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Chuck E. Cheese 2.0

Zonk posted more than 9 years ago | from the pong-wasn't-enough? dept.

Games 220

theodp writes "Newsweek reports the inventor of Pong and founder of Chuck E. Cheese is getting back into the restaurant game. Adults welcome. At age 62, perpetual kid Nolan Bushnell wants to get gamers out of the house. This week, he will announce a new venture, the uWink Media Bistro restaurantchain. With screens at every table and bar stool, each piping videogames, media content and interactive menus, Bushnell's convinced a young-adult crowd will use the shared-gaming experience as a chance to compete, relax and mingle."

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220 comments

hmm reminds me of tabletop space invaders (2, Funny)

maharg (182366) | more than 9 years ago | (#12674997)

.. now with a coating of melted cheese

What does Uche Ogbuji say? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675120)

Uche Ogbuji [oreillynet.com] says: "Wha'? Muh dick."

Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12674998)

Let's bring kids out from inside the house with their videogames, with videogames they have to pay for?

Doesn't seem like such an awesome idea.

You'll pay to know what you really think

behind (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675001)

I am living in Japan now and there's a family restaurant down the street that has terminals at every table where you can play games or read news and such. There's plenty of others like it too...

Re:behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675178)

Wasn't this in Back to the Future 2?

Re:behind (4, Interesting)

slashdot.org (321932) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675276)

I am living in Japan now and there's a family restaurant down the street that has terminals at every table where you can play games or read news and such. There's plenty of others like it too...

That sounds pretty cool, but all I'd like is a restaurant where the tables have a button for "My drink is empty, I'd like another one, thank you".

It surprises the hell out of me that in places like here ("Silicon Valley") that is not more prevalent. After the dot-com crash service is pretty good, but it still happens from time to time that you spend 10 minutes or more trying to get the attention of the waiter. This is not where you want to spend your time; most of the times it appears rather rude because you have to ignore the other people at the table.

All they'd have to get is something similar to a flight-attendent call button, but even that appears to be too high-tech.

Re:behind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675283)

Of course, they already have this... IN JAPAN

There are different systems. The simplest one is the flight-attendent button. The other end of the spectrum is the ordering-device which allows you to order what you want from a graphical menu and request refills without having to hail anyone down.

Re:behind (1)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675318)

Man, what the hell places are you guys going to that you can get refills? And what is the Japanese for refill anyway? The closest I've been able to come up with is "drink service."

Life in the inaka sucks. :(

Us USians aren't like you retarded Chinesii (Japs) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675338)

A friend of mine, who is Chinese, said Japanese are schismatic Chinese people that tucked their tails and ran to that wee little island that
McArthur admirally fucked in the ass. [raped.me.uk] And you know what that means; when you fuck a Jap in the ass, it is the equivalent of experiencing all of China. I like Yaoi, thanks for the contribution to world porn reservoirs, Japan! For every Jap and his sword fetish, I'll show you a Nigger with a dick in one hand and a basketball in the other.

Fuck you!

Re:behind (1)

squirrelchaser14 (803161) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675390)

Where exactly do you live in Japan? I in Tokyo, but I really haven't seen these. I've seen the vending machines that are cell phone operated, though. Those are cool.

Re:behind (1)

Riktov (632) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675452)

I've seen them at Gusto (which is part of Skylark group, so others may have them too).

The way I see it, "entertainment" at a restaurant is a sign that slow service is expected. Though the terminals legitimately are aimed at impatient kids.

No thanks. (5, Insightful)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675004)

So I can go to a place to pay to play videogames at a table in a restaurant where everyone else is sitting in their own group or by themselves *also* staring at the table? Dude, I'll stay home and login somewhere and play a game, thanks.

People are highly overrated. Especially random strangers in a place that serves food.

Besides, most of what Chuck E. Cheese offered was something other than videogames. Actual physical things you could interact with.

Re:No thanks. (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675021)

It was? We always went to play video games and eat pizza.

