Pong Creator's Restaurant, Many Years In The Making, Finally Opens

from the slow-roasted dept

It’s become nearly impossible to count all of the news stories over the past decade talking about Pong creator Nolan Bushnell and his plans to open a new video-game themed restaurant. Doing a quick search finds at least one article from 1999 that mentions his basic plans to build restaurants that are built on video games — combining some of the concepts from his two previous “success” stories: Atari and Chuck E Cheese. However, every time we saw an article about Bushnell’s uWink offering, it always described some future date when these restaurants would open. Back in 2005, there was actually a whole flurry of articles about his plans for such a restaurant — often mentioning that he planned to open the restaurant towards the end of that year. However, there doesn’t seem to be any evidence that any such restaurant opened, and today Katie Fehrenbacher at Gigaom is saying that the first such restaurant is finally opening, many, many, many years after it was originally planned. What’s unclear what caused all those delays, and whether it represents more a problem of the idea (video games at your table) or the execution. Apparently, we’ll find out soon enough.


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Comments on “Pong Creator's Restaurant, Many Years In The Making, Finally Opens”

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11 Comments
Mike F.M says:

Re: Re:

XCeteron: “The biggest problem would be people coming there regularly enough to keep the place in business.”

There are lots of people who spend the majority of their time playing video games, often not stopping while they eat.

This is simply taking that and moving it into a more ‘social’ environment. If, as was mentioned, this is done with good taste, it could be a great success.

Trikein says:

I don’t know about ESPN zones, but Dave and Busters is 21+ yes? And Chuck E Cheese is directed more towards the young(7-12?) range. Perhaps he is aiming for somewhere in between, which I think is a interesting prospect. Around my area, smaller town malls are being replaced by larger and larger multi complex city malls. Teenagarius Imaturti, losing their local hang outs to make way for big business. With the failings of Comix book stores and Arcades, maybe he will find a nitch to fill. Lets just hope its a bit less…annoying then the Cheese.

PS3 says:

Might Work, if executed properly

With the release of PS3 coming out soon, if he could only get some of them to have in his store during opening, It would almost guarantee success of his restuartant. Seeing as alot of people will not get one in the intial release and be aching to get a ‘taste’ of the new system. Would be great for business. He could work it in several ways. Like charging a hourly rate to play, or make a ‘1 meal course minimum’ to play the system for a set amount of time. I suppose Sony would have to be onboard with this. But in theory it sounds like a hell of an Idea to me. just my $.02

SailorAlphaCentauri says:

Dave and Busters...

advertises as an adult restaurant to compete with Gameworks in Ohio. Neither place is really considered “family friendly” in the ads. More like family neutral. Alcohol is served at all hours and I certainly wouldn’t want to take my kids to a place where every game is near $3 each when Chuck E. Cheese only charges .25 for every game in house.

And he may have created Chuck E. Cheese, but does he still hold onto it? If I remember correctly, the big Chuck went bankrupt quite a few years ago and virtually disappeared for a while…until it came back as a gaming destination instead of a birthday party place (which is how it was when I was a child…replete with annoying animatronic singing rodents). It’s been rebranded to drain the wallets of parents everywhere by making it a regular destination for report-card celebrations and bribery to get kids to do their chores (Have you seen the ads they’ve put out lately?). Nolan may still own the franchise name, but it did go through some rough times in the late ’80s and ’90s.

Anyway out, my happy(ish) medium is Magic Mountain fun centers. The games are cheaper than D&B, but it’s a little more family friendly (if you can put up with the cacaphony [sic] and the random kids running around everywhere).

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