never gone public with complaints about Atari’s working environment, or Bushnell.

Loni Reeder, a woman who co-founded a company with Bushnell and worked at Atari during the company’s wild years, defended his reputation.

 “I worked there. I know Nolan personally. I cofounded a company with him years later. I was treated fairly, and paid well. I have fellow Atari women friends who also know Nolan. None of us were offended by him, or code names, or T-shirt’s. This is definitely NOT a ‘Me Too’ issue,” she wrote in response to claims that he behaved inappropriately.

“‘A proponent for that environment.’ Perhaps an ill-advised choice of words? You ‘assume’ you know more about Atari’s work environment/people than ‘I’ do. Seems the only people outraged by ancient press and a workplace from 40 years ago are definitely NOT the people who lived it,” she said.

Also worth noting is the fact that Nolan’s alleged conduct was taken out of context from the book.

Brianna Wu had only this to say following the destruction of Bushnell’s formerly sterling reputation as a professional game developer:

Facebook Comments


  1. sabin1981

    February 1, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    She posted a lot more on the subject on the Atari facebook page, along with several other women who worked at Atari and for Nolan, all backing up her opinions and expressing defence of Nolan.

  2. Pingback: Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell Loses Game Industry Award Following Feminist Outcry – USSA News | The Tea Party's Front Page

  3. Sue Yellen

    February 2, 2018 at 9:23 am

    Stop it. Feminists on steroids out of control. NO ONE FORCED these women to get in a hot tub, walk around topless, or to as Wu put it quite incoherently, “the board would invite the women employees they wanted to have sexual with . . . ” Seriously. “They wanted to have sexual with?” Who is this woman, and why can’t she write in English? (The rest of the world doesn’t know.) Sounds like the drinking staff meetings we used to have in the radio business, frankly. A by-gone era. Sounds like Mad Men. OMG — Mad Men made it in T.V. in the nick of time, before these wenches tried to white-wash the Ad Business in a certain era! I’m sure they want to banish Mad Men reruns!

    Unless a gun was held to the heads of these Gaming Bimbos, NO ONE FORCED THEM. They could say no. They could refuse. They could walk out the door at any time. They chose to stay and participate, lacking courage, lacking ethics, lacking morals of their own. They blame the men for their own lack of ethics, morals, and courage — I repeat! They women participated, so they have no room to cry foul. And for crying out loud, this was a book about the 60s and 70s!!!!! What is wrong with these professional victims? No sympathy. Shut up. Go home. Bake cookies, as you are worthless in the workplace. You get treated exactly as you allow yourself to be treated!

    • Harry Flashman

      February 3, 2018 at 10:25 pm

      Fuck feminism and feminists.

  4. john?

    February 2, 2018 at 9:41 am

    who gave the femiNazis last say over everything? oh I know … the Cuck Culture .. where oh where have all the balls gone?

  5. Will Dawnstar

    February 2, 2018 at 11:34 am

    LoL “women who built this industry”… Please! Women make terrible programmers. The only thing a woman can build is a sandwich.

    • Frank

      February 2, 2018 at 12:45 pm

      While Brianna Wu is the scum of the Earth, and all this is insultingly ridiculous, there were definitely some early giants of programming who were women. Ada Lovelace is generally credited as the first programmer. Grace Hopper was behind Cobol and shaped some of the early history of computing significantly. And there were definitely some women working in early game development. And even a few stars, like Roberta Williams, who is known as the mother of adventure games.

      That said, 9/10 of the early pioneers were men. So if 3/3 awards end up going to guys… duh?

      I think the call for early female game pioneers to be awarded just for being women is, if anything, insulting. Being awarded not for being good, but for having ovaries is just degrading. It was a brand new industry, it wasn’t like they were breaking into anything, they had it the same as the guys. If I was Roberta Williams, and they wanted to give me an award for having ovaries, I’d tell them to go fuck themselves.

  6. Conservative Girl

    February 2, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    What a joke. Liberal women acting so pious and holier than Thou. We all know they are the first to drop their pants at a drop of a dime.

    I shouldn’t be surprised at the tech industry doing this though. The eunuchs are afraid of these she-males.

    • Alexander

      February 3, 2018 at 12:24 am

      Evidently, Nolan had lost his testicles some time back, so no big loss, really.

  7. Ben S

    February 2, 2018 at 3:19 pm

    I wish his comment had been something like,

    “Urgh, whoah, sorry dudes and dudettes! I really don’t remember that much about the 80’s… I was really, really fucking high, man… Peace out brah…”

    I don’t understand why these guys who have been tarred without trial are being so apologetic and accomodating. Okay, if you have some vain hope of recovery and need to earn more money and stuff, I get the need to try and minimise damage.

    But if you’re made, your friends and family love you, and you have no hope or need of public redemption, then you should go out fighting.

    Either sue the crazy bitches for defamation and libel or…

    Take a bow like Zidane in the World Cup Final, sure and hard, right in the nose of some mother fucker who deserves it.

    History will look kindly on you for having the balls.

    Someone who isn’t Craig McLaughlin needs to stop being such a pissflap, and stand up for the rest of us blokes.

    In fact…

    Someone needs to accuse Mel Gibson. Watch what happens…

  8. Trebor

    February 3, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    He only did stuff like be involved with the development of pong. Such a rubbish game. He didn’t deserve the award.

  9. Pingback: Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell Loses Game Industry Award Following Feminist Outcry – Media Hard

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    February 3, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    Hah “Brianna” wu calling itself a woman is like a fish calling itself a fucking bird. This is why it should be legal to execute SJWs and feminazis.

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