July 29, 2005

Bushnell starts uWink

Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, most famous for Pong, is starting a new venture: an adult version of Chuck E Cheese, called uWink.

Really, it's not as bad as that sounds.

The concept is to put diners in the restaurant and have them play games, alone if they want, or in ad hoc competitions. Bushnell says that people are social animals and need the interaction with other people, equating the notion of this new restaurant/video game parlor with another successful venture: the martini bar. While it's true you could have a martini at home (and far cheaper) most people go to martini bars to socialize with others, espeically others who share the same interest -- even if the others are strangers.

This notion seems to have some merit. While it's true that people can play video games today on any number of devices in their home, and can even challenge strangers via online play, most of this is anonymous. Bushnell's new venture puts the social aspect back into it, by having the venture involve a night out, and by having you actually able to see the other person you're playing against.

You know, this concept just might work. If there were one near me, I'd try it out.

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