Re:No thanks. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675139)

Well, I only went there once or twice, but they didn't have much in the way of videogames as I recall. They had animatronic things. THey had ball cages. Slides. Climby-tubey-hidey sorts of things. Cargo nets. The "whack a mole" game thing. Skeet ball, basketball and other things.

Re:No thanks. (1)

Tezkah (771144) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675027)

RTFA: all designed to create "a more convivial environment for meeting strangers, without all the social risks associated with a bar,"

This is not geared towards people who want to play games, this is geared to those people who want to meet people, but don't like the bar scene. This is not aimed at the cheeto-stained keyboard users of /., it's for Joe Sixpack. The games they are playing include things like: "They run open-source Linux software and serve up games such as the Tetris-like Bloxx and Zillionaire, a trivia contest.", it is definitely NOT a LAN Party. The games are secondary to the environment it is creating.

Re:No thanks. (1)

Adrilla (830520) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675036)

So it'll be a bunch of pasty people playing MAME boxes?

Re:No thanks. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675149)

Yeah, but why do I want to meet some chubby chick who has to hang out at the dork-center to find guys or make friends with some geek and the girlfriend he dragged along with him? You can meet fellow dorks anywhere. Unless this place is somehow magically going to attract people I'm going to want to bump uglies with, why waste my time? Christ, I can meet other dorks at the office. Or at the local computer store. Or Fry's. Or a LUG. Or any sort of convention of any type.

Re:No thanks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675649)

Yeah, but why do I want to meet some chubby chick who has to hang out at the dork-center to find guys

Because she might be a hard core butt slut [blogspot.com] !

Re:No thanks. (1)

lxt (724570) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675043)

There's a bar/arthouse cinema complex near where I live (Watershed in Bristol, UK if anyone's interested), which a few years ago hacked apart a couple of iMacs and placed them effectively under a bar table, so that the screen was effectively mounted at a slight angle under the glass table top.

Last time I went (assuming they havn't fallen to bits by now) they were pretty popular, with people who don't have laptops and the like generally using them to check emails, etc. etc.

Of course, this is a totally different kind of environment to what is being proposed here, so I'm not sure how successful it might be...

Re:No thanks. (1)

byolinux (535260) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675162)

Is this place actually the Watershed itself? I saw RMS speak, there.

Re:No thanks. (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675472)

Hmm. I was there too. You were the gothic guy in the corset, right? :) Mr Stallman in full flow [wirefree.org]

Yeah, like the ticket machines and the eBola virus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675063)

I enjoy standing in front of that one machine; inside behind a wall of thick glass is a monster truck, and outside is a single stinking button that every retard has contributed his boogies onto. Hmm...if only I can press that ONE FREAKING BUTTON. oh, the interactivity is killing me.

Re:No thanks. (1)

MoralHazard (447833) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675158)

People are highly overrated. Especially random strangers in a place that serves food.


Get laid a lot, do ya?

I know I'm going to get creamed for saying this on slashdot, but you're on CRACK! Get out of your house/dorm room, exercise those in-person social skills (oh-so-much more complex than verbal or text-based social skills), and meet some girls. For gods' sake, meet some girls--it'll change your whole perspective on how much fun it is to go meet random people.

Okay, slam away.

Re:No thanks. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675184)

You don't meet bangable girls at an arcade. Maybe your definition of bangable is different than mine. The only place worth your time if you're going out to hook up and get laid is a place that is dark, noisey and has an endless supply of alcohol to ply the other person with.

But if you think you're going to woo some four-eyed comic-convention-loving chick over a game of whack-a-mole, go for it.

Cool to go to... once. (3, Interesting)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675011)

CEC has always seemed like a gimmick. The food is bad, the service is worse, and the crap they called "fun & games" was so old and covered with years of detritus that getting into the ball room was like inviting a bacterial infection.

I guess making sure everyone only plays games in their own booths will help keep the germs at bay and localized into each customers' booth. However, I still question the longevity of a chain that refuses to cater to people who have tastebuds and wear shirts.

Re:Cool to go to... once. (1)

richie2000 (159732) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675234)

refuses to cater to people who have tastebuds and wear shirts.

Hey! T-shirts are shirts too, you know!

