Atari founder Nolan Bushnell recently talked to GameDaily about his uWink business, a growing chain of restaurants that feature touch terminals on every table - not only do they let users order their food that way, but they can also play games together.
And Bushnell estimated the number of games he'd be able to serve through uWink at 600 trillion games across 100,000 restaurants Ambitious - but hey, it's Nolan Bushnell, right?
When we covered Bushnell's recent talk at Wedbush Morgan's annual management access conference, we heard him say that he misses the idea of gaming as a social activity, since the decline of arcades, and that part of what he hopes to do with uWink is to revive that group spirit and keep multiplayer that's actually in-person alive.
In the GameDaily interview, he cited an example - Pong used to be a hot tool for chicks to pick up guys at bars?
"What's the essence of that game experience?" Bushnell asks, pausing before answering his own question. "The essence of that game experience is the social experience".
And there's a precedent for such things. "Pong was highly social", he reminds us. Bushnell recalls the early days when the game was introduced to bars. "It was okay for a woman to pull a guy off the bar stool to come and play with her, because it was only a two player game. And so it was like a constant girl's choice in a bar. And it was right at the point of women's liberation...and the number of people who said they've met their husband or wife playing Pong over the years, you know, I bet over a thousand people have said that".
Interview: Nolan Bushnell's 600 Trillion Games [GameDaily]