Atari founder Nolan Bushnell discusses bringing "BrainRush" gaming to the classroom.
In 1972 Nolan Bushnell created an industry when he founded Atari and gave the world Pong, the first blockbuster video game. Today his design credo—that games should be “easy to learn and difficult to master”—is inspiring a new generation of developers. A prolific entrepreneur, Bushnell has started more than 20 companies, including Catalyst Technologies, the first Silicon Valley incubator, and Etak, the first in-car nav system—not to mention Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Time Theater. In the process, he pioneered many of the workplace innovations that have made the Silicon Valley a long-standing magnet for creative talent. Bushnell was the first and only man to hire Steve Jobs and wrote the 2013 bestseller Finding the Next Steve Jobs. With his latest startup, BrainRush, he is intent on fixing education with software that uses gamification principles to “addict” students to learning. A true icon of the digital revolution, Bushnell was named one of “50 People Who Changed America” by Newsweek. A biopic, tentatively titled Atari and slated to star Leonardo DiCaprio as Bushnell, is currently in pre-production.