Re:Cool to go to... once. (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675335)

getting into the ball room was like inviting a bacterial infection.

Resident Chuck Evil Cheese.

Re:Cool to go to... once. (1)

Hubertus_BigenD (877546) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675641)

Tell me about it. I went there for my fifth birthday, and all I remember from it was a nasty case of food poisoning.

Thanks alot Chuck E.

Actually.. (5, Funny)

Bastilla's Lover (888082) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675013)

..Oh, you have to admit.. it'd be fun to show off your Morrowind character to the chicks in the coffee shop.

Re:Actually.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675400)

Yeah, they're always impressed by stuff like that.

Yes but this begs the question (4, Funny)

Allnighterking (74212) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675014)

Is he going to dig up all of those old game cartridges from the Arizona desert to start the business?

Re:Yes but this begs the question (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675315)

They were smashed. When people discovered where the landfill was and started hauling them off, they sent steamrollers in to crush them up. Then they poured concrete onto what was left.

Sticky games (5, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675015)

Food+games=sticky consoles.

Thanks but no thanks. I have enough trouble making my family wash their hands after eating before hopping on the conole/computer. I don't want to have to contend with something a hundred strangers used while eating.

That's nasty. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675068)

And you are willing to admit that, on slashdot? What does your secret home life have anything to do with great fun with the family at Cubby Cheese's?

Re:Sticky games (2, Funny)

typobox43 (677545) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675085)

Lonely geeks + Tomb Raider = sticky consoles.

Tokens? Tickets? (3, Interesting)

chillmost (648301) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675019)

Will I get to use all my leftover Chuck E. Cheese tokens? What about my tickets from Skeeball? Can I trade those in for prizes still? This packrat mentality may have paid off after all.

Re:Tokens? Tickets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675407)

That reminds me, I have a 'T' token just burning a hole in my pocket.

Re:Tokens? Tickets? (2, Funny)

phpWebber (693379) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675593)

What about my tickets from Skeeball?
Your coveted Crayola comb and mirror set will available for a mere 4000 of them.

Just what we need.. (5, Insightful)

Blind_Io_42 (821280) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675023)

Another technological barrier to face-to-face communication. Now we can give you yet another reason not to talk to your date.

Toss it on the pile with the email, PDAs, text messengers, 2-way pagers, cell phones, and other gadgetry.

Probably not the most popular opinion to have on /., but I find the quality of communication, especially in-person communication, sadly lacking these days.

Re:Just what we need.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675064)

...says the person posting a message to a bunch of anonymous strangers on a web forum.

Re:Just what we need.. (3, Funny)

ctr2sprt (574731) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675070)

Now we can give you yet another reason not to talk to your date.
Let's be honest here. If you're taking your date to a place like this, you're not getting any no matter what you do. So you may as well play some HL2 while awaiting the inevitable.

Re:Just what we need.. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675071)

IF you're taking your date to CEC, you've got bigger problems.

Bland anti-geek sentiment (5, Insightful)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675233)

It's disappointing to see anti-geek trolls proliferating here on Slashdot. Worse, to see suck sentiments getting modded up.

If you have to put on a facade to impress your date, then maybe you ought not take the girl to Chuck E. Cheese. If covering up who you are is more important than being who you are, it's probably a good idea to take her to a fancy restaurant where you two can pretend to enjoy yourselves.

As for me, if a girl can't handle that I live at my parent's home and enjoy eating pizza while playing the PS2, then that's her loss. I am not going to lower my standards to become embroiled in a fake relationship where we don't really know each other because we put on a fake smile and try to pretend to be more debonnaire than we really are.

I want a girl who is going to enjoy getting her fingers with Cheetos dust with me. My standards are high, and I'm not willing to compromise my sense of self just to impress someone else.

Re:Bland anti-geek sentiment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675336)

I am not going to lower my standards
I don't think your standards can get much lower although it seems like you are more living a double standard that only succeeds in porn movies (guy is fat and ugly, girl is blonde with big bosum)

FYI women have standards as well and dating someone who lives with mommy and daddy is normally not considered very high as it would seem you need to rely on your parents to support you so how are you going to put in your equal contribution or are you going to just rely on her?

Move out and get your own place, there is nothing worse than having your parents interrupt you when you are trying to get it on. Unless they go for the whole sock/necktie/coat hanger on the doorknob thing to know not to come in.

Re:Bland anti-geek sentiment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675474)

You are losing your touch troll boy. Go take a nap then come back fresh.

Re:Bland anti-geek sentiment (4, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675512)

Frickin' amen, already!

I am so sick and tired of people acting like to be a REAL man you have to have the so-called "high class" type of girl who wouldn't be caught dead in a Chuck E. Cheese, playing video games, or otherwise engaging in nerdy practices.

I don't go to bars to meet girls because frankly, I don't WANT the kind of girl that hangs out in bars to meet men. I don't live with my parents, but I respect people who do--it saves an awful lot of money and keeps families closer together. I don't drive a fancy car because I don't need one and don't want to attract the kind of girls who only go for guys in fancy cars. And as weird as it may sound to some people, there are more important things in my life than hooking up with some bar or club skank just because I'm that starved for sex.

Now if I someday run across a girl that respects my priorities and my lighthearted attitude, great. If she's good-looking, fantastic. If I don't meet anyone like that, too bad, I'll live. Some of us like to enjoy the things we think are fun instead of dwelling on the lack of just any ol' female to satisfy a pathethic insatiable sexual craving.

The irony is that the bar-hopping club crawlers are the people I feel sorry for. I may be a nerd, but at least I'm a pretty durn happy one most of the time.

Re:Just what we need.. (1)

captain_dope_pants (842414) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675526)

Hurrah, someone with a viewpoint similar to mine !

The plethora of "communication" devices available today has effectively led to a decrease in good, old-fashioned, face to face, verbal communication - that's 'talking' btw ;)
The amount of times I've been chatting with friends in the pub and someone just stops talking instantly as soon as they get a text / call on their mobile; it's downright rude. If someone's sitting in a bar, maybe waiting for mates to turn up, do they have a chat with the people around them ? No, they often just piddle about with their PDA / mobile 'phone or whatever making ridiculous bleeping noises or testing their new ring tone.

I'm not anti all this modern electronic gadgetry but please try to use it with a modicum of restraint and actually chat to people - face to face - it matters !

Seriously though ...... (2, Funny)

Allnighterking (74212) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675026)

The more I think about it the more I realize that the US is the wrong market .... Korea Japan Taiwan and China would however eat this idea up. .....

Re:Seriously though ...... (1)

markild (862998) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675528)

You got a point there. Seeing that I'm from europe, it may be hard for me to gasp the way the US market works, but this idea would definitly be dead within a week over here.
It's really weird when you come to think about it. Ifyou look at what groups of people in the world that is the most conservative, you see that these groups also is the ones to start all the stuff that no one else in the world would dare to do.

On the other side though. If games actually impressed the females, think about how kickass you could be at this restaurant after a few minutes on google with the keywords "cheat +for pong"...

The Band (3, Funny)

Adrilla (830520) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675028)

Will they bring back the Chuck E. Cheese band? It just hasn't been the same is Jasper T. Jowls left over "creative differences".

Re:The Band (1)

Adrilla (830520) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675108)

Dammit, I can't type. It Should've been "SINCE Jasper T. Jowls [toymuseum.com] left over 'creative differences'".

I applaud Chuck E. Cheese. More! (0)

NRAdude (166969) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675039)

I've found it to be one of the few remaining wholesome entertainment palaces for children. Remind you all, "Chuck E. Cheese" is an account held subscribing to the Linux mascott-themed game Tux Racer [sourceforge.net] . Jokes aside, part of the fun in visiting "Chuck E. Cheese" is to see how bad the on-screen party entertainment and employees realy are. I mean, that job has really gotta suck and it is only bearable when paying customers point-out the obvious just as they step on the stage and sing annoying songs to hyperactive children spilling food and rubbing snot over every inch of the table. They clean it all up...without a tip other than "bye". Muah ha ha ha! Anyone have any similar fassion to share on their exploits, other than poking fun at the especially gifted children?

Good luck Nolan (5, Interesting)

vevva (693964) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675055)

We were doing an exhibition recently (ATEI in London) for our retro-gaming table http://www.digitaltables.co.uk/ [digitaltables.co.uk] when in the middle of the show Nolan Bushnell made a point of visiting us on our stand.


He spent 10 minutes chatting to us about Pong, the first arcade games and the early days of Atari. He was a thoroughly nice guy and we felt honoured that he'd stopped by.


Good luck to him.

Re:Good luck Nolan (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675252)

Dude, your tables look schweet! Good work.

Re:Good luck Nolan (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675351)

Those pretty legs are going to hook feet, especially in a beer-enhanced zone. (Gives the table more stability, but ..)

WWLaserz!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675058)

Wow, Tim and Eric really got working on their little project quickly didn't they?

(TGTTM)

So in other words (4, Funny)

mcc (14761) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675078)

It's a place where people can come together, separated by age, background and station but bound in common by attention deficit disorder?

Oh my... (4, Funny)

Duncan3 (10537) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675090)

Gamers and food in one place... Can you image the smell?

Women will flee the county, houses downwind will lose value, skunks will congregate...

uh... dont we already have this? (5, Insightful)

nealrs (75987) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675092)

its called Dave and Busters?

seriously: good food. good beer. tons of games? a place where you can walk around with a red stripe in hand. and play like LA machineguns and all the other assorted Chuck E Cheese games like the mole thing etc?

how is this any different from DaB? Diff age group maybe... DaB is over 21 after like 9pm - and its kind of expensive. But still, this is the best implementation of a "gaming restaurant" even if its more arcade than chuck e cheese type of games.

Plus, the place is kinda classy, like id take buisiness clients there and girls on dates. (provided of course.. i had clients to entertain or girls to take on dates, or vice versa)

i just dont see how this could oneup dave and busters. which stole my heart the first time i went. -nrs

Re:uh... dont we already have this? (1)

vranash (594439) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675159)

4 or 5pm actually, me and a buddy drove like 3 hours to San Jose to play the Battletech pods since the local place (non-DaB) had closed a few years before, only to find out they weren't allowing anyone under 21 in (we were both 18 at the time.)

Re:uh... dont we already have this? (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675176)

Dave and Buster's rocks. But it's more adult oriented. You know, with the booze and all. Then again, who wants kids hanging around a place like that when you're trying to have fun.

I got bored when I went to Dave and Busters, though. The only games they had tended to be really boring shooters with huge screens where you put your foot on a pedal to reload and you basically just fired aimlessly and kept reloading. There wasn't much to it. If you press the triggets enough times and stand there long enough, you'll beat the game. *yaaawn*

Re:uh... dont we already have this? (1)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675355)

And there's also Gameworks in Seattle (not sure if it exists elsewhere). Nothing like downing a beer and then doing the 3 story tall shooter.

Re:uh... dont we already have this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675572)


What will set this apart from D&B is that it will resemble your basement, y'know the hole you crawl out from when the sun goes down.

*looks around*
Slices of leftover pizza (check), clothes here n there (check), games (check), mom hollering at you to COME HERE THIS INSTANT (check), flashy colors from various CRTs (check), weed (che--wait how did THAT get in there?!?), and so on...

Chuck E. Cheese ??? (1)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675094)

As an non-USian, What the *bleep* is Chuck E. Cheese ??

Re:Chuck E. Cheese ??? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675112)

Do you not have Wikipedia in your country?

Here [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Chuck E. Cheese ??? (4, Informative)

phalse phace (454635) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675182)

Chuck E. Cheese [chuckecheese.com]

Re:Chuck E. Cheese ??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675228)

MY EYES!!!

Re:Chuck E. Cheese ??? (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675366)

One free token for every kid? That doesn't sound like much of a bounty. Next you'll be insisting on no disintegrations! I think I'll see if Pizza the Hutt will make a better offer.

It's an arcade for kids (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675210)

It's an arcade for kids, with generically bad pizza and a ball bin for toddlers to get lost in while Mommy relives playing PacMan.

Re:It's an arcade for kids (1)

dabigpaybackski (772131) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675417)

In other words, you non-USians aren't missing anything.

Ralph Baer made Pong first (5, Informative)

Lahiru (839803) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675099)

I remember reading an interview with Ralph Baer in an issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly several years ago. In it Baer asserted that he had created the game and patented it before Bushnell, and that Bushnell copied his concept.

The Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] covers pretty much everything said in that interview:

"In 1966, Ralph Baer, then working for Sanders Associates, made a design for running simple computer games over a television set. His ideas were patented, and he created a game resembling Pong proper, except with slightly more complex controls. In 1970, Baer demonstrated his video game system to corporate heads at Magnavox, who became convinced that such a device would help sell more Magnavox television sets. Magnavox and Sanders Associates joined forces, with Baer and his patents at the epicenter, to develop a stand-alone unit called the Odyssey 1TL200 to be sold to consumers for use in the home."

"... Two weeks later, Magnavox learned of Pong, and notified Atari that they already had a patent on the concept. The two companies went to court. Magnavox was able to produce witnesses who had seen Nolan playing the Odyssey's ping-pong game, and they had a guestbook from the event which Nolan had signed. The judge found in favor of Magnavox, and Atari had to pay $700,000 for use of the patents."

As I recall, Baer [wikipedia.org] also invented a boatload of other things, but didn't make much off of them because the patents were owned by the company he worked for at the time. (Memory is fuzzy on the details)

Re:Ralph Baer made Pong first (2, Informative)

Mike Buddha (10734) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675305)

Just read The Ultimate History of Video Games. In it Nolan Bushnell credits Ralph Baer with creating the first home video game system, the Magnavox Odyssey. it wasn't "Pong" but it was a ping-pong game. In the book they explain the difference between the games (the ability to put "english" on the ball, the speeding up of the action, etc).

Magnavox had patented the concept of playing electronic games on a TV, and the concept of an electronic ping-pong game. Apparently, according to those involved, the $700K one time fee was a sweetheart deal for Atari. All the newcomers had to pay through the nose.

Also in the book, they explain that Al Alcorn was the engineer who created "Pong", at Nolan's request after he saw and played the Magnavox Odyssey at a trade show.

The book is excellent I highly recommend it for anyone with an interest in the history of video games from the very beginning all the way up to the release of the XBox.

The Ultimate History of Video Games, by Steven L. Kent [amazon.com]

Could go over well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675109)

One of the biggest draws to arcades for teens back in the day was the element of competition. Completely destroying someone at a game like Street Fighter 2 with a dozen people watching was definately the kind of thing many teenaged guys thrived on. After a decade or so, it looks like that kind of competition has come back through online multiplayer games, especially first person shooters. The teens that play counterstrike and UT2k4 would probably kill for the opportunity to show off their skills to not only fellow gamers on the Internet, but also other people in person.

So basically, if anything is going to make these places catch on, it won't be the 'relaxing' environment, but the massive egos of the teens who'll go to them.

Re:Could go over well (2, Insightful)

LBt1st (709520) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675643)

I totally agree. In the US, arcades died because most places were full of the same types of games you can play at home for free. Those and the ticket type games like skeetball. And most people don't enjoy those at all. The only reason people will leave home to pay for games is if it gets you something you can't get at home. Competition or a chance to show off your skills are two reasons that you just don't see much of anymore. That's why DDR type games remain popular. Want to make a good arcade? Put in lots of fighting games, DDR, and big moving machines. Networked driving games where each car moves would be another good idea. The point is to offer something you can't get at home and to bring people together. Next step is to maintain all those games!!! I long for the days of going to the local arcade and wupping some ass in street fighter. And if such a place still existed I'd be there in a minute.

What innovation (2, Funny)

kahei (466208) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675122)


OMG someone has finally invented the PC Bang.

At last, PC Bangs exist. Previously they were confined to the world of fantasy.

(why yes... I _do_ have nothing better to do than be sarcastic today...)

Re:What innovation (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675166)

I don't want to know your name - I just want to BANG BANG BANG!

Re:What innovation (1)

eobanb (823187) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675174)

For everyone's info, a PC bang is just an internet café. They're called PC bangs in South Korea. They almost always have a focus on games.

uWink keeps changing bizplans (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675130)

I remember seeing these guys at vending trade shows when I was in the jukebox biz. They were hawking touchscreen games back in 2000 or so (running Linux, praise be), but never seemed to get indeustry traction. Their website was finally reduced to a one-pager promising something New! and Improved! Real Soon Now for, oh, two years?

Hmm, I think they're on to something ....

Step 1: Write new biz plan.
Step 2: Raise lots of investor cash.
Step 3: Spend it.
Step 4: Lay low until new VC comes along.
Step 5: goto step 1

No "????" step, but no "Profit!" step either.

They spent huge money on trade show booths, that's for sure. But then again, who didn't?

Missing ??? step (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675227)

You might not have realized it, but i think that you've found the ??? step.

1. Do stuff
2. Goto 1 (???)
3. Profit!

Re:Missing ??? step (1)

captain_dope_pants (842414) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675557)

Unbelievable !!
That's two posts in a row using the dreaded goto.
Surely in these enlightened days of software engineering the goto should never be used in such simple algorithms as these !
I propose a re-write of the original post using modern techniques.

Yes, I am being facetious. I woke up feeling that way =P

Meeting new people (0)

knoebelsPT (883833) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675137)

Maybe it is just me but if I am going to go to a bar and try to meet new people I (shockingly) want to talk to them. I don't want to play video games with them, I don't want to check my e-mail, I want to actually have a conversation.

Re:Meeting new people (1)

chrisblore (866716) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675328)

I agree. Going out is a social occasion and therefore you want to be able to talk to your companions, not be immersed in a game of Space Invaders or the like. If you want to play computer games with them, invite them to your house to play on your PS2 or have a LAN Party!

No Way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675144)

I used to work in that hellhole back in high school. Nothing worse than having that BOFH boss make me put on that funk-ridden Chucky suit on and wade through hordes of screaming children while being repeatedly punched in the groin. Yeah, good times...I'll pass.

Re:No Way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675427)

Doesn't the Chucky suit come equipped with a jock strap?

another idea of mine ... adopted (4, Interesting)

dnab (711492) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675161)

No it's not stolen, just one of "if I have the VC money I'd do something about it" thing. But I'm not coming from the gaming/surfing/friendstering angle, even though every table would have an interactive LCD touch screen that can conceively do those things on the side. My evil master plan is to tie the interactive menu and the kitchen with the server that can, in real time, change the prices of the food. Why? Because a kitchen makes more money when several like orders are cooked simultaneously (certain conditions apply, of course). Also being an order tracking system a party can more or less be served at the same time. And other dreams of improving service quality w/ IT which I won't elaborate here.

Even got a name thought up. The Beta Platters

Having eaten in enough restaurants since this idea came about (1997) I then realized that nothing is more important than taste & location in determining a restaurant's success, and staff experience in its profitability. Maybe this might work with Denny's...

Already done in the eighties (1, Informative)

zr-rifle (677585) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675217)

Wasn't this already done in the early eighties with a fast-food chain where kids could eat pizzas and play videogames?

Re:Already done in the eighties (1)

rikkards (98006) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675350)

Yeah it was called Chuck E Cheese. There was also another called Showtime (I think) that I remember going to when my family visited Orlando when I was 7 or 8 so that would be 24 or 25 years ago (oh my god!)

Re:Already done in the eighties (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675402)

Showbiz pizza is what you're referring to. Didn't have any chuck e. cheese's in st. louis at the time.

Re:Already done in the eighties (1)

rikkards (98006) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675579)

That is it. Hard to remember the name as it has been a quarter of century since the last time I saw it. Didn't have anything like it up here in the Great White North when I was a kid.

Chuck E. Cheese - any relation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675232)

any relation to Chuck E. Egg ?

The Strobe Room 2.0 (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675241)

In the first version, I barfed all over the floor when I was a kid. I hope he doesn't hold a grudge about it still.

Re:The Strobe Room 2.0 (1)

dabigpaybackski (772131) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675438)

Nah, that stuff is vomit under the bridge by now.

Hasn't this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12675284)

already [gameworks.com] been done [daveandbusters.com] before?

Nolan the cluess entrepreneur... (1)

demo9orgon (156675) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675316)

As much as I respect Mr. Bushnell for having been in the zone back in the 70's he's nowhere near the mark right now and much like he's been "one off" in the past he's wrong this time too. It doesn't take much to see that the niche is very busy already. Even if he opens up a resturaunt with a 30' tall rotating mechanical "Tux" the penguin smiling and waving at people passing by on the freeway it's not going to interest people the way it would have even 20 years ago.

It would be much better to see Mr. Bushnell spend his energies working on something truly novel instead of this sad one-trick pony-ism he seems so invested in...resturants and computer games...bah.

Now if he was working on a virtual glory-hole, complete with crash-test dilos and glip (glory-hole over IP) protocols in conjuction with RealDoll? Well damnit that could see us to the next level in interaction, regardless of the venue. :-)
Or how about cell phones with a "clit-cup" sending device or tele-dick-tooth-pick sending device?

We need our technology more organic, orgasmic, and less watering-hole dynamic. We should have been flitting about as avatars on the net by now, enties created for interaction without the burdens of the meat while retaining all the joys. Compare that to having to brave busy California traffic and enough taxation and political-correctness that operating anything is almost prohibitive.

It may take money to make money, but P.T. Barnum still rules.

Re:Nolan the cluess entrepreneur... (1)

t0qer (230538) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675389)

Now if he was working on a virtual glory-hole, complete with crash-test dilos and glip (glory-hole over IP) protocols in conjuction with RealDoll?


You need a girlfriend.

Re:Nolan the cluess entrepreneur... (1)

dabigpaybackski (772131) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675453)

Your post is simultaneously disgusting and prophetic.

I predict that 50 percent of the people who read it will mod you up, and the rest will be overwhelmed by the urge to take a shower.

Re:Nolan the cluess entrepreneur... (1)

megrims (839585) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675483)

Excluding of course, the ~98% of his readers who don't have mod points.

He's been trying to do this for years (1)

FromWithin (627720) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675442)

I saw a talk by Nolan Bushnell at a games event about 6 years ago. He was talking about exactly this idea. I think that back then, he wanted to setup an infrastructure and license the system to existing restaurants. At the time, it seemed far too ambitious because internet access at anything above dialup was so expensive (to business users as well as home users), and I remember thinking that it was too far-fetched. He's certainly got perseverance; I would have given up on it years ago. So its good to see that he's back and going it alone with a new restaurant chain. I say good luck to him!

Chucky Egg? (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675482)

What is it? I've heard of Chucky Egg [google.co.uk] , but not Chuck E Cheese.

this could ACTUALLY be cool! (2, Insightful)

Cecil B ReDemented (878540) | more than 9 years ago | (#12675567)

I have read pretty much everyones response and no one seems to like this.As far as I can tell,everyone either thinks this will be too much like "CEC" (witch I thought was fun as #@$% as a kid!),that it'll be inferior,or that it wont bring people together the way he plans. But I wonder how many actually read what he plans? From everything I heard in the article,he seems to want this to be for an older crowd (so dont worry about it being to much like "CEC"),he seems to be focusing on bringing people together (so no isolationism,and might i add...he did a good job bringing people [at least kids] together with "CEC" ),and I cant imagine it's going to be like bars around the world with JUST those boring touch screen game systems (so maybe...just MAYBEEE he'll actually have some modern systems!). As for the sanitary issue,THAT one I can understand,and can only hope he has either thought about that allready,or will before he opens this new restaurant. I would allso like to point out the fact that "CEC",the place most of you seem so ^#$%bent on hating,is a: still up and running,and B:has spawned other companies to creat there own "CEC"-like business'. So I for one,can not WAIT to see what happens,and I will be hoping and praying that this idea EXPLODES into the mainstream! One last note here. I apologise if this post sounds inflamitory. That was not my intention at the start.
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